Tea Karvinen - Professional photographer

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National park project

May 14, 2017

Sorry for not being here for a looong time. There is only one reason for that: During the last one year there has been pretty much nothing else in my life than making my book of the Finnish national parks. I been working hard with it for 7 years now but since the beginning of May 2016 it has been only either visiting the national parks (doing interviews + photographing) OR (since the beginning of Nov. 2016) just writing the text and working with images which will be in the book.


THE BOOK (Kansallispuistot –maamme luonnon helmet = National parks – jewels of our nature) will be published in AUGUST (3rd wk). The Ministry of the Enrivonment thankfully pays the translation work so we will get the book also in English!

Here is a one page ad about the book (only in Finnish so far).

It took me for 5 months to get ready the text for the book which has all the 40 Finnish national parks. Every single day I had to work with my computer since the morning until I went to bed. I had one break for excercise a day. Most of the meals I ate next to my computer. It was really hectic with the schedule. I had to postpone all the other things in life. I worked also during the X-mas, New Years, Easter, etc.

During April I worked with the same schedule with images for the book as well as prepared my photo exhibition tour. At midnight on 1st of May I was able to give the last images for the publisher. The next day I had the set up of my exhibition here in Rovaniemi (+ tons of urgent things to do).

Needless to say, my body is physically really tired – but my mind is doing great as always. Hopefully in a week or so I finally get to go out to nature and start touring our national parks!  Yes, this is my idea of getting rest. This time I don’t have to be in a hurry, just relax and take photos by myself. And, take my time to recover.


My national park project

3kuvaa.artikkeliUpdate on Dec. 2015

My national park project is going strong and needs my time more and more closer we get the year 2017 when Finland will turn and celebrate 100 years of age. I just got to know that my project, which consists of four different parts (one of them the book I am making), is included in the government’s official Suomi100 -year long celebration program.

National park tour

June 2015

I have the second but last year making my national park book. The book of the Finnish national parks has to be ready by the beginning of 2017 when Finland will turn 100 years.  I live quite hectic times now as I am also writing the text for the book.

There are 39 national parks in Finland. We got the newest national park this past January (Teijo). I will interview several people from each park + use my own experience when writing the text.  So far, during the last five years, I have spent about 550 days in our national parks. The more I see, the more I want to see.  Especially during the summers and falls I don’t have time much at all to do work which can pay me now.  This project seems to take most of my time and money – and energy.  Fortunately, I will get a grant for making the book next year.  It has been a great adventure. I have to remind myself often not to do too much.  Especially summers can be tough for the body when I sleep too little.  I, as a nature photographer, have to be out there working during the hours when others are sleeping.  One day, all this hard work will pay off.

Here are some of my best national park photographs.



Tigers in India

April 2014

6806Tigers once ranged widely across Asia and over the past 100 years, they have lost 93% of their historic range.  The global population in the wild is estimated to number between 3000-4500 individuals (some say just 3200 are left), down from around 100 000 at the start of the 20th century.  Most reasons for population decline include habitat destruction, habitat fragmentation and poaching.  At this rate, wild tigers will be extinct in just a few decades.

I had a great chance of a lifetime to visit India and its three national parks Bandhavgarth, Kanha and Ranthambhore in April.  Thanks for Amar Sharma and his Kauntei Tours office in Delhi. It was not easy to see a tiger but after sitting enough time in a jeep, one will be lucky.  My tiger photos can be seen here.


Salamanca, Spain

October 2013

I have just spent an overwhelming week in an old medieval city of Salamanca, Spain.  7 days with hundreds of people (close to 1000) who’s passion is nature and wilderness. During this 10th World Wilderness Congress (that is held once in 4 yrs) I have seen or met people from all over the world, for example Australian aboriginals, the President of Mozambique, the Sámi of Lapland, American Indian natives and people from NZ, India and all Europe to name a few places.  I have got so much inspiration and learned a lot from great artists, writers, photographers, film makers, scientists, conservation people, indigenous people, etc.  I have received many new ideas, which I hope to bring to my work & life in the future.  P.S. If you haven’t seen the movie Chasing Ice, watch it!


February 2013

I am not a bird photographer but I felt I need to go to Hokkaido, Japan with a couple of other Finnish & Swedish nature photographers to photograph several birds which we don’t see here in northern Europe. The island is a wild place and this winter had brought lots of snow on the area.
It was unbelievable to see several hundreds of Sea Eagles and Steller’s Sea Eagles over the ice outside the Rausu harbour next to the Shiretoko National Park in the same named Peninsula. In Akan in Kushiro area we saw hundreds of Red-crowned cranes both in sunshine and snowfall. The birds are so beautiful. On a caldera lake Kussharo in Akan National Park we took photos of lots of Whooper swans which had come together for the open water. A rare Blakiston’s Fish Owl was able to be seen in Rausu during the three evenings we spent in a hide.

Night photography

July – August 2012

For about a month I am photographing during the evenings, nights and early mornings. I want to stay up the nights and go to sleep in the morning.
It has worked out quite well except that I don’t seem to have time to sleep enough (7-8 hrs). I might sleep couple of hours here and couple of hours there…
Some of the best night/early morning photos I have got when I am near the water on a lake or river. This image here was taken in Oulanka National Park at Myllykoski. I met a small group of young men celebrating one of their coming wedding/marriage. The expose is 10 seconds and I took it at 2 am in the morning.

Nunavut, arctic Canada

May 17th-June12th —- Photos from Nunavut here

Snow, ice, sun = full winter going on here in the arctic.  First, I spent 9 days in Pangnirtung, in a tiny village of 1300 people at the latitudes of 66 North. From there I came to Pond Inlet (a village of 1500 people) at the latitudes of 72 N. I have tried to learn more about the lives of Inuit people. This last week of my one month tour I will spend on the floe edge area which is about 3 hr snow machine ride from Pond Inlet to the east.  What is floe edge?  I will be living on the floating ice between the mountains and the open sea.  This is the area where the wildlife come at this time of the year. Hope to see & photograph also polar bears! I will hopefully see & take pictures of whales, seals, walruses, etc and of course, lots of birds.

2012: My national park exhibition tour started

January 4th, 2012

In the beginning of January, 2012, I opened my very first national park exhibition ”Yhteinen perintömme – matka halki kansallispuistojen.”  This is the Finnish name of it.

The first stop, Koli national park in Lieksa, East-Finland has 22 canvas prints.  Most of them are 80x50cm in size and some of them 100×63 cm in size.  There are images from 11 Finnish national parks and 7 foreign national parks.  Places like Kenya, Alaska, Greenland, Iceland, etc. are represented in my exhibition.
More info about the exhibition here (in Finnish only, sorry).


August 2011

I am for a month in Alaska returning back home September 5th. I have very limited internet access so I will write more about my adventures later on. The image was taken in the evening on one of the tiny isolated islands of Glacier Bay National Park where we spent 3 days of kayaking.  **  Check out the results from my trip to Alaska here.

Summer activities

July 17, 2011

On the road, on the road… I have been at home for 4 days since end of May. What have I been doing? Photographing Finnish National Parks, bears, wolverines, reindeer herding, etc. End of June I spent 3 days in Kuusamo, in my new home town near the Russian border, 800 km north from Helsinki. My mission was to find an apartment to rent. There’s a nice 56 sq.meter apartment with a sauna & a balcony in the very center of Kuusamo that I found (and close to the lake).  5 days left for my move from the capital area to the north!

Last two weeks were so hectic but it is OK as I got a fantastic assignment to photograph pictures for the new Visitor’s Center at Pyhä-Luosto National Park in Finnish Lapland.  I learned how to take 360 degree images with the new 8 mm lens I bought. Last few days work has taken me to the Pallas-Yllästunturi National Park in the western part of Lapland. Legs are tired at the moment after 18 km of walk over the fells and valleys. Yesterday was my third long day of hiking in the wilderness. Today, July 17th I am on my way home by overnight train (with the car).

Seven National Parks in 9 days

May 31- June 8, 2011

Seven National Parks in nine days! And lots of pictures that I like.  This has been my life in the beginning of the summer this year.   When I concentrate just for photography, it is amazing how much one can do in such a short period of time.  I haven’t eaten and slept too much past week! But it has been great to be by myself and explore nature & see some small things that I’d never notice when walking with other people.

Today, June 8th I am finishing my three day stay at Saimaa Lake area (Järvisydän Holiday Resort). Looking for Saimaa ringed seal (saimaannorppa) which is one of the most endangered seal in the world. I saw two of them sun bathing on the rock.  It starts to be that time of the summer when the seals prefer the water.  It is more difficult to see them now compared to May. The picture here  is not a seal but a moose!  We were lucky to see a swimming moose.

Archipelago National Park

May 2011

This National Park is huge, 500 km2 and is situated on the southwest coast of Finland. The first 4 days took me to the most southern habited island of my country, Utö.  I also visited Jurmo, which is about on hour ferryride from Utö further north.  The days were especially warm and so sunny. It was interesting to see a Common Eider (male) which went to ’rest’ in order to die. Next morning the bird was eaten by other birds.  On Utö island I was lucky to borrow a hide from an other photographer and it was lots of fun to photograph birds from inside a tent. I decided to buy a hide tent for myself, too.

The second trip was about working and working!  Working for WWF Finland as well as working for myself to get photos for my National Park project.  I spent 4 days with 20 other volunteers on the tiny island of Långholmen on the northeast corner of the Park. One of the coordinators, Maija Mussaari, is specialized in plants so I ended up photographing lots of flowers and plants, which some of them rare ones, with my new Canon 100 mm macro lens. And what  glorious days we had – plain sunshine! On the image, there is Anemone nemorosa (valkovuokko) which is very common here.


April 17-29, 2011

Overnight train to Rovaniemi with a car plus 350-400 km drive north from the Arctic Circle.  4 days in the wilderness of Lemmenjoki National Park skiing and photographing by myself. Wonderful.  I left the compass in my car so just had the map and the sun to get around. No people anywhere until the last evening.  After skiing for 7 hrs I was tired but welcomed an invitation for a cup of coffee at a reindeer herder’s cabin which was close by my ski route. I ended up spending the evening & night talking + partying with 3 local reindeer herders in the middle of nowhere. Lots of fun.  I was so far north that the darkness never arrived.

Hornborgasjön, Sweden

April 8-10, 2011

Over 10 000 cranes were waiting for us in Hornborgasjön lake area in Sweden. Days before our visit were grey and wet. But our small group of nature photographers were really lucky.  The weather was super and the sun was shining. We had early wake ups at 4.30 – but no problem.  I wish I had seen most of those cranes together on the sky but that was just a dream. This is still a great place for crane photography. On the other side of the lake we saw swans playing mating games next to us.

Björköby, Vaasa

March 26-27, 2011

18 photographers from Vaasa area got together to learn more about night photography.  I was teaching this workshop where we learned how to take pictures with a flash in the dark with long exposure, how to paint with flash in the air, etc.


Jan 23 – Mar 6, 2011

On this photography trip I spent 42 days driving 4717 km in the east and north part of Finland (Lapland). I visited national parks, did several newspaper or magazine stories of winter activities in Lapland and photographed them.  The winter was harsh, cold but amazingly beautiful. There were lots of days with temperatures of -20 and sometimes even -30 C.
I also spent time with reindeer herders in remote cabins (party), tried rally driving on ice, snow sledding downhill, reindeer safaris, ice fishing and snow machine safaris. Northern lights danced on the sky several times, ice climbing was cool but difficult, swimming in icy water was refreshing. I was almost killed by a heavy snowy tree one night in Koli national park :) and I photographed the ice & snow sailing world champs in Linnansaari national parks, to name some examples of my activities during this trip. I also tried to photograph wolverines for 3 days only seeing goshawk + other birds every day.


January 7-11, 2011

An isolated island of Utö in Saaristomeri national park is the most southern inhabited island of Finland.  When I visited there (for the first time ever) weather changed from moment to moment to the extremes. Lots of ice in the ocean on the shoreline was beautiful – especially when using slow shutter speeds with the camera.


Nov 18 – Dec 14, 2010

How many trips have I done to Lapland this year? Many. For about 10-15 years I didn’t visit at all this area which is the most beautiful in our country, I think.   This time there were some weeks of photograpy, interviews and meetings with people on my list.  After 10 days in Pyhä-Luosto National Park, I spent 3 days at Pallas-Yllästunturi National Park and then back to Pyhä ski resort for the opening of the season. Then, the road took me futher north to Saariselkä & Ivalo region for some reindeer herders ’stuff.’  The image here is taken around 2 pm in the afternoon when the sun was going down in Pallas-Yllästunturi National Park.

27 Aug – Oct 16 Lapland

I was touring for about 6 weeks different Finnish National Parks in the east and in the north.

I also photographed reindeer herders, pro gold diggers and the Sami people who are the only indigenous people in European Union.

13- 19 Aug & 14-17 Sep Lemmenjoki np in Lapland

Lemmenjoki National Park, the largest and most remote one in Finland,  is an interesting place. Inside the park there are machines which ”rape” the land near Miessijoki river.  This is the place of professional gold diggers.  I was happy finally to visit the people and see what is going on here. In August I had a chance to work & photograph on a Finnish WWF voluntary work camp in the park.

23 July – 11 Aug Greenland

Whales on water and ashore, seals, muskox, vast inland ice, huge icebergs, howling sled dogs, humans skulls on grave yards, numerous boat trips, hiking and kayaking, amazing sun sets and simple camping life. That was my last 3 weeks on the west coast of Greenland.

12 July-20 July Seitseminen National Park

I studied magazine story writing in Central Finland and visited Seitseminen National Park and the forest at my summer house before that.

28 June – 9 July Reindeer herders

End of June I started a new ’adventure’ in my life when I had a chance to get to know reindeer herders in Pyhä-Luosto region (near the National Park) in Lapland.  It was interesting to photograph and learn about  reindeer herders marking their reindeer calves.  Several trips following this first one have taught me much more about the profession – and have brought me new friends.