Friday Photo #308 – First Sun

First Sun - Friday Photo #308

Photo: First sun of 2018 over Lofoten from Offersøykammen, Vestvågøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway. January 10, 2018. 11:39

With the last sunset of the year only a week away and a pretty crappy weather forecast until then, it is likely that Lofoten has seen it’s last sunlight for the year. Luckily I’m down in Oslo this week, and will have a bit of light hopefully. Otherwise, I can’t remember when I saw the sun last anymore, but it has been some weeks already.

So now I look forward to the return of the sun here in the north. Technically it should be January 5-6, depending on where on Lofoten you are. But as with our descent into the polar night, the weather also plays an important factor. So it can take another week or so before I might see the sun floating low over the southern sky.

This year, 2018, January 10th was the return of the sun to Lofoten. Some low hazy clouds had been forecast, so I knew I needed to head up a mountain for my best chance at a bit of light. I’ve already written about this day before (Friday Photo #262), so I wont go into much detail. But the countdown now begins. When will the 2019 sun return?…

Camera Info:
Nikon D800
Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8
ISO 100
f 11
WB Daylight

Friday Photo #307 – Horseid Summer

Horseid Beach Summer - Friday Photo #307

Photo: Summer evening over Horseid beach, Moskenesøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway. July 17, 2018. 22:55

I don’t like November. The only redemption to this month is northern lights, but so far we’ve just had near constant cloudy skies – even while the forecast says it should be sunny! And today my house is once again shaking in the wind from another storm while icy snow sings a chorus on my windows. The days are now short and the sun is perilously low on the southern horizon. Have I already seen my last sunlight of the year without even know it?

I’m generally trying to keep these Friday photo posts as current as possible with recent conditions or events on the islands. But other than 3 nights of northern lights, I haven’t taken a single photo for a month. Though much of the blame for that is me starting to surf again – so rather than go out and hike in crappy grey weather, I might as well be in the water catching some waves. I did just order myself a GoPro, so perhaps some water photos will start showing up here soon.

So, with nothing immediately relevant to post this week (nor the following weeks either), I thought a nice memory from summer would work. I think I’ve already written (I forget when) that this was a relatively boring summer in terms of light. June mostly sucked and rained, July got hot and hazy for 3 weeks, then it began to rain again in August, and more or less hasn’t stopped since then.

This day was one of the hotter days of summer and we sweated our way up the trail-less peak under a scorching sun. Normally I try and avoid the hot days for summit camping as I have to carry too much water – and it’s not like there’s much shade to be found either!

Eventually as the sun sank low on the horizon a bit of nice warm light fell over the landscape, but still a cloudless sky.

It seemed like too much effort to set up a tent, and it would have been way too hot inside anyhow! So I opted just to bivy outside – finding a rock to at least shade my face. But it was so hot that I couldn’t really be inside my sleeping bag! Soon however, a strong wind began to blow across the summit, so it wasn’t nice to be outside the sleeping bag either! I had originally planned for a second night down on the beach, but when thinking of sitting in the sun for the next 36 or so hours, I decided against it. So after a sleepless night I headed down to catch the 07:00 ferry. A good decision, as that afternoon it hit 29.9˚C on Lofoten – way too hot!

Camera Info:
Nikon D850
Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8
ISO 100
f 8
1/60 second
WB Daylight

Friday Photo #306 – November

November - Friday Photo #306

Photo: Soft afternoon twilight over distant mountains of Moskenesøy from Møntind, Flakstadøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway. November 10, 2016. 14:04

November is a strange month here in the north. Some years, there can be some nice days, while others, like this year, it is seemingly non-stop rain and darkness. Even though the polar night is still a few weeks away, many parts of Lofoten have already entered into perpetual twilight in the shadow of mountains. And with the sun only rising 3˚ above the horizon at the moment, even on the southern side of the islands, any low layer of cloud will hide the sun. While there is still chance to see the sun again before the final sunset of the year, that day might already have passed if the current weather remains. Last year I did not see the sun for over 2 months.

And so, we kind of just wait. Wait for the cold and winter to arrive because at least with snow, they land is much brighter, even in the mountain shadows of the yttersia. This year will be my 3rd polar night here in the north. Though it is not off the table for me to head south for a bit over the holidays, to get a little vitamin D in my system.

When going out hiking in the morning these days I have almost the same feeling as when heading out in the evenings during summer. You can feel the sky is dark and the sun is low. Only in summer it will soon get light again. In November, it means you only have a few hours before the headlamp needs to come out of the backpack. Otherwise, most of our lives take place in darkness for the the next 2.5 months. A strange thought as I’m live stream the big wave surf comp from Nazare, Portugal as I’m watching this; bright blue sky overhead.

Camera Info:
Nikon D800
Sigma 70-200 f/4
ISO 100
f 7.1
1/125 second
WB Daylight

Friday Photo #305 – November Aurora

November Aurora - Friday Photo #305

Photo: Aurora filling the sky over Nappstraumen, Flakstadøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway. November 7, 2018. 21:48

In what has been a reliability disappointing start to the aurora season on Lofoten this year – mostly due to near constant bad weather – the sky finally exploded last night in probably the best aurora I’ve seen in the 2018/2019 northern lights season. And more importantly, it wasn’t even forecast to happen – it was only that the sky was clear – the only forecast which actually matters for northern lights!

A solar storm had arrived a few days previously, with other areas enjoying some nice aurora, while it remained cloudy here on Lofoten, and thus, nothing. And a solar storm is supposed to arrive in another day or two, in which it will probably be cloudy again. But Wednesday night, the sky was clear, so I kept watch out my office window.

An aurora arch eventually formed low on the northern horizon around 20:30 so so. Remaining faint for a while, I didn’t wander down to the beach until a little after 21:00. The aurora slowly picked up in intensity over the next 30 minutes or so until 21:45 when the sky absolutely exploded with dancing aurora everywhere! Even with this exposure of 1.3 seconds, pretty fast by northern lights standards, you can the aurora is quite blurred, that is how fast it was moving!

This lasted around 10 minutes before eventually fading away again. I was smart enough to put my rain boots on, but I ended up with waves crashing over my knees on several occasions, so got completely soaked! But luckily it was a relatively mild night for November. I waited around until about 23:00 or so, but never so the intensity of before. And so I eventually walked back home…

Camera Info:
Nikon D885
Sigma 14mm f/1.8
ISO 2500
f 1.8
1.3 seconds
WB Daylight

Podcast Interview – F-Stop Collaborate and Listen

Podcast Interview

Last weekend I had the pleasure of being interviewed by photographer Matt Payne for his podcast: F-Stop Collaborate and Listen. We had a nice chat mostly about my life here on Lofoten and the changes in photography and tourism that the islands have experienced over the years. The episode is now available on Itunes –  so if you can handle listening to my slightly rough voice (I had a bit of a cold) for an hour, give it a listen!

F-Stop Collaborate and Listen – Episode 81 – Cody Duncan


New 2020 Winter Photography Workshop Dates

Lofoten And Senja Photo Tour 2020

My first winter photo workshops are now online over on my PHOTO TOURS PAGE.

All my winter 2019 tours are now full. There will be several more winter 2020 dates announced soon as well. As with 2019, all 2020 dates will be with me co-guiding with other tour operators. I simply don’t have the time to run my own tours anymore – which is a good thing!

There will be some additional summer and autumn 2019 dates announced soon as well. But the schedule will be lighter than previous years, as there just doesn’t seem to be too much interest in summer here for some reason, so I will mostly keep summer free for me to be out in the mountains…

New 2020 winter dates:

January 21 – 30 – Lofoten and Senja with Muench Workshops

February 3 – 10 – Lofoten with Arctic Exposure Workshops

February 10 – 17 – Lofoten with Arctic Exposure Workshops

Stay tuned for more dates to be announced soon…

Friday Photo #304 – Winter Driving

Winter Driving - Friday Photo #304

Photo: Driving into January snowstorm in winter darkness, Flakstadøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway. January 6, 2018. 15:23

It is getting to be that time of year again where the temperatures are falling below freezing more frequently and sun is too low in the sky to reach many parts of Lofoten, meaning the landscape is beginning to ice over for the winter. And for the next months most activity on the islands takes place in twilight and darkness. This includes the driving.

Last winter, the islands experienced unprecedented chaos from unprepared drivers and the local newspapers had near daily about crashes, with even local politicians wondering if there should be some sort of extra testing for drivers inexperienced with winter conditions. This year will no doubt be the same.

So I’ve written a bit of an article about a few things to be prepared for when driving here during winter: WINTER DRIVING.

Camera Info:
Nikon D800
Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8
ISO 1600
f 3.2
1/20 second
WB Daylight