Friday Photo #335 – Reinebringen Closed

Photo: Work helicopter carrying stones steps to Reinebringen for the completion of the multi-year trail construction project, Moskenesøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway. June 7, 2019. 09:15

Reinebringen is now closed for approximately 6 weeks from June 4 – July 14, 2019

The sherpa trail crew from Nepal has now begun another season working on the Reinebringen trail – which will now be nothing more difficult than a 448 meter staircase. Work is expected to be completed by July 14, after which the mountain will reopen.

During the period of work, all access to the trail and work area is absolutely forbidden. This also means after work has finished for the day and on Sundays or other non-working days. Let them work in peace and DO NOT go on the mountain until the trail has finished. If you have traveled all the way to Lofoten only to hike this mountain, then you’ll unfortunately have to come back another time – which is a good excuse to return to Lofoten anyhow, as these islands are worth more than just one visit! But the work needs to be done, so let it occur without any selfish or narcissistic need to sneak your way up into the work zone – does the world really need another photo from the top anyhow? Not really…

I will try an update the Reinebringen hiking page as soon as I hear information about work being completed. Otherwise, follow the Reinebringen Facebook page for updates.

Camera Info:
Nikon D850
Nikon 70-200mm f/4
95mm
ISO 160
f 5.6
1/400 second
WB Daylight

Friday Photo #324 – Horseid Beach Winter

Photo: Winter view over Horseid beach, Moskenesøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway. March 16, 2019. 16:14

Though Wednesday was the first official day of spring, Lofoten is still a long way from thawing out – or I should say, any more so that the normal winter temperature swings which can bring rain anytime. And with my winter photo season pretty much over for the season I can begin to focus on some winter mountain adventures over the next weeks.

The first trip from last weekend was a long coveted winter view over Horseid beach. I joined some friends from Lofoten Fjellsport group for a ski trip up to Branntuva. I was a bit worried the snow would be too thin, but it turned out to be some of the best snow I’ve ever skied on Lofoten, especially the descent from Fageråskaret pass. Such nice turns! Though unfortunately, the length of the trip and an unfortunately late start meant that this was mostly done by headlamp.

This would have been a good night to camp and the sky filled with northern lights later in the evening. But being avalanche terrain, it would not have been safe for me to return alone.

It turned out to be a long day, around 9.5 hours and 13km round trip. I’m not quite back in mountain shape yet after 2 months of photo guiding, so I was a bit wrecked to Sunday to enjoy the fantastic weather, a coffee and cinnamon bun was all I had the energy for. This weekend a series of storms are sweeping across the islands, so it will be indoor weather.

Camera Info:
Nikon D850
Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8
20mm
ISO 100
f 6.3
1/320 second
WB Daylight

Friday Photo #323 – Sakrisøy Winter

Photo: Winter blue hour overlooking Sakrisøy, Moskenesøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway. February 2, 2019

Sometimes there is nothing nicer the fresh snow on a cold winter morning. I don’t know how many times I’ve stood on this hill over the years, but a lot, and still, on mornings like this it’s worthing setting up the tripod for a few photos. In the early blue hour, sometimes it looks as if the mountains are glowing from within.

I actually found myself shooting quite a lot this winter workshop season. Perhaps it was because Lofoten had so much snow for a while, something which has largely been missing in recent years, or perhaps because there was also some quite interesting light and weather in familiar places that I’ve almost grown bored of seeing. Either way, I’ll have a lot of photos to edit during the next months.

For now thought, my photo tour season is over for this winter – though lofoten is still quite busy, there’s even a group walking around outside my house as I type. So my focus will mostly turn to the mountains for the next month until winter finally begins to thaw itself out in the short nights of April. And only 1 more month for aurora’s, so still need to keep an eye on the night sky, though I must say, I’ve been a bit spoiled this season, so it needs to be something big to draw me out of the house…

Camera Info:
Nikon D850
Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8
21mm
ISO 100
f 8
6 seconds
WB Daylight

Friday Photo #322 – Southern Storms

Photo: Waves crash over shoreline of Hamnøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway. February 26, 2019. 17:48

Only a month after January’s snowmegeddon buried Lofoten under 1+ meters of snow in a single day, a week of rain in the end of February has more of less washed it all away. Winter is a narrow balance here on Lofoten, and a change in wind can be the difference between nice skiing or muddy hikes during the winter months. And while all the snow of January was impressive, it was a bit optimistic to think that it would remain the whole winter. So here in west Lofoten, we’re waiting for the next big snowfall before we can put on the skis again!

Sometimes I find it frustrating, that winter is not always white and cold here. But that is the price we pay on Lofoten to have such mild weather for our northern latitude; the islands warmed by the gulf stream. But still, the locals like to talk about the old days, when the islands were buried in snow. January was perhaps my first experience of this, but it didn’t last.

So late February’s rain melted away January’s snow. A normal cycle here these days: cold, warm, cold, warm. A gentle balance. And yet, it is unfortunately impossible to predict what will come from year to year. What will next year bring? Nobody knows…

Camera Info:
Nikon D850
Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8
17mm
ISO 320
f 4.5
1.3 seconds
WB Daylight

Friday Photo #320 – Photo Season

Photo: February dawn over Reine from Olenilsøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway. February 20, 2019. 08:11

Photo: A small selection of the 30 or so tripods waiting for dawn on Olenilsøy Wednesday morning, Lofoten Islands, Norway. February 20, 2049. 07:54

It is the photography high season here on Lofoten and I must say that I’m both sad and disappointed in what I have seen occurring here over the last weeks. The sheer amount of disrespect, arrogance, and poor behaviour from the visiting photography community is staggering! – both from organised photo tours and small friend groups. People standing in the middle of roads – or worse yet, letting their small children play around unsupervised while heavy trucks full of fish attempt to drive by, parking in marked passing places on single lane roads, parking on the E10 near blind hills or turns, groups of cars parking on, and blocking, private driveways for the closest access to a photo location, and generally high amounts of trespassing on private property- mostly due to some popular Instagram photos. It is out of control in west Lofoten, and it is only a matter of time before a reaction to such behaviour occurs, which will affect all of us who wish to continue to photograph these beautiful islands.

Lofoten is not a photographers playground. And just because you’ve spent a lot of money on camera gear doesn’t mean you can act like an ass! People live here, work here, drive their kids to school, and generally try to go about their daily lives. Years ago, when there were a few photographers visiting in the winter, perhaps it was ok to make a quick stop along the side of the road for a photo or two. But now that there are Hundreds or thousands of photographers here on any given day, we must all be aware of the impact we are making. What once was possible no longer is, unfortunately. That is the problem with too many people, anywhere in the world. Lofoten is being photographed to death. And I don’t want to see that happen to the place I have decided to call home!

But unfortunately I think the concept of ‘respect’ is a losing battle. 99% of people here will just go home after they’ve taken their photos and probably never return, without a care of what impact has been made. I can barely count the number of times in the last weeks I’ve told people not to park in the middle of the road, only to receive the response of, ‘yes, ok, thanks…’ as the person walks away from their car parked in the middle of the road to go take their photos. I’m half tempted to quit photography and start a towing company – I would make a far better living these days…

So I ask, those of you who might read these words. Please be respectful of these islands and the people who live here. The land here is beautiful, yes, but it is a small community on the edge of the world. We are trying to cope with the new visitors, but things take time.

Camera Info:
Nikon D850
Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8
62mm
ISO 100
f 10
1/13 second
WB Daylight

Friday Photo #318 – Reine Dawn

Photo: Winter dawn over Olstinden, Reine, Moskenesøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway. January 21, 2019. 11:34

I’m now underway with my second photo workshop (of 6) for the winter season. In my personal photography I’ve almost completely giving up on shooting the popular viewpoints, but while guiding I can spend a lot of time in the old familiar views. And sometimes after all these hours and years of being there I still get lucky with some nice light!

This was from the second morning of the last workshop. We had already been out for a while and the light had been amazing the whole morning. So it was just about time to head to my favourite cafe in Reine, Bringen Kaffebar, and have my daily cappuccino and cake when the light began shift a little and the sun rounded the mountains.

10 minutes earlier the whole face of Olstind had been illuminated and I was just taking some normal shot. Then I decided to throw on a Neutral Density filter and go for a couple long exposures before packing things in and hiking up the hill. This was one of those ‘just one more shot…’ moments. But I don’t even thing I realised how cool the lighting was until I got home and saw it on the computer.

I think this could perhaps be a new favourite Olstind shot of mine…

Camera Info:
Nikon D850
Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8
35mm
ISO 31
f 13
112 seconds
WB Daylight
10 stop ND filter

Friday Photo #314 – Winter Storm

Photo: Storm waves wash over Myrland beach, Flakstadøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway. January 11, 2019. 13:52

I was hoping to post a photo of my first sighting of the sun today, but I have not seen it yet, even a week now after the end of the polar night. On Wednesday I went for a hike up Offersøykammen as it was the only slightly decent weather forecast for some time, but the clouds remained too thick.

For the last two days Lofoten has been getting blasted by a proper winter storm. More of less everything on Lofoten is shut down today. All ferries are canceled, flights are canceled, busses are canceled, vehicles have been blown off the road, power is out in some locations, and some buildings are having to roofs blown off. This is serious weather, not outside weather. And not a day to go touring around if you are unfamiliar with the conditions. Don’t put yourself or others at risk

The Gimsøy bridge recorded wind speeds over 50 m/s – That is 180 kph! More than a hurricane! The Swedes and the Germans have given the storm a name, Jan and Donald, respectively. Apparently its not big enough for the Norwegians to name. Is that a polite way to call our Swedish neighbours wusses?

I only managed to walk down to my local beach between rain showers. Even at low tide, the waves were crashing almost to the back of the beach. I ended up quite deep in the sea at one point before I found a large enough rock to stand on. So while the photo might just look like a somewhat average day here on Lofoten, it really was crazy!

Most of the rocks in the image are normally completely covered in sand and not visible. So it looks like a meter or more of sand has been washed away from the beach. It will be a completely different place the next time I shoot it. Luckily the sand will eventually return, but it might take some time.

Camera Info:
Nikon D850
Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8
14mm
ISO 160
f 10
.8 second
WB Daylight

Friday Photo #307 – Horseid Summer

Horseid Beach Summer - Friday Photo #307

Photo: Summer evening over Horseid beach, Moskenesøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway. July 17, 2018. 22:55

I don’t like November. The only redemption to this month is northern lights, but so far we’ve just had near constant cloudy skies – even while the forecast says it should be sunny! And today my house is once again shaking in the wind from another storm while icy snow sings a chorus on my windows. The days are now short and the sun is perilously low on the southern horizon. Have I already seen my last sunlight of the year without even know it?

I’m generally trying to keep these Friday photo posts as current as possible with recent conditions or events on the islands. But other than 3 nights of northern lights, I haven’t taken a single photo for a month. Though much of the blame for that is me starting to surf again – so rather than go out and hike in crappy grey weather, I might as well be in the water catching some waves. I did just order myself a GoPro, so perhaps some water photos will start showing up here soon.

So, with nothing immediately relevant to post this week (nor the following weeks either), I thought a nice memory from summer would work. I think I’ve already written (I forget when) that this was a relatively boring summer in terms of light. June mostly sucked and rained, July got hot and hazy for 3 weeks, then it began to rain again in August, and more or less hasn’t stopped since then.

This day was one of the hotter days of summer and we sweated our way up the trail-less peak under a scorching sun. Normally I try and avoid the hot days for summit camping as I have to carry too much water – and it’s not like there’s much shade to be found either!

Eventually as the sun sank low on the horizon a bit of nice warm light fell over the landscape, but still a cloudless sky.

It seemed like too much effort to set up a tent, and it would have been way too hot inside anyhow! So I opted just to bivy outside – finding a rock to at least shade my face. But it was so hot that I couldn’t really be inside my sleeping bag! Soon however, a strong wind began to blow across the summit, so it wasn’t nice to be outside the sleeping bag either! I had originally planned for a second night down on the beach, but when thinking of sitting in the sun for the next 36 or so hours, I decided against it. So after a sleepless night I headed down to catch the 07:00 ferry. A good decision, as that afternoon it hit 29.9˚C on Lofoten – way too hot!

Camera Info:
Nikon D850
Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8
14mm
ISO 100
f 8
1/60 second
WB Daylight

Friday Photo #301 – Reinebringen Update

Reinebringen - Friday Photo #301

Photo: Autumn snow flurries pass over Reinefjord from Reinebringen, Moskenesøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway. October 7, 2018. 14:17

Last Sunday I took a stroll up Reinebringen to checkout the progress on the Sherpa trail. After 3 years of work, there are now 870 (I think) stone steps built up the steep hillside to Lofoten’s most popular view. Even on this stormy October day, I passed more people than I would have in July only a few years ago. It goes to show the power and influence of social media on the outdoors. Reinebringen has stood as a destination for many years, yet it is only now that a stone stairway has been required. How many other places in the world are experiencing the same change?

During the construction work on the trail this year from mid August to the end of September, I saw many of the Instagram hubs, with 100’s thousands or more followers continuing to post photos from Reinebringen, while the trail was actually closed and guards had to be posted to keep people out of the work zone. Despite this though, people went around the barriers, and one group actually required helicopter rescue a few weeks back after getting injured…

But now, there are 870 steps up the mountain. The last 150 vertical meters still have no steps, and are as dangerous as before – not because you will slip and fall, but due to the loose rocks. And indeed, on my trip up the mountain, a group descending above me sent several rocks flying my way. And of course, they weren’t experience in mountain travel, so didn’t even know to shout ‘Rock!’ or ’Stein!’ as they came tumbling towards me and my friend.

And don’t let the steps lead you into a false sense of security. The new steps have been build much to the left of the original trail and are now below a steep section of rock slabs for part of the route. When I made a winter trip of the route in January 2017, I noticed the steps had been completely covered in Avalanche debris. And this was during a period of relatively low snow. Just because the mountain will soon be an easy walk, doesn’t mean you can ignore conditions on the route. But I’m afraid this will be ignored by tourists lured into a false sense of security from the steps…

These days I often feel like I’m a lone voice shouting into the wind. I don’t have much influence compared to the onslaught of social media promotion of Lofoten – mostly by people that have barely spent any time here, if at all. But the reality of Lofoten should be stated, and the risk should be known…

Camera Info:
Nikon D850
Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8
20mm
ISO 200100
f 8
1/400 second
WB Daylight
9 Image pano

Reinebringen - Friday Photo #301

Photo: Descending the 870 steps which now wind their way up Reinebringen, Reine, Moskenesøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway. October 7, 2018

Friday Photo #300 – Rainbow Season

Reine Rainbow - Friday Photo #300

Photo: Autumn rainbow over Olstind, Reine, Moskenesøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway. September 30, 2018 13:27

The winds and storms of last week have calmed somewhat, but the rain has remained. I just looked at the statistics for September, 247.9 mm of rain fell in Leknes, which means probably even more in Reine and the west. To make a dramatic comparison and show just how unpredictable the weather on Lofoten can be, in September 2017, only 11.3 mm of rain was recorded. That is quite a difference! What will next year bring? Nobody knows…

However, while it might not be idea camping and outdoor weather this autumn, the light has been amazing! I have just finished my second workshop (of 4 this autumn), and each day brought something new and exciting, and completely different than the previous week, where wind was a major element. This past week the weather slowed, the showers lasted longer and the rain fell heavier. But this also allowed more predictability in what might happen with the light. The next part was just to get to the right place and hope that the elements aligned.

This time of year Reine enters into the shadow of Reinebringen during the early afternoon. With a nice reflection of Olstind in the harbor on this day, I thought it might be worth waiting a bit to see if we could get some nice light. As the next wave of showers approached the sun emerged from the clouds behind us. Soon a rainbow formed low on the left and then grew into the sky. Going higher, higher, higher… But before we got a complete arch, the sun faded away again. A nice image, but it could be better! I generally don’t spend too much time at the tourist viewpoints on my own these days, but with two more workshops in the area in the next weeks, I might get another chance at something…

Camera Info:
Nikon D850
Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8
28mm
ISO 100
f 11
1/40 second
WB Daylight