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 #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 #324 – Horseid Beach Winter

Photo: Winter view over Horseid beach, Moskenesøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway. March 16, 2019. 16:14

Though Wednesday was the first official day of spring, Lofoten is still a long way from thawing out – or I should say, any more so that the normal winter temperature swings which can bring rain anytime. And with my winter photo season pretty much over for the season I can begin to focus on some winter mountain adventures over the next weeks.

The first trip from last weekend was a long coveted winter view over Horseid beach. I joined some friends from Lofoten Fjellsport group for a ski trip up to Branntuva. I was a bit worried the snow would be too thin, but it turned out to be some of the best snow I’ve ever skied on Lofoten, especially the descent from Fageråskaret pass. Such nice turns! Though unfortunately, the length of the trip and an unfortunately late start meant that this was mostly done by headlamp.

This would have been a good night to camp and the sky filled with northern lights later in the evening. But being avalanche terrain, it would not have been safe for me to return alone.

It turned out to be a long day, around 9.5 hours and 13km round trip. I’m not quite back in mountain shape yet after 2 months of photo guiding, so I was a bit wrecked to Sunday to enjoy the fantastic weather, a coffee and cinnamon bun was all I had the energy for. This weekend a series of storms are sweeping across the islands, so it will be indoor weather.

Camera Info:
Nikon D850
Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8
20mm
ISO 100
f 6.3
1/320 second
WB Daylight

Friday Photo #323 – Sakrisøy Winter

Photo: Winter blue hour overlooking Sakrisøy, Moskenesøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway. February 2, 2019

Sometimes there is nothing nicer the fresh snow on a cold winter morning. I don’t know how many times I’ve stood on this hill over the years, but a lot, and still, on mornings like this it’s worthing setting up the tripod for a few photos. In the early blue hour, sometimes it looks as if the mountains are glowing from within.

I actually found myself shooting quite a lot this winter workshop season. Perhaps it was because Lofoten had so much snow for a while, something which has largely been missing in recent years, or perhaps because there was also some quite interesting light and weather in familiar places that I’ve almost grown bored of seeing. Either way, I’ll have a lot of photos to edit during the next months.

For now thought, my photo tour season is over for this winter – though lofoten is still quite busy, there’s even a group walking around outside my house as I type. So my focus will mostly turn to the mountains for the next month until winter finally begins to thaw itself out in the short nights of April. And only 1 more month for aurora’s, so still need to keep an eye on the night sky, though I must say, I’ve been a bit spoiled this season, so it needs to be something big to draw me out of the house…

Camera Info:
Nikon D850
Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8
21mm
ISO 100
f 8
6 seconds
WB Daylight

Friday Photo #322 – Southern Storms

Photo: Waves crash over shoreline of Hamnøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway. February 26, 2019. 17:48

Only a month after January’s snowmegeddon buried Lofoten under 1+ meters of snow in a single day, a week of rain in the end of February has more of less washed it all away. Winter is a narrow balance here on Lofoten, and a change in wind can be the difference between nice skiing or muddy hikes during the winter months. And while all the snow of January was impressive, it was a bit optimistic to think that it would remain the whole winter. So here in west Lofoten, we’re waiting for the next big snowfall before we can put on the skis again!

Sometimes I find it frustrating, that winter is not always white and cold here. But that is the price we pay on Lofoten to have such mild weather for our northern latitude; the islands warmed by the gulf stream. But still, the locals like to talk about the old days, when the islands were buried in snow. January was perhaps my first experience of this, but it didn’t last.

So late February’s rain melted away January’s snow. A normal cycle here these days: cold, warm, cold, warm. A gentle balance. And yet, it is unfortunately impossible to predict what will come from year to year. What will next year bring? Nobody knows…

Camera Info:
Nikon D850
Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8
17mm
ISO 320
f 4.5
1.3 seconds
WB Daylight

Friday Photo #320 – Photo Season

Photo: February dawn over Reine from Olenilsøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway. February 20, 2019. 08:11

Photo: A small selection of the 30 or so tripods waiting for dawn on Olenilsøy Wednesday morning, Lofoten Islands, Norway. February 20, 2049. 07:54

It is the photography high season here on Lofoten and I must say that I’m both sad and disappointed in what I have seen occurring here over the last weeks. The sheer amount of disrespect, arrogance, and poor behaviour from the visiting photography community is staggering! – both from organised photo tours and small friend groups. People standing in the middle of roads – or worse yet, letting their small children play around unsupervised while heavy trucks full of fish attempt to drive by, parking in marked passing places on single lane roads, parking on the E10 near blind hills or turns, groups of cars parking on, and blocking, private driveways for the closest access to a photo location, and generally high amounts of trespassing on private property- mostly due to some popular Instagram photos. It is out of control in west Lofoten, and it is only a matter of time before a reaction to such behaviour occurs, which will affect all of us who wish to continue to photograph these beautiful islands.

Lofoten is not a photographers playground. And just because you’ve spent a lot of money on camera gear doesn’t mean you can act like an ass! People live here, work here, drive their kids to school, and generally try to go about their daily lives. Years ago, when there were a few photographers visiting in the winter, perhaps it was ok to make a quick stop along the side of the road for a photo or two. But now that there are Hundreds or thousands of photographers here on any given day, we must all be aware of the impact we are making. What once was possible no longer is, unfortunately. That is the problem with too many people, anywhere in the world. Lofoten is being photographed to death. And I don’t want to see that happen to the place I have decided to call home!

But unfortunately I think the concept of ‘respect’ is a losing battle. 99% of people here will just go home after they’ve taken their photos and probably never return, without a care of what impact has been made. I can barely count the number of times in the last weeks I’ve told people not to park in the middle of the road, only to receive the response of, ‘yes, ok, thanks…’ as the person walks away from their car parked in the middle of the road to go take their photos. I’m half tempted to quit photography and start a towing company – I would make a far better living these days…

So I ask, those of you who might read these words. Please be respectful of these islands and the people who live here. The land here is beautiful, yes, but it is a small community on the edge of the world. We are trying to cope with the new visitors, but things take time.

Camera Info:
Nikon D850
Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8
62mm
ISO 100
f 10
1/13 second
WB Daylight

Friday Photo #318 – Reine Dawn

Photo: Winter dawn over Olstinden, Reine, Moskenesøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway. January 21, 2019. 11:34

I’m now underway with my second photo workshop (of 6) for the winter season. In my personal photography I’ve almost completely giving up on shooting the popular viewpoints, but while guiding I can spend a lot of time in the old familiar views. And sometimes after all these hours and years of being there I still get lucky with some nice light!

This was from the second morning of the last workshop. We had already been out for a while and the light had been amazing the whole morning. So it was just about time to head to my favourite cafe in Reine, Bringen Kaffebar, and have my daily cappuccino and cake when the light began shift a little and the sun rounded the mountains.

10 minutes earlier the whole face of Olstind had been illuminated and I was just taking some normal shot. Then I decided to throw on a Neutral Density filter and go for a couple long exposures before packing things in and hiking up the hill. This was one of those ‘just one more shot…’ moments. But I don’t even thing I realised how cool the lighting was until I got home and saw it on the computer.

I think this could perhaps be a new favourite Olstind shot of mine…

Camera Info:
Nikon D850
Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8
35mm
ISO 31
f 13
112 seconds
WB Daylight
10 stop ND filter