Maëlick in the North

Toy Photography in Northern Finland, Sweden and Norway

Photography Diary – October 2020

This year photography has been a long succession of ups and downs. While September has been one of the busiest months of the year, thanks to my trip to Kilpisjärvi, October has been the complete opposite.

October in Oulu

In many ways, it could be argued that October is one of the worsts. It gets darker, it’s often cloudy and there isn’t snow yet. But it’s a transition period between the two main seasons of Finland. And I think it’s that change of season that fascinates me most in the North.

Yet, October is one of my favorite months in Oulu from a photography perspective.

At the beginning of October, there is Ruska, the Autumn colors. Then temperatures drop and around the middle of October we get the first snowfall which melts fast. During the second half of the month, the lakes start to freeze which is always something I’m eager to photograph.

The failed Ruska

Last month, I finished my post saying how I was hoping that in October, I could enjoy Ruska. Well, it didn’t happen.

On one of the very first days of October, I decided to head to “my” lake and forest to enjoy Ruska at sunrise. I ended up being completely disappointed. Most of the leaves were already gone, thanks to the strong wind of the past days. I had ideas for photos. Some old ones I wanted to remake, some new ones I wanted to make. I will have to pass on them this year.

Winter coming

In the middle of the month, we got the first snowfall. I expected it to melt right away, but it stayed a few days. Then the temperature dropped below zero and the lake started to freeze. I took some photos but haven’t had time to look at them yet.

Then the temperatures rose again and the thin layer of ice melted. There has been lots of rain. Yesterday I went to the lake for sunrise and had never seen the level of the lake as high after the summer. The rock on which I usually sit to take photos, when the ice is too thin to walk, is now completely submerged. It’s usually in Spring that this happens…

My rock completely submerged under the flooded lake.

While it’s freezing today, temperatures will rise again next week. I’m fearing winter might be late… But then it was early last year and we got a very unusually warm winter. So maybe it’s better for winter to be a bit late if it means we can get a real winter?

Burnout coming

October has been a terrible month photography-wise. But for once it has nothing to do with being stuck in a creative rut. For the first time, it is because of work.

Last month, I ended my post saying I hadn’t been able to enjoy Ruska because of work overload. Well, it didn’t get any better in October. I’ve had days where I worked for up to 15 hours with barely any break. That week I worked easily for 60 to 70 hours. But what makes this even worse, is that I don’t enjoy the kind of work I currently have to do. This isn’t what I “signed up for”…

It got better in the past days, and hopefully, won’t be as bad for the rest of the year. But I’m close to burning out and afraid that it won’t get better in the long term.

Every day seems different. One day I feel so close to burning out that I feel the need to quit my job as soon as possible. Some days I wake up rested and feel better. I’m somehow hoping that the next days are going to be better in terms of photography. Still, the overall dominant feeling is that I need to find an escape…

Photography plans

I still haven’t looked at the photos I took last week. There are so many things I want to do. I want to take photos, I bought a few LEGO sets that I want to build, I have photography books I want to read (and eventually write about), and I want to print photos with some fine art paper I recently ordered. But none of that is possible because by the end of the day (or week), my brain is just dead and I can’t do anything.

On the positive side, I managed to watch some movies I had on my “watchlist” for weeks for SiPgoesTT. I have loads of ideas for photos, but I’m too mentally exhausted to do anything.


This year, I don’t particularly care about Halloween and making a Halloween-themed picture. It might be because of the usual flood of Halloween-themed photos on social media each year in October. Still, in this post, I want to share a photo I took in June and that is somewhat linked to Halloween. I took it inside the memorial of the witch trials that happened in Vardø in 1621.

Two LEGO witches standing inside the memorial to the witch trials of Vardø.
In memory of the 91 men and women executed for witchcraft.

Even though it’s a memory of the barbary on which today’s society is built, it’s also for me a memory of last midsummer when I was recharging my batteries while hiking surrounded by nature.

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