Highlights of Helsinki

Barnacle goose baby 2051

Image: Barnacle Goose chick walking towards me in Helsinki, Finland; Nikon D500, Nikkor 200-500 mm at 450 mm, f/6.3, 1/500 sec, ISO 800, hand-held

After 3 weeks in Arctic Norway, we headed west and south into Finland for a couple days.  We drove from Vadso to Ivalo and flew down to Helsinki to enjoy two days of city life.

I often use running as a way to become familiar with a new place and this was no different.  I spent two mornings running around Helsinki–the southern half on the first morning and the northern half on the second.  It was a beautiful city with sights for all interests.

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Image:  Helsinki, Finland; iPhone 7 Plus, hand-held

We happened to be in town during a national holiday so most of the shops were shut down.  We were told that the people leave to go to the countryside for a couple days to enjoy the sauna and drinking beer.  I didn’t mind because the quiet made it a lot easier to run around town and scout places to photograph.

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Image: Streets of Helsinki, Finland; iPhone 7 Plus, hand-held

During these runs, I was also scouting for birds to photograph for the three of us during our stay.  I covered the shoreline along the southern part of the city and found beautiful boats and a few sea birds scattered about.

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Image: Docks in Helsinki, Finland; iPhone 7 Plus, hand-held

In the more historic district, I enjoyed stopping by some of the architectural wonders, such as the Helsinki Cathedral.

Helsinki senate building

Image: Helsinki Cathedral in Helsinki, Finland; iPhone 7 Plus, hand-held

I noticed some geese in many of the grassy areas around town and took Artie to the botanical gardens later in the day to find some Barnacle Geese to photograph.

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Image: Barnacle Geese resting at Helsinki Botanical Gardens in Helsinki, Finland; iPhone 7 Plus

These geese are similar to Canada Geese in their appearance and tendency to be accepting of humans close by but they are a different species.  They were also quite beautiful up close and satisfied our quest to photograph birds.

Barnacle goose 1728

Image: Barnacle Goose resting at Helsinki Botanical Gardens in Helsinki, Finland; Nikon D500, Nikkor 200-500 mm at 290 mm, f/6.3, 1/1250 sec, ISO 400, hand-held

On the first day of photographing these geese, we didn’t see any babies but we got a nice surprise the second day when many geese pairs paraded their chicks throughout the parks and waterways.

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Image: Barnacle Geese and its chicks swimming in a waterway in Helsinki, Finland; Nikon D500, Nikkor 200-500 mm at 400 mm, f/8.0, 1/800 sec, ISO 800, hand-held

It was a short stay in Finland and off to Scotland next!

Author: Dr. Amy Novotny

Amy Novotny is a physical therapist, marathon/ultra runner and nature photographer. She treats patients for a variety of conditions but specializes in chronic pain and calming an overactive nervous system using special diaphragmatic breathing. She has used this technique to help her qualify and run in four Boston marathons! She enjoys the outdoors and can often be found running and hiking on trails in throughout Arizona. She attempts to capture the beauty of nature with her photography both locally in Arizona and also throughout the United States. She is becoming more interested in wildlife photography and attempting to capture the emotion of animal interactions. In her spare time, Amy volunteers as a photo guide for the Arizona Highways PhotoScapes nonprofit and shares her joy of nature with others. Please feel free to contact her regarding her photography, physical therapy or running.

14 thoughts on “Highlights of Helsinki”

    1. Aww. Thanks Deb! I absolutely loved the chick too. He kept walking towards me and eventually he was too close to the lens for me to focus. I almost fell on my butt trying to back up!!!


  1. Perhaps it was nice to be back in a large city setting even though it was quiet and closed up. I loved the botanical glass buildings. Was it open for you to go visit? And a different face on a familiar goose body, so sweet. Thanks for sharing Amy.

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    1. Thanks Leisa! Yes, it was nice to get to a city where I understood the language for the most part. :-). Some Scots were hard to understand! We didn’t have time to go into the gardens unfortunately because it was late. I’m not even sure if it was open inside the building.


  2. I really enjoyed reading your postings and videos today.  Thanks Amy.  I was in Helsinki for 3 days..but only saw parts of the city.  Love you.  Pat

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