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 #283 – Summer Mood

Cotton Grass - Friday Photo #283

Photo: Cottongrass and evening light, Moskenesøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway. June 12, 2017. 22:58

Cottongrass is a familiar plant in the summer mountains of Lofoten. It´s also a good marker of where not to put a tent!

Wandering around in the hilly landscape of Yttersandheia one June evening, the backlit ´cotton´ with the low evening sun caught my eye. The sky was a bit boring anyhow, and I was having trouble finding a nice composition. So I just decided to lay on the ground and look for something abstract.

Nothing special here, just a nice summer mood…

Camera Info:
Nikon D800
Nikon 70-200mm f/4
200mm
ISO 125
f 5.6
1/500 second
WB Daylight

Friday Photo #282 – June Mountain Snow

June Mountain Snow - Friday Photo #282

Photo: June mountain snow on Munken, Moskenesøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway. June 10, 2016. 21:51

It´s June and the trails of Lofoten will soon be filling up with hikers. And while the coast of Lofoten is green and beginning to fill with flowers, winter is still holding on in the higher mountains of Lofoten, especially in the more inland area. So while many trails will begin to be snow free, particularly anything that follows a ridge or is in close proximity of the sea, snow may still stop access, especially without proper equipment, on some mountains.

Here, looking towards Munken, which rises to nearly 800 meters, there is still significant snow coverage across much of the route. Will this stop you from getting to the top? Possibly. And better to be safe if unsure.

And beyond snow potentially blocking a route, June is an elevated period for rockfall as the mountains begin to thaw and fall apart. It is generally best to avoid any trails which travel under exposed cliffs.

Camera Info:
Nikon D800
Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8
38mm
ISO 100
f 11
1/80 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 #274 – Fuglhuken

Fuglhuken - Friday Photo #274

Photo: Wild camp on Fuglhuken in September’s morning light. Moskenesøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway. September 19, 2017. 06:41

In honor of yesterday’s release of the 2nd edition of my West Lofoten Hikes ebook, I thought I’d post a photo from one of the new hikes I added to the ebook: Fuglhuken – a 557 meter peak on the northeast corner of Moskenesøy.

As September of 2017 had such fantastic weather, I would often head out for just an evening in the mountains. On this particular trip, the forecast called for clear skies by early afternoon, but as I was heading up the trail, heavy clouds were still hanging over the yttersia of Moskenesøy. Eventually in the evening, the sky finally cleared and I had a pretty good show of northern lights to watch.

Dawn arrived clear and cold, with the first signs of that autumn crispness in the air. In my haste the previous day, I had forgotten my thermal long underwear, and as I was still desperately holding on to the last days with my summer sleeping bag, it was a chilly night! The warmth of that morning sunlight was quite welcomed.

Soon however, the light lost it’s warmth and became somewhat dull and flat. So I packed up camp and headed down the mountain, getting back home for breakfast.

Camera Info:
Nikon D800
Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8
48mm
ISO 160
f 10
1/10 second
WB Daylight

Friday Photo #273- Ryten Ski

Friday Photo #273 - Ryten Topptur

Photo: Ski tour till Ryten with Kvalvika in the background, Moskenesøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway. April 2, 2017. 10:27

Between Monday and Friday I made 4 ski tours to the summit of Ryten. The weather was and light pretty dramatic some of the days, not sunny like this photo from last year. I actually wish I had brought my camera, but me skiing and photographing is not a safe combination yet.

Overall though, compared to making a similar amount of trips last year, I’m amazed at the amount of people on the mountain, both skiers and hikers. On Wednesday alone, I probably passed over 40 people on the mountain, and that was just in a 2 hour round trip. Only 3-4 years ago, I don’t think many people visited this mountain in winter at all. So now even in winter, there are issues with parking! And Kvalvika has been even more busy by appearance.

If you are heading out to the mountains of lofoten right now, make sure you are prepared. The Islands have quite a high avalanche risk at the moment: you can check the forecast at www.varsom.no. And fresh snow is falling every day, so all footprints will be erased by morning. And still below the snow, remains a lot of ice.

Camera Info:
Nikon D800
Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8
16mm
ISO 160
f 9
1/500 second
WB Daylight

Friday Photo #269 – Rope

Rope - Friday Photo #269

Photo: Mooring rope coiled on pier, Toppøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway. February 18, 2018. 14:59

If you’ve been following me for a while you’ll have noticed that I normally don’t shoot too many detail type images. However with a busy tour season this winter, I have been returning again and again to the same areas with my guests – areas that I’ve already been to hundreds of times before as well. So unless there is some spectacular light or particularly unique conditions, I’ve more of less shot all the ‘big views’ already.

So sometimes I look for small details to fill in the gaps between the landscapes; stuff which helps tell the story about life on the islands.

I saw this rope on a previous day or two and and made a mental note that it might look more interesting if there was a bit of snow – the was none when I fist saw it. Luckily, a light snow did fall one evening and I rust randomly happened to be back at the location, so I went and took a look. I initially took another composition, with the mountain Olstind in the background and then went away.

It wasn’t until later in the afternoon that I was back again. The snow had been walked on by that point in time, ruining any wider shots. So I decided to go low, and close. Even with my tripod completely flattened out, it was still too high, so I took my camera off and held it on the ground.

I knew I would likely crop this 1:1, so I used my 24mm tilt-shift lens, shifting vertically, to shoot 3 images. I also knew I wanted a shallow depth of field and to focus just on the front coil of rope. Though I did use some other focal points, such as the pole, but this makes the house in the background too sharp and distracting.

[That was a lot of words about a boring rope on a pole…]

Camera Info:
Nikon D810
Nikon 24mm f/3.5 tilt-shift
24mm
ISO 100
f 4
1/80 second
WB Daylight
3 images – top, middle, bottom

Friday Photo #267 – Narvtind

Narvtind Dawn - Friday Photo #267

Photo: Winter dawn over Narvtind, Moskenesøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway. January 23, 2018. 9:39

Sometimes you get lucky. Guiding my first tour of the year in late January, we were actually on our way to a different location when I saw the sky over Narvtind looking like this. So of course I stopped! As a location I have photographed numerous times over the years, it is still a nice scene that can provide some nice light with the right timing.

The light of late January is still quite directional to the south. Which unfortunately, doesn’t actually provide too many compositions for many parts of Lofoten, as the mountains block much of the sun. But a few areas will get some morning light, and this is one of them. But conditions also need to cooperate, with a still wind, so the fjord can have the mountain reflections.

I took a few other compositions this morning, but this still remains the classic view from this location.

Camera Info:
Nikon D810
Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8
70mm
ISO 100
f 11
.3 second
WB Daylight

Friday Photo #266 – Reine

Reine Winter - Friday Photo #266

Photo: Olstind rises above the frozen shoreline, Reine, Moskenesøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway. January 22, 2018. 09:50

It is not often that I take photos in Reine anymore. But occasionally, and usually when I’m guiding a workshop, I’ll come across some nice conditions in which it’s worth pulling out the camera. After several days in the area this january with an annoying south wind keeping the bay reflection-less, conditions finally calmed.

After some decent snow, and then rain which washed much of it away, it was almost completely dry during the 2nd half of January this year. But the dry conditions also brought a freezing cold to Lofoten, and so even without snow, we had ice.

As the tide receded, the frozen sections of the shoreline waters were left to fall and break across the rocks. Without this element as a foreground, I probably wouldn’t have shot this scene – even though the twilight was nice enough itself! But the this layer of ice helps hide what would be, for me, the overly messy rocks and seaweed. I also shot another composition with just Olstind’s reflection in the water, but I like this version better, as it gives a better sense of place to the image.

Camera Info:
Nikon D810
Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8
29mm
ISO 100
f 10
.5 second
WB Daylight