Campfire and Arctic landscape in winter
Photo by: Juho Uutela

Photographer of the Month: Juho Uutela

We are featuring a new guest photographer every month, with their top 3 photo picks and professional tips for filming in Lapland. Our photographer of December 2017 is Juho Uutela.

I’m originally from Tampere, in southern Finland, where I spent my first 20 years of my life. After graduating high school and serving my time in the Finnish military, I felt the calling to start exploring the world and to experience things I’d never seen before. It was 2008 when I bought my first camera and began a year-long journey around the world. This adventure brought me to some of the deepest parts of Himalayan mountains, all the way to the jungles of Asia. Photography and video shooting accompanied me to some of the most amazing views I have ever witnessed, and I found my true passion in photographing.

After coming back to Finland, I began working in tourism in many different positions while studying in Tampere. My passion for traveling continued, and I lived some time in Cyprus and Tanzania. There I improved my skills in photography. During the climb up Mount Kilimanjaro, I decided that this was the last trip I would do without a real professional camera – I was not able to shoot good enough photos in total darkness.

Moving to Lapland in 2013 was the start of a new adventure once again! My girlfriend and I moved to Muonio, where I got my first taste of aurora photography and improved my skills in landscape and nature photography. Living way above the Arctic Circle, my learning of new techniques in aurora photography led to a creation named ”Beyond Arctic.” At the time, it was just a name I connected to my photography. But I had a strong feeling that it could be something more in the future.

Over seven years had passed since my trip to the Himalayas, and the journey had brought me finally to Rovaniemi in 2014. As it was finally time to settle down, I began to work with many different ideas while studying at the University of Lapland. I started to create some content under the name Beyond Arctic. Every day I felt more confident that I was on the right path. Finally, in May 2016, the concept of Beyond Arctic was clear enough that it was time to establish a company. Beyond Arctic was born and the idea of organizing photography-based tours and expeditions for travelers around the world was official.

Now after two years of working with photography tours and expeditions, we have gathered an amazing team of photographers. The values we share are the basis for the whole brand. We want to show true and authentic nature to our guests and take our expeditions deeper to the wilderness. ”The Nature of an Explorer” as we call it, is not only the slogan of the brand. It’s the message behind everything. Whether we are on the steep slopes of the Himalayas or deep in the endless forests of Lapland, adventure, teamwork and explorers’ spirit always follow us on our journey.


1. Deeper into the Wilderness

Last April I finally had some free time after a busy season working with photography tours. I packed my car, took some cameras with me and headed all the way to Kilpisjärvi with my friend Antti. We drove snowmobiles close to Halti fell and spent a night in a cabin 40 kilometers away from the closest village, in the middle of wilderness. During the night, we drove through the fell lands and found some amazing spots for landscape and aurora photography. Around midnight we got a powerful burst of auroras dancing in the sky. Capturing this together with a full moon was something truly spectacular to witness!

TIP: Explore new horizons.

Keep your photography innovative and go deeper! Sometimes capturing that one amazing shot requires hundreds of kilometers of driving and diving deep into nature. Sometimes you really have to get out of your comfort zone and off the beaten track to find the best spots and most amazing landscapes.

Northern Lights over Arctic landscape in winter

2. Like a painting

Summer under the Midnight sun is one of my favorite seasons in Lapland. The colors you can capture from the setting sun is something amazing. Many times, I take a few different lenses with me to be able to capture the scenery with different focal lengths. A few shots with the zoom, a few with a wide angle and maybe testing some cool compositions with close by objects. It is all about your imagination!

TIP: Prepare your equipment!

When you go out exploring and looking for that great landscape to photograph, always prepare your equipment as well as possible! It starts with your own clothing– be warm and comfortable. Make sure you have some basic equipment like a headlamp, water, matches, a knife and GPS. Prepare your camera equipment and take enough different lenses with you! You don’t want to miss that awesome wildlife or landscape shot because you forgot your zoom lens at home.

Epic Arctic sunset during summer in Lapland

3. Lights on the horizon

I always try to get some interesting elements in the photo and create some beautiful compositions with them. Last January, we were hunting some Northern Lights and I saw this wonderful scenery in front of me on one of our stops. The Northern Lights on the left, a full moon rising from the horizon and a skiing track showing the way between. I put my camera on a tripod straight away and already saw the photo in my mind.

TIP: Be yourself.

Finding your own style in photography can take a long time and years of shooting. I’m always try to shoot with my mind and heart to create something I really like. Learn as much as possible from others, but don’t fake it, don’t try to be someone else. And the most importantly, remember – learning photography is a lifetime pursuit!

Northern Lights above a frozen lake in Finland in winter
Photographer Juho Uutela against mountains in Lapland

Name: Juho Uutela
Age: 29
Based in Rovaniemi, Finland
Occupation: Photographer, expedition guide, entrepreneur
Fun fact: I learned wildlife photography the hard way by escaping an angry rhino up in a tree during a multiday jungle trek in Nepal.

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