Friday Photo #599 – Summer Grey

Photo: Misty grey summer weather over flowery meadow on Yttersia – northern coast of Flakstadøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway. June 16, 2024. 18:24

This week it is another photo of less than ideal summer weather – a misty grey, light fog, cloaking the landscape and hiding the mountains and sun. However, more important to the story here is location. Just 2km down the road and further from there was a fantastically sunny summer day. Two completely different experiences just a couple km apart from each other.

This particular day was one of the more common types of weather conditions to be experienced on Lofoten during the summer – sea fog. Typically, the fog blows in from the north on otherwise completely clear sunny days. So the northern side of Lofoten can be rather grim and dark, while just heading over to the inner side of Lofoten will often be full of sunshine.

The weather forecasts don’t account well for the summer fog, especially a light version like this, and especially for the high amounts of local variation possible. But one sign of possible northern fog or mist risk is a fully sunny and cloudless forecast for a location like Leknes or Svolvær, in combination with a light northern wind of 4-7 m/s or so. Any other wind direction will typically keep the fog out to sea. So If I’m looking at the weather forecast and see full sun but a north wind, I’ll probably be cautious about making any plans for the yttersia – north side of Lofoten, which, unfortunately, is where most of the nicest beaches and many of my favourite hikes are.

Camera Info:
Nikon Z8
Nikon 24-120mm f/4
24mm
ISO 100
f 5.6
1/320 Second
WB Daylight

Friday Photo #598 – Midsummer midnight

Photo: Midsummer midnight sun over the sea, Lofoten Islands, Norway. June 20, 2024. 00:00

Yesterday was the summer solstice and the sun’s highest low point over the northern horizon for the year. From now on the days get shorter – although that won’t really be noticeable until the sun finally sets into the sea in mid July. The transition from the end of winter to the arrival of the summer green is so long up here in the north, by midsummer, the actual start of summer, it already feels like autumn is not too far away.

But while the sun may have begun its journey south, thousands of tourists are speeding north in what is already looking like will be the busiest summer ever on Lofoten. In locations where they measure hiking traffic, like Reinebringen, there has already been over 40,000 hikers on the mountain so far this year. And with the tourism season not even in full swing yet, it will probably well surpass last year’s numbers of 215,000 visits, and 160,000 in 2022. It’s a good thing they finally finished the stairs!

But even among the busy roads and thousands of daily hikers on the popular handful of mountains, there still remains the quiet and hidden peaks. Trail-less mountains where one can sit in silence and enjoy the sun floating over the northern sea as if you are the only person in the world. This is where I will mostly be this summer – or BBQing in my backyard.

You may have noticed that I’ve been posting mostly older photos recently, while in general I try to keep these ‘Friday Photo’ posts more of a running journal of recent happenings or info. Most of the reason for this is that I’ve only actually been in my own house about 3 weeks total this year. After a long winter workshop season, I immediately departed for and overdue visit back to California, which then was immediately followed by a trip to Scotland – mostly chasing puffins on Orkney and Shettland – but more on that later. So, now I’m finally looking forward to a bit more time and home and hopefully I don’t have to go near an airport until sometime in the autumn.

Camera Info:
Nikon Z8
Nikon 24-120 f/4
24mm
ISO 100
f 8
1/640 Second
WB Daylight

Friday Photo #597 – Dark Summer Skies

Photo: Rain heavy clouds fill the midnight sky over mountains of west Lofoten. June 7, 2021. 0042

Last week (Friday Photo #596) I wrote about the endless light of summer’s midnight sun. But that was only part of the story. The endless light is the dream, but not always the reality. And while yes, the sun will be above the horizon the entire month on June, it is not always present in the landscape.

This evening I was looking at a mixed forecast with an eventually passing couple hours of rain. I took a gamble with the forecast and headed up to an isolated mountain ridge to camp for the night. While I got some decent photos, the weather ended up a bit heavier than expected, so I never got much light. If I would have sat the evening in my garden, it probably would have been one of those sky on fire sunsets. The weather forecast for either event basically looks the same, but you never know what will actually happen until it does. In which case, hopefully you have chosen the mountains over a bbq.

Camera Info:
Nikon Z7 II
Nikon 14-30mm f/4
18mm
ISO 100
f 8
1/10 Second
WB Daylight

Friday Photo #596 – Neverending Light

Photo: Mountains of Vestvågøy rise from a shimmering night sea, Lofoten Islands, Norway. June 4, 2021. 01:57

Two weeks into the midnight sun season and Lofoten is bathed in 24 hour sunlight. And the days only get bright over the following two weeks until the summer solstice on June 20th. By now I will be almost completely ‘nocturnal’ as I stay up late into the morning hours with the sun drifting over the sea to the north. This view is from my house on one of those late mornings. How can I ever sleep?

I like the northern lights well enough, but rarely will I stay up past midnight exclusively for them. And the same goes for any other light on Lofoten – except for the midnight sun season. For me, the midnight sun is the highlight of the year living on Lofoten. Without it, I couldn’t live here.

Photographically, the midnight sun is rarely the best light. But it is the best time simply to be here and experience the slowness, if not stopping, of time for a few short, but precious weeks.

Camera Info:
Nikon Z7 II
Nikon 24-200mm f/4-6.3
200mm
ISO 320
f 6.3
1/640 Second
WB Daylight