Kuusamo Nature Photography started with two passionate nature and wildlife photographers who wanted to create opportunities for others to learn and improve as photographers of nature. Now we are a team of seven professionals, who wish to follow Hannu Hautala in his legendary footsteps – and make our own.

With our network of over 30 hides we can offer bird photography opportunities practically throughout the year. We have bird watching and bird photography day trips, landscape photography excursions, and workshops for all skill-levels.

Nature photography tours in Kuusamo

Kuusamo is one of the best known locations in Europe for nature photography – a paradise for nature photographers, Europe’s capital of nature photography. Its ”mayor by virtue of his office” is Hannu Hautala, our grand old man and a world-class pioneer of nature and wildlife photography.
Kuusamo is in the northeast Finland, close to the Russian border, with the Gulf of Bothnia in the west and the White Sea in the east. Kuusamo has a widely varying topography, and considering its high northern latitude, an exceptionally high biological diversity. Thanks to the lime in the soil the flora of the area includes such rarities as Calypso bulbosa, Lady’s slipper, Mountain avens, Alpine arnica to name a few.
Kuusamo specialities include owl species such as the Hawk Owl, Great Grey Owl, Pygmy Owl and Tengmalm’s (Boreal) Owl. Other interesting birds in Kuusamo are the Black Grouse, Capercaillie, Hazel Grouse, Willow Grouse, Red-Flanked Bluetail, Rustic Bunting, Little Bunting, Waxwing, Smew and Black-throated Diver.

Kuusamo Nature Photography arranges nature photography tours specializing in birds and landscape. For the past 10 years, the owner Olli Lamminsalo has offered bird and nature photography courses and workshops. With an extensive network of photo hides – over 20 hides for different bird species, such as the Golden Eagle, Black Grouse, Capercaillie, Osprey, Owls, Woodpeckers – he takes the needs and wishes of wildlife photographers seriously. Olli has almost 20 years of experience in bird guiding in and around Kuusamo.

Paavo Hamunen has been a professional photographer for over 30 years. He gives nature photography courses and workshops, takes photos for picture agencies, newspapers and magazines, makes books. Paavo photographs landscape, plants, macro, and birds. In 1997 he won the category In Praise of Plants in the BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition. He got an Highly Commended in the same category in 1999, and reached second place in the plant category of the GDT competition in 2003.

Together we arrange nature and wildlife photography tours and guided birds excursions for small groups all year round. To contact us, write to info@KuusamoNaturePhotography.fi

Olli Lamminsalo

email: olli@KuusamoNaturePhotography.fi

My nature photography intrests are wide and varied these days, but I started with birds, my fascination started in the late 60s. I first came to Kuusamo in 1990 to take part in a bird rally, and the nature, landscapes and taiga birds especially made a lasting impression, so much so that in 2003 I moved here.

Leaving Helsinki behind and my life is commerce, I started a new life in nature photography. I’m a Canon guy, especially drawn to the winter landscapes, the wild and fantastic snow-loads on the trees, the freezing nights ablaze with northern lights (aurora borealis). And I’m still happy to see birds in my viewfinder.

In the kit bag: Canon EOS-1 D X is my primary camera body, and Canon EF200-400mm f/4 with the built-in 1.4X my go-to bird lens

Mikko Oivukka

email: mikko@KuusamoNaturePhotography.fi

I come originally from Kaarina in the Southwest of Finland, where the nature club at my school introduced me to the world of birds. Over the years my favourite hobby became a way of living, bringing joy everytime I was outdoors. 2014 saw me enroll on a course organised by Finnature and Kuusamo Nature Photography in a joint project with the Liminka Municipality, training to become a bird and nature photography guide. I eventually moved to Kuusamo in 2017 and started as a birding guide.

My first DSLR dates back to 2003 but back then my bird photography was on a purely amateur basis.

I find it important for children to develop a good relationship with their natural environment, and work actively to make it happen. For my work with children and young people, BirdLife Finland awarded me in 2015 as the Field Trip Guide of the Year.

In the kit bag: For birds, I opt the Nikon D500 + 200-500 f/5.6 and for landscape, Nikon AF-S Nikkor DX + 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6 G ED VR. I find myself using my iPhone 11 quite a bit in landscape photography, especially for sharing in the social media.

Jarmo Manninen

email: jarmo@KuusamoNaturePhotography.fi

I’m from South Savo but moved to Kuusamo more than 10 years ago. My nature photography began in 1992, and I’ve photographed professionally since 2008. The beautiful landscapes in the Northeast, and the birds in the area are my main focus. I started guiding in 2014, taking pride and pleasure in getting to show the northern landscapes, birds and other wildlife to photographers.

Photo competitions are part and parcel in a nature photographer’s profession, and occasionally one succeeds. Over the years I’ve had 14 photos awarded in the Finnish competition Nature Photo of the Year. In 2020 I won the Landscape category. My images are used in books and magazines, the latest title is Katoava talvi, a book about the impact climate change has on northern flora and fauna.

In the kit bag: Primarily I use the Canon EOS R6. For landscapes I like the Canon TS-E 24mm f/3.5L II while the Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II is my choice for most other target, although sometimes it works on landscape as well. For northern lights, it’s the Sigma 14mm f/1.8 DG HSM ART.

Paavo Hamunen

email: paavo@KuusamoNaturePhotography.fi

In addition to my own photographic work, where I have pioneered in creative, experimental nature photography, I have worked long in teaching it.

Decades of still photography and video, observing and learning about the natural environment, as well as animals and their behaviour, have all given me an extensive knowledge base to draw from. I teach nature photography, knowledge of the natural environment, and digital image processing software.

My work has been awarded in international competitions. I have made several books, the latest of which is nonfiction in coffee table style, ‘Oulankajoki-Muutoksen virta’, made together with ecologist and fellow nature photographer Pirkko Siikamäki (2018). Our book was nominated for the Nature Book of the Year title.

Olli Immonen

I’m based in the middle of a forest in Nuuksio National Park in Espoo, next door to our capital, but I live part-time in Kuusamo. Nature and conservation have been close to my heart since I was young, and nature photography soon became a part of the whole. After retiring from my job as a commercial pilot, I began to study nature photography in the Axxell Institute, completing the course in the mid 2010s.

I’ve worked as a guide for Kuusamo Nature Photography since early 2010.

In the kit bag: my primary camera bodies are the Canon EOS-1D X and the R5, and my go-to lens is the Canon EF200-400 mm f/4

Tapio Seppälä

In 2011 I migrated to Kuusamo from my native Tampere region to start studies in photography at the Kuusamo College. I got into photography at the age of 15, and have photographed more or less actively ever since. In Kuusamo, I’ve mainly photographed birds, and lately I’ve been getting into video.

My work centers on designing and building the new hides, plus maintenance work, hauling the hides to the sites and running the feeders. Hides have evolved significantly in the past 10 years. The combined, and thus extensive experience in nature photography gives our team the bedrock to stand on when designing our hides to be as photographer-friendly as possible, and light enough so that we can re-locate them from one site to another when necessary.

Heikki Suoraniemi

I’m born and bred in Kuusamo. The undulating horizon, created by the softly rolling hills, the quiet whisper of beard moss in the spruce trees, the roar of the raging rivers, and the rugged hillsides are all etched on my heart. I was interested in nature from early on, and got into birding during my school years. I started taking a camera with me on my trips out, and that’s the way it’s been since the year 2000. My region offers photography opportunities in abundance, I rarely find myself wanting to reach further afield.

In the kit bag: Canon 5D Mark III is my main camera body, and Canon EF300mm f/4 + 1.4 extender my bird lens

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