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This IFWP Congress 2012 was organised by our largest member, the Finish Nature Photo Association (FNPA) or, in their own language, the “Suomen Luonnonvalokuvaajat SLV ry”. They brought us to Kuhmo, a nice little town on the eastern border of Finland, a landscape of hills and valleys covered with woods of mixed trees, dotted with lakes and crossed with wide rivers. The peoples here live close to natures and while they enjoy all the good things of modern civilisation, they are still connected to their surroundings.

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(c)Dorota Kycia

The area along the Russian border is especially unspoiled and wild animals like brown bears (Ursus Arctos), wolverines (Gulo gulo) and wolfs (Canis lupus) live here, sheltered from hunting which is not allowed so close to what was for a long time the demarcation between East and West.

Almost 40 people from our member clubs had found the time and money to travel to Kuhmo. Many came earlier or stayed longer to enjoy the unique environment. As part of the Congress package, most participants enjoyed a night in one of the bear hides, with varying levels of success. The bears (and other animals) make up their own plans and sometimes appear multiple times in one night, or not at all. Although night and day differ only slightly at this latitude (at the end of June the sun just dips under the horizon for a couple of hours and it does not get dark) the bear hides operate at a 16:00 to 09:00 schedule, making for a somewhat chaotic Congress program. Nevertheless, there was ample time to meet new and old colleague nature photographers and enjoy the good food and atmosphere in the hotel.

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(c) Adrian Langdo

As usual, Saturday afternoon and evening were spent together, enjoying the photos of the IFWP Competition, the prize award ceremony and the IFWP General Assembly. This year all people present were invited to attend the General Assembly, for maximum “transparency” and participation in the changes that the new IFWP Council is implementing. You will find details in the minutes of the meeting, but let it be said here that all proposals where accepted with the largest possible majority.

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(c) Dorota Kycia

Next year’s Congress was announced: Dobarz in the marsh area along the Biebrza river in eastern Poland, 24-28 April 2013. Hope to see you there !