Travel Blog - Hannah Walker Photographics

"The earth is art, the photographer is only a witness."


Footnaked Travel Blog - Photographic Wanderings

on a chase for the aurora borealis

Ersfjordbotn, Norway

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I don't have a bucket list (yet), however if i did, it would read:

1) Photograph the Aurora Borealis

2) Ect, ect

From both a travel and photography standpoint, its my number one. Yet, despite my efforts, they have thus far eluded me. I could be frustrated by this, as Scandinavia is an expensive destination, and my obsession has left something of a hole in my pocket, but I am actually glad.

Why?

Because I keep going back, visiting new countries and regions, fuelled by my infatuation with these fleeting dancing lights.

Small town along a fjord, Norway

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I'm a summer person. I spent five years chasing the warmth around the globe. I had little desire to venture so far north and endure sub-zero temperatures and days of darkness. Many of my friends have commented to me "But you HATE the cold!" Its true. I do. But I've come to love the beauty and the contradictory season of the far north. And the love is deepening.

Sunset over pine forest, Luleå, Sweden

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I've seen falling flakes four times in my life. It still takes my breath away. Its absolutely novel. So are the three hour days, the muted silence of a forest covered in snow, the silken cleanliness of fresh powder.

Snow laden trees, Luleå

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Midday Sunset, Swedish Laplands

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These stark, transformed landscapes entice my lens, and its a long learning curb to be able to record them in a way which affords them justice.

Small seaside rowing cottage, Luleå

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I am rarely worried when I travel, although when I heard the captain announce a ground temperature of -26C as we were descending into the midday sunset of Luleå, nerves set in. For my first few days in Sweden, I genuinely thought it possible my toes could turn blue and snap of. I had to keep taking my shoes off and checking. While the fjords surrounding Tromsø are much further north (250km deep into the Arctic Circle), the ocean doesn't freeze over like it does in Northern Sweden, thus stabilising the temperatures a little.

Frozen sea, swedish laplands

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Without my camera, I feel I would have at first been at a loss of what to do in such cold, dark places, so foreign to the warmth and light I'm accustomed to. But it very quickly becomes apparent that the locals don't just survive the winter, they embrace it. Jogging with headlamps at lunchtime, clutching hot mulled wine between their hands, cross-country skiing under street lights, crowding into bustling cafes, visiting the world class museums and galleries and even ice-swimming, mean the streets always seem busy. And I have to admit, there's something quite exhilarating about diving into fresh snow in my bikinis and dashing back to the rock sauna repeatedly. Not to mention its incredibly good for your health (so I'm told).

fotografiska museum, stockholm

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Stockholm city scape by night

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I've learnt much from the people, the culture and the natural charm of the Scandinavia region. And I will continue to return, doggedly seeking those lights and exploring one of the furthest places in the world from my home in Australia.

Mountains framing Ersfjordbotn, Norway

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