Wolverines, Wolves and Bears of Finland in Autumn – Availability 2019

There are now just two places available on my Wolverines and Wolves workshop this October in northern Finland. We will be photographing in mid Autumn conditions: We can expect everything from sunny days to cloud, fog or even heavy rain. This variety of weather, landscape and lighting conditions will provide you with the opportunity to create a diverse, creative and professional portfolio of these predators. We will be photographing almost exclusively from hides as these animals are extremely shy and very elusive. Each hide is equipped with everything you need to spend hours (even overnight) out in the field. We will have a number of different hides from which to choose, with various viewing angles.

On this workshop we will be staying in private cottages located deep inside a Nature Reserve only a few miles from the Russian border. Each cottage can accommodate up to four people, but is available for single use at no extra cost. Breakfast will be taken at our accommodation. Lunch and dinner will be a combination of food in the field, and home cooked meals prepared for us by a chef at our cabins. If you have special dietary requirements please be sure to let us know at time of booking.

If you are interested in photographing these apex predators along with black bears and White-Tailed Eagles from private hides during the fiery Autumn colour of Finland then please drop me an email to register your interest.

Photo of the Month June 2019 – Golden Eagle Landing

The photograph of the month for June 2019 is of a magnificent Golden Eagle coming into land on the snow in northern Finland in winter. Photographed from a private hide during my Finland workshop in February earlier this year (Read the Trip Report); the image was captured with a Canon EOS 1DX MKII and 600mm F4L IS MKII Lens (I had not yet updated to the MKIII). The key to capturing really sharp, powerful moments of birds in flight such as this is a combination of anticipating the animals behaviour and having everything set and ready on your camera so that once the action starts you are immediately shooting and not fumbling with settings. In this case, I knew it would be really difficult to accurately track the eagle with a single focus point  (even with surrounding focus points) as it came in to land at high speed, so I used multiple points with ‘Case 3’ Auto Focus (telling the camera to instantly focus on objects as they came into frame). I also ensured I stopped down the lens enough for adequate depth of field in case the focus points grabbed the tip of the wing (as they are prone to do) to give me the best possible chance. I set my cameras shutter speed to at least 1/1000th of a second and to high speed capture at 12 frames per second which meant as long as I could keep the eagle in frame I was going to get sharp images.

Finlands Frozen North 2019 Wildlife Safari Workshop Report

In early February of 2019 I lead a new winter wildlife and landscape safari to the North of Finland in search of both its amazing wildlife and spectacular snow and ice covered landscapes. Finland is well known for both its amazing winter trees and fantastic wildlife that includes Wolves, Wolverine, Eagles, Owls, Reindeer and a great many Arctic and sub-sub-arctic bird species. It should also be said that winter in Finland whilst cold, is absolutely incredible and well worth the frozen fingers and toes.

Our intention on this safari was to try and photograph winter wildlife as well as take advantage of the snow and ice  covered landscape . Northern Finland is blanketed in snow more than six months of the year which means the forests are draped in a wonderful layer of frozen snow and ice. It is truly other worldly and makes for beautiful and surreal photographs.

On our first and second day in Northern Finland we spent our time in some of the private photography hides just on the edge of no mans land on the Russian border. It was our hope to try and photograph both Wolverine and Wolves in a winter setting. Whilst conditions were ideal, the Wolverine and wolves eluded us this time, although we did have excellent opportunities to photograph Siberian Jay, Eurasian Jay, Great Spotted Woodpecker and even Golden Eagles.

Our third day took us to the Kuusamo region where we spent time searching for otters whilst photographing Dippers and the frozen river landscape.

On day four and day five we headed up to one of the private hides frequented by  a pair of Golden Eagles. One of the largest eagles in the world, the Golden Eagle is splendid and magnificent; its golden feathers a stunning contrast to the white snow. We had many hours with the eagles as well as Black Woodpecker, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Grey headed woodpecker, Siberian Jays, Siberian and Crested Tits and more. These were highly productive days that produced some fabulous images.

On Day six we spent the majority of our time photographing playful otters during frequent snow showers on the banks of one of the many frozen lakes. Otters are fantastic critters to photograph as they play in the snow and water. We also took some time to look for both Hawk Owl and Great Gray Owls but were unsuccessful in our search. Owls can be elusive and this time we were not able to find or photograph them (despite having access to many spotters in the field).

On Day seven we photographed both the landscape area of Kuusamo including the wonderful U-bend river as well as returning for the otters.

On our final day we took snow mobiles on a 65km return journey up to the Russian border on top of one of the regions hills to photograph the incredible frozen trees. We were not blessed with great light unfortunately and the heavily overcast conditions meant contrast was extremely low. The alien like forms of the frozen trees are are extremely photogenic however and there were good opportunities despite the low cloud and lack of contrast.

Winter is simply a wonderful time to visit Northern Finland. And as such I will be returning to this region again in February of 2021 to lead another Winter safari to both the Kajaani and Kuusamo regions. If you would like to join me, or would like any more information please just drop me an email at info@jholko.com No obligation at this point.

Wolverines and Wolves of Finland 2019 Availability

A place has just become available on my Wolverines and Wolves workshop this October in northern Finland. We will be photographing in mid Autumn conditions: We can expect everything from sunny days to cloud, fog or even heavy rain. This variety of weather, landscape and lighting conditions will provide you with the opportunity to create a diverse, creative and professional portfolio of these predators. We will be photographing almost exclusively from hides as these animals are extremely shy and very elusive. Each hide is equipped with everything you need to spend hours (even overnight) out in the field. We will have a number of different hides from which to choose, with various viewing angles.

On this workshop we will be staying in private cottages located deep inside a Nature Reserve only a few miles from the Russian border. Each cottage can accommodate up to four people, but is available for single use at no extra cost. Breakfast will be taken at our accommodation. Lunch and dinner will be a combination of food in the field, and home cooked meals prepared for us by a chef at our cabins. If you have special dietary requirements please be sure to let us know at time of booking.

If you are interested in photographing these apex predators along with black bears and White-Tailed Eagles from private hides during the fiery Autumn colour of Finland then please drop me an email to register your interest.