Bye-bye 2017

That year was not the easiest one, the amount spent was higher than earned. On the other hand, I have finally have 0 unread in my inbox, and the things will be done soon. Also I believe I have learned something new. The great thing is that year was so rich in impressions, that I even feel April or May were a few years ago :)
So I'd like to post two pictures of places which I need to come back to again in the future: Norway beyond the Arctic Circle and region of Dagestan.

Offersøykammen, Vestvågøya, Lofoten islands, Norway | Офферсёйкаммен, Вествогёя, Лофотенские острова, Норвегия
Offersøykammen, Vestvågøya, Lofoten islands, Norway. EF 17–40mm f/4L USM, , ƒ/10 ISO, 400, 1/6″.

Река Сулак, Сулакский каньон,  Миатли, Дагестан | Sulak river canyon, Miatli, Dagestan, Russia
Sulak river canyon, Miatli, Dagestan, Russia. EF 70–300mm f/4.5–5.6 DO IS USM, , ƒ/9 ISO, 400, 1/100″.

Samur forest and Caspian shore

Caspian Sea shoreline
Caspian Sea shoreline. EF 17–40mm f/4L USM, , ƒ/9 ISO, 200, 1/200″.

We all could not wait the trip to Samur forest. Wildlife photographer Valery Moseykin, “Photo Expedition” leader and the author and guide of the first eco-tour in Dagestan, was talking about this wonderful forest with admiration since the very beginning. So with expectations that high, the long way from Mahachkala to Samur river actually looked not that long at all. In addition, we saw endless water space of azure and calm Caspian Sea to the left, and Caucasian foothills to the right. Finally we found ourselves at the southernmost point of Russia, almost at the border with Azerbaijan.

Ophrys oestrifera, botfly orchis
Ophrys oestrifera, Ophrys oestrifera. EF 180mm f/3.5L Macro USM, , ƒ/11 ISO, 200, 1/13″.

Looks surprising, there is an asphalt road through the south-eastern side of the Samur forest. Locals take it to get to Primorsky settlement which is in 350 meters from Azerbaijan. And this road led us right to the heart of the forest.
As soon as we got out of the car, we saw adorable orchids, a species from Orchis genus. Two other species were hiding in the forest next to the glade.

Saturnia pyri, giant emperor moth Sturgeons at the fish breeding farm
Saturnia pyri, giant emperor moth. Sturgeons at the fish breeding farm. EF 17–40mm f/4L USM, , ƒ/9 ISO, 200, 1/200″.
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Church of Elijah the Prophet in Yaroslavl

Church of Elijah the Prophet in Yaroslavl
Church of Elijah the Prophet. Fujifilm X100T, Fujinon 23mm f/2.0 Aspherical Super EBC, , ƒ/9 ISO, 200, 1/250″.

You easily may pass by this Church of Elijah the Prophet, once you find yourself at Soviet Square in Yaroslavl, just in 0.5 km from the famous Monastery of Savior Transfiguration (Spaso-Preobrazhensky) in the very city center. You see red canvas with hammer and sickle white-blue-red flags that draw your attention from this church with simple white exterior. Why is it so remarkable?

Church of Elijah the Prophet in Yaroslavl
Church of Elijah the Prophet in Yaroslavl. EF 70–300mm f/4.5–5.6 DO IS USM, , ƒ/9 ISO, 400, 1/200″.

Well, we know in advance, this church is the true architectural pearl. Still were impressed by its grandeur. And it′s not that much about the church′s conical roof above the bell tower, very typical to Yaroslavl architectural tradition, and not about russian ceramics in church fence decoration, and even not about its festive entrance.

Church of Elijah the Prophet in Yaroslavl: russian ornamented tiles in church fence decoration
Church of Elijah the Prophet in Yaroslavl: russian ornamented tiles in church fence decoration. EF 70–300mm f/4.5–5.6 DO IS USM, , ƒ/6.3 ISO, 400, 1/200″.

What really blows your mind away are frescoes. They span the walls from the floor up to the arched ceiling. Even window sides and church head inner walls are covered with painting despite the fact you see them only at a very low angle. The frescoes are dated to 17th century and not only well preserved, but are also very bright thanks to the last renovation. I use to feel like a time traveller in such places, to feel put back some centuries to the past. However, here everything is too vibrant and bright to be a reality from the past.

Church of Elijah the Prophet in Yaroslavl: interior and frescoes
Church of Elijah the Prophet in Yaroslavl: interior and frescoes. EF 17–40mm f/4L USM, , ƒ/7.1 ISO, 3200, 1/20″.

Everybody says that the church is big and spacious. I would not say it feels packed inside, maybe you are just so attracted to viewing frescoes that stop thinking about the building′s inner volume architectural solution.
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Erythronium in the wilds of space-time

Эритроний в дебрях пространства-времени | Erythronium in the wilds of space-time
Erythronium in the wilds of space-time. Meyer-Optik Görlitz Trioplan 100mm f/2.8, , ƒ/2.8 ISO, 100, 1/100″.

The Spring in Mountains of Caucasus is bright and very dynamic season. While the snow is thawing, snowdrop flowers appear above it, and other primrose species impatiently follow. When you step down on a knee, you feel admired with these graceful adder's-tongue flowers. They silently explode like a white flock through last year's grass together with some subtle fresh stalks. Flowers are truly lost in spring turbulence of space-time. To further underline this, I use to wait for an interesting light angle and make the picture with a vintage triplet lens from post-war Germany.
These Erythronium caucasicum species are endangered plants and belong to The Red Book. However, adder's-tongue flowers may appear locally abundant in places which are unfavorable for agriculture and other human activities, such as these thorny thickets along a mountain slope.

Kizhi: the hide for Russian soul

Oshevnev peasant historical wooden house from Russian Zaonezhye (Onega lake north-west) in front of Kizhi Churchyard
Peasant Oshevnev′s historical wooden house from Russian Zaonezhye (Onega lake north-west) in front of Kizhi Churchyard. Fujifilm X100T, Fujinon 23mm f/2.0 Aspherical Super EBC, , ƒ/8 ISO, 400, 1/60″.

Medium-sized but still noisy city of Petrozavodsk was left behind, and the rocket-loud diesel engine of “Meteor” motor boat was switched off after mooring to the pier. After a few steps on the land of Kizhi island I felt calm and quiet. Wooden buildings around adjust the tourists′ mind in a natural way. This feeling of peace and extraordinarity of the place comes even before you approach the island while the boat glides over the waters of Onega skerries. Open waters of Onega lake were left just after the lighthouse on Garnitsky isle, and then the boat goes through the skerries. “Meteor” moves around another one cape, and then another one village shows, then a leading beacon appears, followed by a nice yellow birch and dark spruce trees, and then again a village with a pier... Then finally Church of the Transfiguration shows off. The church looks like a spaceship at a launch pad, floating in the air. It turns out that the church is under renovation, and some timber layers are excised in a top-down way for a treatment while the top of the church is suspended on jacks. If not this, nothing suggests you that you are actually in the 21th century.

View of southern part of Kizhi museum island from waters of Onega lake, Karelia, Russian north-west
View of southern part of Kizhi museum island from waters of Onega lake, Karelia, Russian north-west. , ƒ/8 ISO, 320, 1/200″.

Wooden historical Russian orthodox Church of the Transfiguration, Kizhi museum island
Wooden historical Russian orthodox Church of the Transfiguration, Kizhi museum island. , ƒ/8 ISO, 320, 1/160″.

Nothing break the silence but the bells which ring from time to time in Chapel of Michael the Archangel at the southern cape of Kizhi island.
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