Friday Photo #490 – Nesting Season

Photo: Ground nest in coastal moorland of common gull, Flakstadøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway. May 26, 2022. 16:07

With the midnight sun having arrived in the north and the landscape turning greener by the day – though the trees are still not fully green yet – it is breeding and nesting season for many of Lofoten’s migratory birds. 

Most of the birds are ground nesting, often choosing to hide their eggs in the thick and boggy heather of the coastal moorlands. But as the islands are full of birdlife, the nests are everywhere in reality. I’ve even seen young gull chicks walking around the parking lots in Leknes and Svolvær in the middle of the day. 

Most of the birds are semi-aggressive when you approach too close. The gulls and kittiwakes will scream as they fly towards you, but never get too close. The rarer, but highly aggressive arctic skua (dark brown in color) will come into near contact with your head in repeated attacks until you leave the nesting area. While others like the oystercatchers will try to distract you to get you away from their nesting site. 

If you are just walking through an area and suddenly notice aggressive bird activity, then take a little more caution to where you are walking, as you can see in the photo, the eggs are pretty well camouflaged, and easy to accidentally step on.

If you are camping, then you need to take a little more care to investigate the area and perhaps move away from a planned camping location. Continued proximity to a nesting area, such as setting up a tent for a night, may force the parents to abandon their nest for too long, and thus the chicks never hatch. So be careful to keep a great enough distance should you happen to enter into a nesting area.

Head over to my Instagram account for (almost) daily postings of the local conditions here on Lofoten: @distant.north

Camera Info:

Nikon Z7 II

Nikon 200-500mm f/5.6

450mm

ISO 500

f 5.6

1/1000 seconds

WB Daylight

Friday Photo #489 – Almost Midnight

Friday Photo #489 – Almost Midnight

Photo: Four minutes til midnight – spring twilight over hornleva, Flakstadøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway. May 19, 2022. 23:56

After what has so far been a depressingly cold and grey May the clouds finally broke on Wednesday afternoon for 2 days of sunshine and 2 nights of twilight. My first priorities yesterday evening was getting bbq season under way again, but afterwards I went for a wander around the neighbourhood to see what I could find.

It has been a little frustrating this year to know what light I’ve been missing behind all the grey skies – and it is back to clouds again already as I write this on Friday afternoon. It is also a bit shocking to suddenly realise how light the midnight sky has become. Usually its sort of a gradual process that occurs over the weeks of late April to mid May. But with such terrible weather, the evenings have been unusually dark most nights. And next week the midnight sun will officially start, so hopefully the weather improves as Lofoten heads into summer.

Overall, the spring feels a little slow to arrive this year judging by the fields outside my house, which were already filling with wildflowers by now. Though it is always a little hard to estimate the change of seasons on Lofoten, as just after the last 2 days of sun, the landscape is noticeable greener and many more trees have their first leaves. So Lofoten can ‘turn green’ quite quickly at this time of year. So by next week, Lofoten could already look like full summer, if the weather cooperates…

Head over to my Instagram account for (almost) daily postings of the local conditions here on Lofoten: @distant.north

Camera Info:
Nikon Z7 II
Nikon 14-30 f/4
30mm
ISO 64
f 11
13 seconds
WB Daylight
6 stop ND filter

Ebook Update – West Lofoten Hikes – 4th Edition

Ebook Update – West Lofoten Hikes – 4th Edition
West Lofoten Hikes V4

A new update is out for West Lofoten Hikes ebook. More info.

This is a fairly minor update compared to previous ones. Now added to the fouth edition: 5 new hikes and 40 pages. Price stays the same at $16 (+ Vat for those of you in Europe). If you’ve already purchased a previous edition, they keep an eye on your email for a free download of the new version.

Friday Photo #488 – Beach Seaweed

Photo: Seaweed covered beach after a week of stormy May weather, Flakstadøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway. May 11, 2022. 22:33

Today’s photo is an intentionally ‘ugly’ one. It has been a fairly stormy, cold and rainy May this year with a seemingly near constant north wind blowing across the islands and rough seas. In these types of conditions, seaweed is ripped from the coastline and deposited on the beaches across Lofoten, leaving them in a somewhat ugly and messy state. It is not a good time for beach photography at the moment.

Some areas are affected more than others, and there’s also the affect of wind, tides, waves, and more. Here, at Myrland beach, there’s actually not too much. Down the road at Storsandnes is much worse, or over at Unstad, where the seaweed can often pile 1-2 meters high, forming ‘seaweed mountains’ along the beach.

It will take some time now, and some bigger waves to clean up the beaches so they are in better photographic form. But it looks like the grey May weather will continue for a while longer, so not quite beach weather at the moment anyhow. Though it is somewhat frustrating, as the twilight nights of this time of year can bring some of the best light, but for weeks now, the northern horizon has had a constant layer of clouds blocking out the sun well before sunset, even if other parts of the sky remain somewhat clear. Hopefully better conditions arrive soon…

Head over to my Instagram account for (almost) daily postings of the local conditions here on Lofoten: @distant.north

Camera Info:
Nikon Z7 II
Nikon 14-30 f/4
14mm
ISO 31
f 11
10 seconds
WB Daylight
6 stop ND filter

Friday Photo #487 – Light And Shadow

Photo: Long shadows fall over the peaks of Veggen, Mannen, and Himmeltidan on Vestvågøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway. May 3, 2022. 21:25

It has been a turbulent and stormy start to May this year and any short moment of sunlight was quickly erased in the next wave of passing snow or rain. In these weather conditions the northern horizon area is typically fully cloudy, the opposite of what is needed for nice sunsets. But in the hour or two before sunset, there can be interesting dances and light and shadow across the mountains of Lofoten.

With the midnight sun only a few weeks away, the sun is now setting in the hight northwest of the compass, casting its last light over the northern side of Lofoten. I actually find this time of year somewhat frustrating, as the sunsets are now quite late, about 22:30, but the sunrises not quite early enough, about 03:45. So its a little hard to find the motivation to go out at ‘night’ after having eaten dinner maybe around 19:00-20:00. I’m slowly starting to transition to ‘midnight sun time’ where I spend all night out in the mountains. But the nights are still a little too long at the moment, especially considering the stormy conditions of the last weeks.

Luckily, at this time of year the light almost comes to me, so its not too bad to be lazy. And while I’ve shot this scene dozens of times over the years, its still a nice one. Especially since its just taken from my office window. So I can be sitting here at the computer typing away and take a quick look out the window to see if anything interesting is happening. If so, a couple quick photos, then back to work. Though some days can be more distracting than others and I find it difficult to concentrate on writing. But no complaints about that…

Head over to my Instagram account for (almost) daily postings of the local conditions here on Lofoten: @distant.north

Camera Info:
Nikon Z7 II
Nikon 24-200 f/4-6.3
130mm
ISO 100
f 8
1/40 second
WB Daylight