I can’t remember how or when I started following Marianne on Instagram, but I am very glad I did, because her photos, whether from her travels or from her home country of Finland, are a joy to see each time they pop up in my feed. Even though Norway and Finland are neighbouring countries, I have never had the chance to see much of Finland outside of the capital city of Helsinki, so I am thrilled that Marianne agreed to share with us her views of the Finnish countryside. -Jenny G.

I’m a small town girl. Less than 6 000 inhabitats to date. There are no historical monuments to see or speak of in this village. All there is to witness are the surrounding and scattered forests, fields and lakes about, the scene flatter than flat. And the four seasons to accompany it. Spring, summer, autumn and winter. Four dissimilar layers of one and the same scene. I thought it appropriate to share just one season, the one I yearn for the most. The one I never dare to miss, wherever my feet have taken me to, just because of the dwindling duration of the season. And it is winter. marianne-snowcovered

I’m a child of winter, not just by birth but also because it’s the season I admire and enjoy the most. I love the bitter cold, snow and darkness of the Northern winter. I find it most enjoyable, when it’s the harshest. Ten Celsius below zero is when I start to get exited. Fifteen and I am smiling wickedly while rubbing my hands together like a 1980’s movie villain. Twenty and I’ve studied the cloud and wind charts and mapped a walk with earmarked fields, forests or lakeshores to look out for though still keeping an open mind for spontaneous wandering. Truth is, even though as much as I plan, I always end up wandering after beams of light, trying to catch what they catch. marianne-sunfrost

I study the weather charts by routine, daily, with the weekly forecast in advance registered and archived by cloud coverage, snow fall and wind. If there’s been a warning from the mouth of a weatherman of an harshly bitter winter morning, I’ll have taken notice with a slight smirk on my lips and readied my self for an adventure, ready to leave hours before the sunrise. With childlike excitement I may even dream of the following days photo adventure.

Getting ready for such a day starts by waking up a few hours before the crack of dawn to have time to make way to the spot previously (by a day, week, month or even a year) planned to find oneself in when the sun rises. As when it’s rising there is only a few vital hours, if just one, when the sun is at it’s very best. At least to my preferences. The sun is calming and most inconsistent then. Shadows are edgy holding variable hues and depths. The rays of the sun hold a blue-yellow hay and the silence of the world is heartbreakingly frank and lucid. Since the base of everything is a scheme of white the other colours bloom clear and pure, shyly exploding when a beam hits them. marianne-branch

The first beams are always something from a fairy tale. The throat drying, eyes watering, mind-blowing, time halting and killer-of-all-clear-thoughts for me is the scene when the sun rises behind a lightly snow-covered field or is peeking awkwardly between tree trunks. The day coming to life right in front of me. There are no sounds breaking the silence, even the birds left to endure this season are huddled in their cocoons snoring deeply. There is no wind and least of all no civilization. Breathing white pillowy clouds, seeing and feeling the blue-gold rays arrive and take form and place. This is when, instead of taking it all in, I throw my self on the ground and photograph shadows, mist, crystallized weeds and hum or whistle from the happiness it brings. marianne-starburst

When the temperature is hovering around -15 Celsius, the snow glistens and if there is any luck and a wild flower or a leaf from the previous fall is available, they sparkle as if crystallized ornaments crafted by the most reputed jeweller. Those are the things I most usually go hunting for on my wintery adventures. I don’t like to disturb their resting place, thus I hunt only the ones whom a sunbeam has found and crawl around them like a snake trying to get a proper angle for my camera without disturbing the bed of snow too much. marianne-frostedleaf

I can sit, stand, lay or be half buried in snow. I couldn’t care less if I was getting soaked, as long as my camera is working and capturing what ever I point it at with. I have been half buried a few times. It’s actually a lot of fun. And when it happens suddenly, the frail ground escaping below your feet and your frame thundering through layers, even more so. Not so much when there’s water below with waist deep snow around and warmth of home far far away. marianne-snowybranches

Here in the north, sun is scarce in the winter. Only a few hours, if just for one per day. People are sad, fed up with the dark and most have a curse ready for each snowflake. Well most are, but not me. I’m the happiest. I’m the one who, at the first snow, goes out to whirl and disturb the gentle bed of fresh flakes. marianne-frostedfield

Winter is the time I pine for. It’s easy to find beauty in any day. The start of the season when everything is frosted, it’s wonderful. If there’s a heavy blizzard, it’s beautiful. After heavy snowfall the undisturbed forests seem as if a foam party had raged through, and it’s hilarious. When it’s teeth clattering cold, the snow glimmers from any and all escapee sources of light, natural or artificial, it’s stunning. Night-time and the streetlights are framing the snowy, low hanging branches, it’s picturesque. Ice storm, the snow whirls in a gentle dance and it’s marvellous. End of the season, start of the next, the fresh leavess and weeds of the year get bitten by night frost and then hurriedly start stripping them off in the rays of the morning sun pillowing the forest floors into a mist and my jaw drops. marianne-frostedleaf2

I am a child of winter, worshiper of the Northern sky, preserver of nature, seeker of silence and the lover of natural light.

Thanks to Marianne for sharing the magic of winter in Finland with us! You can find more of Marianne’s work on her webpage and her Instagram account.