Friday Photo #360 – Winter Parking

Photo: Be careful where you try to turn around or park – it is not flat! Olenilsøy, Moskenesøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway. March 6, 2019. 07:25

The winter tourism season is just around the corner here on Lofoten so this week is a public service announcement to watch where you attempt to turn around or park. What looks like a flat area on the side of the road most likely is a ditch, even if there is a parking area on the other side, such as this photo outside the fish factory at Olenisøy – near the Instagram popular ‘Sakrisøy cabin’ view point.

If you’ve driven on Lofoten in summer, then you’d see that nearly all sections of road have a 1 meter or so deep ditch just outside the roadway. This is to keep things from flooding most of the year. However in winter, this often becomes filled with snow and gives the illusion that is flat and safe to drive across. It is not!

As a general rule, you should never drive outside the border of the snow poles unless you are 100% sure what lies beneath. Even parking areas or driveways will often have just a small entrance, with ditches on either side.

And as you can see in this photo, there is nearly no contrast in the flat grey light. If not for the snow poles, it would be impossible to even see where the road was. Difficult driving conditions for sure, which require extra caution.

Luckily these girls, to quote, ‘We’re from Canada and should have known better!’ Didn’t have to wait too long before a tractor from a nearby factory drove by and could pull them out. But there aren’t many tow trucks on Lofoten, and some days become compete chaos on the roads, so it can be a long wait at times. I always carry a tow strap in my van and usually pull out 6-7 people each winter myself. And I usually get stuck at least once as well, usually from trying to get though too deep of a snowbank on my way home – good my neighbor has a tractor!

For a more detailed article about winter on the roads in Lofoten, see: WINTER DRIVING

Camera Info:
Nikon D850
Nikon 24-70 f/2.8
ISO 250
f 5.6
1/100 seconds
WB Daylight

Friday Photo #359 – November Reflection

Photo: Mountain reflections in partially frozen lake, Flakstadøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway. November 21, 2019. 13:23

The cold snowy weather and early winter that Lofoten experienced at the beginning of November has shifter to warmer, wet and stormy weather over the last week. What had once been a fully snow covered landscape – enough for my first ski trip of the year – has mostly melted away in the November rain, and once frozen lakes have thawed in the mild weather.

But this is normal. The cold, white November was actually the slightly unusual weather. I was hoping we would head into full winter, but the islands are once again in waiting mode until the next snow arrives.

One thing is for sure though, the quickly disappearing sun. With barely 4 hours of daylight at the moment, the Polar Night is just around the corner. With the snow of early November, I kinda didn’t notice the darkness. But in these grey, cloudy days of the last week, I really began to notice it. Even at noon, it has felt depressingly dark already! And with each passing day it only gets worse. I don’t like November.

Living on the north side I don’t get any light anymore. I thought there might be a little break in the clouds on the souther horizon, so I went and took a drive Thursday for today’s post, to see if I could find any light. There was a bit, but nothing too special and so somehow I ended up on the road to Nusfjord.

After all the rain, the mountains are filled with waterfalls. A distant once, with a flowing river, caught my eye, and so I hiked across the thoroughly boggy land to get a little closer. Turns out the view from the road was better than near the base of the waterfall, so it wasn’t to photogenic. But this small lake I passed on the way looked much nicer with a near perfect reflection.

I initially wanted a tighter composition, but I could never get the mountains in balance. So I went wide, which seemed to work out nice enough. Though I never really like the November brown, I might have to keep this in might for September, with golden trees filling the foreground.

Camera Info:
Nikon D850
Nikon 14-24 f/2.8
ISO 100
f 8
1/13 seconds
WB Daylight

Friday Photo #358 – November Light

Photo: The distant summit of Olstind illuminated in November’s afternoon light, Flakstadøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway. November 14, 2019. 13:47

After the early start to winter of the last week – I even managed to get in my first ski tour or the season on Vestvågøy – The rain has returned since the middle of the week. Much of Lofoten is now covered in a sheet of wet ice thanks to the melting snow – and many of the side roads are quite scary to drive at the moment. So I’m using a bit of a head cold as an excuse to stay home – busy working on ebook updates anyhow.

The sun never gets very high in the sky anymore. It left my village some weeks ago and will leave the rest of Lofoten in a few more weeks. Those living on the southern side of Lofoten now get to experience the full days of sunrise-to-sunset light. For us living on the northern side, we re lucky enough to be able to see some light off in the distance, our only reminder that the sun is still here as the mountains cast their long shadows over my village.

I should have driven down to Storsandnes beach, but the thought of the road wasn’t very tempting. So instead I made the short walk down to my beach – which was already scary enough! The beach has been covered in seaweed recently from one of the last storms and the waves weren’t crashing over the rocks that I would have liked. So I ended up taking a somewhat more abstract approach. Though I still think this is nothing too special either. I should have gone to Storsandnes…

Camera Info:
Nikon D850
Nikon 24-70 f/2.8
ISO 100
f 9
2.5 seconds
WB Daylight
6 stop ND filter

Friday Photo #357 – November Winter

Photo: It’s beginning to look a lot like winter – the classic Olstind view over Reine, Moskenesøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway. November 8, 2019. 13:09

Is this November or February? In near complete opposite of last November’s non-stop rain, this year we are rewarded with a cold and calm November – so far! Usually I consider November to pretty much be the worst month of the year here, but this year we’ve been given an early start to winter.

I had meant to go hiking, but in the short days I was too late to leave the house and make the hour + drive. After heading a little bit into the mountains I figured I wouldn’t get to any summits before the sun was gone. So I returned to my van and just made a couple quick stops at the normal tourist view points.

I’ll be standing here and looking at this view a lot in the next coming months once my photo tour season begins in mid January. But I kinda think this might be the winter’s best version of this view – or at least it will take something quite special to improve on it I think.

Now I just need to set my alarm a little earlier so I can get up a mountain tomorrow!

Camera Info:
Nikon D850
Nikon 24-70 f/2.8
ISO 31
f 14
8 seconds
WB Daylight
6 stop ND filter

New Image Galleries

I’ve added several new image galleries to the portfolio section of the website.

Winter 2018

Summer 2018

Autumn 2018

Winter 2019

I get a little busy with writing these days and so I sometimes forget that the origins of this website back in 2010was as a photo portfolio for my Lofoten work. But I also don’t process as many images as I used to, and so I need time to go back through the images I shot and edit some stuff which I may have missed, especially from the winters when I get too busy guiding to keep up with things.

I’m still mainly focused on writing at the moment, with some probably overly ambitious plans for two new ebooks within the next few months – though the 2nd one will likely have to wait until after my winter tour season. And hopefully some updates to already existing books. I’ll see what happens – my head only has so many words in it!

Ebook Update – Kungsleden South – Kvikkjokk to Hemavan

Kungsleden South - HIking From Kvikkjokk to Hemavan

I’m happy to announce the second edition of Kungsleden South ebook. Now covering the southern 260km of trail between Kvikkjokk and Hemavan – and the whole of the Kungsleden if combined with Kungsleden North – Abisko to Kvikkjokk.

You can find the ebook here: KUNGSLEDEN SOUTH – Kvikkjokk to Hemavan

From the first edition which only covered the final section of the trail between Ammarnäs to Hemavan, I have added the 180km section between Kvikkjokk and Ammarnäs, now completing the trail.

The ebook itself has now nearly doubled in length, coming it at 159 pages with 139 images and over 16,000 words.

If you have already purchased the first edition, then you will receive an email to download this new edition.

This has been a long overdue hole that I had planned to finish for several year. However, despite my best efforts, I was never able to find a hiking partner, which makes my trips much more productive photographically, as well as fun. But finally this year I decided it was time to head back to Sweden, even if solo. And so in September I finally completed the missing section from Kvikkjokk to Ammarnäs over 9 days.

And it wasn’t just the Kungsleden I visited this year. In July I hiked the nearby Padjelantaleden. The first English language hiking guide to that wonderful trail is already in progress and will hopefully be completed before the new year. And I’m already planning a second hike of the trail for September 2020 – Autumn is always my favourite time in Swedish Lapland! And I have to say, the mosquitos were too ferocious for me in July! I’m never going back to Sweden in summer! So keep an eye out here for updates in the near future…

Friday Photo #356 – Cormorant Rock

Photo: Cormorant rock, Flakstadøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway. November 1, 2019. 13:15

A cold wind has been blowing for the last days and the snow line has been dancing up and down the mountains. On Tuesday we actually had our first ‘sea to summit’ snow of the season here in west Lofoten with a nice dusting on the beaches. Though as is normal this time of year it didn’t last long and was melted away in the next days rain. But over, the weather people say that Norway has had a slightly colder than average October this year, 2.0 degrees below average for Leknes.

Skarvstein – or cormorant rock as I like to call it, is one of the sights along my drive to town. The birds are nearly always there, just sitting. Occasionally the local sea eagle will hang out there as well.

I wasn’t actually sure what to post today as the week has been completely occupied by the update of my Kungsleden South ebook. But passing the rock today on the way back from the supermarket, it looked to be a fitting representation for the last week’s weather. While October can be a month of transition as autumn passes, November feels like we’re just waiting for the darkness of the polar night to arrive. On these heavy, overcast days it is just gloomy and dreary – the sun now too low in the sky to even shine though any breaks in the clouds here on the northern side of the islands – those on the south have a bit more luck with the light.

The sea was a little rough today, so I put on a 6 stop ND filter to go down to a 25 second exposure. Luckily the birds mostly sit still. I would have maybe gone for a longer exposure, would have looked nice for the clouds, but I was too lazy to stand around holding my cable release.

I cropped to 4:5 because there’s an annoying large rock just out of frame to the left which makes the composition feel unbalanced, so I didn’t want it in the shot – though ideally I would have liked to have shot the scene a little wider were it not there.

Camera Info:
Nikon D850
Nikon 24-70 f/2.8
ISO 31
f 1413
25 seconds
WB Daylight
6 stop ND filter