A week in Oulanka National Park - a World Heritage site and a PAN Park - is an almost holy experience. To walk slowly through a forest that is not managed and that is not being harvested at all. Just a taiga forest, as these forests have always been, before the arrival of man.
Very few Europeans today have ever in their lives seen a fully-grown tree. Fewer still have ever seen a natural forest or a virgin forest.
It is really completely fascinating and deeply emotional to walk around in a forest where trees die of old age and storm winds, not cut by the chainsaw and not turned into toilet paper or plywood.
Dead trees, several hundred years old, still remain standing for another century or two. And when they fall, it takes yet another century or two before they have turned into soil. In the meantime they are safe havens for a multitude of biodiversity – beetles, moths, fungi, mosses, lichens, berry bushes, woodpeckers, ants, owls, starlings and a lot of smaller creatures live and feed from what they provide, and live in the trees themselves.
A very humbling experience, and very refreshing. In the forest, all the everyday stressful problems get their right proportions and some just disappear. Many modern society priorities shrink away and the forest provides space for thought and peace of mind.
Working a lot with the 14-24 wide-angle zoom and the 70-200 zoom, tripod and cable release. There are image motifs everywhere and we move very slowly through the terrain.
At the end of the day, it shows that Finnish photographer and nature tour operator Lassi Rautiainen and I, have come back with very different images.
Very inspiring and also frustrating!
Oulanka NP, which is situated outside the town of Kuusamo, is crossed by two major rivers; the Oulanka River and the Kitkajoki River, cutting deep canyons into the red sandstone cliffs and creating an excitingly wild landscape. My favourite site was Paahkenakallio with its meandering bends of the Kitkajoki River.
On the way back along the path a young golden eagle flies over, a black woodpecker cries and several ravens sit in an old tree.
This area is yet another true Wild Wonder of Europe.
Please note that blogs reflect our photographers' opinions and not necessarily those of the directors of Wild Wonders of Europe.