Home > Trips> Northern Norway > Workshop: The Arctic Light and Aurora Borealis of the Varanger Peninsula, 5- 8 Feb, 2020

Workshop: The Arctic Light and Aurora Borealis of the Varanger Peninsula, 5- 8 Feb, 2020 - 4 Days

An exciting photography adventure to  the fascinating landscapes of the Varanger Peninsula under the guidance of Kirsi MacKenzie and Jouni Männistö. Dates:5 -8. February, 2020 . Accommodation: Kongsfjord gjestehus

The Workshop’s objectives, target group and content.

The workshop is intended for intermediate and advanced level photographers who possess a certain mastery of their camera. The goal of the workshop is to help you develop as a photographer and at the same time to provide nature adventures in inspiring landscapes. In addition to theory lessons, the workshop participants will carry out assignments and receive feedback on their pictures. During the trip, the goal is to be actively photographing as much as possible. The small-group size allows the participants to benefit from ample guidance and feedback while on location. The terrain can be challenging at times but the walking distances are not long.

Theory lessons contents:

  • Landscape photographer equipment
  • Camera settings
  • Manual focus and expanding the field depth (focus stacking methods)
  • Use of filters
  • Long exposure photography and bulb-mode
  • Combining multiple exposures
  • Composition
  • Night and Northern Lights photography
  • Creative techniques (intentional camera movement and multi-exposures)

 Workshop equipment:

  • Digital camera and camera manual
  • Tripod
  • Lenses (at least wide-angle lens and telephoto lens)
  • Filters (optional, polarizing filter, nd grad filter, for long exposures nd filter up 9, 10, or 15 stops)
  • Laptop
  • Weather appropriate clothing
  • Winter rubber boots are recommended Otsalamppu
  • Headlamp

 Kongsfjord – Berlevåg

The Varenger peninsula reaches out from along the northeasternmost part of Norway, along the Barents Sea. The surrealistic landscape was shaped before the last Ice Age. Sediment rocks from approximately 440 million years ago extend their jagged edges up toward the sky. One wonders what kind of turmoil occured at that time within the earth’s crust to cause the rocks to be compressed into these forms.

From Kongsfjord, it is about 30 kilometres to the village of Berlevåg. Nearly all of our photography locations are located along this winding road surrounded by these sharp rock formations. In addition to vast landscapes, one shouldn’t forget to also explore intimate landscapes or details. Every stone has its own story.

The Varanger peninsula is one of the most magical locations for photographing Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis). It is impossible to know exactly when the lights will appear. But on clear nights, there is a good probability of seeing Northern Lights even when the predictions are low.

Kongsfjord, a small fishing village located in the northwestern part of the Varenger peninsula, radiates a peaceful, relaxed atmosphere. The village numbers about 40  residents. The picturesque guesthouse Kongsfjord gjestehus, as well as the neighboring food market, Kongsfjord Landhandel, are interesting attractions. https://www.kongsfjord-gjestehus.no/


Sandfjorden is a wonderful landscape best viewed at low tide. At that time, a passageway to a small island inhabited by little stone trees can be traversed.

The weather can change very quickly and winds can sometimes be harsh. In February, temperatures average between 5 and 10 oC so you should bring warm clothes. You should also bring rubber boots if you wish to photograph along the water’s edge. Always remember that what may be considered bad weather conditions can often lead to excellent photo opportunities.

In February, the polar night ends, i.e. the sun begins once again to rise and the mesmerizing arctic light is soft and very low above the horizon. The blue glow, the period of twilight before sunrise and after sunset, is magical. You may photograph night landscapes by moonlight, and weather permitting, Northern Lights in an environment free of light pollution interference.


In addition to the weather report, the tides chart must also be followed on a daily basis. Many fine and interesting rocks are uncovered at low tide. The water can rise suprisingly quickly, so you should always be aware of this fact when you visit different locations



Kongsfjord Gjestehus I Havna Vandrerhjem
Fiskeværsveien, Kongsfjord
Tel. +47 78981000

Contact information:

Kirsi MacKenzie
Tel. +358442433364

Jouni Männistö
Tel. +358407778572


Arctic Camera tmi
Mr. Jouni Männistö
Leiritie 23
99800 Ivalo, Finland
Tel. +358407778572

CV  and Portfolio for Kirsi MacKenzie

I work as a language teacher at Humak University of Applied Sciences, and as a photographer and photography teacher. I graduated as a photographer with my degree of Finnish vocational qualification in nature photography from Axxell in 2015. My final project portfolio consisted of an exhibition of Nordic landscapes. My exhibition has been displayed at the VB photographic center in Kuopio, at Finlandia Hall and the Photo and Camera Fair in Helsinki as well as at the Artists’ House in Tehran, among others. I have also taken part in several group exhibitions in Finland and abroad. In addition to exhibitions, I give many presentations at festivals and photography events throughout the year: Best Nature Photo of the year Gala, Hanko Photo Festival,  the Vårgårda Festival, the Finnish Nature Photographers Winter Days event, Kuusamo Nature Photo Festival, Photo and Camera Fair, Helsinki and Turku book fair and Camera Borealis.

I have received recognition in both national and internationanl photo contests such as Nature Photo of the Year/Finland, Kuusamo Nature Photo, GDT European Wildlife Photographer of the Year, MontPhoto, The Golden Porpoise, Magical Nature, Fine Art Photography Awards and the Nordic Nature Photo Contest.

In 2015, I was approached by Docendo publications to write a book, ”the Magical Landscapes of the Nordic Countries”. It was published in 2017. I have invested a considerable amount of time and effort for my exhibitions and the book, travelling to all the Nordic countires: Finland, Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Denmark including Greenland and the Faroe Islands. These photography trips have involved careful planning and developing in-depth familiarity with the various photography locations. My absolute favourite location is the Varanger peninsula where I have travelled extensively in various seasons.

I have developed my visual ability and found my own photographic style while working with the different visual elements: form, colour, movement and lines. In my dreamlike landscape images, I try to focus on nature’s fascinating forms. Creative association plays a large role in my photography and when an image manages to portray a story, I feel it becomes even more powerful.

Day 1

We will send the exact itinerary by confirming your reservation.

Workshop package includes

  • Prices year 5.-8.2.2020:
  • * 1392 euros/person in a double person occupancy (two people per room)
  • * 1558 euros/person for a single room occupancy (one person per room)
  • -return transportation from Ivalo airport in an 8-person minibus to Kongsfjord as well as transportation during the workshop.
  • -Three nights’ accommodation in either a two-person room or a one-person room (please check the prices).
  • - Tea and coffee during the photography excursions.
  • -Kirsi MacKenzie’s teaching during the workshops.
  • - Jouni Männistö’s guiding services.
  • - A three day workshop program.
  • - Artic Camera’s liability insurance.
  • -Vat

Workshop package excludes:

  • travel insurance, weather appropriate winter clothing and other personal items, camera gear, additional overnight stays in Ivalo, flights and other related travel expenses to Ivalo, breakfast food and snacks: there are good kitchen facilities in our accommodation so you can prepare your breakfasts and snacks there if you wish. You can buy your food in Finland during the trip to Kongsfjord.

You can send your inquiry via the form below.

Workshop: The Arctic Light and Aurora Borealis of the Varanger Peninsula, 5- 8 Feb, 2020
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Trip Facts

  • 4
  • 6
  • Ivalo or Inari villages (from hotel)
  • Ivalo or Inari villages (from hotel)
  • 5.-8.2.2020
  • Only English