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From Finland we drove over the mountains into the most northern, mainland part of Norway. Everything costs an absolute fortune in Norway and I suspect the Norwegians know this when they plan our hotel package.

They clearly do their best to keep our costs as low as possible but sometimes it seems to take on a Monty Pythonesque quality. A simple question about what was on the menu that evening - ‘Fish cakes are this evening’s speciality, but they are much better than the rubbish you get in England, we put real fish in ours.’ Sounds good, is there a starter – ‘yes fish cakes’. OK then is there a menu we can choose something else? ‘Yes but there is no point in looking at it.’ Whys that then? ‘Its only got fish cakes on it!’ Ok fine, I think we will all have fish cakes then. ‘That’s a good choice, they are very good!’ And to be honest they were.

The main reason for being here was to use a floating hide which allows a fantastic POV to photograph what must rate as one of the worlds finest selection of ducks, king eiders, Steller’s eider, common eider and long-tailed duck, a veritable eider fest!

Unfortunately we were in for a bit of a surprise as we rapidly found out that one the worst winter storms was expected that night, but not to worry, the hides in the harbour!

Often bad weather casts a gloom over photography, yet it often actually offers conditions that far surpass the normal ‘nice light’ images that seem so much the norm and desiderata of so many photographers.

We had some sun but the best weather was the high winds that created magical spray around the ducks, the ferocious hail storm that made the surface of the sea boil and the lovely snow blizzards. If I could have ordered the weather I couldn’t have done a better job.

The drive back to Finland though was one of the hairiest I have ever taken. We had to follow a snow plough over the mountains in what at times was a complete white out with bullying winds trying to drive the van sideways on the ice.

I wouldn’t have missed it for a minute; it was really exciting and very dramatic. Hopefully the images taken by Sue through the wind screen impart a little of the effects the snow and wind had on us and the landscape.

In the end it was a fantastic trip with great guests, Sue, Steve and Richard, a big thanks for being so brill, all the performers turned up and the aurora played out a magical night.