Up your winter game
Follow photographer Mikko Nikkinen on an expedition as he documents life on ice around frozen Finland.
[↑] When the waters freeze, Finland’s lakes become an infinite white desert. For some it means a playground for excursions, for others a silent, meditative space.
[↑] Mid-winter rain has made the snow vanish from the lake and tour skater Mikko Kiljunen glides on slippery ice with tender kicks, surveying the thickness of the ice at all times.
[↑] Professional fisherman Markku Turtiainen lifts a catch of vendace with his crew. Spring sunshine has turned the ice soft and grey, foreseeing the end of the fishing season.
[↑] The early winter sun still rises when Anneli Vitikainen takes to the ice. She carries a snack and a hot beverage flask in her backpack for a quick break before heading to work.
[↑] Wind has shaped the snow into a piece of art within this vast landscape. Its beauty is only temporary, as the shape will vanish as soon as the wind changes or another snowfall starts.
[↑] A hammock, down sleeping bag, candles, and a hot water bottle are the only requirements for lounging under the stars in anticipation of the gradually appearing Northern Lights.
[↑] After a day of ski touring, evening finds wilderness guide Jaakko-Jukka Heikka and his group sheltering from the cold in the tents that heat up as dinner is prepared.
[↑] Gradual movements and the shrinking and expansion of ice make dramatic cracks appear on the surface. But the 15-centimetre thick ice is still safe to skate on. To make sure it carries, Aleksi Lindqvist periodically tests the thickness with a stick.
Text and photos Mikko Nikkinen