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Photography in this area of Russia

Level Contributor
65 posts
4 reviews
Photography in this area of Russia

Anyone with direct experience with photography in Murmansk and the Kola Peninsula? I'm considering a trip to Murmansk in 2019. I'm a photographer and have never been to Russia. I wanted to ask about the freedom to take photographs in general, and in particular, photographing off the tourist trail. My interest is in landscapes, shipyards, old architecture, industrial ruins, etc. in addition to nature photography. I'm considering getting a local guide to take me around since I don't speak any Russian. Any advice from direct experience photographing in this region?

2 replies to this topic
Level Contributor
305 posts
8 reviews
1. Re: Photography in this area of Russia

Soviet Union is long dead. You can photography whatever, excepted few sensible military spots, but then they also are at access restricted areas mostly.

Rybachiy peninsula is access restricted unless it has changed very recently, as they wanted to install a tourbase there. Check when you will be in Murmansk. Yet the access restriction is on paper, there's no checkpoint so people have been without clearance.

Severomorsk is a military base, closed city., barriers, check points, you don't go there.

Old architecture, not much, excepted couple churches from the ancient monastics settlements at the times Kola was a Solovki territory. Mainly the buildings in Varzuga.

Kola, the suburb of Murmansk, was the ancient town but it was bombed to ashes by the Brits (navy) in the 18th c. (in relation with crimean war), but the church survived.

In Pechenga, there was a monastery build in the 15th c., it had many misfortunes related to swedish wars and border changes, did burn, but now it has been rebuilt.

Otherwise, most of Kola buildings are from Bolshevik times and newer, yet almost no more oldest wooden buildings. In Murmansk downtown there were still some years ago, two/three wooden communal houses surviving.

Lenina st. in Mur. has some very nice stalin empire architecture, as well as the small mining town Kirovsk. Monchegorsk has very well done small scale replica of neo-classical architecture of Sankt-Peterburg in the main streets downtown.

Landscape are very diverse: from rocky norwegian-like wilderness along parts of Barents coast, to thick forest near eastern shore of White Sea, hills in Pechenga district, small mountains in Khibiny, sacred Sapmi lakes (Seydozero), nice tundras here and there.

You will need one month in order to get an overview of Kola.

There are groups on VK, with daily posted pictures, for Murmansk, Kirovsk among others.

Btw, about photography, if you do film and like old material, you can have a look on avito.ru when you will be there, there may be some nice rangefinders (Fed, Zorki, Kiev) or medium-format cameras (Salyut/Kiev-88, Kiev-6/60), SLR's (Zenit-S, Zenit-3, Start, ...), lenses, accessories (prisms, converters, macro stuff, etc).

I always check Avito listings when I stay in a russian city, this summer I bought a Zodiak-8 and a Mir-38 for my Salyut, also a Kiev-4 with Jupiter-8 and Jupiter-12.

Level Contributor
65 posts
4 reviews
2. Re: Photography in this area of Russia

Thank you! This is very helpful. My real interest not in the big city but in the smaller places, small towns where older history can still be seen, as well as its relations with nature and the landscape. Kirovsk sounds interesting. Also coastal towns like Teriberka.

Is it possible to see older industrial areas, like mining areas, or shipbuilding yards?

What is the best way to get to these smaller places?

Is there a bus service, or possible to rent a car, or find a local guide to take me?

Any thoughts on how much it would cost to have a local guide who speaks english drive me per day?

Sorry for so many questions!

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