This Is Life in Yakutsk, the Coldest Place on Earth

A dog stands guard in Yakutsk on a minus 58-degree day. . (Photo: Amos Chapple Photography)

In his respected photojournalism career, New Zealand freelance photographer Amos Chapple has traveled through more than 70 countries. He's taken daily news photos and extensively documented UNESCO World Heritage sites.

But recently, Chapple donned layers and layers of cold-weather gear and headed for Yakutsk, Russia, considered by many to be the coldest inhabited town on Earth. Chapple spent five weeks in the Siberian city, where temperatures in winter can easily reach minus 40 degrees Fahrenheit or colder. There, Chapple, trudged through ice, snow and frozen fog to capture the daily life of residents.

Most of the animals in that area of Russia live their lives in the bracing cold, Chapple writes on his Facebook page. He says the guard dog he photographed above is happy, healthy and well cared for by the woman who looks after it. The dog is also a breed that's able to withstand the cold.

A new level of cold

A woman hurries through the streets, with a statue of Lenin in the background. (Photo: Amos Chapple Photography)

Chapple says he walked outside the first day in thin pants and was shocked by the extreme impact of the cold.

"I remember feeling like the cold was physically gripping my legs. The other surprise was that occasionally my saliva would freeze into needles that would prick my lips," Chapple tells the Weather Channel.

Clothes don't just make the man (or woman)

Bundled up as much as she can, a student waits for her bus in Yakutsk. (Photo: Amos Chapple Photography)

Because of the cold, Chapple says he found it hard to meet local residents. In those frigid temperatures, no one lingers outdoors.

"The only people outside were either dashing between houses with their mitts clasped to their faces, or were drunk and looking for trouble," he tells Business Insider. But when he did manage to meet people, he said the residents were "friendly, worldly locals, and magnificently dressed."

Warm air escapes from inside this home and freezes into ice, which forms, falls and reforms throughout winter. (Photo: Amos Chapple Photography)

The brutal cold often made Chapple's photography work difficult. He likened focusing his camera in the extreme temperatures to trying to open a new jar of pickles.

'Every entrance is a spectacle,' says Chapple, as he captures a woman entering Preobrazhensky Cathedral in a swirl of freezing mist. (Photo: Amos Chapple Photography)

How do the locals deal with the unending cold? “Russki chai, literally Russian tea, which is their word for vodka,” Chapple says.