Friday Photo #81 – Ryten And Kvalvika

hiker enjoying view of Kvalvika beach from near summit of Ryten, Moskenesoy, Lofoten Islands, Norway

Photo: Evening light over Kvalvika beach from Ryten, Moskenesøy, Lofoten Islands, Noway.  August  30, 2013.  19:53

I think the view from Ryten down to Kvalvika beach is perhaps one of the most spectacular scenes on Lofoten.  I know Reinebringen gets a little more press, mainly because it’s easier to get to, thus climbed more often, but the view from Ryten definitely holds its own in my opinion.

Having been up the mountain a few times now, I’m always left with the dilemma of how early to begin hiking.  I like to catch the afternoon/evening (depending on time of year) sun shining into Kvalvika bay (whale bay bay for you Norwegians 😉 ), yet I also like to try and remain on the summit for sunset.  Unfortunately, these events can be rather far apart, and usually involve a long, cold wait between the two.

This afternoon was one of those cold, windy days.  While the photo and light might look somewhat peaceful, a harsh, bitter wind was raking across the summit.  My partner is sitting down because it was quite possible for her to safely stand!  I could barely focus the image as my eyes were watering up so much every time I looked through the view finder.  And it’s a near miracle I managed any sharp images.

Despite the wind, the light was so nice.  I wanted to remain until sunset, but it was obvious I wouldn’t get any sharp images once I needed longer shutter speeds as my tripod blew over a few times (without my camera) which is never a good sign…

Camera Info:
Nikon D800
Nikon 24-70mm f/2,8
ISO 250
f 7.1
1/200 second
WB Daylight

Friday Photo #80 – Bunes Beach From Helvetestinden

Bunes beach as viewed from Helvetestinden, Moskenesoy, Lofoten Islands, Norway

Photo: Bunes beach from Helvetestind, Moskenesøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway.  August 15, 2013.  11:54

Helvetestind is one of those mountains I got to know from the ground before the summit.  A massive, solid piece of granite, it rises nearly vertical from the vast sands of Bunes beach to a narrow summit some 600 meters above.  From sea of summit, the mountain is something to look at, or from.  But now having stood on top, the view from up here is much better!

My journey to the summit was a long one, have been traveling non-stop since I walk out my door in California some 38-40 hours before.  In my usual style for heading to Lofoten, I like to leave my schedule as open as possible once I arrive on the islands as you never know what the weather will do.  Rain usually means I go and hide in Stamsund, while sun means sleep might still be some hours away as I journey strait into the mountains.

For some strange reason, the islands greeted me with sun.  And not just normal sun, but a day with some fantastic puffy white clouds gently floating against a background of blue.  I shot a few time-lapse sequences this day, which may or may not ever be put to use (I need a new computer first).

I set up camp lower down on the ridge, thinking the summit would be a bit too exposed if the weather turned, though maybe I will try it out next time.  Though I did hike back towards the summit at dusk, it was somewhat dull and uneventful, so I didn’t miss too much being lower down.

Camera Info:
Nikon D800
Nikon 16-35mm f/4
ISO 250
f 9
1/800 second
WB Daylight

Lofoten Images in 2015 Geo Saison Calendar Germany

Northern Lights fill sky above mountains of Lofoten Islands, Norway

Photo: Northern Lights over Stamsund, Vestvågøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway.  October 2011

For any of you guys in the German speaking countries, a couple of my Lofoten Islands photos are in the GEO ‘Im Licht des Nordens‘ 2015 calendar.

The first image is on the cover, a photo of the northern lights I took in October 2011.  It was my last night of a two week autumn trip to Lofoten.  Thus far, the sky had been quiet, not a hind of northern lights to be found.  Though 2011 was a turbulent autumn, so there often wasn’t much night sky to be seen.  But finally with one night left the weather calmed and the sky remained clear.  I could sense that auroras would appear.  The islands’ final gift to me; making sure I didn’t leave empty handed.  They lights were somewhat late to arrive, but when they did, wow!  I stayed on shore to photograph while Roar took the others out on the boat to gaze at the sky from the calm waters of the Vestfjord.  This was the best aurora I had seen up to that point.

The second image from from the summit of Offersøykammen.  Frustrated with my efforts for the day thus far, I decided just to hike up the small mountain and wait for sunset.  With about 40-50 minutes remaining before sunset, a layer of cloud began to develop over the summit of the mountain.  The cloud thickened, but before I was lost in a total whiteout I was given about 15 minutes of beautiful light.  I never saw the sunset, and as I descended the mountain and could see again I discovered that I hiked up the only mountain covered in cloud.  Though I think it worked out for the best in the end…

So, if you’re in Germany/Austria/Swiss and want to purchase the calendar, you can do so here: Geo Saison – Im Licht des Nordens

Geo saison calendar 2015


Geo saison calendar 2015


View over Nappstraumen from summit of Offersøykammen, Vestvågøya, Lofoten Islands, Norway

Photo: Autumn light over Offersøykammen, Vestvågøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway.  October 2012

Friday Photo #79 – Hermannsdalstind Storm

Dramatic clouds over summit of Hermannsdalstinden, Moskenesoy, Lofoten Islands, Norway

Photo: Darkening sky over Hermannsdalstind, Moskenesøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway.  Aug 24, 2013.  08:46

After having spent the night out in the open on the summit of Hermannsdalstind, the highest mountain in the western half of Lofoten, I was unsure of how my day would continue.  Since I had arrived rather late in the afternoon on the previous day, I figured the best plan would be to wait around on the summit for a few hours and see what the light would do.

Within a couple hour of sunrise, still quite early in the morning, being summer and all, I noticed an ominous cloud beginning to form over one of the nearby peaks.  One of those clouds that in the mountains means ‘something is coming.’  The winds had slowing been increasing over the course of the morning as well, so I took these as signs that I shouldn’t wait around too long.

As I began to descend a thin wisp of clouds began to swirl over the summit.  Further down the mountain the sky became ominously dark and I was wondering if I’d be able to get to Munkebu hut, where I was planning to camp for the night, before rain began to fall.

With the sun nearly concealed behind the clouds I stopped to take a few last photos of the mountain before the day’s light was gone.  Soon after the summit was hidden and the already cool day grew colder.  I passed a few groups making their way up the mountain, bad timing.  I was glad to be going down!

Camera Info:
Nikon D800
Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8
ISO 320
f 10
1/320 seconds
WB Daylight

Friday Photo #78 – Ice Puzzle

Frozen sea ice along winter coastline, near Nedredal, Vestvågøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway

Photo:  Ice puzzle, Nedredal, Vestvågøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway.  February 7, 2014.  15:23

Despite the cold temperatures and traces of snow on the higher mountain peaks, Winter in the low grounds was particularly difficult to find this year (2014).  With barely any snow to speak of, I was left looking for other ways to show that it was February and not May on Lofoten.

The southern road, 815, on the Vestfjord side of Vestvågøy is a seldom photographed area of the islands, but a location that often provides a variety of compositions in changeable light.  Or in the case of Winter, the low, boggy sections of coastline where fresh and salt water meet tend to freeze and break apart after a sufficient period of cold.

The result can be a scenic coastal landscape covered in puzzle-like sheets of ice.  Exposed to the southwardly setting sun, what looked like a promising sunset unfortunately faded away into Winter’s usual combination of a deep blue-gray color as the last light faded from the sky.  But I still like the abstract and complex, yet simple, composition of the image.

Camera Info:
Nikon D800
Nikon 24mm f/3.5 tilt-shift
ISO 100
f 13
.3 seconds
WB Daylight
2 images – top, bottom

Lofoten – Norway Travel Plans – Summer/Autumn 2014

Rainbow at Sunrise over mountains from Bunes Beach, Moskenesoy, Lofoten Islands, Norway

Photo: Sunrise rainbow at Bunes beach, Moskenesøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway.  August 2013

A couple days ago I booked two sets of plane tickets for Norway!  As many times as I’ve been to Lofoten now, I still get excited once I commit to a plan and get things rolling.  Only seven weeks of waiting left – well, I’ll hopefully keep quite busy at work to be able to pay for it all.  If not, I’ll be selling off some gear that doesn’t see much use anymore.

I was actually getting a little stressed, as I waited a little too long and prices were getting expensive!  But for some reason I remembered that Norwegian Airlines now has a Los Angeles – Oslo flight (direct).  Checking prices, it was about 1/2 price of anything else I could find (as I write this today, July 2rd, you can fly LA – Oslo (via Stockholm) on September 10th for $347 one way. Some cheaper prices if you go out a few more months).  Even more so in that I need to fly to Norway, but return home from the UK – which they also have London-Gatwick – LA direct as well.

I’ve flown with Norwegian plenty of times on inter-Europe trips to Norway, but haven’t ever taken one of their long haul flights before.  Knowing they are a bit ‘spartan,’ (ie: you need to pay for anything extra, even food) I’m not 100% sure what to expect, but for the price, I think I’ll be happy.  And hell, even half the United flights I seem to end up on don’t even have personal TV screens.  It worked out as the most convenient connection to get me to Tromsø anyhow.

Sorry to sound like an advertisement for Norwegian.  Though unfortunately for me, I don’t get to write one of those ‘This post was brought to you by Blah Blah Blah, opinions my own etc…’ at the bottom of this post – which would mean I got something for free.  I didn’t.  I just think this is a good deal for us Americans heading to Norway, and elsewhere in Europe.  Especially for us California folk.  And I really like Norwegian’s system of more or less considering every flight as one-way, which means it’s not any extra cost to fly to one destination and leave from another as you can easily book two separate one-way flights.

Now I just need to talk my brother into driving me to LA on a Sunday afternoon…

AUGUST – Sailing Trip to Lofoten

As I mentioned a little while back, I’m going sailing around Lofoten with Vertical Shot Expeditions.  I can’t really write how excited I am about this, but I am!  It is the first time I have ever signed up for any sort of tour – I’m normally quite a firm DIY type person; but there’s not really a way I could put a sailing trip together myself – well, maybe if I won the lottery or found some heavy duty sponsorship.  So the opportunity to participate in this trip was too good to pass up.  Hopefully I’ll return with lots of new images for this site.


I have been a little on the fence about what to do after the sailing trip, which ends September 6.  I have received a couple requests for some small private group tours – workshops around Lofoten for the Autumn, but so far none of these have come to fruition.  I also thought about going back to Sweden for another try at Sarek national park.  But I think it will be better if I put this off another year.   Luckily, life sometimes as a way of making decisions for you.

Without going into to much detail, I will be spending the whole of September on Lofoten.  I’ve already spent several hours looking at the topo maps at UT.NO, planning for the next series of mountain hikes to add to this website.  I think I’m gathering a pretty good list of peaks that I’m trying to sort out into various priority levels.  Though I’m not overly optimistic that the mostly calm, dry weather of the last two years will repeat itself again, so we’ll see how many mountain days I actually get.

There are also a few peaks I would like to revisit, like Himmeltindan, where I didn’t have the best Photography weather on my previous trip.  And there are a few seldom photographed valleys full of birch trees that will hopefully turn a brilliant gold come the second half of the month, with vertical walls of granite rising above.  So that might requite a few nights out in the tent, waiting for the light.  It’s only possible to plan so much for Lofoten, and then the weather takes over and decides what you will and wont be doing.  But I like to hope for the best.

OCTOBER – Norway Road Trip

I’ll probably leave Lofoten around the first of October, although I’m a little hesitant to leave right as the northern light season is beginning, hopefully I’ll see something decent by the end of September.  From Lofoten, I’ll have two weeks to travel through central Norway, and visit some places that have been on my ‘to photograph’ list for a while.  Though I fear I might be a little late in the year for some places.  In mid October I need to be in the Netherlands to catch a ferry to the UK.  Which is probably for the better, as the car wont have snow tires.

By the beginning of November I’ll be home in California again, counting down the days until January 2015 when I head back to Lofoten to help guide a Photography workshop by Muench Workshops.