Wintry Scenes From a Swedish Wonderland

Author : Okarim
Publish Date : 2020-12-21


Wintry Scenes From a Swedish Wonderland

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I consistently give the same advice to aspiring photographers: Wherever home is, that’s where you should begin.It isn’t always easy advice to follow. After all, our understandable curiosity and fascination with the exotic — that which is different from what we are used to — sends us abroad by the hundreds of millions every year. And, having lived and worked everywhere but in Sweden for most of my life, I’ve been terrible at following it myself.For me, Sweden has always been a place to rest, relax and spend time with family. It’s rarely been a destination to explore in the ways that I do in Madagascar, Malawi or Zambia — until now.ImageA fresh layer of snow and a sky full of color and movement — welcome to winter in northern Sweden. Lapland Guesthouse and the small hamlet of Kangos are located 67.29 degrees north. New York City is at 40.71 degrees north, Toronto at 43.44, and Anchorage at 61.13.A fresh layer of snow and a sky full of color and movement — welcome to winter in northern Sweden. Lapland Guesthouse and the small hamlet of Kangos are located 67.29 degrees north. New York City is at 40.71 degrees north, Toronto at 43.44, and Anchorage at 61.13.With all of my foreign assignments and trips canceled this year, I decided to make the most of the closed borders and travel north from my home near Stockholm. What began as a single two-week trip quickly turned into a series of journeys that lasted several months and spanned the entire year, starting and finishing in midwinter.ImageLate afternoon aurora borealis.Late afternoon aurora borealis.The first thing to know about spending winter in northern Sweden is that sunburn won’t be much of an issue. The second is that you’ll want to pack a headlamp and lots of warm clothes. Sweden spans roughly the same latitudes as Alaska, and, while climate change is bringing milder winters in its wake, it doesn’t have any impact on the length of our daylight.ImageThe <a href="https://www.icehotel.com/">Ice Hotel in Jukkasjärvi</a> was the world’s first, originally built in 1990. The indoor temperature is kept at around 23 degrees Fahrenheit.The Ice Hotel in Jukkasjärvi was the world’s first, originally built in 1990. The indoor temperature is kept at around 23 degrees Fahrenheit.ImageEach winter, the hotel is rebuilt. Artists from around the world are invited to create different rooms and decorations, including the bar — and even glasses.Each winter, the hotel is rebuilt. Artists from around the world are invited to create different rooms and decorations, including the bar — and even glasses.And yet, traveling across the snow and ice on dog sleds, skis or snowmobiles, or laying on one’s back staring up at the magical light show of the aurora borealis, I hardly minded the lack of daylight. Instead, what caught my attention was the mesmerizing beauty of the white, frozen landscapes and the endless shades of blue. Away from buildings and roads, the snow lit up even the darkest nights.ImageReindeer in Swedish Lapland are semi-domesticated. They generally keep their distance from people, but in winter they are sometimes provided with pellets, especially now that climate change and deforestation are reducing the amount of naturally available food. With the permission of their Sámi owners, it is possible to have some wonderful, close encounters.Reindeer in Swedish Lapland are semi-domesticated. They generally keep their distance from people, but in winter they are sometimes provided with pellets, especially now that climate change and deforestation are reducing the amount of naturally available food. With the permission of their Sámi owners, it is possible to have some wonderful, close encounters.ImageWarming up cold feet halfway through a day on snowmobiles in temperatures around minus 5 degrees Fahrenheit.Warming up cold feet halfway through a day on snowmobiles in temperatures around minus 5 degrees Fahrenheit.Whether basking in a sauna or going for invigorating dips in the nearby river (through a hole in the ice), I spent virtually all of my time outdoors — which made exploring Sweden’s northernmost region, known as Swedish Lapland, about as safe as travel can be during a pandemic.ImageThe magic of the aurora borealis are almost impossible to describe, or capture in a photograph. One simply has to see them to understand just how spectacular they can be.The magic of the aurora borealis are almost impossible to describe, or capture in a photograph. One simply has to see them to understand just how spectacular they can be.I was based mostly in and around the small hamlet of Kangos, and Johan Stenevad, my host at Lapland Guesthouse, showed me a world I had previously only seen in photographs: frozen bogs, lakes and rivers; gangly moose and curious reindeer; snow-covered trees; endless snow-shoveling; and a never-waning excitement whenever the sky was clear and the northern lights made an appearance.Image“X” marks safe paths for snowmobiles to use. The wetlands can be treacherous; even in winter there might be running water beneath the snow, and a snowmobile stuck in that is difficult to get out.“X” marks safe paths for snowmobiles to use. The wetlands can be treacherous; even in winter there might be running water beneath the snow, and a snowmobile stuck in that is difficult to get out.ImageNorthern Sweden consists largely of forests and wetlands. The wetlands are very difficult to move across in summer, but once the ground is frozen they are ideal for snowmobiles or skis.Northern Sweden consists largely of forests and wetlands. The wetlands are very difficult to move across in summer, but once the ground is frozen they are ideal for snowmobiles or skis.ImageBy February the days quickly increase in length, although the sun still sets early in the afternoon.By February the days quickly increase in length, although the sun still sets early in the afternoon.But Johan opened my eyes to something else, too. One day, on a snowmobile path lined by tall trees on both sides, he turned off his engine and asked me what I saw.“Trees,” I answered. “A forest.”He shook his head.“Not a forest. A plantation. Soon, this is all that will be left,” he said, explaining that the straight rows of trees were being farmed. They were all the same species, age and size.ImageDespite its reputation as a leader of sustainability, huge swaths of old-growth forests are clear-cut in Sweden every year. The vast majority of Sweden’s forests are now plantations of pine or spruce. While pine trees easily reach 500 years of age, only a fraction are allowed to live past 120 years <a href="https://www.skogsmissbruket.org/">before they are harvested</a>.Despite its reputation as a leader of sustainability, huge swaths of old-growth forests are clear-cut in Sweden every year. The vast majority of Sweden’s forests are now plantations of pine or spruce. While pine trees easily reach 500 years of age, only a fraction are allowed to live past 120 years before they are harvested.Johan was right. The great northern wilderness — the ancient boreal forests that once seemed endless — has been ruthlessly clear-cut for biofuel and paper and replaced by monoculture plantations of spruce or pine for over half a century. Only a fraction of the boreal forests remains, and that fraction grows smaller every year.In addition, wind turbines up to a thousand foot tall are being constructed throughout northern Sweden, their flashing lights visible for tens of miles, the previously dark nights lit up like airport runways. Many such projects are being fought tooth and nail by local communities as well as conservation organizations.“This will be the end of both tourism and of o



Category :art-culture
Author Website : Demon-Slayer-Kimetsu-no-Yaiba-the-Movie-Infinity

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