Photo: Misty clouds blow over Stortinden mountain peak, Flakstadøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway. August 19, 2021. 21:17
A cold wind has been blowing out of the north for the last week. And while the sun has emerged from time to time, the mountains have mostly been concealed behind the clouds, like most of this summer has been. But there is a change in the air, subtle, but there. That our short arctic summer is slowly fading away to the first signs of autumn color among the blueberry bushes and birch trees.
But beyond the blowing wind, the crashing waves, the sideways rain, the return of the northern lights; there is another sign that summer is soon over. Silence.
It is a subtle change and not always one I immediately pick up on, but one day I notice something missing; the sounds and liveliness of summer. The chirping, screeching, cawing birds that keep me up on summer nights are suddenly gone. The fields around my house are silent.
This is the opposite of spring, where one day in late march I will see the first pair of oystercatchers sitting on a rock during my drive to Leknes. But perhaps I’m looking out for this more as it is a sign that winter will (hopefully!) soon be over. But in late summer I’m not even sure when I last saw an oystercatcher. Was it 1 week, 2 weeks, more? It is just sometime around now that I notice my garden has gone quiet, save for a crow or two circling around at random. And so as the migratory birds have gone south, the sun is slowly doing so as well.
It wasn’t until late evening that I headed out yesterday. The north side of Lofoten was covered in a heavy, low clouds, but things were breaking up on the southern side of the islands, eventually with fully clear sky over the Vestfjord. I wasn’t heading anywhere in particular, just maybe looking for something interesting when I saw the clouds blowing over Stortinden. The scene wasn’t ideal, as the river is barely flowing at the moment – it is better in spring, or after a heavy rain. But the scene was dynamic enough for me to put in at least the minimal effort to walk a little to a familiar location. Luckily I got there just in time, as within a few minutes the summit was completely concealed in clouds and the moment was gone.
Head over to my Instagram account for (almost) daily postings of the local conditions here on Lofoten: @distant.north
Nikon Z7 II
Nikon 14-30mm f/4
3 stop neutral density filter