Friday Photo #99 – September Northern Lights

Lofoten Islands Northern Lights

Photo: Northern lights fill sky over Gimsøystraumen, Austvågøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway.  Sept 24, 2014.  21:31

September 2014 had already been a spectacular month for auroras on Lofoten, probably my best month ever.  So as October, and my planned departure from the islands, approached, I was content, but still always hoping for maybe just one more…

With a forecast of some pretty heavy storms to hit the islands in the following days, we took advantage of what would likely be the last night of clear weather for the trip and camped out on the coast near Henningsvær.  And as luck would have it, just after dark, a faint glow began to appear in the western sky, before finally erupting in almost 180˚ of aurora which lasted for hours.  A good farewell to a month in the north.

Photographing the northern lights in the autumn is a different experience than winter.  There is no need to polar expedition style down jackets, as at least on Lofoten, the temperatures often remain quite mild – though it did dip down to freezing on a couple nights.  But what I don’t like as much is the lack of snow.  If there is no moonlight, then all you will have are black mountain silhouettes in the foreground unless you can find a nice piece of water for a reflection and some separation.

Camera Info:
Nikon D800
Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8
ISO 1600
f 3.2
8 seconds
WB Daylight

New Lofoten Hiking Guide – Munken

Hiking Munken Lofoten Islands Norway

Photo: Panoramic view from the summit of Munken, Moskenesøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway.  September 2014

The 2nd new mountain hiking page from my September Lofoten trip is now online and ready to be seen:

MUNKEN – Mountain Hiking Guide

Munken is a moderately high mountain on Moskenesøy, just beyond (or, above) the Munkebu mountain hut.  It is a nice hike with some pretty epic views at the top – though this is pretty standard for Lofoten!  It’s also a nice mountain to hike in combination with an overnight at the hut, or just camp nearby.


I still have a few more hiking pages to add, but I’m sort of struggling to find the time at the moment and a heavier than expected work schedule in California.  And with less than 2 months until I’m back on the islands in January to co-guide a photo tour for Muench Workshops (sold out, sorry guys…), it’s going to be a tight squeeze to get everything done.  But I’ll do my best!

As always, if you want to keep more up do date with things, it’s worth checking out my Facebook page where I tend to post more photos and behind the scenes stuff that will never make it here (not entirely of Lofoten, however)…

Friday Photo #98 – Grytdalstind And River

View towards Grytdalstind mountain peak, Vestvagoy, Lofoten Islands, Norway

Photo: Grytdalsdind rises over river at dusk, Vestvågøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway.  Sept 24, 2013.  18:38

The river Nordalselva flows through Nordal valley before rising into the triangular peak of Grytdalstind.  Only a short walk from Unstad, it feels completely wild here, with few signs that anyone has passed this way before you.

It had been an afternoon hiking and exploring, ending on the 534 meter, and quite exposed, summit of Grytdalstind.  Getting lost on the numerous sheep trails during the descent, we lost a fair amount of time going cross country through the landscape.  Normally this is fairly simple on Lofoten, but this area seemed to be especially rocky and with a few forests of dwarf birch to precariously navigate.

We were exiting the valley just as the last light was shining over the summit of Grytdalstind.  I tried to find a good composition, but was too late in the quickly fading light.  So I continued to hike on until I reached one of the crossings of the Nordalselva and thought it would make an interesting enough photo.  I crossed the river and headed back up the other side until I reached a wider section, and I place I could get to without sinking in bog.

Had I been here about 20 minutes earlier, it would have no doubt been a much more dramatic photo.  But I think the scene here is interesting enough to represent the end of a nice autumn day in the mountains of Lofoten.

Camera Info:
Nikon D800
Nikon 24mm f/3.5 tilt-shift
ISO 200
f 13
15 seconds
WB Daylight
B+W 6 stop neutral density filter

Friday Photo #97 – Autumn Hiking

Hiker walking through autumn mountain landscape near lake Vikjordvatnet, Vestvågøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway

Photo: A hiker travels through the autumn mountain landscape, Vikjorden, Vestvågøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway.  Sept 29, 2012.  12:21

I’m not sure its possible for me to choose a favorite season on Lofoten, but it could possibly be autumn.  The crowds of summer have left, the days begin to grow cool and short, the northern lights once again fill the night sky, and the land fills with color while storms return with increasing frequency.

The last couple years the islands have been fortunate to enjoy rather mild autumn weather, often better than summer! I’m somewhat less adventurous, as I never quite trust the weather, but I find it a nice time to head out and explore some new areas for some short hikes; just to see what I can find, and maybe return to in the summer’s better weather for camping.

On this particular day I had been photographing around some small roadside lakes when I saw a local pull up and head into the mountains along a faint trail.  Curiosity got the best of me and I decided to follow him into the golden landscape; not like I had anywhere else to go, and it wasn’t likely to rain anytime soon.

Soon the trail passed a small lake and I veered off the trail and climbed a small hill to get a bit of an overview just as the man was hiking through the scene.  I continued up the trail to another small lake and made note of a few mountain routes to return to in the future.  Places which are rarely photographed yet no less spectacular than the iconic locations on Lofoten.  It is these little discoveries that assure me that I will never get bored with Lofoten, I just have to go a little farther from the road…

Camera Info:
Nikon D800
Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8
ISO 100
f 7.1
1/400 second
WB Daylight

New Mountain Hiking Route – Stornappstinden

Hiking Stornappstind, Lofoten Islands, Norway

Photo: Hiker on the summit of Stornappstinden (740 meters), Flakstadøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway

I have added a new hiking page for Stornappstind, a 740 meter high peak located above the village of Napp, on the eastern edge of Flakstadøy.



I’m finally back from my autumn travels.  Next week I’ll probably post a brief summary of my trip, with more updates and hiking guides in the following weeks as I get images processed and words written.  Overall, I got up a few new peaks and had many nights filled with northern lights.  Not to mention the sailing trip.  Lots of stuff to come…  And only two months until I’m back on Lofoten in mid January to Guide a photo tour for Muench Workshops!

Friday Photo #96 – Reine In Autumn

View of small fishing village of Reine on sunny autumn day, Moskenesoy, Lofoten Islands, Norway

Photo: Reine in autumn, Moskenesøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway.  Sept 25, 2013.  12:49

The view of Reine and Olstind is perhaps the most photographed location on Lofoten.  At anytime of year, it has the possibilities to provide fantastic light and produce one of Norway’s most iconic images.

On this afternoon in autumn I was simply walking by on my way to Reinebringen and though to myself, ‘ hey, blue sky!’  And so I pulled out my camera for a few images.  Though I do have to say I like this image in autumn, as the addition of color in the landscape helps give a little more depth to the image.  Though seeing as how I took this image almost at high noon, it’s not going to be the most memorable shot of this location, more of a ‘wow, this was a nice day’ moment, before I reached the summit of Reinebringen for some even better views.

Camera Info:
Nikon D800
Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8
ISO 200
f 10
1/640 second
WB Daylight