Catching Ruska at the Hetta-Pallas Hiking Trail

That’s me.

Four days hiking in Lapland at Hetta-Pallas trail was truly a beautiful experience. Me and my friends traveled to Lapland in early September, hoping to catch the fleeting moment when the autumn colours are at their best. It turned out we were a week early and so the ground ruska (ruska is what we finns call the autumn colours) was not at its best.

Everytime me and my friends go out for a hike, I shoot a lot of pictures and sometimes also video. The videos are always “too” long, but I don’t shoot them really for public use, they are more of an extension of my own memory. So on this trek I shot stills and video too.

I carried three cameras with me. My backpack weighed about 25 kilograms, so I did think long and hard whether or not I REALLY wanted to carry 2,5 kilograms worth of delicate tech with me. After days of pondering, I decided I needed all of them and it turned out I was right. I used all of them for the specific purposes I carried them and I think the material I got turned out great.

My travel cameras

My cameras were Samsung NX 1 with the 16-50mm S lens, DJI Osmo and Olympus MJU 2.

Last year we went on a 5-day hike and I had two cameras with me, one mainly for stills and the other for video. I shot a trip video (22 minutes of awesome memories) and struggled in post with all the hand held shots. With a heavy backpack acting as a counter weight, it is possible to shoot very stable shots hand held. Problems with shakiness arise, when trying to walk and shoot video at the same time. It doesn’t work so well. So I needed something to give me some good, stable walking shots. I used a small gimbal DJI Osmo for those.

The Samsung with an external mic was my main video camera for higher quality camp videos and the Olympus MJU 2 film camera was hanging around my neck all the time. I was packed with my 7 remaining rolls of expired Velvia and I ended up shooting 6 of them. I hadn’t tested my MJU 2 camera before the trip, so I took a huge gamble. The light seals could’ve been ruined and all of my precious rolls would have gone to waste. I really should have shot a test roll and have it developed before the trip, but I never got around to do it. So I gambled and this time, I lucked out.

My film setup of choice

I took my MJU 2 with me because it is known for its sharp lens, it is “weather proof” and very light. I could easily walk all day and my neck didn’t get strained at all. My film of choice was Velvia ISO 50 with an expiry date in 2007. The expired film did not work for me this time around. All of the pictures were very blue and almost none ‘ruska’ was present in the pictures. So I resorted to color correcting them.

Is post processing allowed?

I’m not sure how I feel about post processing film pictures. It kind of destroys one of the reasons I shoot film. You get what you shoot, but on the other hand, it is possible to do all kinds of PP in the darkroom too, so why wouldn’t I do digital PP to the scans? I decided on a pragmatic approach. I felt the pictures were unusable for me as they were and decided to do color correcting and even some other adjustments. If you’d like, please write a comment and share me your perspective: is it “allowed” to do PP to film scans?

Here is an example of original and color corrected photograph.

The blue cast is strong. While I think it can work for a single image, when I have 250 pics with the same tone, it kind of loses its value.

This is color corrected and more close to the actual colors. The ‘ruska’ colors are nowhere to be seen.

Photos from our Hetta-Pallas hike

Here is a collection of selected pictures from our trip. The slides were scanned by Kameratori and I really liked the results.

scene from Hetta-Pallas hiking route
Ready for a hike!

scene from Hetta-Pallas hiking route
The journey started with a boat trip across a wide river.

scene from Hetta-Pallas hiking route
The views were nothing short of breathtaking!

scene from Hetta-Pallas hiking route
Hetta-Pallas is the most popular hiking route in Finland, with 15k visitors each year. There were even signs in the wilderness.

scene from Hetta-Pallas hiking route
A lunch break. The weather was pretty good all the time, we didn’t get wet from the rain. Only from sweating.

scene from Hetta-Pallas hiking route
We slept one night in a tent (it was -4 celcius that night, BRR!) and two nights in a cabin.

scene from Hetta-Pallas hiking route
The route is well maintained and beginner friendly.

hiking food serving
Chow, soy stripes and creme fraiche. First day meal.

scene from Hetta-Pallas hiking route
The first hilltop had a cross in it. Very holy.

scene from Hetta-Pallas hiking route
These markers were scattered along the route, you just followed them and did not get lost.

scene from Hetta-Pallas hiking route
There was even a road of sorts in the beginning of the Hetta-Pallas route.

scene from Hetta-Pallas hiking route
Otherwise the route consisted of often treaded paths.

coffee mug
We brewed our coffee using Aeropress. No instant coffee for us!

scene from Hetta-Pallas hiking route
I liked the small lake near the route. It gave the scenery some character.

scene from Hetta-Pallas hiking route

scene from Hetta-Pallas hiking route
Reindeer fence in the middle of the wilderness.

This year’s trip video has a deadline, it must be ready on January. That’s when the premiere is! 🙂