Ruska relief: 35 stunning photos of Finland’s autumn colors

Yellow autumn leaf on the ground, photo by Tom Woodward

Finland’s climate is notorious for skipping long intermediary periods of warmish spring and fall. Summer turns to… something else pretty quickly. That somefthing else usually happens in September, in Finnish literally “Month of Autumn” (syyskuu).

If you’re out and about in Finnish nature during late September throughout most of October, you might witness ruska. That’s a Finnish word for autumn colored foliage. In many places over the world, ruska puts up quite the show.

But due to the long, dark winter in Finland, ruska really is last call for enjoying nature. Unless you like stumbling around in the cold and dark. Which is totally okay, we’re not judging.

In any case, we went scouting Flickr’s community for some ruska goodness. This writer also pillaged his own archive if Instagram snapshots, for your enjoyment. So, whether you prefer the great outdoors in urban streetscapes or out in the middle of nowhere, we hope we can remind you to at least enjoy a few more strolls outside before the long grey dark sets in.

 

1. If you’re in luck puddles or lakes might remind you to look up at the trees.

 

 

2. Lapland is stunning during ruska.

 

3. But so are all the lush suburbs all around the country. This view is from a high-rise building in Vuosaari in Helsinki.

 

4. I prefer staying in my inner city hoods, around Kallio and Vallila. But not because of some pretense of hipness…

 

5. …but because it’s going to retain a sense of place when ruska is over and fall is at its worst.

 
 

 
 

6. To each their own. But the point is: nature lovers, don’t waste a minute of this.

 

7. Anyway, you can’t get this in the cities.

 

8. However, nothing will stop you from enjoying wild cloud formations wherever you can see the sky.

 

9. Seriously, these skies are quite something.

 
 

 
 

10. Let’s cut the BS though, we were talking about autumn colors, ruska.

 

11. Again, available wherever they haven’t cut down the trees.

 

12. Autumn colors are caused by the process during which chlorophyll levels decrease in leaves.

 

13. Chlorophyll, the bringer of greenery, and an essential component of photosynthesis, is replaced by cork cells as sunlight and wamth decreases.

 

14. Eventually leaves drop. Without photosynthesis, they’re redundant. So, unless you have matching facades, get your nice photos taken while the leaves haven’t yet fallen.

 
 

 
 

15. Eventually, the end result is this: naked trees, with leaves in a slowly decomposing brown mess.

 

16. Luckily, some trees stay green.

 

17. So, if you notice moments post August 15 that pass for summer, be mindful and savor them.

 

18. One week, you’ll be out and about and enjoying everything about your surroundings.

 

19. Then, it’ll suddenly get rainy, in a way that just feels chilling.

 

20. And before you know it, you’ll just forget to enjoy your everyday surroundings. Moving outdoors becomes a tiresome chore, one which requires preparation.

 
 

 
 

21. Sure, those August and September sunsets are quite something.

 

22. They almost make you appreciate the looming darkness.

 

23. But by early November, a handful of pretty sunsets are among the few outposts of sanity you’ll have left. In Helsinki, you’ll miss the show if you don’t leave work between 4 and 5 pm. Farther up north, any typical office gig will leave you out of daylight.

 

24. With my brain chemistry, only something like this furball can force me to leave the house while there’s light around noon on November weekends.

 

25. But of course, outdoorsy people will crawl the forests for some last edible berries or mushrooms.

 

26. Or they’ll be using their inexplicable energy, to take some last sips of whatever magic takes place at summer cottages.

 
 

 
 

27. Make no mistake, to take a photo like this, you’ll need to get our in the middle of nowhere and be prepared for the freezing cold as soon as you’re not in direct sunlight.

 

28. Here, a regular human just sees a weird big rock, maybe with some understanding that the ice age dragged it there. Outdoorsy folks probably measure it up as potential shelter or whatever.

 

29. Personally, I prefer everyday scenes like these, and muttering about things like ugly elevated highway bridges.

 

30. Luckily I can get dramatic shots like this one just a fifteen minute walk away from my house.

 

31. Again, with the clouds.

 
 

 
 

32. And I much prefer to spend the silver hour on my way home.

 

33. When darkness falls, I want to be real close to home.

 

34. This is the kind of nature sightings I like in fall: old NYC style taxis with campaign stickers for Dick Nixon.

 

35. Anyway, time to head out before everything looks like this.

 

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Thomas Nybergh is a writer and producer for Ink Tank Media in Helsinki. He’s really into topics like information security, but he writes about anything. Occasionally, Thomas gets around to sharing photos on Instagram.

Thomas also co-hosts and produces a podcast based on Very Finnish Problems, the social media sensation.




Title image by Tom Woodward

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What’s so weird and wonderful about Finland? British born Joel Willans, creator of Very Finnish Problems, discusses, with a variety of fascinating guests, what he’s learnt after 15 years living in his much-loved, adopted country.

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