Friday Photo #260 – Myrland Winter

Myrland Winter - Friday Photo #260

Photo: Myrland in white, Flakstadøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway. December 23, 2017. 13:15

Lofoten was fortunate to have a wonderful white Christmas with northern lights dancing in the sky overhead this year. In the days prior to Christmas, winter storms out of the north were still sweeping over the islands.

I’ve been a bit lazy with hiking this month, as I’ve mostly been focused on other projects, and in truth, I’m not such a fan of the polar night, so my motivation has been quite low. But on this particular day, as the passing snow flurries seemed to separate themselves enough were I felt the effort was worth it, I headed up my local little hill, Hornet.

Leaving the house with clear were, I could see the next storefront approaching. About half way up the hill, as the winds were beginning to increase, I pulled out the camera for this quick photo. Within minutes I was in a complete white-out while being blasted by stinging icy snow. Knowing the route, I continued to the top, waiting just below on the sheltered side of the ridge for snow to pass. And soon enough the clouds cleared and the world went quiet again in the fading afternoon twilight.

Camera Info:
Nikon D800
Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8
ISO 200
f 8
.3 seconds
WB Daylight

Friday Photo #259 – Polar Night

Polar Night - Firday Photo #259

Photo: Polar night, Skjelford, Flakstadøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway. Dec 11, 2016. 14:33

The winter solstice passed yesterday. That means the darkest days are behind us here in the north. Though it will still be some weeks until we finally see the sun again. But it brings hope, that it will be back again. Bad luck this year has meant that I haven’t actually seen any direct sunlight since early November. So those first rays of light next year will be most welcomed!

Entering my second full winter here on Lofoten, there is definitely a difference between visiting here for some days and living here full time. The polar night is a novelty. Something to experience once in life. But living it day to day, it takes its toll. I sleep a lot. I loose track of the days – especially when my road has been blocked by rockfall for weeks at a time. My world for the lasts months has existed in darkness. It is hard too keep track of the days, they just run together in some quiet silence. I guess it is the price we must pay for the joys of the midnight sun. Life must be in balance.

And though even if the sun doesn’t rise above the horizon, if the weather is clear, there is still some light. This photo is from last year, just out my old front door in Skjelfjord. Where we would get the light from the southern sun. One of the rare calm December days that year, the north was calm in the gentle glow of the mørketid.

Camera Info:
Nikon D800
Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8
ISO 100
f 11
6 seconds
WB Daylight

Friday Photo #258 – Breakwater

Myrland Breakwater - Friday Photo #258

Photo: The old breakwater at Myrland, Flakdstadøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway. November 26, 2017. 12:10

During the 2nd rockslide incident in November, which left us cutoff for 12 days, I decided to take a walk down to our old breakwater here in Myrland. Destroyed by a storm during the mid ’90’s (if memory serves me correct), it has remained a pile of fallen stones ever since.

With the latest rockfall, there has been some renewed talk to rebuild it. As in its current condition, it’s impossible to get a boat here. And if we are cutoff from land as well, then that doesn’t leave us in a very good position should any sort of emergency arrive.

However, I have also heard that there was some funding received to rebuild it some years ago, which never took place. And if there’s one thing that I’ve learned about living in Norway: There is a lot of talk about doing something, but little actual action resulting from all the talking. I have taken up a sort of, ‘I’ll believe it when I see it’ attitude to things around here. But I guess that is one of the costs for living at the end of the world.

About the photo itself. two images, vertical shift, with my beloved 24mm tilt-shift lens on a rainy November afternoon. Actually, after 8 years of hard use and abuse, and mostly due to a bad fall in October, I’ll be retiring this lens soon. I have ordered a new one, as it is one of my favorite lenses for coastal landscapes here on Lofoten. Though it was a bit of a tough decision, as it is quite an expensive lens, and I’m not entirely sure how much longer I’ll keep shooting with Nikons – as more or less all my other lenses/bodies are broken or falling apart and will need replacing soon. Which means it might be time for a switch to mirrorless, instead of buying the same gear over again. I also used a 6 stop ND filter – I’ve recently switched from using B+W to Breakthrough Photography, which I’m quite happy with so far.

Camera Info:
Nikon D800
Nikon 24mm f/3.5
ISO 100
f 11
30 seconds
WB Daylight
6 stop ND filter
Two images – top, bottom

New Mountain Hiking Guides

Matmora Hiking Guide Lofoten Islands

Over the last week I’ve added 6 new mountain hikes to the site:

Flakstadøy – Moltind, Flakstadtind

Vestvågøy – Veggen, Kleivheia, Østhimmeltind

Austvågøy – Matmora

It is the dark season here, so I’m getting a lot of writing done at the moment, so there will be more updates to the site over the next week. Some hikes in for the west will be delayed though, as I want to add them to the eBook – West Lofoten Hikes first, before they are available here, while other select mountains will only be found in the eBook.

Friday Photo #257 – Night Hikes

Winter Moonlight - Friday Photo #257

Photo: Winter moonlight on Mannen, Vestvågøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway. November 30, 2017. 20:32

The polar night has arrived on Lofoten, and with it means that most of our lives take place in darkness these days. And so when the weather is calm, somewhat rare in the last weeks, and the moon is bright overhead, why not go hiking? And with the fortune of having a fresh layer of snow, headlamps were hardly needed either.

There were some small aurora this evening, but not enough for me to spend much time shooting them. I found this composition to be much nicer, opposed to looking north over Uttakleiv – where the northern lights were. The moon almost makes it look like daylight though we were still a few days before the full moon. But with a clear sky and fresh snow, it is actually much brighter than one might think.

Camera Info:
Nikon D800
Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8
ISO 100
f 4
60 seconds
WB Daylight

Friday Photo #256 – Polar Night

Polar Night - Friday Photo #256

Photo: Twilight glow of winter’s polar night, Flakstadøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway. December 11, 2016. 10:49

As December arrives the Lofoten is soon about to enter the mørketid, otherwise known as the polar night – the time in which the sun does not rise above the horizon here in the north.

It has already been dark for a while, and so the sun a little above, or a little below the horizon doesn’t make too much of a difference to the day during the last weeks. But as the sun finally drops into the sea, even that weak bit of direct light will be missed as we enter a month of twilight and darkness.

Last year, living in Skjelfjord, I think I noticed the change to the mørketid much more as the sun was visible over the southern horizon until it finally vanished into the sea. Where I live now, with mountains closing in my valley to the south, the sun hasn’t been visible from my house since mid October. And so if I don’t leave home, as when I was stuck for 5 days due to a rockslide, I can only see the sun shining on the distant mountains.

I took this image on my way home from Leknes one morning. After what had seemed like endless weeks of storms and wind, the Islands suddenly fell silent. With an hour to go till noon, the day would become a bit brighter, but not much.

For the time being, I still enjoy the experience of the darkness. But next year I’ll probably find myself in Spain or Portugal for a week or two to refill on the vitamin D!

Camera Info:
Nikon D800
Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8
ISO 100
f 10
1/4 second
WB Daylight