Friday Photo #340 – Midnight Flowers

Photo: Midnight buttercups and Olstind, Toppøy, Moskenesøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway. June 23, 2019. 00:33

I’ve found myself photographing flowers a little more than usual this summer. While it has been a better summer than last year by far, there’s still been many grey, cold and misty days and nights – where the mountains aren’t really looking their best. So I’ve been looking for small scenes.

This small patch of buttercup flowers – smørblomst in Norwegian – had caught my eye earlier in the day during a quick stop. But the lighting wasn’t right for the scene, so I kept it in mind for a possibility of something later maybe. Returning back to Reine a little after midnight, the scene was much moodier and the lighting more even.

As it was a little windy, I first experimented with long exposures and the flowers blowing in the wind. But I wasn’t quite happy with the results. Getting closer, I found this little cluster that almost mirrored the shape of Olstind, the mountain in the background. So I thought a more subtle picture of the mountain might work. It’s not going to win any awards, but I kinda like the result…

Camera Info:
Nikon D850
Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8
42mm
ISO 400
f 3.5
1/250 seconds
WB Daylight

Friday Photo #339 – Olstind Midnight Reflection

Photo: Osltind sunset two minutes til midnight, Reine, Moskenesøy, Lofoten Islands, norway. June 19, 2019. 23:58

It’s always nice to start a photo workshop with some fantastic light, so I was lucky on my June photo tour this year. The weather forecast was actually not looking too good, and it was raining when I took an evening nap before heading out for the night again at 22:00. But as we left the rorbu on Sakrisøy, I can already see we would be in for something nice.

Low clouds from the rain evaporation were drifting across the fjord and hiding the mountain peaks before thinning out again. I took some normal exposure first, but I knew a long exposure would take a nice scene and turn it to something almost dream like. For a while I had some difficulty with exposure, do to a clear section of sky on the left which kept over exposing. But eventually the area filled in with clouds just enough.

Its also amazing the contrast of this location between summer and winter. On some winter mornings the photographers can be lined up tripod to tripod, with barely a gap in-between – as this is one of Lofoten’s iconic sunrise locations. Yet at midnight in summer, when the light is just as good as in winter, it’s nearly empty of tripods and maybe just a few people walking around. And even with the parking lot almost completely full of continental motorhomes, they are all sleeping for some strange reason. Isn’t the midnight sun one of the reasons to come here during summer?!

Camera Info:
Nikon D850
Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8
32mm
ISO 100
f 11
117 seconds
WB Daylight
10 Stop B+W ND filter

Friday Photo #338 – Blue Water

Photo: The colorful azure water of Flakstadpollen, Flakstadøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway. June 3, 2019. 13:30

In my last couple posts I’ve written about mostly becoming nocturnal – midnight sun time – during the summer, as that is when I typically like to be out in the mountains to photograph. However, there are some exceptions, such as today’s image.

The colorful water of Flakstadpollen is always a scenic sight on a sunny summer day with it’s near immediate transition from azure to deep blue. I knew to capture this the best, I’d want to be there on a clear day with the sun relatively high in the sky – typically not ideal light for landscape photography. Furthermore, with the image looking west, I knew it would also need to be a mid morning to early afternoon shot, as any later and the sun would begin to creep around into the background of the image – something I wanted to avoid.

While the forecast was good, a light layer of high clouds eventually grew over Lofoten. So I’ll likely try for a better version of this image sometime before the end of summer – though maybe an autumn version could also work. But ideally, a nice sunny day maybe with some puffy white clouds in the sky, should have me running back up the mountain.

Camera Info:
Nikon D850
Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8
17mm
ISO 125
f 7.1
1/640 second
WB Daylight

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 #307 – Horseid Summer

Horseid Beach Summer - Friday Photo #307

Photo: Summer evening over Horseid beach, Moskenesøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway. July 17, 2018. 22:55

I don’t like November. The only redemption to this month is northern lights, but so far we’ve just had near constant cloudy skies – even while the forecast says it should be sunny! And today my house is once again shaking in the wind from another storm while icy snow sings a chorus on my windows. The days are now short and the sun is perilously low on the southern horizon. Have I already seen my last sunlight of the year without even know it?

I’m generally trying to keep these Friday photo posts as current as possible with recent conditions or events on the islands. But other than 3 nights of northern lights, I haven’t taken a single photo for a month. Though much of the blame for that is me starting to surf again – so rather than go out and hike in crappy grey weather, I might as well be in the water catching some waves. I did just order myself a GoPro, so perhaps some water photos will start showing up here soon.

So, with nothing immediately relevant to post this week (nor the following weeks either), I thought a nice memory from summer would work. I think I’ve already written (I forget when) that this was a relatively boring summer in terms of light. June mostly sucked and rained, July got hot and hazy for 3 weeks, then it began to rain again in August, and more or less hasn’t stopped since then.

This day was one of the hotter days of summer and we sweated our way up the trail-less peak under a scorching sun. Normally I try and avoid the hot days for summit camping as I have to carry too much water – and it’s not like there’s much shade to be found either!

Eventually as the sun sank low on the horizon a bit of nice warm light fell over the landscape, but still a cloudless sky.

It seemed like too much effort to set up a tent, and it would have been way too hot inside anyhow! So I opted just to bivy outside – finding a rock to at least shade my face. But it was so hot that I couldn’t really be inside my sleeping bag! Soon however, a strong wind began to blow across the summit, so it wasn’t nice to be outside the sleeping bag either! I had originally planned for a second night down on the beach, but when thinking of sitting in the sun for the next 36 or so hours, I decided against it. So after a sleepless night I headed down to catch the 07:00 ferry. A good decision, as that afternoon it hit 29.9˚C on Lofoten – way too hot!

Camera Info:
Nikon D850
Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8
14mm
ISO 100
f 8
1/60 second
WB Daylight

Friday Photo #297- Summer Sunset

Mountain Sunset - Friday Photo #297

Photo: Summer sunset over the mountains of Moskenesøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway. July 31, 2018. 23:11

I am somewhat unsure of what to write about this week. I have spent the previous week down south in Germany – while Lofoten enjoyed nearly every night of northern lights in my absents. For my return journey home, I ran into the frustration of the winter schedule of public transport here, and thought I might write about that – when the ferry to Moskenes arrives 3 hours after the last bus leaves, etc…

And yet on Tuesday morning as I awoke at 06:00 to catch the S-Bahn to Schönefeld airport in Berlin, I took a quick look at Lofotposten. Where I saw there had been a helicopter rescue on Reinebringen – A group of people had crossed the barriers Monday evening, in their selfish pursuit of Lofoten’s most photographed mountain view. Well, one of them got hurt, and had to be rescued by helicopter… Reinebringen, the most desired of Lofoten’s mountains on social media. A mountain that has been loved to death and which is now closed, so a new trail can be built for the next summer of uninspired masses wishing to hike the same mountain as 10,000’s of others. Although I’m beginning to believe this is a good thing, that everyone goes to the same place, so then I can have the rest of Lofoten, and even better views than Reinebringen, mostly to myself even in the height of summer.

And so I though about writing a long rant about the changing nature of tourism, and the influence of social media sending people to check of their bucket list items, without giving a shit for their impact on the local environment, much less the people who will have to come rescue them when they do something stupid like getting injured on a closed hiking trail. I try to remain an optimist in life, but some people truly make it difficult!

But instead, here is a pretty sunset photo from a nice summer evening in late July. This was something of a bipolar summer this year: Either cold, grey and raining, or hot and cloudless. Colorful sunsets seemed to be few and far between. Either a grey ending to the day or bland sunset into a hazy blue sky.

This night was one of the few exceptions. With a group of friends, we sweated our way up to Lilandstind on Moskenesøy. The weather didn’t look too promising actually, and I thought we’d just have another hazy evening. But as the sun neared the horizon, the sky lit on fire! There were many better peaks to be at during this night, but it was still nothing to complain about. Finally a nice sunset! And then the rains of August began…

Camera Info:
Nikon D850
Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8
14mm
ISO 80
f 10
1/15 second
WB Daylight

Friday Photo #295 – Aurora Season Begins

August Aurora - Friday Photo #295

Photo: Return of the northern lights season, Flakstadøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway. August 27, 2018. 23:49

The northern lights are back over Lofoten! This image is actually from my second sighting, but conditions were a bit better this night. The previous night they were visible as well, but the sky was fairly cloudy and the aurora weren’t in the most photogenic location from the beach.

The sky is still not fully dark, but a solar storm brought high aurora activity over the north. Luckily, this coincided with a rare clear night in the last month, so more or less perfect timing for the first couple nights of aurora for the 2018/2019 aurora season. With the sky still relatively light, the aurora was faint, but still visible to the eye and still moving quite a bit. Had this show occurred only a few weeks later, then it would have been a fantastic night! But there are still 7 months ahead of northern lights here in the north, so I’m sure I’ll grow spoiled by April. For now though, It’s nice to see a return of the green dancing sky in this transition between summer and autumn.

I often get questions and sometimes read the false statement that northern lights are only a winter phenomenon. They are not! In reality, the aurora occur all year long. But during summer, it’s just not dark enough to see them. Only during these last days of August does the sky finally grow dark enough for the northern lights to overpower the summer twilight. But for the next weeks still, only strong aurora will be visible, as the northern horizon still glows throughout the night. Soon though, the night will be dark, and all aurora will be visible.

Camera Info:
Nikon D850
Sigma 14mm f/1.8
14mm
ISO 400
f 2
2.5 seconds
WB Daylight