FEBRUARY 2018 ROVANIEMI, FINLAND
Assignment to photograph the luxury Arctic Treehouse Hotel in Finland
These unique treehouses opened in 2016, and within 12 months they were on the radar of every luxury traveller. Guests are invited to enjoy Lapland (including a visit to Santa Claus World) and take part in adventure activities. The hotel complex has been constructed with an emphasis on sustainability, using raw materials such as locally sourced wood. Although the hotel´s private cabins are quite small in size, they offer luxury travellers the unique experience of literally ‘sleeping in the trees’, thanks to their huge windows opening onto the woods. Michelle´s photographs aimed to capture this view across the beds, showing the essence of the indoors and outdoors blending. It was very interesting to see that when the flowers arrived for this photoshoot, they had to be totally covered in paper to protect them from the extreme cold – even when transported the short distance between cabins. During Michelle’s stay the highest temperature was -9ºC and the lowest -27ºC!
FEBRUARY 2018 AURORA BOREALIS
Experiencing the Aurora Borealis
Michelle took a trip with Beyond Arctic to experience the Northern Lights, in a group with 10 other photographers. On a clear night you can see the Aurora Borealis from 100 kilometers away, but you can never be certain that mother nature will reveal the lights. Beyond Arctic, however, will go the extra mile to guarantee a sighting for you. All of the guides are professional photographers, and are therefore able to give advice on aperture, shutter speed and the perfect ISO. The guides have apps that indicate the magnitude of solar activity and provide satellite images to monitor cloud cover. They also know the best locations from which to view the lights. At one of these, Michelle and the group found themselves standing on a frozen lake at -27ºC. Beyond Arctic took trouble explaining the amount of clothing that would be needed – at those temperatures, it is a matter of survival. As well as their own layers of clothing (5 layers on top, two pairs of trousers, three pairs of socks, thermals and ski boots) the group were provided with quilted all-in-one suits and additional ski boots. At those extreme temperatures, it’s impossible even to touch the tripod – kudos to Nikon that Michelle’s camera batteries survived the 5-hour trip! The group travelled in a small minivan and each member had a small flask of hot blueberry juice to last them through the night. Only in the last few hours of the trip did the cloud clear, and they were able to see the Aurora Borealis. A magnificent sight indeed; everyone seemed to forget the extreme temperatures when the lights came out to play. Definitely an unforgettable experience, and one checked off the bucket list!