ARCTIC STORIES Beyond Arctic takes visitors to shoot great photos of the extraordinary sceneries in Lapland.
A picture is a memory. It is an experience to share. Travelling is all about gathering new experiences, and travel photography is a way of sharing them with others.
“We take our customers to places that are interesting to capture”, says Juho Uutela. With ‘we’, he is referring to Beyond Arctic, the company this photography enthusiast and nature-lover set up after settling in Rovaniemi a few years ago.
He says that the playing field around the Arctic Circle is nothing short of amazing.
“Whichever direction you take, there are interesting destinations. During one short tour, the participants get to experience and photograph a great array of landscapes. We also seek new visual angles to popular attractions and show the best places where to set up the camera gear.”
According to Juho Uutela, light is what makes this part of the world so special.
“Summer is my personal favourite, because the light is simply unbelievable – there is so much of it, round the clock. In just a few hours, you can watch the sun going down towards the horizon and then climbing back up again. You can capture the millions of shades with your camera”, he enthuses.
He admits that the long winter darkness is a challenge.
“You just have to find your own thing in that period too. But once you do, the dark months can also be astounding: the blue moments of the winter, the emerging light reflected in the abundant snow.”
Many visitors have never taken photos at night. That is why Beyond Arctic starts their photo expeditions with a short workshop to show what camera settings are needed, how to set the tripods etc.
“Then we try things out, and if the Northern Lights show, we are ready to photograph them.”
Visitors also want to learn about the things they spot - the nature and the natural phenomena as well as the culture, everything there is to see in Lapland. They appreciate the fact that the guides at Beyond Arctic are not only experienced photographers, but also nature guides who know the surrounding areas, Finnish culture and even the species of wild animals. Their expertise brings extra value to the customers.
The Jätkänkynttilä Bridge and the colours of the night. Photo (c) Beyond Arctic.
The tours also bring value to the company that is constantly growing.
One trending product are photoshoot services – people who travel with family or friends want a professional photographer with them. Beyond Arctic also provides services for professionals. They help film crews do location scouting around Rovaniemi, take prospective filmmakers to places that are logistically accessible, yet surrounded by impressive nature.
Juho Uutela says that climate change is making the Arctic regions more interesting for tourists. People are looking for opportunities to experience the opposite phenomenon to the heat that is becoming a challenge in the summer even in Europe. Finland is top security, things work smoothly, and travel connections have improved.
When constructing the company brand, Beyond Arctic is concentrating on the so-called soft aspects of their travel services – the peace and the quiet. Sustainability is a key value for the company. They work hard to minimise the impact of the photo expeditions on nature and the traditional way of life.
“Travel must be sustainable. If we are not careful, things can get out of hand and turn against the environment and against the local people”, Juho Uutela warns.
“Photography tourism interests me and I want to bring tourism forward in that field, I have set my sights high, to the whole of Lapland, and even beyond”.
He notes that in many parts of Lapland, the natural environment is virtually untouched, and that is unique even in the Arctic region.
“When you climb up a fell and look towards the wilderness, you cannot see anything man-made in the horizon. This is something you do not get anywhere else. This is truly the last wilderness in Europe, and it is wonderful.”
Top of page: Rovaniemi by night. End of page: Just another day at the office for Juho Uutela. Photos (c) Beyond Arctic.