Kirkenes is in the farthest reaches of Norway, only 9.5 miles from the Russian border and 250 miles north of the Arctic Circle. In November, that means cold, dark and snowy. Did I say dark?

Red flowers in Kirkenes Norway in the winter

The subject: On a few hour break from our Hurtigruten ship, the Midnatsol before it would depart the dock to head back south along the Norwegian coast toward Oslo, we took a little walk through Kirkenes. Although mid-day, it felt more like twilight and everything was icy and snow-covered. We ended up along the banks of an inlet with Nordic skiing tracks.

The inspiration: Then, there were suddenly these trees, these amazing trees! No leaves, but still covered in bright deep red flowers set along barren twigs shooting up from the snow-covered ground. The fluffy red bursts looked like origami art that some busy person had hung along the branches. But no they were real. Being a gardener, I wished I knew what they were, so stunning were the clusters of red petals against the dark early-winter sky of Kirkenes so far north of the Arctic Circle.

Artist’s tools: Still scratching my head why I didn’t shoot with my “big girl camera” (Nikon D90) instead of my Samsung mobile phone. What was I thinking? Slap myself now. Nevertheless, the shot on my Galaxy S4 (it really wasn’t so old in 2014) didn’t turn out half bad. No zoom, just a little crop later. And there you have it. A bright spot in Kirkenes on a dark winter day.