Friday Photo #280 – Spring Snow Storms

Spring Snow Storms - Friday Photo #280

Photo: Spring snow flurries from summit of Ryten, Moskenesøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway. May 19, 2016. 22:13

With the snow line rising higher and higher up the mountains each day under the nearly 24 hours of daylight in late May, passing snow storms are still a common occurrence, even more so in the mountains. So don’t leave the down jacket at home yet! Actually, even in the height of summer, it´s a good idea to always carry an insulation later when out in the mountains, more so if you are unfamiliar with Lofoten´s weather patterns.

And while I generally find May a slightly boring month on Lofoten, these late season snow storms do provide the potential for some dramatic light, especially if they are in the late evening.

This particular evening on Ryten actually started out quite calm and peaceful – one of the lakes was even still enough for some nice reflections while on the way up. As is Normal for Lofoten, things quickly changed and soon there was sideways blowing snow shortly after reaching the top. Soon the clouds pass and the summit is clear again, with the next waves of snow glowing in the evening light as they approach from the distance.

Camera Info:
Nikon D800
Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8
58mm
ISO 160
f 10
1/100 second
WB Daylight
2 images: top, bottom

Friday Photo #274 – Fuglhuken

Fuglhuken - Friday Photo #274

Photo: Wild camp on Fuglhuken in September’s morning light. Moskenesøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway. September 19, 2017. 06:41

In honor of yesterday’s release of the 2nd edition of my West Lofoten Hikes ebook, I thought I’d post a photo from one of the new hikes I added to the ebook: Fuglhuken – a 557 meter peak on the northeast corner of Moskenesøy.

As September of 2017 had such fantastic weather, I would often head out for just an evening in the mountains. On this particular trip, the forecast called for clear skies by early afternoon, but as I was heading up the trail, heavy clouds were still hanging over the yttersia of Moskenesøy. Eventually in the evening, the sky finally cleared and I had a pretty good show of northern lights to watch.

Dawn arrived clear and cold, with the first signs of that autumn crispness in the air. In my haste the previous day, I had forgotten my thermal long underwear, and as I was still desperately holding on to the last days with my summer sleeping bag, it was a chilly night! The warmth of that morning sunlight was quite welcomed.

Soon however, the light lost it’s warmth and became somewhat dull and flat. So I packed up camp and headed down the mountain, getting back home for breakfast.

Camera Info:
Nikon D800
Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8
48mm
ISO 160
f 10
1/10 second
WB Daylight

Friday Photo #273- Ryten Ski

Friday Photo #273 - Ryten Topptur

Photo: Ski tour till Ryten with Kvalvika in the background, Moskenesøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway. April 2, 2017. 10:27

Between Monday and Friday I made 4 ski tours to the summit of Ryten. The weather was and light pretty dramatic some of the days, not sunny like this photo from last year. I actually wish I had brought my camera, but me skiing and photographing is not a safe combination yet.

Overall though, compared to making a similar amount of trips last year, I’m amazed at the amount of people on the mountain, both skiers and hikers. On Wednesday alone, I probably passed over 40 people on the mountain, and that was just in a 2 hour round trip. Only 3-4 years ago, I don’t think many people visited this mountain in winter at all. So now even in winter, there are issues with parking! And Kvalvika has been even more busy by appearance.

If you are heading out to the mountains of lofoten right now, make sure you are prepared. The Islands have quite a high avalanche risk at the moment: you can check the forecast at www.varsom.no. And fresh snow is falling every day, so all footprints will be erased by morning. And still below the snow, remains a lot of ice.

Camera Info:
Nikon D800
Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8
16mm
ISO 160
f 9
1/500 second
WB Daylight

Friday Photo #269 – Rope

Rope - Friday Photo #269

Photo: Mooring rope coiled on pier, Toppøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway. February 18, 2018. 14:59

If you’ve been following me for a while you’ll have noticed that I normally don’t shoot too many detail type images. However with a busy tour season this winter, I have been returning again and again to the same areas with my guests – areas that I’ve already been to hundreds of times before as well. So unless there is some spectacular light or particularly unique conditions, I’ve more of less shot all the ‘big views’ already.

So sometimes I look for small details to fill in the gaps between the landscapes; stuff which helps tell the story about life on the islands.

I saw this rope on a previous day or two and and made a mental note that it might look more interesting if there was a bit of snow – the was none when I fist saw it. Luckily, a light snow did fall one evening and I rust randomly happened to be back at the location, so I went and took a look. I initially took another composition, with the mountain Olstind in the background and then went away.

It wasn’t until later in the afternoon that I was back again. The snow had been walked on by that point in time, ruining any wider shots. So I decided to go low, and close. Even with my tripod completely flattened out, it was still too high, so I took my camera off and held it on the ground.

I knew I would likely crop this 1:1, so I used my 24mm tilt-shift lens, shifting vertically, to shoot 3 images. I also knew I wanted a shallow depth of field and to focus just on the front coil of rope. Though I did use some other focal points, such as the pole, but this makes the house in the background too sharp and distracting.

[That was a lot of words about a boring rope on a pole…]

Camera Info:
Nikon D810
Nikon 24mm f/3.5 tilt-shift
24mm
ISO 100
f 4
1/80 second
WB Daylight
3 images – top, middle, bottom

Friday Photo #267 – Narvtind

Narvtind Dawn - Friday Photo #267

Photo: Winter dawn over Narvtind, Moskenesøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway. January 23, 2018. 9:39

Sometimes you get lucky. Guiding my first tour of the year in late January, we were actually on our way to a different location when I saw the sky over Narvtind looking like this. So of course I stopped! As a location I have photographed numerous times over the years, it is still a nice scene that can provide some nice light with the right timing.

The light of late January is still quite directional to the south. Which unfortunately, doesn’t actually provide too many compositions for many parts of Lofoten, as the mountains block much of the sun. But a few areas will get some morning light, and this is one of them. But conditions also need to cooperate, with a still wind, so the fjord can have the mountain reflections.

I took a few other compositions this morning, but this still remains the classic view from this location.

Camera Info:
Nikon D810
Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8
70mm
ISO 100
f 11
.3 second
WB Daylight

Friday Photo #266 – Reine

Reine Winter - Friday Photo #266

Photo: Olstind rises above the frozen shoreline, Reine, Moskenesøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway. January 22, 2018. 09:50

It is not often that I take photos in Reine anymore. But occasionally, and usually when I’m guiding a workshop, I’ll come across some nice conditions in which it’s worth pulling out the camera. After several days in the area this january with an annoying south wind keeping the bay reflection-less, conditions finally calmed.

After some decent snow, and then rain which washed much of it away, it was almost completely dry during the 2nd half of January this year. But the dry conditions also brought a freezing cold to Lofoten, and so even without snow, we had ice.

As the tide receded, the frozen sections of the shoreline waters were left to fall and break across the rocks. Without this element as a foreground, I probably wouldn’t have shot this scene – even though the twilight was nice enough itself! But the this layer of ice helps hide what would be, for me, the overly messy rocks and seaweed. I also shot another composition with just Olstind’s reflection in the water, but I like this version better, as it gives a better sense of place to the image.

Camera Info:
Nikon D810
Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8
29mm
ISO 100
f 10
.5 second
WB Daylight

Friday Photo #265 – Ryten Aurora

Ryten Aurora - Friday Photo #265

Photo: Aurora over Fuglhuken from Ryten, Moskenesøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway. March 2, 2017. 20:03

I’ve already posted another image from this night: Friday Photo #218. So if you read that you already know that I was supposed to have gone skiing with some friends, but saw the aurora forecast and changed my mind at the last moment, eventually making my way up Ryten in the fading twilight.

While the main aurora display was off to the right of this image, it didn’t have the best composition. So after shooting that for a while, I looked for something else. Important tip – never get too focused on the aurora themselves that you forget to move and shoot different compositions. I see this happening a lot when I’m out, people just standing shooting the same image 1000 times. Yes, the aurora moves, but so should you!

So even without the brightest of the aurora, I felt this image had a stronger overall composition, and is something I likely would have photographed if the aurora were replaced with clouds. At 14mm, my lens still wasn’t wide enough to capture enough foreground the anchor the image, while also capturing enough of the sky. So shot two images, one for the foreground and one for the sky – same setting for each image. Later after merging, I cropped to 4:5, which I have become quite fond of over the last years. Perhaps it’s only memories from shooting film on a 4:5 camera back in the day.

Camera Info:
Nikon D800
Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8
14mm
ISO 2000
f 3.2
10 seconds
WB Daylight
2 images – foreground, sky

Friday Photo #264 – Winter Sun

Vindstad Winter Sun - Friday Photo #264

Photo: February sun low on the horizon just after sunrise, Vindstad, Moskenesøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway. February 7, 2017. 09:09

A month after the sun has returned to Lofoten the days are beginning to feel normal and the dark days of the past weeks are quickly forgotten. And while the sun rises higher each day and is quickly approaching the east, there still remains many locations on Lofoten with receive little to no direct sunlight – still in the shadows of the surrounding mountains.

From this location, on the low mountain pass between Vindstad and Bunes beach, early February brings about 45 minutes of sun at sunrise before disappearing behind Reinebringen. Camping out there for several nights, I would begin my mornings on the right side of this image, where the sun would first hit. But soon, the mountain shadows would approach and I’d have to relocate towards the left of the scene, until eventually the sun was gone.

Another week or so later and the sun would have bee sufficiently high to shine on this location for most of the day. Though on Lofoten, there is often a compromise. With the trade off for more hours of sunlight, the sunrise itself will begin to occur too far to the east (left side of the photo), and thus not be visible from this location until the sun was higher in the sky. Always something to think about when choosing a sunrise/set location on the opposite side of the islands with mountains in between.

Camera Info:
Nikon D800
Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8
14mm
ISO 200
f 13
1/30 second
WB Daylight

Friday Photo #263 – April Is Still Winter

April Is Winter - Friday Photo #263

Photo: April is still winter here – deep snow and strong winds high up on Mengelsdalstind, Moskenesøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway. April 13, 2017. 12:52

I have been receiving a lot of emails lately about ‘spring’ hiking on Lofoten. And by spring, most people are using continental weather as their reference, meaning April and May. Though the nights are no longer fully dark, April is still full winter here in the north. And while the coasts begin to thaw in May, it is still ski season in the higher mountains.

Even in June, snow will still be a dominant factor most years in many of the inland mountain areas – and especially in east Lofoten.

If you are thinking of hiking the mountains here anytime before mid June, then I suggest reading my Winter Hiking article first.

Mengelsdalstind wasn’t the objective of this trip. But first we had to cross the summit of this 826 meter peak, then descend the back side to reach our target peak in an isolated and obscure part of Moskenesøy. After a mostly calm night camped on a narrow snow ledge at Ågskaret, the wind had really picked up this morning as we ascended the narrow ridge through often deep snow. With my backpack 27kg backpack full of climbing gear and 5 days worth of food, it was exhausting work.

Camera Info:
Nikon D800
Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8
15mm
ISO 100
f 9
1/800 second
WB Daylight

Friday Photo #261 – New Year

New Year - Friday Photo #261

Photo: Descending towards Vindstad, Moskenesøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway. April 9, 2017

Welcome to 2018! Well, the first post of the year at least. I probably should have come up with something bigger and more important to say this week, as last week’s post (#260) was the completion of 5 years of these Friday Photos. Not too bad if I can pat myself on the back.

It has been quite a journey since then, and if you asked me back then if I thought I would be living in my own house, in one of my favorite places on Lofoten. I would have told you you were crazy! But here I am, listening to the wind and snow shake my house on this dark Friday afternoon – Though I did manage to get my 2nd ski tour of the year in today, so off to a good start!

So hopefully the rest of 2018 continues at this pace. But in the darkness of the last months, and with the avalanche issues and road closures, photography has taken a bit of a 2nd seat to just keeping moving and living a more ‘normal life.’ Though with a busy tour season coming up over the next months, I’ll be out for plenty of sunrises, sunsets, and northern lights. And not to jinx myself, but this winter is already off to a much better start than last year’s. Lets hope it continues.

After a weekend in the hidden valley, and with a storm quickly approaching it was time to return to Vindstad and catch the ferry back to civilization. What had been deep snow on out ascent, had turned to a wind blown and icy hard snow on the steepest, upper section of the pass. This is why I always carry crampons in winter, even if the slope might otherwise not be overly steep and can be easily ascended/descended under regular conditions. Luckily for my knees, the hard stuff didn’t last too long, then it was time to sit down and slide on my ass the rest of the 400 meters to the sea. I should have brought skis, it would have been a good run!

Camera Info:
Nikon D800
Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8
19mm
ISO 160
f 8
1/400 seconds
WB Daylight