Friday Photo #590 – Northern Lights Over Nappstraumen

Photo: Northern Lights swirl in the sky over Himmeltindan, Vestvågøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway. January 19, 2024. 23:38

The nights are now no longer fully dark on Lofoten, and that means the northern lights season has come to an end. But don’t worry, it will be back soon as the next season begins already in late August, only 4 months away.

For Lofoten, the northern lights season is roughly: August 20 – April 20

Last year, the season started early for me and my first aurora sighting was in the early morning hours of August 19 while on Værøy. This was the earliest in the year I’ve seen northern lights on Lofoten.

Overall, I spent much of the autumn and winter traveling down south in Germany, Scotland, and Spain. So I was gone for most of the first half of aurora season here on Lofoten, and I know I missed some good nights! Luckily I was also around for some good nights, the best two being December 1 and March 3 while guiding on Senja.

It was also a difficult winter at times, with lots of cloudy weather over Lofoten, and, despite all the media hype about the approaching solar maximum, a largely quiet sun for much of January and February. So even when the clouds parted, there was not always something to see.

This image, from January 19, was one of three nights of clear sky and moderately active northern lights. I was mostly focused on getting the 5th edition of Seasons on Lofoten – Winter eBook out before the start of the winter photography season, so I didn’t travel from home. But luckily I don’t have to go too far for a decent image light this one.

Camera Info:
Nikon Z8
Nikon 20mm f/1.8
ISO 200
f 2
2.5 Seconds
WB Daylight

Friday Photo #589 – Willow Ptarmigan

Photo: Willow Ptarmigan – Rype walks across snowy field, Flakstadøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway. April 18, 2022. 17:01

The long days of mid April bring an ever increasing level of activity to Lofoten as the migratory birds arrive and fight over mates and nesting locations. Though the willow ptarmigans – rype in Norwegian – live on Lofoten year round, they also increase in liveliness during the spring and their calls begin the fill the air.

Usually in winter, my only knowledge of their presence is a set of fresh tracks in the snow. But by April I can hear the males calling out as the fly around the neighbourhood. If I hear one near by house, I’ll often times try to sneak out a get a few photos before they fly away. Sometimes they are patient, other times not.

I still have yet to get a nice image of a fully white rype in a full winter landscape. I guess I’m not that dedicated to wildlife photography! Maybe I should try before all the snow melts…

Camera Info:
Nikon Z7 II
Nikon 200-500mm f/5.6
ISO 500
f 5.6
1/1600 Second
WB Daylight

Friday Photo #588 – Snow On The Roof

Photo: Snow covered roof tiles, Reine, Lofoten Islands, Norway. March 14, 2024. 10:05

Gentle snow had been falling all morning, brining winter back to what had previously been a dry looking Lofoten. Walking out of my cabin mid-morning, I noticed the snow had created a nice abstract patter on the roof of the cabin opposite mine.

I first shot a wider angle version, but switched to a telephoto lens for a more detailed shot, which I like better – as there is too much visible in the wider shot. Its a bit more abstract than what I usually post here.

As the snow continued to fall, the gaps between the tiles became filled in and the roof was eventually entirely white, and uninteresting.

Camera Info:
Nikon z8
Nikon 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6
ISO 100
f 6.3
1/250 Second
WB Daylight

Friday Photo #587 – 12 Seasons

Photo: Snow blows across Haukland beach, Vestvågøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway. March 24, 2024. 08:59

There is somewhat of a joke about Lofoten actually having 12 seasons during the year, instead of 4. And you can probably guess already, that most of the additional seasons are due to the long winters, and our optimistic hope that a nice and calm sunny day might mean winter is finally over. But nope, it isn’t over…

The 12 seasons of Lofoten are:
Fool’s Spring
Second Winter
Spring of Deception
Third Winter
Allergy Season
Real Spring
Actual Summer
False Autumn
Second Summer
Actual Autumn

Today’s photo of a snowy Haukland beach at the end of March is when Second winter made a return. Just a few days earlier the landscape of Lofoten looked hopeless and dry, and largely barren of snow. On the calmer, sunny days it was even enough to walk around in a sweatshirt most of the time. Fool’s spring.

Now the temperatures have dropped and the coldest day of the last month was -9.5˚c on March 28. Good news for all the ski tourists here for the long Easter holiday week. Bad news for everyone else that is waiting for the first signs of green and the long days of summer.

Now with the long days of April, Winter is long from over here on Lofoten, and the snow will likely continue to fall for the next weeks and into May. Eventually the snow will stop falling and we’ll have Spring here in the north, yet never quite sure if another Winter is waiting around the corner.

Camera Info:
Nikon z8
Nikon 14-30mm f/4
ISO 200
f 8
1/200 Second
WB Daylight