Bitey things and sinking ground

Posted: September 6, 2012 in Photography, This & That

Up here in the Arctic, days are rapidly getting shorter and the number of mosquitoes smaller. In the summer we can have zillions of mosquitoes but there are also summers when we have none. This summer was not one of them. Even when there doesn’t seem to be any mosquitoes around, one can usually ‘find’ them by the lakes, near swamps and in forests. My house is near a lake, a swamp and a forest. And when I go out, I usually go to a lake, a swamp or a forest…

Last year at summer solstice there were so many mosquitoes that getting a picture without one was almost impossible.

My in-laws have always been quite concerned about the amount of mosquitoes we get here and they’ve always been more than generous with their advice on how to repel them. I’ve been told to drink neat vinegar (I didn’t) and this summer they gave me two bottles of Avon’s Skin So Soft moisturizer which my father-in-law had been advised about in the pub to be a very good repellant.

Almost the size of a sparrow, they come in their thousands and annoy you the best they can.

Needless to say, that I was dubious. However, to give it the benefit of the doubt, I took the bottle with me to the forest a couple of weeks ago. Being attacked by loads of mosquitoes immediately, I put some of it on any exposed skin. Phew, I can tell where the idea of it being a mosquito repellant comes from: it stinks like one. It has, amongst other ingredients, lemon grass in it which is often used in (alternative) mosquito repellants. And what do I know? The mosquitoes disappeared. I couldn’t believe it. But I celebrated too soon because they all came back with a vengeance a minute later. I was almost bitten to death. So, if you’ve been told that Avon’s Skin So Soft moisturizer is a good repellant, I advise you to reconsider your weapon against these little blood suckers. Avon’s moisturizer seems to be okay as far as moisturizers go but a mosquito repellant it ain’t.

No blood suckers around here! Not anyone big enough anyway.

Anyway, I’m not too bothered about mosquitoes anymore this year – they are gone. One evening earlier this week, I went out to the lake. I’m getting heavily into photography again. That evening, standing by the lake, admiring the wonderful evening colours and the changing light, I was totally being eaten by something. I took a closer look and I had these absolutely tiny, about 1-2mm long things on my hands and wrists. They bite like they had gigantic teeth. In fact, they are nothing but teeth with wings! They are kind of harmless though, if you can ignore the almost painful bites, because unlike mosquito bites, these bites disappear very soon and stop itching in a few hours.

Calm and sunny evening, turning everything into golden yellow.

Trying to ignore the teeth-on-wings, all I had to worry about was not to sink. The edge of the shore was very spongy. One sinks down to the ankles and the tripod sinks even more. My hubby is a professional photographer and he uses massive large format cameras with really heavy tripods. One has to reinvent gravity all over again to get everything to stay above the lake level instead of sinking! While he takes his time with the large cameras, I happily snap away with my much smaller cameras while at the same time assisting him with all the bits and bobs (which once again proves that woman are super at multitasking!!).

Scientists would have a field day would they find the sunken-in photographer, his camera and the film in a swamp, perfectly preserved, thousand years later.

All this; carrying heavy gear, biting insects, sinking ground and everything mounts to nothing when compared to the amazing landscape that spreads in front of my own eyes. It’s even better if it all happens during ungodly hours when I can quite happily think that I’m the only one who sees that. It’s so much better than TV!!

Will the light continue to get better?

The decision to pack up and go home is always a difficult one. Is it over? Will it get better? That particular evening we packed up too soon. As walking towards home the sky turned into purple and dark pink and it was even more awesome than it had been some 10, 15 minutes earlier. Oh well, there’ll be another awesome evening.

  1. Marion says:

    Perhaps only uk mossis don’t like Avon stuff :o)
    The pictures are great and what a fabulous place you live in, almost as good as Northern Ireland xx

  2. Sari says:

    Marion, you’re a genius! I never thought of that but of course the Avon stuff works only for UK mossies. It’s these hardcore Lappish ones that are immune to it.
    Yes, northern Finland must be a close second to Northern Ireland!!

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