The Finnish National Landscape with an Icy Twist

The Koli National Park in Northern Karelia is said to offer some of the most spectacular and typically Finnish landscapes. And even as a Finn, I have to agree. You’ll usually bump into Koli scenery in Sibelius album covers or Finnish travel brochures. The photos are usually taken in the summer, where pure green and blue take turns to paint a picture of the pure and clean Finnish nature. And that’s all good. The thing is, Koli is really really beautiful in the winter as well.

This was shot practically from the front entrance of the Sokos Hotel Koli, with my drone. The hotel, situated on top of the Koli hill, has surroundings like nowhere else.

We did a short trip to Koli with a good friend of mine with snowboot-trekking and skiing in mind. And of course photo- and videography. We found an excellent, peaceful villa to stay, the Mustikkamäki Cottage, which is owned by a really nice couple, Leena and Urpo. Just a 15min drive from the Koli village, it was a perfect spot to serve as a base camp and just to chill out.

Koli Hotel
Ski slopes right beneath the hotel at Koli

Enjoy the snowy scenery below!

Koli in the background, Rintasenvaara in the foreground.



A raven and a campfire. What more do you need?

A short retreat with a friend to a national park is just your perfect method to take a moment away from it all. And with a recently acquired drone, it was really fun to capture those moments on fil… a memorycard.

Just when I decided to capture some background audio just to make the video a bit more lively, a raven started to “sing” somewhere in the distance. You can actually hear it, if you’ve got your headphones on. The timing was amazingly perfect, it started just after I touched “record” and stopped really soon after the two-minute recording was done. So thanks, anonymous raven!

The national park in question is called Liesjärvi, and it’s located only about a hundred kilometres from Helsinki. You could actually sleep in the hut that you can see in the background of the campsite, but while the weather forecast had been pretty grim with continuous snow and slate, we had rented a really nice log-cottage nearby. A pretty different experience to stay overnight than the hut, but suited us reaally well in the end of the day.


Sunset. The ever amazing canvas.

The world is filled with sunset pictures. A quick glance on Instagram shows nearly 121 million photos with the hashtag sunset. And still they keep on amazing us humans. Like this 15 minutes of purple, pink and yellow the other night. It was quite a finnish moment, I was bathing in the sauna, and suddenly noticed the sky, which was blazing with colours, mostly pink at that time. Quickly set up my drone and headed out to get these images. Video didn’t do the scene justice, so I ended up shooting stills.

Sunset over wintery Porvoo.

Ask a a metheorologist, they’ll know in detail, but here up north, the sunsets get this colourful, when there’s these certain types of weather conditions. This time around, the temperature was dropping for the night after an warmer day and usually, in my experience, you need at least that to get the sunset to be this colourful.

The sky coloring houses and trees pink was something to experience.

Of course shooting from a quadcopter isn’t the same as with an DSLR, but then again, your DSLR isn’t (usually) flying 100m up in the air. Still I would have hoped a little better performance from my tiny DJI Mavic Pro drone. I had to combine these two images from multiple ones. The title image is as shot, just a few adjustments to exposure with Camera Raw when opened in Photoshop. No other tinkering was made.

A painter can paint a sunset, but nature makes us feel one.

A Frozen River

This is probably the video I’m most content with thus far in my short weeks with my drone. A beautiful setting with streaming water together with ice and bare rocks. An old, small power plant building built from red bricks gave the snowy views a nice contrast.

A sunny day would have been a plus and some snow on the trees would have made the scene even more beautiful. But we can’t adjust nature and that’s part of the fun. I even recorded the sound of the water running, adding to the overall atmosphere. Got my fingers frozen to the point they really hurt, but it was worth it! And of course I had the obligatory warm coffee with me, so that gave some instant relief.

The bare necessities of a drone pilot in the wild. A backpack, thermos filled with coffee, a sandwich (rye-bread of course, we’re in Finland) and a blanket for taking off and landing in the snow.