While staying in Gallivare I travelled to Porjus which is about 50kms away or 5 Swedish miles (it is worth noting here that 1 Swedish mile = 10kms) . I went there to meet with Tricia Cowern and her son Toby who both moved to Lapland from England. I was interested to know why Tricia had decided to make the move to Porjus and how she finds living in Lapland. Tricia writes for you below in her own words and provides the images;
I first came to Porjus in the summer of 1995, for a holiday with my youngest son. He was a participant is a survival course and I was here to enjoy some nature photography. After spending three weeks in the forest surrounded by a landscape which had no end, birds, animals and wonderful light, I had completely fallen in love with this wide and wild expanse.
I returned to my life in England, driving to and from Birmingham on the M6 three times a week as a book keeper. But my mind and energy were always in the forests of Lapland! 6 months later in January 1996 I returned to the forest but this time alone. I rented a small cabin in the forest with no electricity or water – just birds and animals for company. In January there are only 3 hours of daylight above the Arctic Circle. So these hours were spent collecting wood for the fire and drilling through the ice for water and trying to stay upright on skis. It is very difficult to read by candle light so 21 hours of the day were left for my own thoughts and sleep, along with the resident mice in the cabin!!! Breakfast was eaten outside sitting on a fallen tree with Siberian Jays
and Siberian Tits for company.
It is in this type of situations you realise what you take for granted. Water from a tap, a light switch, a toilet, toothpaste that is not frozen but these three weeks were the turning point of my life.
After making several returns visits, each one lasting longer and longer, in 1997 I made the decision to leave England and buy the old railway station house in Porjus. As well as my home, Porjus became the centre of my photographic work by opening a Photo Gallery in the summer of 1998 in the station house.
During the first year in Porjus I developed a fascination and passion for photographing the very special and unique Arctic Light.
So many visitors to the north only see the midnight sun of summer. This is wonderful but to me the best time is during winter.
The Northern Lights occur the whole year but we can only see them from late August to early April. There is too much daylight in the spring and summer. My photography covers many subjects but my personal passion is capturing The Northern Light on camera.
During the past 10 years I have accumulated many thousands of images of the Aurora Borealis.
This has resulted in photographic exhibitions and photo presentations far and wide – Paris, Tokyo, Cape Town, Poland, Finland and Sweden.
During 2003 I made an acquaintance with a Japanese man and this has resulted in a project to enable people to see the Northern Lights ‘live ‘ via 5 web cameras situated in my house. Yoshi Maejima controls the cameras from Tokyo and he has written a unique computer program which archives all of the photographs taken by the cameras from the start of the project in December 2005 until today. He also converts the still photographs into short movies if the activity of Northern Lights are particularly good.
In recent years Northern Lights have become more and more of a fascination to people. Many companies have started to offer ‘Northern Lights holidays’. To me, the Northern Lights’ are a phenomenon that everyone should have the chance to experience at least once in a lifetime but not in the company of 500 other people. I understand how, why and when Northern Lights occur BUT please bear in mind I cannot control the weather!!!! With this in mind in 2003 I moved a building which is now situated next to the station house. It is possible to sit in the window of your bedroom and see the Northern Lights – weather permitting. Better still, go outside and experience the full effect of the Northern Lights by lying on your back in the snow and letting the Northern Lights light up the sky over head and perform their ‘ magic dance!’. If visitors stay with me they have the advantage there is an’ all night alert´ – if Northern Lights are visible, you can be woken up in the middle of the night! I can provide still photographs; I can provide film of the Northern Lights BUT the best experience you can have is to see this amazing natural phenomena yourself, in your own company ( we have the space) or at most with only a handful of other people ( if you wish) In Porjus we can experience Northern Lights from September to early April.
I also offer photographic courses for new and amateur photographers.
Welcome to my home and my world where ‘I live in the photograph! ’.
Tricia – www.arctic-color.se