Finland 2019- An Introduction

The light is dropping, as is the temperature.

I am sitting in, what feels like, a small wooden shed.

It is not in my garden. It is in the Finnish wilderness, very close to the Russian border and is one of the wildest, most untouched environments in Europe, and remains one of the last remaining European strongholds of Brown Bear, Wolverine and Wolves.

To many, this would seem like a very strange thing to want to do. Many would be too scared to sleep, alone, in their garden shed at night. Here I was, in a landscape pretty alien to me, far from towns and cities, surrounded by thousands of miles of pristine woodland… and bears! So, why was I here… other than the obvious reason; to see bears in the wild.

If you follow me on social media, you will have seen that I have just spent a week at a pretty special site, in North East Finland, very close to the Russian border. This location boasts a stunning landscape and is home to some wonderful wildlife. It is also the main site for a company called ‘Bear Photo’; a photographic tour company co-founded by multi-award winning photographers Kyle Moore and Harry Read.  Being passionate bear enthusiasts and photographers the pair decided to create something slightly different, offering specialist bear photographic tours.

BearPhoto is the official UK partner of Wild Brown Bear Ltd, the leading bear observation company in Northern Europe. In January 2016 the land was purchased the site was secured as an official conservation area, resulting in any form of hunting and development to be strictly forbidden, safeguarding this precious stronghold of apex predators for the future.

Harry and Kyle are the main reason I was visiting this wonderful location. I first came across them when they were just around 14 years old. They are now just 21 and 23 years old; just a little younger than my son and daughter. Both very keen photographers, they spoke to me at Birdfair and I keenly followed their growth in the photographic world. They were growing as young photographers and it was not long before Kyle was winning, or being placed in most of the big UK Wildlife Photography competitions and both were pursuing careers in wildlife photography. I supported them with some trail cameras, in their early days,  and always loved to see how they were following their passion of the natural world.

Do take a look at their websites and profiles. As you will know, I am very keen to support young people and I work with primary age children exciting and inspiring them to love and cherish our native wildlife.

Kyle Moore

Harry Read

When they told me all about their Bear Photo venture, I was thrilled to hear about the project and very interested. This year, we started looking at how I might be able to help them further develop some aspects of the tour and the site. With a successful first year under their belt, they were already thinking ahead, along with Wild Brown Bear Ltd, as to how modern technology could be brought to the site in terms of wildlife camera set ups, both remote and live streaming. I had lots of conversations with them about what I do here in the UK and how some of that could possibly be translated out there. It was a very exciting prospect! It was on this premise that I headed out for a week.

With a suitcase full of trail cameras, live stream cameras and a variety of other bits of kit, I flew to Helsinki and then another hour and a half to Kajanni. It is then another hour and a half journey to get the the site. I would then spend the rest of the week, working with both Harry and Kyle and liaising with the owner of Wild Brown Bear Ltd as to how we could work together on exciting projects to monitor and film the wildlife out here… possibly in ways that have not been done before!

The following blog posts will look at different aspects of my trip, to share with you the beauty of this location, its special wildlife and how much you can capture in just a week.

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