It was January, and Arto was in the Torne River Valley, 10 kilometres inside the Arctic Circle in northern Finland. 'There are many challenges for a photographer in winter,' says Arto. 'There is limited daylight, the hilltops are illuminated only briefly and the temperature can be -40°C. I wanted to show the birds surviving in this harsh habitat.' There had been heavy snow and frost for a couple of months, which made photography particularly gruelling and time-consuming but provided wonderful hoar-frost textures and designs. Using bird food as bait, he concentrated on one particular great tit in its frozen forest home. 'It took a long time to get the shot, standing in the raw cold,' adds Arto, 'but finally I managed to immortalise the little bird with its wings in the perfect position and with the snow-sculpted, frost-encrusted trees as I wanted them.'
Canon EOS-1D Mark IV + 24-105mm f4 lens; 1/1250 sec at f4 (+2.3 e/v); ISO 2000.
Pello, Torne River Valley, Finland