During the summer of 2021, I was invited by a close friend living in Latvia to visit the country for a few days. Totally foreign to the Baltic countries, I was able to discover Latvia through different aspects, from its capital Riga to national parks and forests, passing by a memorial of the Second World War.
It was also my first post-COVID-lockdown trip outside France, so I was quite excited to bring my equipment to a new destination, especially to a country with relatively fewer tourists. Time to show you what I discovered.
A Few Words About My Equipment
For many years now, my photographic work is based on techniques letting me see beyond visible, such as infrared and ultraviolet photography. During this journey, I took with me a converted Canon RP mirrorless camera modified for infrared photography, along with 35mm and 100mm macro prime lenses and a 550nm infrared filter designed by Kolari Vision.
I was then able to travel light and capture most of the subjects I wanted to shoot.
Kemeri National Park, a Haven of Nature and Calm
Kemeri National Park consists of swamps surrounded by conifers and birches. It is traversed along raised wooden paths so as not to interfere with biodiversity during your visit.
The weather on the day of his visit was very mild, the blue of the sky matching the blue of the bodies of water where the clouds were reflected. This park also has an observation tower in the middle of the walk, offering an impressive panorama of it. My most beautiful Latvia photo discovery!
The Salaspils Memorial, Witness to History
The gigantic statues taken place at the Salaspils Memorial recall the scars of the different periods of war and occupation of Latvia. The Memorial itself, a sort of Soviet spaceship, contains photo archives of the Second World War and the construction of this historic place.
A sound system emits heartbeat sounds from the forest; making the visit to this place very emotionally strong.
Sigulda, Its Caves and Its Abandoned Factory
Sigulda is a very pretty town located about fifty kilometers from Riga, in the Gauja National Park. From this city, it is possible to visit the rock formations of the region, between natural caves and spaces carved into the rock.
Another point of interest is the old paper factory and its industrial remains: if the factory itself is difficult to access, the few abandoned buildings in the area prove to be prime photo subjects!
A Place Beyond the Pines
The forests of Latvia are traversed by observation turrets accessible to all walkers and offering panoramas above the treetops (often fir trees). The swirls of smoke come from the mists retained on the ground and evaporating throughout the day.
As my first post-lockdown trip, the visit to Latvia was a real breath of fresh air and discovery.
About the author: Pierre-Louis Ferrer is a professional infrared photographer who aims to reveal the world beyond the visible. The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author. To learn more about infrared photography, you can take his infrared workshop in Paris. You can find more of Ferrer’s work on his website, Behance, Facebook, and Instagram.