New 2017 Summer And Autumn Lofoten Photo Workshops

2017 Lofoten Islands Photo Tour - Midnight Mountains

Along with the already Scheduled workshops, I have just published 3 new Lofoten photo tours for summer and autumn 2017.

Midnight Mountains – June 24 – 30, 2017

Summer Twilight – August 12 – 18, 2017

Exploring Autumn – September 23 – 29, 2017

Overall, I will be keeping a slightly lighter tour schedule in 2017 than I did in 2016.  I had more private tour bookings than I was expecting, which at times left me away from home for weeks on end. I am also simultaneously working on several new ebooks for both Lofoten and other areas in Norway and Sweden, all of which all take a lot of field, photography, and research time. I have already fallen a bit behind my deadlines for 2016 and had to cancel a few photo/hiking trips all together – which in the short seasons of the Scandinavian arctic, basically delays things by a year. Being busy is a good problem to have, but the key is finding balance…

Friday Photo #190 – August Twilight

Friday Photo #190 - August Twilight

Photo: August twilight, Moskenesøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway. August 14, 2016. 03:00

The nights are finally beginning to grow dark here on Lofoten, a sign that the short arctic summer will soon be coming to an end. The streets grow emptier by the day as visitors return to their homes in the south while the mountain birch are beginning to show the first yellow of autumn. Even lady aurora has returned to the late August sky – though I have not managed any images yet – nights seem to be cloudy while I’m in the mountains.

Tired from two long days of hiking, I was awoken from my sleep and told I should come outside. This night was cold as a north wind blew across the mountains, shadows of clouds dancing around the nearby peaks rising beyond our campsite. With sunrise still more than an hour away the northern horizon held the color of dark amber in its struggle to hold on to the light of the ever sinking sun. Soon even this will be gone from the nights…

Camera Info:
Nikon D800
Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8
ISO 200
f 8
1/10 second
WB Daylight

Friday Photo #189 – Breiflogtind

Friday Photo #189 - Breiflogtind

Photo: In the clouds above Kirkefjord from the summit of Breiflogtind, Moskenesøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway. August 12, 2016. 21:12

A friend of mine invited me along to join a hiking group she was guiding to Breiflogtind Saturday. The forecast looked somewhat okay, so I thought it would be a fun trip. However, as the weekend approached, the photographer in me decided that perhaps I should go up the mountain alone on Friday evening, camp on the summit, and then head down with the group once they arrived mid morning on Saturday. I have had a couple mid-day mountain trips this summer, where I wished I could have been around for sunrise or sunset, so it sounded like a good plan to camp on top.

Friday morning was wet and rainy at home, yet the forecast kept showing for clearing skies by mid afternoon and remain so for the rest of the weekend. So with hopeful optimism, I caught the 15:00 ferry to Kirkefjord and began my journey.

Breiflogtind is a rarely climbed peak in west Lofoten. It is actually more impressive looking at the massive 700 meter vertical granite wall of the east face when on the hike to Horseid beach. If you have gone this way, then you know what I am talking about. The hike to the top is not technically difficult, other than the fact that there is no trail, it’s often rocky and slippery and there is often exposure to serious falls. But the psychologically demanding part of the hike is staring up at the overhanging cliffs rising hundreds up meters above you during the initial half of the climb.

It took me 2.5 hours to reach the summit from the ferry in Kirkefjord. It was early evening and the sun was shining brightly. Life was good! Luckily I found a decently flat place for my tent and pitched it, mostly for sun protection, as I was still thinking I might just bivy in the open. But as the hours passed I began to see the ominous whispy clouds swirling in the valley below me. Soon, as layer of heavy cloud was swirling around the summit and my views were quickly fading into a world of grey.

And then came the rain. I had been hoping for a sunset or sunrise from the summit, or both! I got neither. I spent the night tent bound, as it shook in the wind and rain.

Camera Info:
Nikon D800
Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8
ISO 160
f 11
1/5 second
WB Daylight

Friday Photo #188 – Bunes Sunset

Friday Photo #188 - Bunes Beach Sunset

Photo: Setting sun over Bunes beach, Moskenesøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway. July 30, 2016. 22:29

It seems that as quickly as I got used to the endless light of summer, it will soon be over. In the next couple days the sun will begin to set before 22:00, which sounds utterly depressing! And arriving home late from a visit with friends the other day I suddenly realized that the house was dark inside as I head to search the walls for the locations of the light switches, which hadn’t seen any use since May!

However, as the nights grow darker the constant glow of the summer sun will be replaced by the dancing green of lady Aurora, with September the perfect month for mountain camping during the green nights. Perhaps it is due to the cold temperatures of the last few days, and even a bit of snow in east Lofoten, but it feels like autumn is on its way. Soon the islands will be filled with color.

This photo was taken on the 2nd night of a trip exploring some isolated parts of Lofoten. We had planned to camp higher up in the mountains, however the forecast was for rain, so we relocated a bit lower to have an easier walk out in the morning. The rain never came, but the light did, which would mostly have been missed had we remained at our other camp. So it was a good choice to move! Not a bad view from my tent!

Camera Info:
Nikon D800
Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8
ISO 160
f 11
1/60 second
WB Daylight

Friday Photo #187 – Tourist Season

Friday Photo 187 - Kvalvika Parking

Photo: Overflowing parking at Kvalvika beach – police have been writing tickets to cars illegally parked along road, Moskenesøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway. July 22, 2016. 14:50

I have a lot of nice images from the last weeks to post. However, today I’m going to make a brief mention of the busy tourist season Lofoten is having this summer.

The pages of the local newspaper, Lofotposten, have been full of stories about badly behaving tourists over the last weeks. From people camping in cemeteries, literally peeing and pooping everywhere, and out of control parking situations at some of the more popular locations, such as Kvalvika beach in this photo. While summer on Lofoten has always been busy, things seem to have reached a critical mass this summer, and now changes are occurring – often meaning new fees for parking and the police out writing tickets, as they have started to do at Kvalvika in recent weeks.

A particularly acute example is Reinebringen. A while back I wrote a note about it being too busy and maybe looking for other hiking options. Nobody listened to me and the mountain quite literally fell apart to the point that a massive trail reconstruction is taking place now. The trail is effectively closed and the local council asks people not to hike the mountain at the moment while helicopters are flying around and hauling equipment. But again, nobody listens and I could see dozens of people on the mountain Thursday evening as I was alone with just a couple friends on a nearby peak (with better views). But in defense of the people on the mountain, there is little information provided, and even less in English or other languages, that the work is going on! So if the council only shares info in Norwegian, they are missing 90% of their target, something which seems to be an issue on Lofoten in more cases than just this.

And while the islands seem more popular than ever (Matt Damon even has been here filming the last week – they complain about tourists on one page, and celebrate Hollywood celebrities being here on the next. Go figure.), I sense that the local community has suddenly woken from a coma and realized that there are people here, and are now shocked, which is resulting in poorly thought out ideas to compensate: such as 150 NOK (50 NOK 8:00-15:00, 100 NOK 15:00-8:00) daily parking fee for parking in a parking lot outside of central Reine. No offense to the mayor of Moskenes, but when I saw the parking lot had been built outside of the village, and which was free for parking until the fees came into effect in mid July, I thought it was a good idea. Free parking just a minute walk away from the center of Reine will keep the tourists from parking everywhere in the village. But no, now that they are charging for parking, more people than ever are going to park on the lawn in front of the Bringen cafe and elsewhere in the village to avoid the fees. The opposite of the intended effect. And let’s face it, Reine is full of Air BnB rentals and the nearest police station is in Leknes. So it’s not like any of the local residents can recognize whose car belongs where nor will the police be around very often to look for illegal parking. But park in the fee lot now, and you can be sure someone will be around to enforce that.

The friends I was sitting on the mountain with Thursday night shared a story from the other week about some campers asking if they could camp on the lawn outside their house. When this was declined, as it was basically a few meters from their kitchen window, the would-be campers protests, saying that since they asked, then it was allowed! That is not how the allemansretten works, and it took my friend some period of discussion to make this clear.

So to come to something of a conclusion of this post, there needs to be a two way street of understanding between both the locals and the tourists. Again, Lofoten has always been a popular destination in summer, so for the local councils to act like this in an unexpected surprise and come up with short sighted plans is not an ideal solution. There are many creative and productive ways for the Islands to provide solutions to the tourism demands here – mainly parking, toilets and trash.

Yet on the other hand, it is up to the tourists to behave responsibly as well. Just because you can do such and such at home doesn’t mean you can come up to arctic Norway and do the same. If your impact is more than footprints or matted grass where you set up your tent, then it is too much. If I can see your pile of shit and toilet paper next to a rock, then you are not acting responsibly. And don’t complain that someone says you can’t camp on their lawn or in the cemetery! Be respectful and a balance can be found. Act like idiots, and you will be the cause of new rules and regulations, thus resulting in less enjoyment of this arctic paradise for those in the future.

Camera Info:
Nikon D800
Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8
ISO 100
f 10
WB Daylight