Friday Photo #337 – Midsummer

Photo: Midnight sun shining over Kvalvika beach, Moskenesøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway. June 14, 2019. 00:33

Today is the summer solstice – where the sun reaches its highest position in the sky. Tomorrow, the nights begin to grow longer again – or for Lofoten, the sun will slowly sink towards the horizon over the next weeks until in mid July it finally begins to fall below the waves.

For as long as the winters here feel, summer seems to be over in the blink of an eye. So we have to do our best to take advantage of these short months of summer and light – and hopefully this year the weather cooperates better than last year – I’d say we’ve been off to a pretty good start so far.

And so, I try to keep my nocturnal schedule – midnight sun time – as I like to call it. I haven’t decided if I stay the whole summer on Lofoten or head north or east to work on some long overdue hiking projects. Maybe I just let the weather decide…

Camera Info:
Nikon D850
Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8
38mm
ISO 100
f 14
1/100 second
WB Daylight

Friday Photo #336 – Midnight Sun

Photo: Summer night under the midnight sun over Vestvika beach, Moskenesøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway. June 14, 2019. 01:39

I’m a little late with today’s post mostly because I’ve finally made my switch over to ‘midnight sun’ time – otherwise know as stay up all night and sleep until sometime in the afternoon. But in the early days of this, I still feel like I’ve been at some Berlin disco all night, and a little rough the following day. But unless I specifically want the sun in the southern part of the sky for whatever reason – such as my hike on Blekktind last week – the nights are now my time to be out for the next month.

I’ve also been fairly productive over the last weeks in getting up a few new mountains for the next update of West Lofoten Hikes ebook – so far with 4 new routes, and maybe 1-2 more before I begin my first photo workshop of the summer season next week. Though I’m unsure when I’ll be able to get the writing parts finished, the weather is too good to spend much time inside, other than for recovery of sore legs.

Last night I spent another evening sitting on a mountain, with a nice overview of Vestvika – Kvalvika beach. I went up a bit early, unsure how the route would be, which was much easier than I was expecting. Sometime after 01:00 this morning I began my descent. I was happy to head straight down, however somewhere near the halfway point, I was at a position with the sun disappearing behind the mountain, so I stopped for one last photo, which I think I like more than anything I took from the summit – it was a cloudless day, so while nice, not super interesting just having the sun in an empty sky. I got back to my van a little after 02:00 and headed home…

Camera Info:
Nikon D850
Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8
32mm
ISO 100
f 514
1/30 second
WB Daylight

Friday Photo #335 – Reinebringen Closed

Photo: Work helicopter carrying stones steps to Reinebringen for the completion of the multi-year trail construction project, Moskenesøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway. June 7, 2019. 09:15

Reinebringen is now closed for approximately 6 weeks from June 4 – July 14, 2019

The sherpa trail crew from Nepal has now begun another season working on the Reinebringen trail – which will now be nothing more difficult than a 448 meter staircase. Work is expected to be completed by July 14, after which the mountain will reopen.

During the period of work, all access to the trail and work area is absolutely forbidden. This also means after work has finished for the day and on Sundays or other non-working days. Let them work in peace and DO NOT go on the mountain until the trail has finished. If you have traveled all the way to Lofoten only to hike this mountain, then you’ll unfortunately have to come back another time – which is a good excuse to return to Lofoten anyhow, as these islands are worth more than just one visit! But the work needs to be done, so let it occur without any selfish or narcissistic need to sneak your way up into the work zone – does the world really need another photo from the top anyhow? Not really…

I will try an update the Reinebringen hiking page as soon as I hear information about work being completed. Otherwise, follow the Reinebringen Facebook page for updates.

Camera Info:
Nikon D850
Nikon 70-200mm f/4
95mm
ISO 160
f 5.6
1/400 second
WB Daylight

Friday Photo #334 – Summer Wildflowers

Photo: The beginnings of summer’s fields of wildflowers, Flakstadøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway. May 26, 2019

The warmth of mid May this year gave the landscape of lofoten a head start for summer. Already many of the fields are quite filled with flowers, and all the trees are green.

Though for the past week we have also had a typical return back to some wintry weather. Last Saturday an a midnight hike I sat in to the summit in freezing temperatures and passing snowstorms – no sun to be found, despite the more optimistic weather forecast.

Sunday remained could as well, with more snow falling, even at sea level, such as the background mountains of this image from Sunday evening. An evening where I should have been in the mountains, but Norwegian language tests on Monday and Tuesday mornings meant I couldn’t be up all night as I would like. Class is soon over though, and I can return to my normal night schedule soon, hopefully!

Camera Info:
Nikon D850
Nikon 70-200mm f/4
70mm
ISO 125
f 4.5
1/640 second
WB Daylight
2 images – foreground, background for 4:5 crop

Friday Photo #332 – Syttende Mai

Syttende Mai - Friday Photo #332

Photo: 17th of May parade through Ramberg, Flakstadøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway. May 17, 2019. 11:30

Syttende mai – 17th of May is Norway’s constitution day, when in 1814 Norway declared its independence from Denmark.

All over Norway flags will be flying and music playing today. The biggest celebration will be in Oslo of course. But even here on Lofoten, even many of the smaller villages across the islands will have their own parades and celebrations. I headed to Ramberg, the capital of Flakstadøy where several hundred people were gathered.

Down south they have temps over 20 degrees and sunshine, summer. Here 17th of May usually has a bit trickier weather, and while it was forecast to be sunny, a low heavy cloud hangs over Lofoten. Though at least its not snowing or hailing like in previous years!

Camera Info:
Nikon D850
Nikon 70-200mm f/4
200mm
ISO 320
f 5.6
1/500 second
WB Daylight

Friday Photo #331 – Spring Flowers

Photo: Early wildflowers and a dusting of May snow, Flakstadøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway. May 4, 2019. 21:02

After the unusual warm at the end of April, the weather corrected itself back to normal patterns and once again snow was falling in the first days of may. The warmth though already sent the spring ‘greening’ of Lofoten into motion much earlier that normal. So even in the first days of May the fields had already begun to turn green and fill with flowers in some areas.

So when the fresh snow fell, I though it would be an interesting juxtaposition that we don’t often see here – snow and flowers. Usually it’s plenty of one or the other, on their own.

And while working on the update to the Seasons on Lofoten: Summer ebook, I was also planning on what I need for a possible Spring/Autumn edition – Though I’m still not wholly convinced there is enough demand for one. Even though website traffic here is so high these days I had to move servers and hosting the other week, ebook sales have been going down over the last year – I guess more access to free information that ever, even here, and more competition as well. But I am still out shooting when possible, trying to answer the question visually: what is spring on Lofoten?

I think I could have executed this image slightly better. While I wanted to isolate the flowers against the mountain, I think the mountain is perhaps a bit too abstract. I should have stopped down a little perhaps. On the bright side, the flowers and mountain are only a stone’s throw from my front door, so new attempts will be easy. Though I’m not sure if we’ll get much more snow this year – it already almost feels like summer here again…

Camera Info:
Nikon D850
Nikon 70-200mm f/4
70mm
ISO 160
f 5.6
1/160 second
WB Daylight

Friday Photo #330 – Saharan Sunset

Photo: Spring Saharan sunset over Myrland beach, Flakstadøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway. April 27, 2019. 21:21

When I wrote it last weeks Friday Photo (#329) that it had been warm for several days, it turned into a weekend of t-shirt weather, not a cloud to be seen and barely a hint of wind. The weather was actually too good for photography!

However, it as not just the normal hazy blue sky that sometimes occurs in summer, instead it was caused by sand from the Sahara desert drifting over Lofoten. And so over several nights, despite the cloudless sky, we were given orage and red skies, something that I’m more used to at home in California.

In the sun and warmth I could see the fields outside my house growing greener by the day, at the trees in my yard have already begun to bud. A few weeks earlier than normal this year.

But Lofoten being Lofoten, the summer days are over and a cold north wind with passing snow flurries has been sweeping over the islands over the last days. Summer has been put on pause for the time being. But actually, this is the more normal weather for this time of year and snow is a fairly regular occurrence until the end of the month. So it will be a little while longer before I can put the jackets away…

Camera Info:
Nikon D850
Nikon 24mm f/3.5 tilt-shift
24mm
ISO 31
f 13
6 seconds
WB Daylight

Friday Photo #329 – Spring Nights

Photo: Lenticular cloud over Himmeltindan at twilight, Vestvågøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway. April 20, 2019. 22:50

Spring has arrived in the last week here on Lofoten – even up to 15˚ C in the last few days! That might not sound like much to anyone down south, but for me, it’s the warmest temperature I’ve had since September! I can even go on my evening jogs in shorts and a t-shirt at the moment. How long it will last, nobody knows. But at least it is a taste of summer for us! And a nice July day might not be much warmer than 15˚ C here anyhow.

Spring is a tricky time of year here on Lofoten. The light of summer but often the cold of winter. Though in sun and warmth and sun of the last week I can see the fields outside my house growing greener by the day. Which is quite a difference to last year when there was much more snow, especially on the mountains. It will probably snow again, perhaps several times, but at least the thermometer seems to be moving north.

Usually spring is a slightly unproductive photographic time for me. As I don’t really like the brown landscapes all that much. But this year, I will probably make much more effort to go out and photograph and to illustrate what spring is, as hopefully later in the year I’ll produce the final missing sections of my ’Seasons on Lofoten’ ebook guides – spring and autumn. Which I will likely combine together into one guide, as they are otherwise relatively short periods on their own. First though, I’m putting in long hours for the long overdue 2nd edition of Seasons on Lofoten – Summer, which should be out next week hopefully!

I was hoping to be lazy on this rainy evening. The sunset was interesting, but not enough to get me out of the house. Finally though, a little while later all the low clouds passed and I was this glowing lenticular cloud floating over Himmeltindan. It is not often we get lenticular clouds here, so I quickly grabbed my camera and rain out into the bog of my neighbors field. It was windy – the whole reason the cloud was there – but warm. So between gusts, I managed a few images in the quickly fading twilight.

Camera Info:
Nikon D850
Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8
38mm
ISO 100
f 7.1
5 seconds
WB Daylight

Friday Photo #328 – April Twilight

Photo: April twilight just before midnight, Myrland, Flakstadøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway. April 17, 2019. 23:55

With a perfectly clear sky on Wednesday I wandered down to the beach just before midnight to see if I might get lucky with one last aurora. Last year, April 13th was my last one, this year, it will be the image from last week’s post (Friday Photo #327) on April 10th. Now it’s a 4 months wait until late august when I’ll look to the night sky again. Until then, we have the season of light!

Already in mid April, the sun is only 12˚ degrees below the horizon at its lowest point. For comparison, in Berlin at midsummer, 2 months away still, the sun is at 14˚ below the horizon. It is a quick change up here from the season of darkness to the season of light.

With each passing night, the sunsets and sunrises with move further and further north and the horizon glows brighter and brighter until one night in late May, the sun no longer sets – and the season of the midnight sun is here – though due to Summer Time it’s really the 01:00 sun when it reaches its lowest point in the sky.

The snow has been melting quickly this last week and today it is even 10˚C outside, though with a misty rain. Yesterday I even saw the first dandelion flowers down at the beach, so it feels like spring is off to an early start – but that still doesn’t mean that the winds can’t shift and winter will make a return.

Camera Info:
Nikon D850
Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8
18mm
ISO 200
f 5
15 seconds
WB Daylight

Friday Photo #327 – Aurora Camping

Photo: Camping on the summit of Veggen under April northern lights, Vestvågøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway. April 11, 2019. 00:04

With the 2018/2019 coming to a close in the next days, the sky has been putting on a pretty good show over the past week. Last Friday I camped out at Kvalvika and had the whole beach for myself as the sky exploded with color, and the cool rocket launch from Andøya, which was a bit eerie to see at first!. And a few other nice nights during the week until I was free from class again and could camp Wednesday night – with a forecast for clear sky.

I initially thought about going up Reinebringen, but having been sent a photo of the route by a friend, it looked a bit too avalachy and dangerous just for some photos. So I headed up Veggen instead – and while the route itself was safe, I only brought micro spikes instead of proper crampons, which wasn’t the best choice for the hard, icy snow. Making the descent a little scarier than I would have liked!

Darkness comes late at this time of year, but there is still enough of it for the aurora to dance overhead. However, the time from sunset until ‘night,’ if we can call it that, can be a little bit of a wait – especially while camping in the cold! So it’s always a choice of how warm and cozy do you let yourself get in the sleeping bag, which then makes you a little lazy and hesitant to get out once you see a bit of green appear in the sky.

This night, I was a little lazy. I missed an early outburst that only lasted a couple minutes – I was watching the web cams from inside my sleeping bag – that is pretty lazy! But eventually I emerged into the cold and there was still some aurora to be seen. However, a wave of clouds was slowly moving in as well, so after an hour or so when the aurora peaked again, it was sufficiently cloudy to block the show. And thus around 01:00 I went back to the tent.

So defiantly not the best image ever, but perhaps my last of this season. And now, 4 months of (hopefully) sun in the north. After last year, we deserve a good summer this year!