Wooden cabin in autumn, by Lapland Photographer, Sanni Vierelä
Photo by: Sanni Vierelä
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Photographer of the month: Sanni Vierelä

We feature a new guest photographer every month, with their top 3 photo picks and professional tips for photographing in Lapland. Our photographer for May 2018 is Sanni Vierelä.

I believe I was quite young when I first discovered my passion for photography. It didn’t take long before I got my first camera and was photographing everything around me. Having lived in Lapland my whole life, it is natural for me to find inspiration for my photos from the Nordic scenery and nature. It is easy to combine hiking and photography since nature is so close. My favorite photography targets are the open sceneries on top of Lapland fells.

I am about to graduate as a Master of Arts, and I am happy to have been able to be employed in the creative industries. I work primarily as a clothing designer but have also freelanced as a photographer and graphic designer. I bring my camera with me wherever I go in my free time.

In the future I hope to be involved with interesting photography projects that combine nature and Nordic ambience. It is interesting to be able to follow closely how Lapland has become an international phenomenon during the last few years. People are very curious about our environment and are willing to travel all the way here to experience it first-hand. I hope that we would become more aware of how fragile and vulnerable our Arctic nature truly is.

Here are my top 3 pics with tips:

1. Encounters in the forest

My best stills, disregarding a few anomalies, are never one-shot wonders but rather take a lot of patience and waiting for the perfect timing. The photo of the white reindeer calf is one of my best wildlife photos, and the importance of patience cannot be overstated when talking about it. It took forever before the herd became acclimated to my presence rather than running away when trying to approach them. A bit of luck was also present at the time.

TIP: Take your time

Don’t hurry, but rather stay as long as possible and examine the target from different distances and angles. You will quickly realize how even the slightest changes in the surrounding elements and the direction of light impact the outcome of the photo. The more you photograph, the more you learn how to frame your pictures and find the perfect compositions for your own style of photography.

2. Painted by the sun

Midsummer nights in Lapland are the perfect time for photography. It’s no wonder why this time of year is one of the most anticipated photography seasons here. During these bright nights sunlight shines from a low angle, painting the landscape in a completely different light than during daytime. That night, the sun was creeping just below the horizon, lighting the belly of the clouds with its golden glow.

TIP: Watch the skies

If you look at my photos, you’ll notice that the sky plays a significant role in them. I rarely photograph under clear skies for the specific reason visible in this picture; the clouds are a vital element for the overall mood the picture is conveying. Watch their direction, as well as how the sun shapes and colors their surface. Wait for them to align perfectly with your desired setting and snap away!

3. The misty peak

The journey towards Särkitunturi fell in Muonio began with clear skies, but as we reached the top of the fell we could barely see what was in front of us. Fog had enveloped the entire fell, and one could only guess what wonderful views it was now hiding from us. But even though we couldn’t capture the scenery from our viewpoint, I was intrigued by the dream-like state that had surrounded us.

TIP: Don’t let the weather limit you

Photography shouldn’t be reserved for only the most beautiful and sunniest of days. Your photos gain a whole new dimension when you step out of your weather comfort zone. Remember to dress and prepare accordingly though and try not to get lost in the wilderness!

Name: Sanni Vierelä

Age: 27

Based in: Rovaniemi, Lapland, Finland

Occupation: Designer, photographer and M.A. student

Fun Fact: I’m not the biggest fan of the summer, and I love the winter and snow. The colder the better!

Follow on: Instagram @sannivierela