Eeva Makinen grew up in Liminka, a small village in central Finland on the northern banks of the Bay of Bothnia. For the last decade, the photographer and wilderness guide has lived in Helsinki, the Finnish capital. To think of her as a city dweller, however, would be a mistake.

There’s a quietness to Eeva’s work. Misty fog and rays of sunlight seem to creep in from the edges of her photographs, infusing the natural settings with a vibrancy reserved for early mornings in the forest. Some images focus on wildlife, catching elk and brown bears in uninterrupted moments of solitude. Others feature the mountains and woodlands those animals call home: ghostly battalions of evergreens shrouded in dense cloud, placid lakes broken only by the soft cut of a wooden canoe, silhouettes of towering trees against the milky night sky, whose cloak of darkness is illuminated faintly by the soft glow of a campfire.

These are the environments in which Eeva feels most alive, and the moments she aims to capture in her work.

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Eeva has always relished the outdoors. She’s constantly thinking about the connection humans share with the natural world, about the freedom it provides. She loves Helsinki not for its eccentric design or brilliant architecture, but for its proximity to natural lands. When she’s not exploring the wonders of other countries, she’s spending her days at home kayaking or cycling around the city.

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You can see this affinity for the outdoors in the destinations Eeva chooses to visit. Ever since she bought her first DSLR six years ago for a trip to the Galàpagos Islands, she’s been chasing natural light around the globe, pointing her lens toward beautiful landscapes in Alaska, Patagonia, Iceland, and Norway.

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In recent years, however, she’s turned her attention homeward, focusing on the tranquil settings accessible within Finland’s borders. From the primal forests of Helsinki’s Central Park to the awe-inspiring night skies of Liesjärvi National Park, Eeva’s home country provides a natural playground for her to explore without the nagging deadlines, flights, or itineraries.

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In the time she’s spent shooting these sprawling landscapes, Eeva has also developed the skills necessary to navigate them. By lacing up her hiking boots or strapping on a pair of skis to trek into the wilderness, she faces few boundaries in her endless search of something new, something she’s never seen before. At night, she pitches her tent under the stars and lights a fire for warmth. She then trains her lens upward to capture the brilliance of the Milky Way and, if she’s lucky, the glittering curtains of the Northern Lights.

But it’s the mornings after that she enjoys the most — those pre-dawn hours when she can awake amid spectacular wilderness, completely alone, completely quiet; those foggy summer mornings when she can take a canoe out on the lake and feel utterly free.

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In those moments, the world is hers. Most people are at home, asleep under their covers with the windows shut. But Eeva knows that if they could just see how wonderful this planet really is, they might be inspired to go outside and explore for themselves.

But with her camera in hand, she has the power to help them see.

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Devon Shuman
Devon Shuman is a creator, a storyteller, and a traveler from Boston, Massachusetts. He caught the travel bug at a young age when his family would take camping trips in southern Maine and New York’s Adirondack region. Since then, his adventures have taken him all across the globe. His favorite journeys include island hopping in the Galápagos, thru-hiking Vermont’s Long Trail, and summiting Mount Kilimanjaro. He currently works as an editorial consultant for Passion Passport, helping explorers from around the world tell their stories.