Mikko Halvari’s Aurora Oulanka –exhibition takes you to the finest sights by the Karhunkierros trail in less-often-seen times: at night, as the northern lights blaze. The 85-kilometer-long Karhunkierros Trail in Kuusamo and Salla is Finland's most popular hiking trail and is also known internationally.
Mikko Halvari (b. 1984) is a photographer in the local newspaper Koillissanomat in Kuusamo. He has photographed the northern lights since 2003.
Halvari has been working on his Karhunkierros northern lights series for about seven years. The project started a bit by accident when Halvari made a photography trip to Päähkänäkallio one Independence Day.
- Full moon, independence day, northern lights, snowy trees, and the Päähkänäkallio rock. It was an extreme experience.
- I realized that there are lots of places that have been photographed a lot, but few have photographed them at night and with the northern lights. This gave me a good reason to go to the National Park in the middle of the night. It is quite peaceful then.
Halvari has wandered in nature since childhood. With his photography hobby, he became enthusiastic about hiking and a lifestyle that was close to nature.
Halvar says that one of the best national parks in the world is located right in his neighborhood.
- The Oulanka National Park and the Karhunkierros trail are like a year-round amusement park, which makes Kuusamo a good place to live. We have the privilege of visiting there, but also get the ultimate nature experience.
His photography hobby began in the military, with nature photography and by documenting his own everyday life. In recent years, Halvari's off-work photography has focused on northern lights and has become more selective due to his daytime work. Nowadays, he can admire the blazing northern lights from his home yard, but doesn’t necessarily take out his camera.
- I don't take pictures unless I have some idea in the background. I have evolved from just flicking to constructing more planned sets.
Halvari, who is originally from Kemijärvi, has lived in Kuusamo for ten years. In addition to photography, he enjoys trail running, freestyle skiing, electronic music and going out to nature with his family.