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

Friday Photo #294 – August Rainbow

August Rainbow - Friday Photo #294

Photo: Rainbow over Nappstraumen, Flakstadøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway. August 20, 2018. 18:34

Usually I think of autumn as the season of rainbows here on Lofoten, with the turbulent weather and sun, rain, sun, rain, sun, type weather passing over the islands. But this year, summer seems to have ended with a nice sunset on the last day of July and immediately after, autumn began! To say that August has been rainy and windy would be an understatement.

I’ve barely gone to the mountains much lately, preferring to take up my old childhood activity of surfing in this wet and unpredictable weather. After more than 10 years away from surfing, I’m thoroughly hooked again. To the point that I’m looking at water housings for my camera. But I think they are beyond my budget for some years to come, unfortunately. Really not sure how people afford all this stuff. Perhaps I just need more followers on Instagram like all the cool people who take the same pictures from the same locations? Anyone got a yellow jacket, one of those woven blankets, and a drone I can borrow? Adventure and exploring…

So without bringing the camera out with me much lately, the only photos I seem to take are from by bathroom or office windows. Luckily, the views seem to be better than average lately, so I have a good excuse to be lazy!

Camera Info:
Nikon D850
Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8
55mm
ISO 100
f 10
1/200 second
WB Daylight

Friday Photo #292 – Kvalvika Whale

Kvalvika Whale - Friday Photo #292

Photo: Decaying whale on the shore at Kvalvika beach, Moskenesøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway. August, 4, 2018. 20:18

With a somewhat poor weather forecast yet still looking for a night outside on a misty Saturday night, we made the journey to Kvalvika beach. These days, with the parking lot overflowing and cars parked all along the road – even on a rainy Saturday – Kvalvika is a place I rarely visit in summer anymore. For the time being however, the west side of the beach still can be relatively quite, and there was only one other tent on this night.

Looking for a place to pitch my tent, I noticed the rocks looked a bit strange. Hmm, no, not rocks. A Whale! It looks like it’s been there a while by the decay. The cool air kept the smell to a minimum, but occasional the breeze blew onshore and, well…

The clouds were nice and moody, with occasional spells of rain passing now and again. I wish the whale was separated a bit more from the rocks – other angles worked better for the whale itself, but not the background. I wanted Ryten and Fuglhuken hidden in my shot, with the summits barely emerging from the clouds. So I had to settle with this angle, which makes it a little hard to tell what is going on, unfortunately. I also took some images of just the sea and the mountains, which are stronger compositions overall, but it is not that common that I sea whales washed ashore here, so this was still worth a shot.

Camera Info:
Nikon D850
Nikon 24mm f/3.5 tilt-shift
24mm
ISO 31
f 8
13 seconds
WB Daylight
6 Stop ND filter

Friday Photo #290- Summer Fog

Summer Fog - Friday Photo #290

Photo: Summer fog flows from the north over the mountains of Flakstadøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway. July 12, 2018. 23:35

When the summer wind blows out of the north, the outer side of Lofoten can become concealed in a blanket of fog approaching from the sea. And what might look like a dreary day down below can become almost a dreamlike world up high, above the fog.

The other week we had a few days of fog covering the northern side of the islands – Typically the southern, Vestfjord side, of Lofoten remains fog free and sunny. I decided to head up one of the local mountains near my house to get some sunlight and see what might happen.

Initially the fog was quite low and remind on the north, left, side of the mountains. But as the hours passed, it grew thicker and flowed further inland, until almost all of Vestvågøy was hidden, only the peaks above 500 meters rising into the sunlight. At my location at about 700 meters, I was safe.

With the fog flowing over the mountain pass below me, I knew I wanted to capture something more than a static shot – which looked a little boring, actually. So I used a 10 stop ND filter for an exposure of 30 seconds. I could have gone longer as well, but my phone had died, and I didn’t feel like counting. But 30 seconds was enough to both capture the movement of the fog and to soften it, creating a better separation with the mountains.

Camera Info:
Nikon D850
Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8
27mm
ISO 125
f 10
30 seconds
WB Daylight
10 stop B+W neutral density filter

Friday Photo #289- Summer Sunset

Summer Sunset - Friday Photo #289

Photo: A sun that now sets, Flakstadøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway. July 20, 2018. 00:27

After almost two months circling the sky over Lofoten, the sun is beginning it’s slow journey towards the south. Over the next months, the nights on Lofoten will grow longer by around one hour per week, until the sun sets for the last time in early December and the polar night arrives in the north.

Partially because I was traveling until mid June and also because of so much bad weather, it feels too early for the sun to be leaving! A few more weeks would be nice. But now, for me as a photographer, the wonderful twilight nights begin, during which there is wonderful light to be found! And my headlamp can still stay in the closet for a little while longer.

One of the things that keeps lofoten interesting for me is the constant change. As soon as I’m getting used to a season, it’s gone. To be replaced by something new. And now it is only a short countdown until the aurora season begins! Another type of light in the night!

Camera Info:
Nikon D850
Nikon 70-200mm f/4
200mm
ISO 320
f 5.0
1/400 second
WB Daylight

Friday Photo #288 – Summer Nights

Summer Nights - Friday Photo #288

Photo: Rays of light over Skolmen, Vestvågøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway. June 28, 2018. 03:49

With July almost halfway over the midnight sun will soon be disappearing from Lofoten. And while the Islands lose light by about 1 hour per week until the sun sets for the last time of the year in early December, there is still another month of so before I’ll need to pull out my headlamp. Or, usually it is during a night out in mid August that I notice it’s a bit dark, and then it takes another trip or two before I actually remember to pack a light.

But for the time being, I stay up late and wake up late. The beauty of summer here at the moment is the late nights. And even if I’m lazy, or stuck in front of the computer until the early hours of the morning, I always take a look out the window and see what the light is up to.

This evening had actually been somewhat grey and flat. But as I took a look outside while brushing my teeth, I had to stop and go grab my camera. A couple quick shots out the bathroom window, and then I was off the bed…

Camera Info:
Nikon D850
Nikon 70-20mm f/4
200mm
ISO 100
f 9
1/1600 second
WB Daylight

Friday Photo #287 – Himmeltind Midnight

Himmeltind Midnight - Friday Photo #287

Photo: Midnight sun shines over Uttakleiv beach from summit of Himmeltind, Vestvågøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway. July 3, 2018. 01:12

I’m just back in the door from my first photo tour of the summer where we hiked 5 mountains over 6 days, with one day spent down low due to weather. I must say this was quite lucky, with the summer Lofoten has been having so far this year, as I somehow managed to time the tour with the only week of good weather!

And on this day especially, it was t-shirts and sweat in the evening sun as we made our way up the 931 meters to Himmeltind, the highest mountain on Vestvågøy. Once at the top, the time for waiting began, taking photos every now and again, until the sun was low on the horizon – or, as low as it gets at this time of year.

Eventually a layer of clouds began to fill what had been a nearly cloudless blue sky. And and soon some distant waves of rain began to appear on the horizon. The previous night, a cool sea fog and mountain clouds had arrived over Lofoten after around 02:00. So we stayed up, in hopes of this. But the fog seemed to be approaching at a glacial pace. So once the clocks hit 02:30, we decided to head down. Shortly after a gentle rain began, which turned into a heavy downpour just minutes before reaching my van. Good timing I guess!

Camera Info:
Nikon D850
Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8
35mm
ISO 100
f 11
1/13 second
WB Daylight

Friday Photo #285 – Summer Gloom

Kvalvika Beach - Friday Photo #285

Photo: Misty clouds conceal the summit of Ryten from Kvalvika beach, Moskenesøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway. July 9, 2016. 18:53

Summer 2018 seems to be on hold for the moment. After a dry and cold winter, it now seems we have arrived at a wet and cold summer, with the thermostat struggling to reach even 10˚C most days in June so far and heavy grey clouds hanging over the mountains. Quite a contrast to June last year, which had weeks of warm sunny weather. But that is the nature of the weather up hear – no predictability at all. Some summers are good, others are bad.

Even in bad weather however, there can be a quite beauty to the landscape here. And if you, and your camera, can handle a bit of rain – though I must admit I try and avoid rain as much as possible, I’m Californian after all… – there is still plenty out there to see and experience. And while I would prefer perfect sunny and warm summers, you need to bad days to make the good ones stand out even more.

So if you’re heading up here soon, don’t forget your jacket!

Camera Info:
Nikon D800
Nikon 24mm f/3.5 tilt-shift
24mm
ISO 50
f 16
6 seconds
WB Daylight
6 stop ND filter
2 images – top, bottom

Friday Photo #284 – Gimsøy Summer

Gimsøy Summer - Friday Photo #284

Photo: 01:00 am summer light over Gimsøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway. June 12, 2017. 01:04

I have previously posted an image from this fanstastic June night – Friday Photo ###. That one was looking directly into the sun. This is just a few meters away, looking across the soft pastel light that was falling over the landscape. As much as the northern lights keep me up late in winter, that can involve a bit of suffering at times. In summer, under the midnight sun, it is generally just pure joy. Lofoten really is a land for insomniacs!

While the sun had been shining bright and strong a little while earlier, it eventually sunk into some clouds lower on the horizon. The light was still warm, but now with a gentle softness. Nights like this are why I moved here, and with as many reasons as there are to visit at other times of the year, a warm summer night under the midnight sun is simply wonderful. Something that everyone should experience once.

Camera Info:
Nikon D800
Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8
17mm
ISO 80
f 11
1/6 second
WB Daylight