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A shamefully occasional photo blog presenting six-at-a-time appetizers of the delights in my photographic larder. Sneak in for a midnight feast at www.timbirdphotography.com

The most exotic and exciting venue for photography for me in the locality of my home in Helsinki, Finland, has always been the historic island fortress of Suomenlinna (literally, Finland’s fortress). Helsinki is a vibrantly modern city but that means it’s short of truly old historic districts. Suomenlinna’s ramparts and defences are built across a small archipelago of rugged islands, a mere 20 minute ferry ride from the city’s main market square. A UNESCO listed World Heritage site, it’s a wonderful place to visit at any time of the year, romantic and windswept and with wide sea views.

For myself, winter has always been the best time to visit, especially when (or in these days of unpredictable climate, if) the sea freezes. This winter has been the coldest for some years and that means dramatic sea ‘smoke’, the effect of very cold air sweeping across not-yet freezing water. There has been a fair amount of snow, too, with more to come, it seems.

And it also seems that my fondness for Suomenlinna in the winter is being increasingly shared. Today I got a press release recording the fact that the numbers of winter visitors have soared. There was an increase of 14 per cent in the total number of visitors in the winter months in 2015, and the total of over 200,000 was a new record.

Since this means I might not have the place to myself in coming years, I don’t know if celebrations are called for, but in any case I’ll mark the news by showing six of my best shots from the dramatic afternoon on January 5 when the the entire archipelago and South Harbour were enveloped in that extraordinary ‘sea smoke’. Here goes:

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Visiting Suomenlinna while in Helsinki is easy – just jump on the ferry. Helsinki city transport tickets are transferable. Click here to find the timetable from the Kauppatori (Market Square). More information about Suomenlinna and its museums and restaurants: click here.

If you’ve enjoyed your visit to Six Picks, come back and let me distract you again some time, or visit previous blogs in the series. And feel free to Tweet toot, hoot, share and anything else that social media well let you do – but remember copyright is MINE! If you’d like to use the photos for any other purpose please get in touch.

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