New Mountain Hiking Page – Hermannsdalstind – Moskenesoy

A new mountain hiking page is now online for Hermannsdalstinden, located on Moskenesoy.

– CLICK HERE –

Hermannsdalstinden is a spectacular mountain, and the only peak above 1000 meters in the western half of Lofoten.  While it is a long day hike, and overnight trip makes for a rewarding journey deep into the heart of Lofoten’s mountain landscape.  And the stunning views from the summit, Perhaps now my favorite of Lofoten.

 

Friday Photo #42 – Kvalvika Beach Aurora

Northern Lights Kvalvika Beach Lofoten
Photo: Aurora over Kvalvika beach campsite, Moskenesøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway.  Aug 30, 2013. 22:54

As August (and summer) comes to an end the Arctic sky finally begins to darken enough for the Aurora to return from their summer Holidays.  Well, they’ve been in the sky all along, but it was never dark enough for them to shine.  This year, might first sighting of the Northern Lights was on August 21st, Though they were quite faint against the twilight night.  The night of this image, August 30, the sky was significantly dark and the Aurora strong enough for a decent image to be made.

This is also an image that I nearly missed, as a few hours earlier I had sprained my ankle while coming down from sunset up on Ryten, and was thus is a fair amount of pain and without the ability to move much.  But as soon as I saw the Aurora, I left the warmth of the campfire and did my best to hobble and crawl around the ground to get myself in position.  And with the fairly dark foreground of the campsite, and the Aurora high overhead, I needed to keep my camera quite low to the ground to capture more of the sky.  Thus I would probably would have ended up laying on the ground anyhow, sprained ankle or not.

The Aurora only lasted for a few moments and then disappeared as quickly as it arrived.  But due to the high cliffs surrounding Kvalvika beach, it is probably not the best location for Aurora watching anyhow, most of the lower horizon is hidden from view.  Had I still been up on Ryten, it probably would have turned out to be quite a nice display.

Camera Info:
Nikon D800
Nikon 16-35mm f/4
16mm
ISO 800
f 5
10 seconds
WB Daylight

Helvetestinden – New Hiking Route Page

The first new hiking route from my August Lofoten trip is for the mountain peak Helvetestind, Located on Moskenesoy.

-CLICK HERE- to checkout the hike.

This was the fist hike of my trip, traveling non stop for nearly 40 hours from California until I reached the summit on a sunny summer afternoon.  I couldn’t have asked for better weather, and despite my exhaustion, I was glad to be up there.  I hope you enjoy it.  And plenty more mountains to come over the next weeks…

Kjerkfjord from Helvetestind, Lofoten Islands, Norway

Photo: View towards village of Kjerkfjord from near summit of Helvetestind, Moskenesoy, Lofoten Islands, Norway

Friday Photo #37 – Kvalvika Beach

Group of people on Kvalvika beach, Lofoten Islands, Norway

Photo:  Kvalvika Beach Friends, Moskenesøya, Lofoten Islands, Norway.  Aug 26, 2012.  16:00

While I typically choose to exclude people from my landscapes, sometimes a human element helps make a scene.  I can’t remember exactly what I was doing at the moment, probably wanding around the beach to collect driftwood, when this group of people showed up and caught my eye.  And so I pulled out my camera to see if anything interesting might happen.

I would have preferred the beach to be clear of footprints, but what can you do, other than hiring some models to re-create the scene at low tide.  As the 3 friend sat and chatted for a minute, before one of them went diving into the water, I grabbed a couple quick photos.  Somehow the 3 of them standing there helps show the massive scale of Kvalvika beach, to me the cliffs in this image almost look bigger than they are in real life.

Camera Info:
Nikon D800
Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8
56mm
ISO 100
f 10
1/160 sec
WB Daylight

Friday Photo #34 – Munkebu Hut in Autumn

Munkebu mountain hut with Hermannsdalstinen peak in distance, Moskenesøya, Lofoten Islands, Norway

Photo: Munkebu hut and Hermannsdalstind in Autumn, Moskenesøya, Lofoten Islands, Norway.  Oct 7, 2012.  13:27

My last full day on the islands for 2012.  After a rather stormy last few days, the weather cleared up and I decided to make one last journey into the hills.  I had originally planned on getting an early start to the day and maybe making an attempt on Hermannsdalstind, but that didn’t happen; perhaps because I stayed up too late the previous night looking for Northern Lights.

By this time in the year, end of the first week of October, nearly all the trees across the islands had lost their leaves.  While this left much of the islands somewhat barren looking as they awaited the arrival of the first snows, the low, ground foliage still had some nice color to be seen.

I had actually planned at staying a night or two in the Munkebu hut in August or September, but someone decided to infect the place with bed bugs (eeeekkk!), so it was closed the majority of the 2012 Summer season (as far as I have read, it has been re-opened for 2013, but that’s probably a bit late news for you if you’re reading this now).  But as I’d never been up here before, I decided just to start hiking and see where I ended up for the day.

While I think this area is quite a beautiful part of the islands, and one of the the most isolated parts of Moskenesøya, one of the landscape photographers greatest nemeses is present, power lines!  grrr!  There would be some beautiful, untouched views from up here, yet a row of power lines always seem to find their way into the best composition.  And I’m not even sure what they’re doing way out here, and the poor guys that had to put them in in the first place, but they’re there.

Camera Info:
Nikon D800
Nikon 24-70f/2.8
29mm
ISO 200
f 8
1/200 sec
WB Daylight

Friday Photo #33 – Olstind in Clouds

Heavy clouds conceal summit of Olstind mountain peak rising from fjord, Reine, Moskenesøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway

Photo:  Olstind hidden in Winter Clouds, Moskenesøya, Lofoten Islands, Norway.  Feb 17, 2013.  17:11

Olstind, probably the most iconic peak of the Lofoten Islands, when you can see it.  Taken at the same time an location as last weeks Friday Photo, another gloomy image during the fading light of a short February winter day.

For some reason I don’t imagine I’ll ever have enough images of Osltind.  While often times I pass the mountain by if it’s a scene and lighting conditions I’ve previously photographed, when something new is to be found I’ll usually make the effort to hop out of the car, or walk, and see what I can come up with.

I think the calmness of the evening drew me out here on this particular day.  I’ve seen the mountain hidden in clouds enough times before, but for some reason, there was something a bit more interesting this time.  The sky was heavy, as indeed, rain started falling only a few minutes after this image.  But at the moment, the islands were calm.  The waters of the fjord sat flat and silent, hardly making a sound on the barnacle covered rocks I was standing on.  And so yet another photo of Olstind was taken.

Camera Info:
Nikon D800
Nikon 24mm f/3.5 tilt-shift
24mm
ISO 100
f 8
8 seconds
WB Daylight
2 Images – Top/Bottom

Friday Photo #32 – Empty Rorbu

Derelict Rorbu sits on edge of fjord, Vestvalen, Reine, Moskenesøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway

Photo: Abandoned Rorbu, Vestvalen, Moskenesøya, Lofoten Islands, Norway.  Feb 17, 2013.  17:12

Like last weeks Friday Photo, this is a location I’m so familiar with that I’ve never thought of taking a photo of it before.  I’ve stood in front of this building a dozen times or more, with my camera pointed at Olstind – one of my favorite locations to shoot Olstind from as you can get away from all the power lines – yet I’ve never turned around and given much though to the building itself.  Perhaps I just needed the right conditions.

I find something haunting about this image.  It is dark and subtle, far from the typical ‘hero’ type Lofoten photos I and others normally take.  It feels lonely and forlorn, yet with a glimmer of something. A future.

Perhaps on most occasions I would not have even been here as the last traces of light faded from a February day while a gentle rain began to fall just as I put my camera in my backpack and wandered back to the car.  I was merely killing a bit of time before being graciously invited by another photographer I had met for a cup of tea in his Rorbu just down the road – an invitation not to be passed up while sleeping in a car in winter.  And so, I ended up with what is probably one of my favorite images of the trip.

Camera Info:
Nikon D800
Nikon 24mm f/3.5 tilt-shift
24mm
ISO 100
f 8
8 seconds
WB Daylight
2 Images – Top/Bottom

Friday Photo #29 – Reinebringen Mountain Sunset

Sunset over Reine and Hamnoy from Reinebringen, Lofoten islands, Norway

Photo: Reinebringen Mountain Sunset, Moskenesøya, Lofoten Islands, Norway.  July 26, 2010.  00:35

The sky was a perfect blue as my friend Søren and I arrived back in Reine after two nights camping at Bunes beach.  The original plan was to head back to Stamsund, but such a day was too good to spend sitting on buses and waiting around Leknes.  Not having planned ahead for such a situation when leaving Bunes, my water bottles were empty and so I resorted to purchasing 1 liter of overpriced water from the small store in Reine.  And at that, we were on our way towards Reinebringen.

Despite our heavy overnight packs we made good time up the mountain, with a few odd comments and looks of surprise from the people we managed to pass.  We were on the summit before noon, with hardly a cloud in the sky and barely a wisp of wind to be felt.  Absolute perfection!  After some time of sitting in the sun, I set up my tent for the sole purpose have having some shade.  And by mid afternoon I was down to about 200ml of water.  But we were determined to stay on the mountain and so the hours slowly passed by as the sun sunk lower and lower on the horizon.

Not trusting if the weather would last, I took the tent down around 11pm, deciding that it would be safer just to sleep in the open; allowing a faster escape if the weather turned.  By midnight I was in my sleeping back, trying to get a few hours sleep before our 5am wake up call.  Though some 20 minutes later I opened my eyes to this scene emerging. Shit!  Time to get up…

I didn’t even bother getting dressed or putting shoes on.  So there I stood, barefooted and only in my underwear on the summit of Reinebringen as I photographed a midnight sunset.  It probably would have been a pretty funny looking scene had someone else decided to show up then.  By 5am we were on the way back down the mountain for the 6am bus back to Stamsund, where I slept the rest of the morning away on the deck outside.

Camera Info:
Nikon D700
Nikon 24mm f/3.5 tilt-shift
24mm
ISO 200
f 8
1/40 sec
WB Daylight
2 Images – Top/Bottom

Friday Photo #28 – Hamnoya January Sunrise

Winter sun silhouettes empty stockfish drying racks, Lofoten Islands, Norway

Photo: Winter sun at midday, Hamnøya, Lofoten Islands, Norway. January 6, 2010. 12:50

By the end of the first week of January, the sun is just barely beginning to wake from its winter hibernation. Not even fully crossing the horizon, the sun slowly arcs the southern sky before the long winter night returns by mid afternoon. While I had already made a half dozen trips to the islands by this point, this was my first real journey into the heart of winter.

Alone and cold, my only shelter from the fierce storms that blasted the islands was my tiny rental car, unable to even fully recline the seats to sleep. I spent and average of 20 hours per day wrapped in my sleeping bag, reading by the light of my headlamp to pass the time, drifting in and out of sleep when I could. Snow fell so heavily on several days that the only place I could park so sleep for the night was next to bus stops on the E10 where a snow plow would hopefully arrive by mid morning to dig me most of the way out. But it was over these 5 days that I took some of my brilliant photos of the islands to date. I embraced to cold and the darkness and used it to my advantage.

This image is from my first full day on the islands. The night had been turbulent and stormy (I had yet to learn that Utakleiv is generally not a good place to sleep in a car in winter), but as dawn arrived, the islands clear and calm. By midday I found myself in the west as the sun was beginning to break the horizon. It seemed to just sit there, halfway between sea and sky.

Despite the fact that the horizon was clear, the clouds overhead never developed much color. The mountain behind me were glowing a brilliant pink, but I also wanted to capture something looking towards the sun, even though the scene was actually somewhat boring to tell the truth. So after unknowing getting my car stuck in the snow (I had to get pulled by some guy in a tractor I found clearing the streets a little later), I walked over to the cod drying rack, still sitting empty this early in the year. Trying a few composition, I eventually decided something a bit more abstract might fit the scene better. So I ’tilted’ the lens all the way to throw most of the frame out of focus and help lead the viewer towards the sun.

Camera Info:
Nikon D700
Nikon 24mm f/3.5 tilt-shift
24mm
ISO 200
f 5.6
1/160 sec
WB Daylight
2 images – top/bottom
Full lens tilt

Friday Photo #27 – Horseid Beach – Lofoten Islands

Horseid beach, Lofoten Islands, Norway

Photo: Dark skies over Horseid beach, Moskenesøya, Lofoten Islands, Norway.  August 22, 2012.  15:51

I arrived on Lofoten early the previous morning and immediately caught the ferry to Kierkefjord to make the hike to Horseid beach.  Exhausted, I fell asleep in the early afternoon to the sound of a gently rain falling on my tent.  15 hours later I finally emerged.  The sky was still gray, but at least the clouds had risen and the rain was now only arriving in passing showers several times per hour.  As time passed the northwestern sky began to clear and moving beams of light would shine across the beach.

With the right tide (high), the small peninsula of land at the far end of Horseid beach provides an almost perfect view directly back towards the pass; the mountains in almost perfect symmetry.  Now it was my task to wait around for a bit of light.  When the sun happened to pass across the beach, the water was a brilliant turquoise. I knew I wanted to highlight this aspect of the scene, while not minding so much about the lighting on the background, or actually preferring it to remain dark and dramatic.

With the quickly moving light, I first shot with ‘normal’ exposures, but wasn’t getting the mood I was looking for out of the scene.  So I added my 10 stop B+W neutral density filter and then waited for the next found of light.  Shooting with 30 second exposures, it took a while for the elements to align themselves: a pleasing blur in the water with the correct timing of the waves and a long enough moment of sunlight across the beach to bring out the exposure and add some contrast against the mountains in the distance.  And even though the wind was fairly soft by this time, the 30 second exposure helps soften up the clouds a little, giving a bit more separate between them and the mountains.

For reference, I’ve included the following ‘outtake’ photo of the scene exposed at 1/250 sec.  While you can tell it would be something pleasant to sit there and look at in person (albeit a bit on the chilly side), visually, there is nowhere near the impact of the above photo.

Camera Info:
Nikon D800
Nikon 24mm f/3.5 tilt-shift
24mm
ISO 80
f 11
30 sec
WB Daylight
2 images – top/bottom
10 stop ND filter

horseid beach, lofoten islands, norway