RUSSIA'S FOUR SEASONS CAUGHT ON CAMERA
In autumn, after the warm rains of summer, forests fill with mushrooms, cloudberries, whortleberries and lingonberries. Mushroom- and berry-picking are somewhat active national pastimes in Russia, which allow for preserving vitamin-loaded "gifts of the forest" for a long winter. Mushrooms may be dehydrated, pickled or frozen, while forest berries may be used to make delicious jams and stuffings for various pies.
This season turns the leaves of deciduous forests crimson. Once bushy treetops become thinner by the day, covering the ground with a leafy carpet. Evergreen pines, firs and cedars retain their appearance, every now and then dropping an occasional cone. Triangular flocks of birds, bidding their farewells, head south.
Winter brings cold and snow, completely changing nature's appearance; once green fields are now transformed into white deserts. In Russia's northern areas, temperatures sometimes drop to minus 40 degrees Celsius.
Ice fishing on frozen rivers and lakes and the cooking of the catch later over an open fire outdoors is a great pastime – a perfect getaway from the comforts of civilisation. The snow-white serenity, occasionally violated by the crunching of snow underfoot, can be highly therapeutic for city-dwellers.
Freed from the icy fetters of winter, nature gradually regains its colours, as the monochromatic whiteness of the snow gives way to the bright hues of spring's first flowers.
The thick ice crust that has been covering lakes and rivers all winter long is now nothing more than a drifting ice floe, gradually melting as the weather gets warmer. The unpretentious landscape is enlivened by the chirping of birds returning from the south and the roar of the rivers, overflowing with water from melted snow.
Vast green spaces, an eye-piercing blue sky and the lukewarm waters of the lakes – all these make for a perfect setting for eco-trekking.
Russia's natural landscapes are most lavish with colours during the summer.