Pikes and Perches at Lake Valkiajärvi

Last weekend I drove 1004 km to Savonlinna and back, so that I could dive at the Lake Valkiajärvi, near Kitee and photograph pikes and perches there. My friend Pasi Lensu, who is a famous underwater photographer and diver in Finland, was kind enough to provide accomodation  at his house in Savonlinna. Pasi has taken many magnificent and award winning photographs and videos at the Lake Valkiajärvi, so I have long itched to get there myself to try my skills too. The latest of Pasi’s pictures can be seen at http://pasilensu.kuvat.fi/. Pasi and his diving buddy Seppo guided us to the famous lake on two days. The lake has unusually clear blue water and the visibility there is really good. In Finland most lakes contain a lot of humus and the water is brownish and visibility poor, so the lakes like this are few and far between. This particular lake also has no habitation around it, so the underwater life is well preserved and the ecosystem healthy. So you get to see those really big pikes and perches there, and they are accustomed to divers, so you also get to photograph them at close distance. There is one specific location that has been named the ”Perch Paradise”, which is full of big perches and their smaller offspring and an occational large pike lurking.

We dived on both Saturday and Sunday mornings, and the weather was mostly sunny giving us good light underwater. On both days we did 120 minute shallow dives, mostly at 5 m depth. Water temperature was 19 degrees (C). And indeed we got lucky with the fishes on both days. We saw many big pikes and schools of huge perches. What we didn’t see that much were crayfishes.

I took pictures and also HD video with my Canon 7D in Ikelite housing and with two Ikelite DS161 strobes and video lights, as a lens I used the Sigma 17-70mm. Pasi shoots with a Canon 550D in Aquatica housing and two Inon strobes, he usually shoots with the Tokina 10-17mm fisheye.

Click here to see a selection of the best pictures.

Below is a Flash-based slideshow (does not work on iPad). Note that you can get full-screen display by clicking the button on left bottom.

On next page there’s the video.

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