The depth of the snow, that had fallen and remained on the ground this autumn was more than ten centimeters. The winter had already tried to start five times in Kuusamo but every time a warm period of weather had melted the snow. When the first snow fell all the leafy trees were still holding their autumn coloured leaves and the scenery was incredible with yellow and orange colours surrounded with white snow. Now when I arrived to Kuusamo area the trees were already without leaves. I came to my friends cottage late in the evening and they hadn´t been there for a while so I had to shovel the snow before I drived to the courtyard. Quite a sweaty job but I loved it after ten hours of driving. I had lot of gears with me because I planned to photoshoot at least few days, both landscape and eagles from the hides. I unloaded my car and settled down, set fire to the stove and enjoyed a nice and quiet evening in Lämsänkylä, only five kilometers from the Russian border. In the evening I had plenty of time to check batteries, memory cards and other equipments, also checked the weather forecast for the next day. It wasn´t too encouraging with cloudy skies and light snowfalls. The reason why I was in northern Finland at this time of the year, was that I had this certain picture in my mind that I have already been chasing for a couple of years. In this picture a Golden Eagle is landing on a pine tree top with its wings wide open in backlight of the midwinter sun which lightens the wing feathers. Chances for this kind of picture are only slight because the weather is mostly cloudy and daylight is so short in December. Sun rises at 10am and sets at 2pm, so the operation time is only four hours.
As usual I woke up early in the morning and spent hours reading and writing and listening the sound of the fire in the stove. The cracking of the fire is so relaxing and pacifying and I really enjoyed it much. I wasn´t in a hurry to go to the hide but after my slow morning I was still there well before sunrise at eight o´clock. Slowly and peacefully I adjusted my camera gears and set my lunch box at hand and then just started to wait. First in the dark came ravens with swooshing wings, I didn´t see them but I heard them well in this otherwise still sleepy and silent morning.
The day was really active but dark, thick cloud cover and some light snow falling, but at its best there were tens of ravens, two Golden Eagles and two White-tailed Eagles. Lots of photographing, on the edge of my cameras performance, in these dark conditions. I can´t complain, a few nice pictures and lots of watching, considering this was just day number one. More to come, I could hardly wait.
At the day dawn the ravens were already there.
Golden Eagles came and went during the day.
So did the White-tailed Eagles.
Kind of a rush hour.