7th April 2022 – Cate Barrow – “Finland”

Last Monday evening Cate Barrow joined us with her new talk “Wild Life in Finland”. Cate has been to SYPC on 3 other occasions with talks on Nature and Butterflies in the UK and an awe-inspiring talk on Underwater Photography. This new talk on Finland didn’t disappoint one tiny bit, on the contrary it was outstanding photography taken at times in unbelievable and demanding circumstances.

Cate had split the talk into the seasons –
• Part 1 – Wild Life Finland in the Spring and Summer
• Part 2 – Wild Life Finland in the Autumn and Winter
. Clearly this second section was also Cate’s favourite as she commented “you will not be disappointed” and we weren’t.

The talks were centred around Northern Finland in an area of Lakes and outstanding beauty called the Vaala. Here Cate had the opportunity to photograph, Ospreys and their Chicks, Three Toed Woodpeckers, Divers both Black and Red Throated, Black Grouse Lek, Capercaillie Lek and Musk Rats. Another area that Cate was keen to visit, but was very close to the Russian border is Martinshelkonen. This area would give her the opportunity to photograph the European Brown Bear and Wolverines . More Bears and Butterflies were to be found at another venue Lieksa.

How does Cate capture her ‘up-close’ shots of Ospreys? In hides where she will spend all day in searing heat, outside the hide is an area infested with mosquitoes (so dare-not venture out) and minimal toilet facilities within. If she isn’t at the top of a hide on stilts she is semi submersed in a floating hide taking shots of divers. Some hides are just canvas and in frozen conditions Cate wants to capture fantastic images of Black Grouse, Divers and the Capercaillie. An unbelievable uncomfortable and demanding environment – but the results achieved made up in spades for all that discomfort.

The second half moved to the Autumn and Winter season. Whilst the mosquitoes may have gone, Cate now has to contend with the cold (at one point -27degrees C), short days (about 6 hours of light) and the cold, ice and snow makes it difficult travelling around, but that didn’t deter her.
This part of the talk was centred around Oulu, Vaala and Kajanni, here Cate was captured stunning shots of Nutcrackers, Waxwings, Northern Hawk Owls, Golden Eagles and Goshawks.
Moving on to Kuhmo and Karelia where Cate was looking to capture Pine Grosbeak, various woodland birds, Red Squirrels, Ermine, Wolves and Wolverines in the snow– again another successful capture although Cate admitted that sometimes the light was grey and dull. On another trip to a “cold” hide this time no heat so 2 a hour stint capturing the birds was as much as Cate could cope with. All the shots were mesmerising but the ones of the rare white ermine stoat captured in the snow was without doubt one of our favourites.

One shoot Cate mentioned that must have tested her patience was trying to photograph the Wolf. Cate was sat in a cramped hide for 3 days to photograph the European Wolf but only managed a few photographs.
Then onto the Kussamo and Posio regions and an 8 hour drive to see “Monster” Black Woodpeckers, Willow Grouse, Great Grey Owls, Norther Hawk Owls and of course the Northern Lights.
This was an outstanding evening of Nature Photography taken in extreme weather conditions by a dedicated Cate Barrow.

For More information please have a look at Cate’s website –

Cate will be returning to Finland to refresh her work and gain even more shots of summer wildlife in the Vaala area and hopes to also go to the Martinshelkonen region for the Brown Bears.

We look forward to seeing Cate Barrow at SYPC for her 5th talk and even more stunning shots from Finland

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