April Storms – Friday Photo #277

April Storms - Friday Photo #277

Photo: Mountains of Vestvågøy disappear into storm clouds across Nappstraumen. Maryland, Flakstadøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway. April 7, 2018. 14:23

While the south of Norway, and the rest of Europe, is beginning to transition into Spring, April on Lofoten is still mostly a month of winter. And while the sun is now high in the sky and the final days of the aurora season are approaching, large winter storms still pass over the islands and paint the mountains white with snow.

I went as far as my backyard to get this image. Not because I was lazy, well a bit maybe, but because my road was closed by avalanche, again. I had actually be locked out on the far side the previous day as the road closed while I was in Leknes. So I had to part at Storsandnes beach and walk home.

But even the storms are not enough to resist the warm April sun, and snow that would have stuck around in February begins to melt away quicker from ridges and steep cliffs. So one has to act quick to capture the fresh snow before it becomes faded and the brown grasses are exposed.

Camera Info:
Nikon D850
Nikon 70-200mm f/4
ISO 200
f 8
1/500 second
WB Daylight

Friday Photo #276 – April Aurora

April Aurora - Friday Photo #276

Photo: April aurora over Myrland beach, Flakstadøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway. April 13, 2018. 02:06

With bad weather on the way over the next days, the aurora season is finally over on Lofoten. And despite all the talk of the sun reaching a solar minimum, this has perhaps been the best aurora season I’ve ever experienced – Starting on September 1st, it has been 7 1/2 months of fantastic dancing skies on a weekly basis. Though this was also in part aided by the fantastic weather Lofoten has experienced this winter as well, with more clear nights than I can remember. Will things continue like this next year – Hopefully! But inreality, there is no way to know what the weather gods will bring to the north…

So this will probably be my last aurora image of the year – well, the image I posted last week (Friday Photo #275) was taken a bit after this – but the same night. I could see the aurora dancing over the next few nights, and Sunday´s show was pretty good too, but I had to be up early so didn’t get out.

One slight mistake I made this year was waiting to buy the Sigma 14mm f/1.8 lens. I should have picked it up in September (was it out yet?). It seemed something a bit specialized, and so I sat on the fence for a long while until I saw one of my fellow guides with one. And it might not seem like much, f/2.8 to f/1.8. But when shooting aurora, that 1 1/3 stops of light can make a real difference. Not all the time, such as this image, but when the aurora are dancing, the difference between going from say 8 seconds to 3 seconds is huge! Or alternatively, being able to lower the ISO a bit can help with image quality as well.

It is a heavy beast, so I doubt I´ll be carrying up too many mountains. But I have a feeling it will be on my camera many night in the next aurora season!

Camera Info:
Nikon D850
Sigma 14mm f/1.8
ISO 1600
f 2
3 seconds
WB Daylight


Friday Photo #275 – Night Becomes Day

Twilight Aurora - Friday Photo #275

Photo: Night becomes day. Twilight northern lights over Myrland, Flakstadøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway. April 13, 2018. 02:16

I originally had another photo from a few days ago to post today. But then this happened last night, err, early this morning. Depending on the weather, this might be my last aurora photo of the season.

April is a month of change on Lofoten. Though anything resembling ‘spring’ weather is still a long ways off – there is currently a meter+ of snow in parts of my yard – April is when one can feel the islands becoming light again, and that winter will soon be over.

The other night as clear skies arrived I wandered down to the beach at 01:00. Even though the sun is still below the horizon for 8+ hours, we have reached that time of year where the sky begins to glow in the north. Some northern lights were strong enough to show up as well, but they will soon be gone for the year as the northern horizon becomes light and lighter with each passing day.

And with the mountains still full of deep snow, it is a wonderful time of year for winter activities as I can almost, but not quite yet, begin to leave the headlamp at home and not have to worry about time constraints.

Spring as a season – fields turning green, birds singing, flowers blooming, passing storms, etc. – doesn’t really exist here on Lofoten. Winter still keeps a strong grip on the land well into May some years. But the arrival of the light is the special thing here. And also somewhat of an strange feeling, with your eyes telling you it should be summer as you’re putting on your down jacket. A feeling completely strange for someone who grew up in California. Which even now, the days here on Lofoten are longer than midsummer in California, yet the beaches here are covered in snow!

Camera Info:
Nikon D850
Sigma 14mm f/1.8
ISO 2000
f 2
1.6 seconds
WB Daylight

Friday Photo #274 – Fuglhuken

Fuglhuken - Friday Photo #274

Photo: Wild camp on Fuglhuken in September’s morning light. Moskenesøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway. September 19, 2017. 06:41

In honor of yesterday’s release of the 2nd edition of my West Lofoten Hikes ebook, I thought I’d post a photo from one of the new hikes I added to the ebook: Fuglhuken – a 557 meter peak on the northeast corner of Moskenesøy.

As September of 2017 had such fantastic weather, I would often head out for just an evening in the mountains. On this particular trip, the forecast called for clear skies by early afternoon, but as I was heading up the trail, heavy clouds were still hanging over the yttersia of Moskenesøy. Eventually in the evening, the sky finally cleared and I had a pretty good show of northern lights to watch.

Dawn arrived clear and cold, with the first signs of that autumn crispness in the air. In my haste the previous day, I had forgotten my thermal long underwear, and as I was still desperately holding on to the last days with my summer sleeping bag, it was a chilly night! The warmth of that morning sunlight was quite welcomed.

Soon however, the light lost it’s warmth and became somewhat dull and flat. So I packed up camp and headed down the mountain, getting back home for breakfast.

Camera Info:
Nikon D800
Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8
ISO 160
f 10
1/10 second
WB Daylight

Ebook Update – West Lofoten Hikes 2nd Edition

With summer just around the corner, I’ve made a small update to my ebook: West Lofoten Hikes

Main new content is 3 new mountain routes: Andstabben, Tindstind, and Fuglhuken – all located on Moskenesøy. And then a few minor grammer corrections and other things to try and keep the guide as fresh as possible.

Anyone who has purchased the previous version will get an email for a free download of the new edition.

If you haven’t bought the book yet, then CLICK HERE 🙂