Friday Photo #85 – Uttakleiv Light

Waves break across rocky coastline at Unstad beach, Vestvagoy, Lofoten Islands, Norway

Photo: Afternoon light at Utakleiv beach, Vestvågøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway.  August 28, 2013.  18:14

For the last few years I’ve tried to tell myself that I have enough photos of Utakliev beach.  Yet, like clockwork, each time I’m on the islands I head out there, ‘ just the check things out…’  Often I find the place windswept and barren.  Yet on certain days, where the rest of the islands are under gale force winds, Utakleiv can be the place where a tripod wont blow over.

This was a particularly blustery summer day.  I had stopped at a few different locations, but most were more windy than I would have liked.  The clouds were moving fast through the sky and the fleeting moments of sun were separated by spells of heavy, sideways falling, rain.

I headed out to Utakleiv in the rain and waited in the car until I could see the rain beginning to pass.  Soon enough a bit of sun began to shine in the distance. Looking to the left, I could see the next front quickly approaching.  I had time for a few photos and then drops of rain began to fall again while the distant mountains disappeared behind the clouds.

Camera Info:
Nikon D800
Nikon 24mm f/3,5 tilt+shift
ISO 50
f 16
8 seconds
WB Daylight
2 images – top, bottom
6 stop B+W neutral density filter

Norwegian Sailing Adventure – Tromso To Lofoten

View of river flowing towards Kvalvika beach, Moskenesøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway

Photo: Kvalvika Beach, Lofoten Islands, Norway.  August 2013

Part two of my travels in Norway begin today: A two week sailing expedition from Tromsø along the Norwegian coast to the Lofoten Islands with Vertical Shot Expeditions.

I have only been on a sailboat once before, a week long journey out to the Channel Islands national park off the coast of my hometown of Santa Barbara, CA.  I really fell in love with everything sailing and ocean during that trip.  And even gave thought to taking some classes, something that still remains in the back of my mind should I find the time one day.  So it seems appropriate that my next trip on a sailboat will include Norway, one of my other loves in life.

I have no idea what to expect really, but I have no doubt the journey will be nothing short of epic!  I just hope no early autumn gales decided to pass our way.  I don’t want any, ‘I’m glad I’m not on a boat today!’ type weather during the trip.  But the North does what the North will do, and hopefully I’m prepared for it.

I wont be posting much from the trip until I’m off the road, but you can keep up with my journey over on FACEBOOK or INSTAGRAM, where I’ll do my best too keep things updated whenever I find a wifi connection.

Friday Photo #85 – Vestfjord Moonrise

Moon rises over Vestfjord and Moskenesoy from summit of Hermannsdalstind, Lofoten Islands, Norway

Photo: Moonrise over Vestfjord from summit of Hermannsdalstind, Moskenesøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway.  August 23, 2013.  21:15

It was early evening by the time I arrived on the summit of Hermannsdalstind, the sun hanging low on the western horizon.  I didn’t really have much of a plan, other than I would sleep on the summit if possible, which I didn’t really know before arriving.  I had heard there was some place to put a tent, but if so, I didn’t find it.  Luckily for me though, the weather was calm, for Lofoten standards.  I found a mostly flat rock just below the summit, which didn’t look too easy to fall off of, and decided that is where I would sleep for the night.

With the sun setting into the Norwegian sea to the west, a near full moon was rising across the Vestfjord to the east.  The sky was becoming a little hazy, and the light wasn’t as brilliant as could be, but it was one of those ‘wow’ moments.

I go up into the mountain and suffer discomfort in an attempt to capture beautiful images of scenes that not many people will ever see.  Sometimes conditions work photographically and I come away with something nice.  But more often the moment of just being there is the reward for all the sweat of carrying a heavy backpack up a steep mountain.

It was only me up there, alone on the top of Lofoten, the surrounding world in perfect calm.  I only had a little water and a little food, but even without, the views for my eyes would have been enough to sustain me for the night.  Had the rain soon come, I would have been thankful for my few hours up there.  Some (many) moments are better in reality than photographs.

In our over saturated, super dynamic, focus stacked, and micro contrasted world which is the current state of online landscape photography, it is good to remember why we began our journeys to these places in the first part.  For the experience, for the adventure, for the being…

Camera Info:
Nikon D800
Nikon 85mm f/2.8 tilt+shift
ISO 200
f 8
1/25 second
WB Daylight
2 images – top, bottom

Heading to Tromso

Norway Hiking

Photo: Hiking into the arctic sun, Lofoten Islands, Norway.  August 2013

My last days to enjoy the California sunshine are over and I’m once again on my way north of the arctic circle; which is really my favorite place to be anyhow.  I don’t think I will miss the sun too much!

This journey will be a couple firsts for me.  To begin with, I’m testing out the new LA – Oslo route operated by Norwegian Airlines.  With a direct flight to Oslo, as well as the cheapest price to get to Oslo overall, It seems like a good deal overall and saves a lot of layover time in Germany or the US east coast.  Though I do have to drive to LAX on a Sunday afternoon, not something I’m expecting to be an enjoyable experience.  If only America could catch up with Europe, and I could take a train.  Only a dream I’m afraid…

Unlike my normal continued journey to Bodø, the gateway to Lofoten, I’m flying further north to Tromsø; both a city and northern latitude I’ve never been to before.  I think my main reason for never visiting Tromsø is the lack of a hostel or any other cheap accommodation.  Quite strange for a city of its size, and even more rare for most Norwegian destination, a summer as well as winter tourist appeal.  Luckily, I have been kindly offered a couch to sleep on, should it so be required by inclement weather.

Otherwise, I think I will walk from airport to mountains in my typical fashion.  Though no doubt I’ll be tired, so a nice place to sleep before any big adventures will likely be my first priority.

I was thinking of maybe heading into the Lyngen Alps, of which I have heard so much about, but I think I would like a bit more time for such a trip, and so will likely save for sometime in the future.  (It’s always good to keep a long list of plans and dreams…)

Overall I will have 5 mights in/around Tromsø before I need to meet up with my sailboat for the next part of the journey: A two week sailing expedition down the Norwegian coast to the Lofoten Islands operated by Vertical Shot Expeditions.

I wont be posting much from the trip until I’m off the road, but you can keep up with my journey over on FACEBOOK or INSTAGRAM, where I’ll do my best too keep things updated whenever I find a wifi connection.

Friday Photo #84 – Stamsund Twilight

Summer twilight over mountains of Lofoten islands, Stamsund, Norway

Photo: Summer twilight, Stamsund, Vestvågøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway.  July 31, 2010. 01:19

Summers on Lofoten mean sleepless nights.  With the sun finally setting in mid July, the following weeks provide magical twilight nights as the end of summer begins to approach.  It is in these weeks that I like to head out at midnight and see what I can find.

Stamsund was my base for all of my first visits to Lofoten.  I was poor in those days and more or less happy just to be on the islands.  I couldn’t afford a rental car, so I would spend many of my days wandering around the coast and nearby mountains of the hostel.

Even to this day, the coastline just a short walk from the hostel remains one of my favorite places to photograph. Over the years I have seen everything, from the seasons first snow, northern lights from horizon to horizon, gale force storms, and calm silence.  It is someplace I will return to again and again, always finding some new light to photograph.

Camera Info:
Nikon D700
Nikon 85mm f/2,8 tilt+shift
ISO 200
f 8
121 seconds
WB Daylight

Friday Photo #83 – Sea And Sky

Late summer sun low on horizon over Norwegian sea, Lofoten Islands, Norway

Photo: Evening sun over Norwegian sea from Ryten, Moskenesøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway.  August 26, 2012.  20:38

An hour after I took last week’s photo, the sun was finally beginning to near the horizon.  It had been a long, cold wait on the summit after being rained on while only having my fleece, but as every minute passed the light got better.

The sea was actually pretty calm as the only wind was up high on the summit.  A few rain showers still threatened, but they remained out at sea fortunately.  One more and I probably would have given up and hiked back down to the warmth of my sleeping bag.

The simplicity of this view, sea and sky, might not be something that exists forever.  While the current Norwegian government has (thankfully) put a stop to oil exploration off the Lofoten coast, these waters are still under threat and one day this view might be blemished by a row of oil platforms.  A tragedy in my opinion!

Camera Info:
Nikon D800
Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8
ISO 200
f 10
1/200 second
WB Daylight

Friday Photo #82 – Kjerringa Rain

Mountain peak rises from sea as viewed from Ryten, Lofoten Islands, Norway

Photo: Summer showers over Kjerringa from Ryten, Moskenesøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway.  August 26, 2012.  19:40

This photo is from almost exactly a year earlier that last week’s image, taken during my first hike up Ryten.  I actually hadn’t really planned, nor prepared to hike up the mountain, but when I was a little way up the trail from Kvalvika, a young German guy (the only other person camping at Kvalvika that night) asked me if I was interested in going up the mountain.  Standing there only in a light fleece, no rain jacket, no water, no food, no gloves.  My answer was obviously yes.

The weather looked good enough as we set off up the hill.  But upon reaching the approximately half way point, this nice little cloud appeared from behind Kjerringa.  A little further up the mountain it caught up with us.  Heavy, cold drops of rain which quickly soaked through my fleece.  We ran to the largest boulder we could find and did our best to shelter from the rain, which was also falling quite sideways, thankfully.

As the rain passed a brilliant rainbow soon formed over the land, which was now golden in the low evening sun.  Cold and wet, I remained on the summit until sunset.  One of my most memorable days on Lofoten.

Camera Info:
Nikon D800
Nikon 24-70mm f/2,8
ISO 200
f 9
1/320 second
WB Daylight