Photographing Finland with Toni Töyräs
"In Finland you don't have to go so far to find the perfect scenes for photography"
Toni Töyräs is a 27 year old photographer from the Lapland region of Finland. He is based in Rovaniemi, and works as a marketing manager and digital content creator. Toni is also an incredible photographer, and spends his free time out capturing vivid beautiful images of Finnish life.
Tell us how your journey in photography started?
"One of the main reasons I got into photography was my fiancée, the super talented Sanni Vierela (@sannivierela). She has been photographing for a long time and I got inspired and motivated by her work to get my own camera. I’ve learnt so much from her in my photographic journey so far."
"After getting my own camera I developed more and more of an interest in videography and photography. Nowadays at my current job I’m working with motivated people and I’m able to learn something new everyday so I can get better and more creative at creating content."
"Having lived my whole life in Lapland, I really take inspiration from the Nordic scenery and outdoor activities. Backpacking, hiking and canyoning are often featured in my photographs. In Finland, you don't have to go far to find the perfect scenes for photography. That’s why it is wonderful to live here."
What is your most memorable photography adventure in Finland, and why?
"The most memorable photography adventure is probably the hike we did in the middle of the cold winter in Kuusamo, close to the Russian border. Our destination was the top of Kuusamo's second highest fell, Valtavaara, which is a well-known scenic lookout point in the area. The breathtaking view over the surrounding lakes and fells was definitely worth the effort, even though the temperature was close to -20 degrees! In winter we have a very limited amount of daylight and the sun barely rises above the horizon. Above the Arctic Circle this time period is known as polar night, "Kaamos" in Finnish. During this time the sky is usually toned with amazing pink hues, before quickly changing into a starry night sky. "
Have you got to see Finland in a different light since capturing it in your photography work?
"I have got to know Finland in a different light - especially in winter, because photography has helped me out of my comfort zone. To be honest when I was younger I didn’t enjoy cold weather at all. In the winter it gets freezing cold in Northern Finland and there is always the bone chilling snow up to the knees."
"Nowadays I've realized that the cold is not reason enough to stay indoors, because winter is one of the most beautiful seasons to take photographs. You just need to gear up right and make the most of the fresh white season!
And of course, the Northern Lights are worth braving a cold night out! I'm still feeling like a kid when I see these flashing green lights dancing in the night sky. Even though I've seen them hundreds of times, it always feels like an incredible new experience. One of my favourite things is to start up at the campfire and wait for when the lights will start their show on the sky.
If I could give a one tip to people who wants to improve their photography it would be this: get out of your comfort zone and you’ll experience so much more in your life. I’m so glad I did."
What are your favourite places in Finland to travel?
"My favourite places to travel in Finland are definitely the fells in Lapland. One of my particular favourites is the Riisitunturi fell in the Riisitunturi National Park. In the winter spruce trees are loaded with heavy snow and you feel like walking around giant snow sculptures – just like in a winter wonderland. Also the views from the hilltops are just breathtaking. Because there is no light pollution anywhere near Riisitunturi, it also makes a great location for Northern Light hunting. There is also a wilderness hut that is perfect for warming up, and you can also sleep there for free!"
What do you love most about life in Finland?
"Besides our nature being so diverse, we also have four completely different seasons. Every one of them offers a great possibilities for photography. The landscape is constantly changing, and makes this country fascinating place to live - and to photograph!"
"Finland has it all - thousands of lakes, vast areas of wild forest and fells! It's pleasing to see how Finland has become an international phenomenon - especially Lapland. Lots of people around the world are willing to travel to Finland to experience the environment."