New Mountain Hiking Page – Hermannsdalstind – Moskenesoy

A new mountain hiking page is now online for Hermannsdalstinden, located on Moskenesoy.


Hermannsdalstinden is a spectacular mountain, and the only peak above 1000 meters in the western half of Lofoten.  While it is a long day hike, and overnight trip makes for a rewarding journey deep into the heart of Lofoten’s mountain landscape.  And the stunning views from the summit, Perhaps now my favorite of Lofoten.


Friday Photo #42 – Kvalvika Beach Aurora

Northern Lights Kvalvika Beach Lofoten
Photo: Aurora over Kvalvika beach campsite, Moskenesøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway.  Aug 30, 2013. 22:54

As August (and summer) comes to an end the Arctic sky finally begins to darken enough for the Aurora to return from their summer Holidays.  Well, they’ve been in the sky all along, but it was never dark enough for them to shine.  This year, might first sighting of the Northern Lights was on August 21st, Though they were quite faint against the twilight night.  The night of this image, August 30, the sky was significantly dark and the Aurora strong enough for a decent image to be made.

This is also an image that I nearly missed, as a few hours earlier I had sprained my ankle while coming down from sunset up on Ryten, and was thus is a fair amount of pain and without the ability to move much.  But as soon as I saw the Aurora, I left the warmth of the campfire and did my best to hobble and crawl around the ground to get myself in position.  And with the fairly dark foreground of the campsite, and the Aurora high overhead, I needed to keep my camera quite low to the ground to capture more of the sky.  Thus I would probably would have ended up laying on the ground anyhow, sprained ankle or not.

The Aurora only lasted for a few moments and then disappeared as quickly as it arrived.  But due to the high cliffs surrounding Kvalvika beach, it is probably not the best location for Aurora watching anyhow, most of the lower horizon is hidden from view.  Had I still been up on Ryten, it probably would have turned out to be quite a nice display.

Camera Info:
Nikon D800
Nikon 16-35mm f/4
ISO 800
f 5
10 seconds
WB Daylight

Helvetestinden – New Hiking Route Page

The first new hiking route from my August Lofoten trip is for the mountain peak Helvetestind, Located on Moskenesoy.

-CLICK HERE- to checkout the hike.

This was the fist hike of my trip, traveling non stop for nearly 40 hours from California until I reached the summit on a sunny summer afternoon.  I couldn’t have asked for better weather, and despite my exhaustion, I was glad to be up there.  I hope you enjoy it.  And plenty more mountains to come over the next weeks…

Kjerkfjord from Helvetestind, Lofoten Islands, Norway

Photo: View towards village of Kjerkfjord from near summit of Helvetestind, Moskenesoy, Lofoten Islands, Norway

Friday Photo #41 – Eggum Nights

Night image of crack in frozen lake Nedre Heimdalsvatnet, Eggum, Lofoten Islands, Norway

Photo: Winter night on Nedre Heimredalsvatnet, Eggum, Vestvågøya, Lofoten Islands, Norway.  Feb 2, 2012.  17:38

With a near full moon and calm winds, five-o-clock is too early to go to be, even in February on Lofoten.  Parked at Eggum for the night, I wandered off for a bit of exploring.

Growing up in California, I’m not sure I even stood upon a frozen lake until my time in Germany five years ago.  But with the low snow levels upon my arrival at the beginning of February, frozen lakes were about the only thing of interest.  I wandered out into a shallow section of the frozen lake, making sure I could always see the bottom in case I happened to fall though; I figured as long as I could still stand up, it wasn’t too likely that I would die.

Several cracks formed interesting features on the surface of the lake, and so I used these as a foreground subject, lit by moonlight.  It was a bit eerie, to stand there alone in the darkness, the ice creaking and cracking as the temperatures dropped, occasionally echoing a loud ‘boom’ through the mountains.  I did my best to remain still and not fall over, often having to use my extended tripod as a bit of walking stick.  A few days later, while on a different part of the lake, as I was putting my camera away, winds blew my tripod towards the center of the lake.  It was a scary few minutes trying to get it back!

Camera Info:
Nikon D700
Nikon 16-35mm f/4
ISO 320
f 7.1
152 seconds
WB Daylight

New Mountain Hikes Coming Soon and Other Updates

Lofoten Islands Norway Hermannsdalstinden campingPhoto: Moonlight bivy on the summit of Hermannsdalstind, Moskenesøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway.  August 2013

My Lofoten travels are now over for the year and I’m back to civilization and ready to get some updates added to the site over the next few months.  I’ll be writing more specifics later on about some events of my trip, but for those of you that follow me on Facebook or elsewhere, you know that things didn’t quite go according to plan and I ended up spending several weeks unable to take photos: first time due to a sprained ankle, second time due to a drowned camera in Sweden, which took two weeks to receive a replacement.

Problems aside, I did manage some of my goals and had some good days out in the mountains.  New mountain hiking routes to look forward to over the next months are:

Helvetestind – A small peak with wonderful views down to Bunes beach
Hermannsdalstind – The highest mountain on Moskenesøy
Grytdalstind – A somewhat obscure and seldom climbed peak near Unstad
Holandsmelen – A easy hike near Leknes with some nice views to Vik and Haukland beaches
Kroktind (707m) – A wonderful hike through varied terrain to a pinpoint summit

I had a beautiful sunrise at Bunes beach which was followed by blasting rain and wind while at Horseid beach later that day.

I was again on Ryten, where I sprained my ankle on the way down during a lapse of concentration while observing the light, just meters away from the beach.  This led to a painful hike out from Kvalvika the following day and more or less kept me out of the mountains for the rest of the August trip.

While back again in September I spent another night on Reinebringen, hoping for Northern Lights which only slightly appeared at midnight.  I was unfortunately one night off from the previous nights spectacular display.  So it goes.

While there were some absolutely brilliant days in late August, the general trend was rain from Monday – Friday, with things clearing up enough on the weekends for a night of two in the mountains.

September proved to be a repeat of last year: largely calm and sunny, day after day.  Unfortunately I was without a camera for all but the last 6 days before I left, which was a rather painful situation for me.  But once I was back in action, I was productive as hell and made the best of it until my knees begged for mercy.

While there were ample clear nights, the Northern Lights were often elusive and I only photographed them on 2 occasions.  They seemed more likely to appear on the nights where Lofoten was covered in cloud and I could only look online of the beautiful pictures taken elsewhere in Norway or Sweden.

That’s it for now, time for me to get some images processed and stories written.  I’ll do my best to get a new mountain page up per week, but it might be a bit of a struggle as I have to bring my other website back to life as well.  So maybe every other week will be the best I can manage.


Friday Photo #40 – Vatterfjordpollen Winter

Ice forms on Vatterfjordpollen, Austvågøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway

Photo: Ice forms on Vatterfjordpollen, Austvågøya, Lofoten Islands, Norway.  Feb 15, 2013.  16:12

As the last light faded from the short February day I found myself passing Vatterfjordpollen on the way back towards Svolvær and in search for a car-bivy spot for the night.  I was actually thinking of maybe checking out the Lofoten meeting of the Norwegian Alpine Club, but the hotel looked a bit to posh for me, as so I passed on by.

When the temperature is sufficiently cold, some of the tidal fjords will begin to freeze.  Sometimes this creates something interesting and sometimes not.  The days thus far in the heavy overcast sky had mostly been a waste.  Another ‘weather’ day for Lofoten.  But in the darkening sky I wandered down to the fjord’s edge.

By far from my best image from the trip, in those first days on the islands I’m always anxious to take a picture of something, anything.  And as I drive in circles and see the needle on the gas tank fall, knowing next time I pull up to the gas station I’m going to blow through $100+, that desperation grows even further.  Sometimes I don’t have the patience to park in one place and read the day away, even though I know I should.

Camera Info:
Nikon D800
Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8
ISO 100
f 134
.5 seconds
WB Daylight

Friday Photo #39 – Himmeltindan Views

View over Flakstadøy from summit of Himmeltind, Vestvågøya, Lofoten Islands, Norway

Photo: From the Summit of Himmeltindan, Vestvågøya, Lofoten Islands, Norway.  Oct 2, 2012.  14:38

I usually try and save my mountains for when the light is good.  No point in carrying a heavy backpack several thousand vertical feet only to have shit light.  But as the days of Autumn progressed, I seemed to have had some bad timing.  A few days previously, clouds decided to form over Skottind just as I arrived at the summit, and of course they cleared as soon as I was halfway down again.  Now a couple days into October, another unusually mild Autumn day presented itself.  And so I departed Stamsund under nice blue skies and a bright sun, not entirely sure where I was headed, but up something for sure.

As I parked my car at Haukland beach, I could see some high cloud appearing on the horizon and heading in my direction.  Headphones in and some good music blasting out of the Ipod, I set myself a frantic pace as I hit the trail.  I quickly overheated and had to strip down to only a t-shirt, in October!  Higher and higher I ascended, lungs and legs burning while to clouds grew ever nearer to the Autumn sun.

I lost.  By the time reached the 931 meter south summit, barely over an hour after leaving the car, at sea level, the clouds had arrived and the light grew flat.  I met a few soldiers at the top, lucky them, they got to take the elevator inside the mountain.  I half joked if I could catch a ride down and was given a stern ‘No, that won’t be possible.’  I already knew as much, but it was worth a try.  Though I was pleasantly informed that since the radar on the higher north summit was down for maintenance, I was allowed to continue on up there.

The wind blew cold and I didn’t waste too much time hanging around.  While flat light covered the islands, there was at least a bit of interesting light in the sky.  Not the ideal image that I imagined, but not a total loss either.  And all the more reason to head back up again…

Camera Info:
Nikon D800
Nikon 85mm f/2.8 tilt-shift
ISO 100
f 8
1/250 sec
WB Daylight