Friday Photo #293 – August Twilight

August Twilight - Friday Photo #293

Photo: Full moon and August twilight over field of geitrams – fireweed, Gimsøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway. August 9, 2017. 23:51

The nights are growing noticeable darker these days and with the often heavy clouds and rain of the last weeks, I’m having to turn on the lights in my house at night once again. That might sound like a strange concept to anyone from further south, but really, for the whole summer, I don’t need to use any lighting at home. But those days are now over. And with the first ‘autumn’ storm having passed over Lofoten last weekend, it is beginning to feel like summer is also over; and me complaining about it being too hot for a couple weeks in July just a distant memory. This week I even saw the first stars that I’ve seen in many months!

The landscape though, still filled with purple geitrams – fireweed, still holds onto summer as best it can. Even the weather might still give us another week or two of some warm temperatures if we are lucky. Otherwise, the thermometer seems to creep a little lower each week and it wont be too long until I pass by the first golden yellow birch leaf while wandering my way through the mountains – the sign that autumn has finally arrived.

This photo is from last year’s twilight of summer photo workshop. We had been out on Gimsøy for the evening, slowly beginning the journey back to stamsund in the fading light when I noticed a bit of fog beginning to appear across the landscape. With the mostly full moon in the background, I liked the soft look of the landscape. Luckily the night and flowers were nearly perfectly still for a 3 second exposure due to the low light. After a little while longer the fog grew thicker and engulfed the landscape.

Camera Info:
Nikon D800
Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8
27mm
ISO 200
f 10
3 seconds
WB Daylight

Friday Photo #281 – Ryten Hiking

Ryten Hiking - Friday Photo #281

Photo: Evening hike up Ryten with view over Kvalvika, Moskenesøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway. May 19, 2016. 20:14

It´s almost June! And with that it means the ferries from Bodø are filed with motor homes from the continent and the summer high season is about to begin. And for the mountains of Lofoten, this means this will be filled with hikers and campers. If the trends over the previous years are anything to go by, then Lofoten´s peaks will have more people on them this summer than ever before.

Lofoten is special, and that is probably why you are reading these words and planning a trip. But Lofoten is also fragile. And in reality, the mountains can’t cope with their current rate of usage. The new Sherpa trail on Reinebrigen will still be under construction this summer, and the kommunne asks that people avoid the mountain. But no one really cares, and I’m sure new visitor records will be set this year on Lofoten´s most coveted mountain view.

Ryten and the view over Kvalvika beach has probably now become Lofoten’s next most popular view. Only back in 2012 on a wonderful August evening, I remember it was only me and a young German who were both camping at Kvalvika and also on the summit. These days I would estimate that there are 40-50 people camping at Kvalvika on the average summer night. And with no toilet facilities, that is a lot of…

Please ask yourself, as your standing in a parking lot on a rainy July afternoon with near zero visibility: Does the mountain need your additional wear and erosion, which won’t even result in much, if any view? I’m not saying don’t go anywhere at all. Just to be aware of conditions, and that your actions – and those of the 1000´s of other people, do have consequences and cause damage to this fragile landscape. This will be something Lofoten will have to discuss and find a solution to in the not to distant future.

Before heading into the wilds of Lofoten download a copy of: LOFOTEN CODE OF CONDUCT. Be a good visitor to this place and try to avoid unnecessary impact on the environment so that those in the future can enjoy what you do today.

Camera Info:
Nikon D850
Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8
34mm
ISO 320
f 6.3
1/400 second
WB Daylight

Lofoten Code Of Conduct

Friday Photo #280 – Spring Snow Storms

Spring Snow Storms - Friday Photo #280

Photo: Spring snow flurries from summit of Ryten, Moskenesøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway. May 19, 2016. 22:13

With the snow line rising higher and higher up the mountains each day under the nearly 24 hours of daylight in late May, passing snow storms are still a common occurrence, even more so in the mountains. So don’t leave the down jacket at home yet! Actually, even in the height of summer, it´s a good idea to always carry an insulation later when out in the mountains, more so if you are unfamiliar with Lofoten´s weather patterns.

And while I generally find May a slightly boring month on Lofoten, these late season snow storms do provide the potential for some dramatic light, especially if they are in the late evening.

This particular evening on Ryten actually started out quite calm and peaceful – one of the lakes was even still enough for some nice reflections while on the way up. As is Normal for Lofoten, things quickly changed and soon there was sideways blowing snow shortly after reaching the top. Soon the clouds pass and the summit is clear again, with the next waves of snow glowing in the evening light as they approach from the distance.

Camera Info:
Nikon D800
Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8
58mm
ISO 160
f 10
1/100 second
WB Daylight
2 images: top, bottom

Friday Photo #279 – May Evening Light

May Light - Friday Photo #279

Photo: Evening light over Storsandnes beach from summit of Slettind. Flakstadøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway. May 13, 2017. 22:18

May is the month were the snow melts, the midnight sun arrives, the trees turn green, and the islands prepare for summer. It is also a month, like November, that I mostly stay out of the mountains and seek out other activities. I find it a weird transition, no longer winter while not quite summer. And to tell the truth, I don’t really find the brown grass, tired looking and matted from snow, to be all that scenic, especially in the higher mountains.

So I take May as a bit of a rest month, so rest the legs and save them for summer´s green mountains and fields of flowers. Alternately, it is also a good month to travel and leave Lofoten. And so while I wrote these words back in April, I’m currently sitting somewhere in Scotland – or better yet, heading out into the mountains somewhere.

In 2017 I didn’t leave Norway (unless Svalbard technically counts) and was only off Lofoten for a few weeks total. I just kinda got stuck, which isn’t bad. But for someone who traveled more or less non-stop for 10 years, it is an abrupt change. And while I love Lofoten and am nowhere close to getting bored yet, I’m actually afraid if I leave that I´ll miss something really cool that happens, I can recognize that I need to get away a bit, sometimes. And so why not Scotland, one of the only places with possibly worse weather than here!

But Lofoten can be a bit isolating as well; not much happens here. So beyond the mountains, I have to go elsewhere for more cultural type entertainment, which I finally realized over the winter that I’ve been missing a bit. Be it music in some pub on a rainy night, Glühwein at a German Christmas market, or a weekend at a music festival. I know I need to do a bit more this year, and so I will…

Camera Info:
Nikon D800
Nikon 24-70mm f/1.8
38mm
ISO 100
f 11
1/20 second
WB Daylight

Friday Photo #230 – Myrland Spring

Myrland Spring - Friday Photo #230

Photo: Spring snow over Myrland, Flakstadøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway. May 30, 2017. 23:34

A cold north wind has been blowing across Lofoten during the last week. And while the summer sun has arrived on the islands, summer temperatures seem far away! Fresh snow has fallen across the mountains on several days, and while somewhat normal, it has been a colder than average May here in the north. And I just read that some areas of 3x the amount of snow than normal right now. Perhaps I should pull out the skis and head back to the mountains!

Often I watch the nice light and dramatic clouds outside my window during the evening, thinking to myself that I should head out to the mountains, until I remember the work I still need to do, and continue typing away on the computer. But the other day, I finally succumbed to the temptation and went for a quick sprint up Hornet.

Unfortunately, I waited a little too long, and a lay of clouds ate the sun before I reached the summit. I did manage a coupe images of the soft light shining over the valley, but nothing much compared to what I would have seen if I left an hour earlier. But with this my new backyard, I think I will have plenty of chances for something special in the next years.

Camera Info:
Nikon D800
Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8
14mm
ISO 100
f 9
1/15 second
WB Daylight

Friday Photo #229 – Ytresand Midnight Sun

Ytresand Midnight - Friday Photo #229

Photo: Moltind and Stortind reflect on Ytresand beach under the spring midnight sun, Flakstadøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway. May 29, 2016. 23:48

In a few more days the midnight sun will arrive on Lofoten. And by midnight sun, I mean that the sun will not sink below the horizon. Which isn’t really at midnight either, but closer to 01:00, due to daylight savings time. But I guess midnight sun sounds more romantic than one-o’clock-in-the-morning-sun.

I always find spring to be a bit of a strange time of year for the senses. Or more specifically, the days and light are what I associate with summer, but the temperatures, especially this May on Lofoten, are closer to what I think of as winter. So I just need to make sure to brink my big jacket if I plan on sitting around the mountains all night long.

This evening had a layer of light clouds over the northern sky. Something that I normally hate during the day, as it causes a flat, boring light. But with the sun low on the horizon, it was just strong enough to for some nice, warm light to shine across the mountains.

At low tide, Ytresand beach has the potential for some nice reflections, and being just down the road from my house in Skjelfjord at the time, it was an easy location to get to for a quick photo or two. The mountains of Stortind (right) and Moltind (center-ish) form the dramatic ridgeline on central Flakstadøy.

Camera Info:
Nikon D800
Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8
50mm
ISO 100
f 11
1/15 second
WB Daylight

Friday Photo #228 – Stornappstind Sunset

Stornappstind Sunset - Friday Photo #228

Photo: Last light over Stornappstind from Slettind, Flakstadøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway. May 13, 2017. 22:24

The midnight sun is little more than a week away now, but I have already begun the transition to ‘night’ hiking. Though on off days, it feels a bit weird to stay up until 03:00 and wake up just before noon or so. Makes me feel like I’ve been out partying all night and then am waisting half the day, but I think I’m adjusting better than last year.

Slettind is now one of my ‘backyard’ mountains. Though there is no trail, a relatively easy grassy slope leads you up to the ridge at around 480 meters. Then some sheep trails and a few rock steps continue the way up to the 569 meter high summit. I have a feeling this will be a place I visit quite frequently, as the views are incredible.

Under the long hours of sunlight the snow is quickly melting out and the islands are beginning to turn green, though this year seems a bit on the late side, as temperatures have remained on the cooler side for much of May. However, in the mountains, it can still be full winter, and if you are planning on hiking anything inland or at elevation during the next few weeks, then you need to be prepared for winter hiking, not casual trail walking.

You can see the coastal side of Stornappstind is mostly melted out, while the high valley on the right side is still carrying a lot of snow. And the remaining snow is likely deeper area, while the shallow stuff covering rocks will be what has melted out first.

And another warning about rockfall. This is a dangerous time of year on Lofoten. Each time I drive the road to Leknes, there are new stones, and some of them quite large, which have fallen from the mountains above.

Camera Info:
Nikon D800
Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8
15mm
ISO 100
f 10
1/15 second
WB Daylight

Friday Photo #227 – Spring Snow

Ryten Spring Snow - Friday Photo #227

Photo: Spring snow flurries over Ramberg from Ryten, Moskenesøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway. May 19, 2016. 22:35

While the midnight sun is just around the corner and the nights are no longer dark, the last few days have seen the weather turn cold with snow flurries passing over the islands. Spring on Lofoten has a slightly different meaning than spring further south.

This image from last year in mid May, in similar type weather. These passing snow flurries, with the snow only really sticking on the higher elevations, if at all, combined with the low, late evening sun can provide some wonderful light as the long shadows fall across the mountains.

Though this is also a time of year I consider a little hard to photograph, as for the last weeks the grass is mostly brown and lifeless looking after the long winter. This gives most locations in lower elevations a bit of a ‘dead’ look in my opinion. Thus, even with fantastic light, I haven’t been out shooting much unless I can get to the mountain, which unfortunately, hasn’t been much, with the busyness of life getting in the way. But perhaps I need to head up Hornet soon and watch sunset over my new house.

Soon though, the fields will be green, then the first leaves on the trees, and then the mountains themselves. And then, summer! I’m excited to see where my feet will take me this year.

Camera Info:
Nikon D800
Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8
70mm
ISO 250
f 10
1/160 second
WB Daylight

Friday Photo #226 – Østhimmeltind

Østhimmeltind - Friday Photo #226

Photo: Twilight on the summit ridge of Østhimmeltind (883m), Vestvågøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway. April 26, 2017. 20:49

Last week I headed up Østhimmel wind for an attempted winter/spring ascent. With the long days from late April onwards, it is possible to begin hikes in mid to late afternoon without too much of a worry about darkness – especially if you know where you’re going. And so we hit the trail around 16:00.

Leaving the road and entering deeper into Mørkdalen the snow got deep and progress became slow as I regularly sank up to my thighs. Though we were in the shadow by now, it was still a relatively warm day. Out route took us up a safe passage, away from any high cliffs over us, as on a regular basis, moderate sized avalanches would come flowing down the steep faces of Himmeltind or Ristind.

Spring is the time of rock and snow fall on Lofoten, so be careful in which routes you choose in the next weeks.

Finally reaching the summit ridge, where the fun part begins, we traded trekking poles for ice axes and crampons. Progress was initially good, almost easier than hiking the route in Autumn, as I had done previously. That is until we ran into a steep section of rotten snow and ice. We searched for a way around, which led to a steep snow gully exiting with a couple of moves on icy rocks. It would have been possible to get up, but getting down could be problematic. And so after hours of effort, we turned around about 30 meters below the summit – where there was absolutely fantastic evening light.

To this point on the hike, I hadn’t even taken a single photo, as we had been in the shade the entire time, too much contrast to the bright blue sky. But as we descended back down to the ridge, the sun low and casting golden light across Ristind and the higher peaks of Lofoten, I saw an interesting composition: A lone figure against the sky.

Camera Info:
Nikon D800
Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8
14mm
ISO 250
f 8
1/400 second
WB Daylight

Friday Photo #179 – Ytresand Midnight

Midnight Sun, Ytresand, Lofoten Islands, Norway

Photo: Midnight sky, Ytresand beach, Moskenesøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway. May 30, 2016. 24:02

Since moving to Lofoten in March I have been receiving a lot of emails about what the current conditions on the Islands are and is so and so mountain okay to hike. Unfortunately, living on Lofoten still means I have to work, which mostly involves me sitting at the computer 14-16 hours a day. However, when the weather is nice, I do my best to make some time to get out and explore.

I think for the summer I will experiment with a bit of a change in the Friday Photo series. Instead of being a more or less ‘best of,’ I will try and keep the photos as recent as possible, so that you can see how the islands are looking over the last few weeks. Of course, being Lofoten, this can only be so accurate; I was in a t-shirt last week, while there is cold temperatures and fresh snow over the last couple days. But as summer progresses, I should hopefully show the general trend of what the Islands are looking like.

So, first up is midnight at Ytresand for a week ago. The midnight sun arrives on Lofoten in late May, and now the Islands are under 24 hour sunlight until mid July. I was surprised to come across 2 vans of a photo workshop at the beach – something which is rare outside of winter. But luckily, they seemed to be wandering mostly aimlessly across the beach, leaving me with this composition to myself. A layer of clouds was low on the horizon, softening the sun as it hung low on the horizon, yet the sky still had a nice glow and with no wind and low tide at Ytresand, this reflection worked out nicely.

Camera Info:
Nikon D800
Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8
35mm
ISO 100
f 13
1/16 second
WB Daylight
2 images – top, bottom