Friday Photo #56 – End Of Lofoten

View from Å towards end of Lofoten, Moskenesøy, Lofoten islands, Norway

Photo: Winter twilight, Å I Lofoten, Moskenesøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway.  Jan 6, 2010.  15:14

The first day of my January 2010 trip was finally coming to an end as I followed the light to the end of the road at Å I Lofoten.  And from there, proceeded to walk to the edge of the sea where the final glow of the short winter day was still holding onto a bit of life.

This location has become one of my favorite winter sunset spots over the last few years as the between January and early February the sun sets near the end of Lofoten in the distance.  Combined with a multitude of compositions, depending on how good the snow is, or not, it is a location that I usually walk away with something decent from.

Alone, as seemingly at the end of the world, I stayed out here until near darkness, wishing the light would last just a little bit longer.

Camera Info:
Nikon D700
Nikon 24mm f/3.5 tilt-shift
ISO 100
f 11
20 sec
WB Daylight
2 images – top, bottom

Lofoten Islands Winter 2014 Travel Plans

Aurora Borealis - Northern Lights fill sky over Olstind mountain peak and reflect in fjord, Toppøya, Lofoten Islands, Norway

Photo: Northern Lights rise in sky over Olstind, near Hamnøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway.   February 2013

My days here in California are quickly coming to an end.  I had been planning this upcoming trip for a while, but it only seemed like it materialized itself at the last minute; mainly because I had been struggling to accommodate several varied destinations and weather conditions.  One part of this trip will be a bit more adventurous than anything I have attempted in recent years, but logistically, it is proving to be somewhat frustrating, and with only a few days until I leave, I still haven’t figured everything out yet.


For my third February in a row now, I’m heading back north to the Lofoten islands for several weeks of hiding from storms and hunting for Northern Lights.  My journey begins here in California on Thursday, but I won’t reach the islands until Saturday.  Luckily, an old friend is providing a night’s accommodation for me in Bodø, thus allowing me an escape of the ferry waiting room floor, before I make the somewhat unusual choice for me to fly to Leknes instead of taking the ferry.  This is mainly because the ferry schedule didn’t work out very well with my arriving in Bodø on Friday evening.

I will be alone my first week on the islands, though have some rough plans to meet up with a few readers of this site, and I will be sleeping in my rental car.

Next, I will be meeting up with Australian photographer Rod Thomas (+ a couple other Aussies), whom I traveled with on the islands in April/May for a week of photography and northern lights chasing – weather permitting.  I’ve promised to give the boys a good workout and drag them up some mountains…

After they depart, I have a few more days on my own before I need to head east to Sweden for the next part of my journey.


Part 2 of my winter in the north will be a ski tour of the northern section of Sweden’s Kungsleden trail – from Nikkaluokta to Abisko.  I should note that I can barely ski downhill, and have never done any ski touring proper.  Combined with a probably over-heavy backpack of camera gear, this is definitely going to be an adventure for me.

I’m not exactly sure how it will go, but I’m excited!


Assuming I survive the Kungsleden trail in one piece, I’m heading back to Lofoten for another week or so, once again living out of a car.  My second visit on the islands will keep me there until March 9, and be 5 weeks total north of the Arctic Circle for me.  Wow!

After leaving Lofoten, most my time will be spent in Wales before heading back to California in early June.  I doesn’t look like I will make a summer visit to the islands this year, but perhaps I’ll be back in the Autumn.

If any of you are around the islands, feel free to CONTACT ME.

Friday Photo #55 – Agvatnet Winter

Lake Ågvatnet and snow covered mountain landscape, Å I Lofoten, Lofoten islands, Norway

Photo: Lake Ågvatnet in Winter, Å I Lofoten, Moskenesøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway.  Jan 6, 2010.  14:22

Having followed the light from Vestvågøy to the end of the road at Å on this short January day, and the only day I saw the sun on this trip, I was eager to get as much variety as possible.  While waiting for the light to fade a bit more before heading out to the coast for sunset, I wandered over to lake Ågvatnet, sublimely covered in a fresh layer of snow.

I took a few ‘normal’ images, ie. no tilt, but for some reason, the scene wasn’t doing much for me.  I’m not quite sure why, but I think it just felt a little out of balance and with no clear focal point.  Finally, I just decided to throw a full tilt on the lens, open up the f-stop for a shallow depth of field and focus on the pointy mountain in the distance.

This did the trick for me.  Combined with the soft light and fresh snow, this image has a bit more of an etherial feel that I typically shoot.  But I like it for some reason.  And the subtly of the image works well as a desktop background, which I currently use.

Camera Info:
Nikon D700
Nikon 24mm f/3.5 tilt-shift
ISO 200
f 4.8
1/60 sec
WB Daylight
2 images – top, bottom
Full lens tilt

Kroktinden – New Mountain Hiking Guide

Kroktind (707m) mountain peak reflects in small lake, Austvagoy, Lofoten Islands, Norway

Photo: Kroktinden (707m) reflects in small pond, Austvågøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway.

I have just added a new hiking page for the mountain peak Kroktind, located on Austvågøy.

– CLICK HERE – to checkout the guide.

Rugged mountain landscape viewed from summit of Kroktind (707m), Austvagoy, Lofoten Islands, Norway

Photo: View from the summit of Kroktind over rugged mountain peaks towards the distant Vågakellen, Austvågøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway.

Friday Photo #54 – Winter Roads

driving on winter road with snow, Lofoten Islands, Norway

Photo: Heading to Haukland beach on winter roads, Vestvågøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway.  Feb 6, 2012.  8:57

This week’s photo is more for illustrative purposes than of something scenic.  With more and more people planning on visiting the islands in winter, it can be a bit of a shock to drive on the roads for the first time, especially if you are like me, and grew up in a temperate climate.

While my experience on the European continent is that they tend to keep roads snow free in winter, either by plow or grit, in Lofoten, this is not overly practical.  In big storms, the roads are cleared of deep snow and snow drifts, but overall, there always remains a layer of snow and ice covering any asphalt.   To deal with these conditions, the Norwegians (and Swedes) utilize studded tires from November to April.

While not like driving on dry asphalt, the studded tires work amazingly well.  In my estimate, I would say they retain about 70% the traction level of normal tires on dry conditions.  For road conditions like in this photo, you can more or less drive normally (but be weary on sharp turns).

Where driving conditions become dangerous is when the temperatures warm to 2-6 degrees above freezing and it begins to rain.  This turns all the hard, compacted snow of the roads into a layer of wet ice.  Scary and slippery!  The road plows are good at dealing with this and will have the main roads gritted and ice free within a few hours.  But I would suggest minimizing your driving during this period if possible.  I have gotten stuck a few times where I pulled down into an icy parking area and was unable to drive back out without considerable effort on my part to clear away enough ice to get a bit of momentum built up.

Camera Info:
Nikon D700
Nikon 16-35mm f/4
ISO 200
f 57.1
1/30 sec
WB Daylight

Friday Photo #53 – Summer Clouds

Stormy sky over Selfjord and mountains of Lofoten Islands, Norway

Photo: Ominous clouds fill the sky as I make my way towards Kvalvika beach, Moskenesøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway.  July 22, 2006.  19:24

I’m digging pretty deep into the archives for this one, mainly because Kvalvika beach has been on my mind a bit lately as I’m trying to come up with some plans for February, and this image is from my first ever camping trip to Kvalvika in the Summer of 2006.

It was early evening when my friends dropped me off at the trailhead for Kvalvika beach.  The clouds thus far in the day had been dramatic but the rain had held off so far.  Leaving the car and looking around, I was not quite sure what I was getting myself into.  I gave thoughts just to heading back to Stamsund, but I had already mentally committed myself to a couple nights camping at the beach, so I continued on with my plans.

A little ways up the trail I turned around for one last look over the fjord, this is the sight my vision brought.  I will admit to being slightly scared and worried if my tent would survive the night.  I have never seen a sky like this again in Lofoten.

By the time I began my descent to the beach a light rain was falling.  I managed to set my tent up among the grazing sheep of summer before the torrential rain began, and that it did.  Continuing more or less unbroken for the next two days until I packed my wet tent up and began the hike back over the hill.

Camera Info:
Nikon D200
Nikon 18-70mm f/3.5
ISO 100
f 5.6
1/200 sec
WB Daylight

Friday Photo #52 – Haukland Beach Winter

Block of ice on frozen Haukland beach in winter, Vestvagøy, Lofoten islands, Norway

Photo: January dawn on Haukland beach, Vestvågøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway.  January 6, 2010.  09:49

Some time ago I posted a photo from this morning at Haukland beach, but as I’m now less than one month away from returning to the islands, it’s time for more winter images to inspire me.  Even now, looking back four years later, it still remains one of my most memorable days on the islands and is partly what saw me start this website in the first place and begin to look at Lofoten with a different set of eyes.

After having spent a stormy night at Utakleiv attempting the sleep in the cramped back seat of my all-too-small rental car, Haukland beach was the first scene I came across for the day.  I was not in a rush to get anywhere in particular, but I was in a rush to get as much variety out of the 4 hour day as possible.  I was also still cold from the night, only having a 0˚ sleeping bag with me, as the temperature dropped to -10˚ or so, and the car had yet to properly warm me up in the short drive from Utakleiv.  With already cold feet, I crunched my way across the snow covered sand and down towards the beach.

When I caught sight of this small chunk of ice on the frozen beach, I knew I had found something special.  While Lofoten is cold, there is not often ice on the beaches such as this.  But thanks to the cold temperatures and the small creek that runs into the sea at Haukland, a frozen piece of creek ice must have washed back onto the beach at high tide, and then a light layer of snow fell overnight to complete the scene.  I have attempted to find a scene like this in my last several winter visits, but have never been so lucky again.

The only thing that distracts me is the otter tracks across the middle of the image, I guess he was up before me.  But overall, this is still one of my favorite images from the islands.

Camera Info:
Nikon D700
Nikon 24mm f/3.5
ISO 200
f 16
8 seconds
WB Daylight
2 images – top/bottom


Well, I’ve reached image number 52, a whole year of weekly Lofoten Images.  Good thing I still have about 900 images left in my archive to keep things going.  But at the moment, I’m not too sure if I’m going to continue posting weekly photos.  I initially started when there wasn’t all that much content here on the site, so I was just hoping to fill things in a bit.  And in all honesty, I haven’t received much feedback for my efforts during the last year, so I’m kind of questioning whether it’s worth my time to continue.

So now your chance to chime in.  If you find the information or stories useful on this Friday Photo series, maybe make a comment letting me know.  If it’s just been a waste of time, you can let me know that as well. 🙂

Happy 2014!  For those of us heading north in the next months, lets hope the mountains are full of snow and the skies full of Auroras.  And if you see some guy in a ugly blue jacket wandering around, come say hello. (I also accept invitations to hot tea and use of an oven to cook a frozen pizza for dinner in.)