In the famous words of Ned Stark: WINTER IS COMING! So I thought this would be the perfect time to highlight some winter destinations, specifically Lapland, Finland. During my time in Lapland I was able to partake in my 1st photo expedition, and it was a blast!
What is a Photography Expedition?
As someone who loves photography, I have always wanted to do a photo expedition. But honestly, I didn’t really even know what that meant. Is it like an on-site photography class? Well, yes and no.
This was my first (and hopefully first of many) photo expeditions, and from my experience it was more like a fun venture out to a photography lover’s dream landscape, and they help you with taking the photos when it comes to settings, technique, position, etc.
You have to have a basic knowledge of photography I think. I consider myself super amateur, and when people start talking about aperture and shutter speed I get a little anxiety. But this trip was perfect and because of the small group size, we got personalized attention, which was key!
Most the photos I featured in this article were shot with my Sony Alpha6000 with my 10-18mm wide angle lens that I’m obsessed with. I also used my GoPro Hero 5 and iPhone 6 for a few shots.
Note: battery life is severely decreased in freezing weather so make sure to bring some extra batteries along!
Beyond Arctic Photography Expeditions
Beyond Arctic is a tiny Finnish company ran by 2 awesome guys, both named Juho! They personally lead all the expeditions themselves and work their butts off!
With Beyond Arctic, no 2 expeditions are the same! That’s because they have several different areas around which they can visit and tailor make the tour based on the groups wishes (& also based on weather).
Juho photographing me photographing him 🙂
Their expeditions have a max of 8 people, so the group always stays small and intimate. I had 2 others on my tour and we really got to know each other and it was really nice not having to be herded around in a large group.
Beyond Arctic also offer Northern Lights photography tours, ice fishing, skiing, and wilderness snowshoe adventures. They also offer summer and autumn expeditions, where you can experience and photograph the midnight sun!
What Kind of Clothes/Equipment Do You Need to Go on this Expedition?
Honestly, you can basically show up naked and they will dress you from head to toe. But please, if you do, wear underwear! But really, even if you don’t have the proper winter gear, it’s no problem at all, they will provide everything you need. They gave us hats, ski gloves, overall ski suit, waterproof boots, and a backpack to store all our stuff.
Photographing the Stunning Arctic Landscapes of Lapland, Finland: Where We Visited
We drove for about 2 hours to Riisitunturi National Park. We began our trek through the park up hill for about 1 hour, through the snowy forest, stopping frequently to take pictures and take in the views. The trek is 4.5 km and requires a moderate level of physical fitness.
The views from the top of the fell were incredible. You get a stunning 360-degree view of the national park and the nearby lake which was frozen, adding to the dramatic arctic landscape.
GoPro shot of me fighting the arctic wind
If you’re dreaming of a winter wonderland (which I was) this will for sure satisfy your needs!
We stopped at this cute little cabin base camp where we started a small fire and began to grill some lunch. We were provided with some yummy sausages and a grilled cheese sandwich.
I alerted them ahead of time of my allergy and they even made mine with gluten free bread. Oh, and they even had a gluten free apple cake made for me for dessert! I’m so not used to getting such goodies (with my past luck, the tour “forgets” about my allergy and I end up starving half the time).
The trek back down was a lot easier and quicker and the lighting was a bit better. The sun was starting to fall so there wasn’t any more glare or brightness blinding you.
Sunset caught on my iPhone 6
It was very cold, but I felt bundled up enough. Overall, the trek wasn’t as bad as I thought, mainly because we kept stopping for photo ops.
After the tour, Beyond Arctic sent us some photos they took during the expedition, which was cool to see some candid shots. Here are a few Jugo took below:
There’s me trying to get some good iPhone pics.
The view from the top of the fell where you can see the frozen lake.
Me looking satisfied (and bundled up) at the end of the tour. Can we do that again?♥
Camera Gear I Used on this Expedition (and all my travels really):
Tips: The one thing I will recommend if you do this tour is to bring sunglasses (wait, what, on a winter tour?). It’s actually really sunny and the wind at the top is no joke. My eyes were watering for like 30 minutes straight and I could barely see. Also, staring at the bleach white snow for hours on end can put a little strain on the eyes. Oh, and bring tissues. Your nose will be running.
If you enjoyed this, click photo to PIN for later♥
Disclaimer: I was a guest of Beyond Arctic; however, my opinions are my own and I am in no way obligated to write a positive review. This small company was awesome and I would highly recommend them to my family, friends, and fellow travellers. ♥
*this post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a super small commission if you make a purchase using these links, at no extra cost to you. I wouldn’t recommend anything I didn’t already use and love! ♥
I used to be the world’s worst packer, basically trying to fit my whole life into my suitcase for a one week trip. Oh how the times have changed. I have learned to simplify to the max and now ONLY travel with a carry-on, even on 1-2 month trips. It’s not easy (and it’s not for everyone, I get it), but I seem to have worked out a method using some key travel gear to help me to travel light.
The last thing I want to do is struggle with huge bags dragging over cobblestone streets in Europe or dirt roads in Africa. Oh, and those hefty checked bag fees for budget airlines? #Fuggedaboutit #aintnobodygottimeforthat
Below are the only bags I take with me on my travels: a small backpack and a spinner carry-on. (Oh, and my pillow). That’s it! There’s a lot of shit in there, trust me…♥
Light Packer Essential Travel Gear
(P.S. Click on the product photos for more info)
Sony Alpha 6000 Mirrorless Camera: I made the switch from my huge DSLR and I wouldn’t go back. It’s light, compact, and takes amazing photos!
Sony 10-18mm Wide Angle Zoom Lens: this wide angle lens is the key to landscape shots. It basically takes a panoramic photo. I use this lens more than the original factory lens and am super happy with it. It’s not cheap, but super worth it if you want to get those special outdoor nature shots. Honestly, I would purchase the Sony alpha 6000 camera body only and save up for this lens to go with it.
Both shot with my wide-angle lens. Look how much of the landscape fits in the frame!
E Bags Packing Cubes: the biggest life changer to keep me packing light! This is my biggest travel gear obsession and I have NO idea how I traveled without them before.
Eagle Creek Compression Packing Cubes: These are my new editions to my packing gear and I’m obsessed. Once you pack them full, you can zip then down further to compress the cubes. You have no idea how much stuff you can fit in these cubes, it’s amazing!
Skyroam Mobile Hotspot Device: How did I travel without this before? This mini hotspot is portable and gives you access to wifi wherever you are, and works in 100+ countries. Skyroam saved my life during my recent road trip through New Zealand, allowing me access to my Google maps for navigation. The way it works: you can either rent or buy the hotspot device, and then you buy 24 hour day passes. This gives you unlimited wifi for 24 hours, no need to worry about using all your data! This is going to revolutionize travel, just wait and see! ♥
♥Oh, and until April 7, you can get 15% OFF by using the code: CONNECTED15♥
The many times my Skyroam came in handy in New Zealand!
DJI Mavic Pro Drone: I mean, who doesn’t want a drone? It’s the hottest new tech gadget for 2017! It’s not cheap, but it’s totally worth it. If you’re going to get a drone, this one is the best for transporting as its SUPER compact (the size of a water bottle basically) and pretty light. This fits in my backpack which I have outline below, along with ALL my other gadgets including the drone remote, camera, extra lenses, GoPro’s, tripod, and more!
LifeProof NUUD Waterproof Case (iPhone 6): this helps protect my phone from water, sand, dirt, and the numerous drops that incur while I travel. I love it!
GoPro Hero 4 Session: I am a proud GoPro ambassador and obsessed with GoPro selfie pics if you didn’t notice! (I have recently upgrade to the 5, but this is the one I used in all my travel photos from 2016). It’s super small, compact, and easy to travel with. Plus it’s so much fun to use! 🙂
These were both shot with my GoPro Hero 4 Session. Notice how GoPro’s signature fish-eye lens gets everything in?
GoPro Hero 5 Session: My newest addition and I’m already obsessed. The quality of pictures is noticeably better and it’s voice controlled activated! How cool is that?
The first shot is a completely unedited underwater shot I took recently in the Galapagos. Look how clear it is!
Joby GorillaPod Tripod: This little bendable tripod is awesome. You can bend and mold it to fit around small things/objects wherever you may be. I mostly use it with my GoPro to wrap around the branch of a tree or a railing (as I did in the pic below). This allows me to go hands-free and get photos of myself when I’m traveling alone. It’s super lightweight and small so it easily fits in my little travel backpack with all my other gear.
Laptop/Accessory Backpack: This is the best travel backpack ever! I literally fit ALL my tech & camera gear in here, including my MacBook Air, camera, extra wide angle lens, GoPro, all GoPro accessories, selfie stick, travel tripod, all my cords, chargers, converters, extra SD cards, and even my new Mavic Pro drone with remote and charger! Not only does it fit all my cool gadgets, it’s super thin and when it’s on my back, even budget airlines skip weighing it because it looks so small. Little do they know that it weighs more than my actual suitcase. Oh, and the best part? It has a pouch on the back that slides onto your suitcase handle so you don’t even have to carry it. #score
External Hard Drive (My Passport): This super lightweight external hard drive is perfect for backing up all my thousands of photos I take each trip. I’ve had mine for almost 3 years now and it’s nowhere near full. The 2TB of memory will last you quite a long time!
Hanging Toiletry Bag (small): I can’t tell you how helpful this little toiletry bag is, especially when staying at an Airbnb and I have to share a bathroom. I throw all my face creams, face wash, soap, etc in here and hang it up on a hook and have everything easily accessible.
Moldable silicon earplugs: I am the world’s lightest sleeper so ear plugs are a MUST, especially with those thin walls in Europe and Africa. These are the best ones I’ve found and they block out a lot of noise. The key is to only use them for 2-3 days and then get some fresh ones so they suction to your ears.
GoToob Non-leak Silicone 3oz. Travel Tubes: these are by far the BEST travel size bottles out there, period. I’ve tried so many, believe me. I used to buy the 3-pack of travel size tubes at Target on every trip, but they would leak every damn time. Not to mention the bottles would warp and I would have to buy a new set for each trip. I’ve had these GoToob bottles for 3 years and they have never once leaked or broken. They are SO worth it!
X-Shot Selfie Stick (I use w/ my GoPro): I’ve used this selfie stick for the past 2 years and I love it! It’s not bulky like most other selfie sticks and it’s super lightweight and folds up small. And it’s NOT flimsy. I use it daily on my travels.
Disclaimer: this post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a super small commission if you make a purchase using these links, at no extra cost to you. I only recommend products that I have used before on my own and that I truly love 🙂
When one of your favorite brands in the world invites you on a fun adventure, you say YES…before you even know what it is haha. Earlier this summer, I had the pleasure of going zip-lining in Omiš, Croatia courtesy of GoPro! Ahhhh, pinch me!
I had been zip-lining before 2 or 3 times in Mexico and the Caribbean on family cruises back in the day. But this was different. This would be zip-lining over the Cetina river between the gorgeous Croatian mountains..in one of my favorite countries in the entire world! So yes, excitement was an understatement when I got word I would be joining in on the fun!
Zip-lining in Omiš, Croatia
The company I went with was called Splitlicious. I can honestly say this was the BEST zip-lining I had ever done. Not only was the backdrop like from a movie, but we got 8 ropes total to ride. On the other ones I had done we got maybe 2-3 ropes to ride and then we were finished. It was over so quick and left me wanting more.
This zip-lining tour lasted about an hour, but it seemed longer! I’m not going to lie though, when I got up there and saw how high we were, I freaked out a little. But like always, my adrenaline trumped over fear!
The guides were young and fun and it was a great time. One of them even volunteered to hold my GoPro and zip-line about 3-5 meters behind me so he could get a close up of me riding. And you know what? That was actually my favorite clip from the video!
Note: This video was shot entirely with the GoPro Hero 4 Session and I used the wrist strap during this activity.
*A huge thanks to GoPro for sponsoring this activity. I was not paid, nor required to write an article or make a video of this activity. I did it because I truly love GoPro! Expect more GoPro videos in the near future! ♥
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