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Six images in a (fairly) regular photo blog chosen from my archives and latest assignments: www.timbirdphotography.com

The Söderskär Lighthouse is a couple of hours by tourist launch from central Helsinki and half an hour by faster motor boat from the Vuosaari district. The 150-year old lighthouse is unused these days for its original purpose, but it’s popular with day-trip tourist groups who head out here from late June to mid August from both Helsinki and nearby Porvoo, avoiding the early summer bird nesting season. The lighthouse gave inspiration to the creator of the Moomins, Tove Jansson, in her Moominpapa at Sea, in which the Moomintroll family take up residence in… a lighthouse. Jansson knew these waters and islands well and spent summers on another nearby island.

There are a few basic rooms in one of the renovated outhouses for those who want to stay the night (for a fee, naturally), and overnight packages include an evening meal, breakfast and lunch the next day. The place can be booked for special functions too. There’s a good old fashioned wood burning sauna too. You’ll find all the contacts and details for tours and visits at the link above.

Luckily no other visitors were there during my late summer visit with three friends, just the friendly warden and the boatman. Standing on top of a lighthouse on a pretty much deserted Baltic island under a starry sky is a surreal and wonderful experience. Here are a few shots to prove it:

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Light from the town of Porvoo beams across to the Söderskär Lighthouse.

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A light in the lighthouse keeper’s house still shines.

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Tourists can visit the lighthouse for day trips – or to spend the night. It’s popular with birdwatchers but its status as a nesting area means part of the area is off limits during the nesting season.

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A hanging bridge adds an element of adventure when crossing from one island to another – especially in the dark. Three people at a time only!

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The view from the lantern chamber. Estonia is to the south across the Baltic.

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When it was functioning, Söderskär marked the south-eastern approach to Helsinki. It stands on one of a small archipelago of typically rugged Baltic islands.

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