Tammisaari, Finland

Near Tammisaari, Finland 2004

Sometimes, I think being from the UK makes the rest of the world seem a much more dramatic place. People start to moan when the weather even gets near to 0 and when it goes a couple of degrees below, certain newspapers start trumpeting about an”arctic vortex”, when really, it is just a bit cold.

In Finland by contrast, no one mentions the weather until it gets to about -15 degrees or so. A Finnish friend asked me why I thought it was strange to ride a bicycle in the snow – it was perfectly normal to her.

If the whole cold thing interests you, I recommend visiting the Culture Museum in Helsinki. I particularly enjoyed reading about Kai Donner’s adventures in northern Finland, where it gets really cold.

Anyway, when I took this picture, it must have only been about -10. And it wasn’t windy. So no macho points for me.

But it was very quiet and still, possibly silent.

Breaking the Ice, Finland

Tammisaari, Finland 2004

I went to Tammisaari in early winter. As the plane descended to land at Vanta, I heard the stewardess say,”Oh no, it’s snowing- again!”. And she was right.

A nice thing about Finland, is that most things still work in the snow – if you are from the U.K., you know what I am thinking here.

One of the things I like about snow, is how quiet it makes things. With this picture, I was hoping it captured the stillness of the scene. Silence.

But perhaps not quite silence, because on other occasions, I saw brave Finns jumping/gingerly lowering themselves into the water (where the ice has been broken). I know someone will say it is really “refreshing” – but not for me!

In Helsinki, 2003

Mean People Suck, Helsinki 2003

I didn’t really travel anywhere until I was in my thirties and even now (many years later), the list of places I would like to go is pretty long.

Anyway, once upon a time, I visited Helsinki over a number of months, lazing in the long, warm summer evenings and when winter came, shivering in the bitter wind that blew in from the Baltic. Helsinki is quite walkable, with clean, wide streets and friendly locals. 

Technical Details

This picture was one of those things you just catch with the corner of your eye as you walk along. I was using a Nikkormat and 50mm lens with some colour negative film (Kodak Ektapress 400 I believe), which I have changed to black and white – ‘cos I don’t think colour adds to it.