New Video – Lofoten Northern Light

Lofoten – Northern Light

Time Lapse

Shot during my visits during the summers and autumns of 2013, 2014, 2015. Some of you might have seen this already, as it’s been over on my Vimeo page for a couple months already, but I ran out of time before leaving home in August and have only just now begun to get caught up with things! I’ve also added it to my VIDEO page as well, where there are a couple other things to watch as well, so if you haven’t go check it out! 🙂

And now for some updates:

If you haven’t seen it yet, I will be guiding one winter tour on Lofoten this year. You can check it out on my PHOTO TOURS page. I planned it around the full moon, so we should have the best shooting conditions for northern lights – should the occur. And it’s been a good start to the year so far, I saw them on the night of August 18, while floating on a sail boat off the east coast of Greenland, with the sky still light enough that I could get a half-way decent image from the boat!

I’m also thinking of offering a late summer or autumn workshop that focuses a bit more around hiking and getting to some of the more distant places on Lofoten. If you might be interested, let me know…

Greenland? I kept the trip a little low profile as I wasn’t entirely sure how things would go as the sea ice off the east coast was thicker than normal this year in the area we hoped to reach. While I was on Lofoten in June, photographing the final content for my summer ebook, I received an email asking if I wanted to photograph a sailing expedition from Iceland to Greenland. I couldn’t say no!  But until I was boarding the boat in Iceland, I still wasn’t sure that it was real. And though Greenland had been on my mind for a while, I had sort of resigned myself that it would be another few years before I could get there. How quickly things change!

I’ll write more on that later, but as this site is still 99% Lofoten oriented, I’ve decided to start an new website and travel guide, with a bit more focus on stories and other travels; but still focused on the north.  I’m also home only a few days from hiking 270 kilometers on the Kungsleden trail up in Sweden, the reason I didn’t get to Lofoten this autumn at all – I was just across the border enjoying the best September weather I’ve ever had in the north of Sweden. There will be a lot of content to come out of this trip as well over the following months, much of which will also be the foundation for my new project. So keep an eye out…

I also have another hiking guide or two to add to this site, which will hopefully be online before too many more weeks have passed!


Lofoten Winter Video

Lofoten Winter – Video + Time Lapse

Here’s a short film I just put together with footage and time lapse sequences from the last couple winters – mostly 2015, and a bit of 2014. Video was recorded on Nikon D800 and D810, while all time lapse sequences are from a Fuji XT-1.

If you like what you see, checkout my PHOTO WORKSHOPS page. I’ll be guiding two winter photography workshops on Lofoten in 2016. The first will be from January 21 – 30 and is run by Muench Worshops, I will be a co-guide. The 2nd Photo tour is from February 14 – 21 and will be run by me.

And if you’re heading to Lofoten yourself, there’s always my Seasons on Lofoten – Winter ebook. 🙂


Interview with Henning Of Arctic Campers


The following is an interview with Henning Leible, co-founder and owner of Arctic Campers, a camper van rental agency based on the Lofoten Islands.

Arctic Campers is based out of Ramberg, Flakstadøy. For more information, bookings, and rental rates – visit their website:

Hey Henning, tell us a bit about your background.

I was working in the film business in Berlin for almost a decade, when I decided to trade urban life for the amazing nature of Northern Norway. I sold all my belongings and my business in Germany, fixed my VW Camper bus for some serious winter action and drove in February 2011 all the way up to Tromsø. The best decision I have every made. I think in the first year I have seen every mountain top of the Tromsø area. You step out of the door and you realize you are standing in a frame of a postcard. Snowy mountains, Northern Lights, clear water, and amazing fresh air, it was a big improvement of life quality for me.

How did you end up on Lofoten?

Well, the nature of Lofoten dragged me down here. I have been in Lofoten many times as a tourist and thought one day I would like to spend some more time here. I found an affordable house to buy on the Flakstad Island and I moved down here with my girlfriend. It’s been three years since we moved here and the nature of Lofoten is still hitting on me.

You run Friisgården cafe and guesthouse, how did that come about?

Friisgården is an absolute unique place in the West of Lofoten. It is a 250 year old building restored by a foundation in the old style. When the previous owner decided to stop running the guesthouse, my girlfriend was happy to take over. She is running the place and I am helping her with the kitchen and finances. Friisgården has three guest rooms and a small kitchen, so it is nothing you can support a family with but it is big fun running it.

How long have you been running Arctic Campers and what was your initial inspiration?

Arctic Campers is brand new, my best friend Mike and I started to convert the first car to a camper in 2014. We managed to rent the first camper out in March 2015 to a Swiss Northern Lights photographer here in Lofoten. When he returned the camper, he was very happy with it and we realized that our concept for the car worked out. That was pretty exciting and we converted the next car.

The idea for Arctic Campers came to us while drinking some beers in front of Friisgården. We have been bored of all these big RVs passing by and becoming an ugly piece in the Lofoten landscape. Space ships invading Lofoten, some of them looked like the Death Star from Star Wars. We thought there should be alternatives to those RVs, something that lets you fly under the radar but still travel independently and comfortably in the North of Norway.

We started to develop a Mini Camper concept containing everything you need for a smooth ride in the polar region.

How many camper vans do you have at the moment? Can you tell me a bit about them?

We have 5 campers. They are all out at the moment exploring the Islands, with some people even driving up to the North Cape and Kirkenes, close to the Russian border.
We worked for several weeks on the Arctic Camper prototype until we were satisfied with our concept. We ended up converting a VW Caddy Maxi. We equipped the camper with a camping kitchen (2 flame stove, fridge and water sink), a fixed bed with a real mattress (1.2m x 2m), 4G Wifi and a diesel heater. Every camper has an extra battery and USB ports, so you can charge phones, tablets and cameras. The feedback we are getting from our rental guests tells us, we have done a good job. That’s great and we are definitely getting some more campers for next year.

As some of my readers might know, I started my travel career in 2005 while living in a camper van in New Zealand, which was one of the most popular ways for tourists to travel around the country. But in Norway, it doesn’t seem to have caught on yet. Any thoughts?

You are right; Norway’s lonely nature and the freedom to roam are the best factors for travelling in a camper totally independently. I am not sure why nobody started with such concept up here. Maybe the high costs for buying cars in Norway is a reason. We are both big outdoors and camping enthusiasts; I was living some time in the back of an old Opel Combo when I was studying in London. When I moved to Norway I bought a Hyundai H-1 and built a simple camper concept into the back for myself. Mike also started his Mini Camper carrier with an old Nissan Urvan converted to camper. He spent in that car more nights a year as in his flat. I think you need to be into this lifestyle, to set up such a company so far north.

What difficulties have you faced in your first year of operation? Getting the word out?

No, getting the word out was actually pretty easy. The Norwegian Air magazine wrote about our concept and also local newspapers. The real challenge up here is definitely the supply of quality parts and equipment for converting the car to a camper. We are used to Germany, where you have several shops and suppliers and you can choose. Here we have to organize transportation from Oslo, or even Germany, when we want quality parts. Of course we get also some stuff in Leknes or Svolvær but unfortunately not everything.

Also converting a camper gives you new challenges. For example, recently I learned how to sew – because a camper cruising in the land of the midnight sun needs defiantly some curtains.

You are also cooperating with several other local travel companies…

Yes! We are a small group of entrepreneurs here in Lofoten working together very closely. We are sharing an office in Ramberg with some of them. Our Arctic Campers guests are getting discounts, for example at the surfer’s place Unstad Camping, or going birding with Lofoten Birding. At the moment we are establishing more cooperation with companies all along the way to the east of Finnmark.

For those not able to visit Lofoten in summer, are you operating year round?

Yes, all year around. I don’t have to tell you – how special Lofoten is in the off-season. First of all, you are almost alone here with the nature, the light is super special and the Lofoten people are suddenly more relaxed because all the mass tourism of the summer is gone. You can also see the Northern Lights. The camper is giving you the opportunity to follow the good weather and the chance to see the Aurora Borealis without any clouds in front increases dramatically.

The Gulf Stream gives us pretty mild winters. So our Mini Camper can be used also in spring, winter and autumn. Of course going with a camper in the off-season is a bit tougher than in the summer months, but you are coming here for seeking an adventure, right?  You are not coming to the Arctic to visit a petting zoo.

Can you promise me I won’t freeze to death in winter?

I promise! Every camper has a Webasto 2 Kilowatt diesel heater. It is heating up the back of the car in just several minutes and will keep you warm until you are ready to go out chasing the Northern Lights or hike over to Kvalvika. I was in March with one of the campers for two nights in Utakleiv. I took my 1,5 year old daughter with me. Outside we had some minus temperatures and a bit of a storm, but my daughter was playing in the bed just wearing a diaper. The diesel heater kept the camper perfectly warm and did a great job. Since then we like to call the cars Arctic Pampers ;).

Thanks for the interview. Any last thoughts?

At the moment we have a lot of work with the summer season, but when we have more time, we will do some more planning for next year. We are about to open an Arctic Campers office in Tromsø and also in Alta. So you can do one-way rentals or start your arctic expedition even more north then 68 degrees.
thanks for letting the people know that Arctic Campers is out there. Keep up the good work with!


Arctic Campers Lofoten Islands

Photo: My van in action on the north coast of Austvågøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway. June 2015

Disclosure: I was given a moderate discount for the week I rented my van. I will also cooperate with Arctic Campers on projects in the future.


New Lofoten Photo Workshop Winter 2016

Haukland beach, Lofoten Islands, Norway

I’m super happy to announce that I will be hosting my own photo workshop on Lofoten this winter: February 14 – 21, 2016.

You can find more info about the workshop here: Exploring Lofoten – Winter Photo Workshop 2016

Guiding my own workshops on Lofoten has been a long time dream of mine – you can see the business plan I wrote back in 2011, but until now I was never able to cover all the legal aspects of running a workshop to keep everything legitimate as it needs to be. However, now that I’ve been able to obtain residency in Germany, as well as teaming up with a local business on Lofoten, things can finally get underway.

And if you sign up to my email list by August, there is a substantial early bird discount for the workshop 🙂

New Lofoten Travel Guides

Nonstind hiking guide Lofoten Islands

Photo: View over Unstad beach from Nonstind, Vestvågøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway

With summer now in full swing, I’ve been busy writing new guides for everyone heading to Lofoten in the next few months.

This weeks updates are:

Nonstind – Mountain hiking guide. A 483 meter peak with fantastic views over Unstad beach.

Mountain huts guide. A brief overview to the mountain huts found on Lofoten

Hiking guide. An into for those hiking for the first time on Lofoten. Expect steep trails, but fantastic views.

If you guys are finding this more general travel information useful, please let me know! As it takes a lot of time of research and write everything…

Exploring Lofoten With Arctic Campers

Arctic Campers Lofoten Islands

While preparing for my June trip to Lofoten to grab a couple last photos for my eBook, I decided to get in contact with a new company renting out camper vans on the Islands: Arctic Campers. I often try and promote the flexibility of sleeping in a car while on Lofoten and also giving support to the local companies on the Islands, so it is good to see camper vans now added to the travel options.

And quite frankly, I’m really surprised it has taken this long. Some of you might know, that at the start of my travels 10 years ago, I spent my first year living in a van in New Zealand, where camper vans were one of the most popular forms of transport – I bought my own, but there were many rentals available as well.

Though Arctic Campers have a couple different models available, I used one of their VW Caddys – the Comfort Camper. Sleeping two (all bedding included) on a comfortable bed platform with plenty of gear storage underneath, the van also included free Wifi, a fridge, 2 stoves + cookware, water and sink area, a table and chairs. For those of you worried about cold, the vans are all equipped with heaters, strong enough to keep the vans toasty even in winter while you’re hunting for northern lights.

For more info, visit Arctic Campers at: or call at: +47 410 17 430

Arctic Campers Lofoten Islands

Photo: Even summer rain can’t keep the popcorn away! Austvågøy, Lofoten Islands. June 2015


Arctic Campers Lofoten Islands

Photo: Beach view at Unstad, Vestvågøy, Lofoten Islands. June 2015


Arctic Campers Lofoten Islands

Photo: Waiting for the midnight sun, Flakstadøy, Lofoten Islands. June 2015

Disclosure: I was given a modest discount for the week I rented my van so I could have the opportunity to test it out for future usage. All opinions my own as always.

Return to Lofoten

Dramatic coastal mountain landscape viewed from Ryten, Lofoten Islands, Norway

Photo: Summer evening view from the summit of Ryten, Lofoten Islands, Norway.  August 2014

I will be on Lofoten now for more of less the whole of September.  Hopefully the weather is as good as the previous two years, as I have put together a pretty long ‘to-do’ list of mountains to hike.  And I have a few mountains I need to hike again, hopefully with some better weather, to add more hiking guides to this website, as it seems there is some new competition out there these days.

If you see someone (me) in an somewhat ugly bright blue jacket, come and say hello.  Or you can try and contact me via FACEBOOK or INSTAGRAM if you know you’ll be around…

I want to try and remain on Lofoten as long as possible, especially as the chance for northern lights grows with the ever darkening nights of autumn – the best displays always seem to be the day after I leave, so I suggest scheduling at trip for the beginning of October! 🙂

It will be a long trip down from the north car, and not knowing what the weather may due, I might be forced south a bit earlier than planned.  Plus, this will be my first ever opportunity to visit central Norway by car, and there is a huge list of place I want to see or re-visit from my hitchhiking days of years gone by.

Norwegian Sailing Adventure – Tromso To Lofoten

View of river flowing towards Kvalvika beach, Moskenesøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway

Photo: Kvalvika Beach, Lofoten Islands, Norway.  August 2013

Part two of my travels in Norway begin today: A two week sailing expedition from Tromsø along the Norwegian coast to the Lofoten Islands with Vertical Shot Expeditions.

I have only been on a sailboat once before, a week long journey out to the Channel Islands national park off the coast of my hometown of Santa Barbara, CA.  I really fell in love with everything sailing and ocean during that trip.  And even gave thought to taking some classes, something that still remains in the back of my mind should I find the time one day.  So it seems appropriate that my next trip on a sailboat will include Norway, one of my other loves in life.

I have no idea what to expect really, but I have no doubt the journey will be nothing short of epic!  I just hope no early autumn gales decided to pass our way.  I don’t want any, ‘I’m glad I’m not on a boat today!’ type weather during the trip.  But the North does what the North will do, and hopefully I’m prepared for it.

I wont be posting much from the trip until I’m off the road, but you can keep up with my journey over on FACEBOOK or INSTAGRAM, where I’ll do my best too keep things updated whenever I find a wifi connection.

Heading to Tromso

Norway Hiking

Photo: Hiking into the arctic sun, Lofoten Islands, Norway.  August 2013

My last days to enjoy the California sunshine are over and I’m once again on my way north of the arctic circle; which is really my favorite place to be anyhow.  I don’t think I will miss the sun too much!

This journey will be a couple firsts for me.  To begin with, I’m testing out the new LA – Oslo route operated by Norwegian Airlines.  With a direct flight to Oslo, as well as the cheapest price to get to Oslo overall, It seems like a good deal overall and saves a lot of layover time in Germany or the US east coast.  Though I do have to drive to LAX on a Sunday afternoon, not something I’m expecting to be an enjoyable experience.  If only America could catch up with Europe, and I could take a train.  Only a dream I’m afraid…

Unlike my normal continued journey to Bodø, the gateway to Lofoten, I’m flying further north to Tromsø; both a city and northern latitude I’ve never been to before.  I think my main reason for never visiting Tromsø is the lack of a hostel or any other cheap accommodation.  Quite strange for a city of its size, and even more rare for most Norwegian destination, a summer as well as winter tourist appeal.  Luckily, I have been kindly offered a couch to sleep on, should it so be required by inclement weather.

Otherwise, I think I will walk from airport to mountains in my typical fashion.  Though no doubt I’ll be tired, so a nice place to sleep before any big adventures will likely be my first priority.

I was thinking of maybe heading into the Lyngen Alps, of which I have heard so much about, but I think I would like a bit more time for such a trip, and so will likely save for sometime in the future.  (It’s always good to keep a long list of plans and dreams…)

Overall I will have 5 mights in/around Tromsø before I need to meet up with my sailboat for the next part of the journey: A two week sailing expedition down the Norwegian coast to the Lofoten Islands operated by Vertical Shot Expeditions.

I wont be posting much from the trip until I’m off the road, but you can keep up with my journey over on FACEBOOK or INSTAGRAM, where I’ll do my best too keep things updated whenever I find a wifi connection.

Lofoten – Norway Travel Plans – Summer/Autumn 2014

Rainbow at Sunrise over mountains from Bunes Beach, Moskenesoy, Lofoten Islands, Norway

Photo: Sunrise rainbow at Bunes beach, Moskenesøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway.  August 2013

A couple days ago I booked two sets of plane tickets for Norway!  As many times as I’ve been to Lofoten now, I still get excited once I commit to a plan and get things rolling.  Only seven weeks of waiting left – well, I’ll hopefully keep quite busy at work to be able to pay for it all.  If not, I’ll be selling off some gear that doesn’t see much use anymore.

I was actually getting a little stressed, as I waited a little too long and prices were getting expensive!  But for some reason I remembered that Norwegian Airlines now has a Los Angeles – Oslo flight (direct).  Checking prices, it was about 1/2 price of anything else I could find (as I write this today, July 2rd, you can fly LA – Oslo (via Stockholm) on September 10th for $347 one way. Some cheaper prices if you go out a few more months).  Even more so in that I need to fly to Norway, but return home from the UK – which they also have London-Gatwick – LA direct as well.

I’ve flown with Norwegian plenty of times on inter-Europe trips to Norway, but haven’t ever taken one of their long haul flights before.  Knowing they are a bit ‘spartan,’ (ie: you need to pay for anything extra, even food) I’m not 100% sure what to expect, but for the price, I think I’ll be happy.  And hell, even half the United flights I seem to end up on don’t even have personal TV screens.  It worked out as the most convenient connection to get me to Tromsø anyhow.

Sorry to sound like an advertisement for Norwegian.  Though unfortunately for me, I don’t get to write one of those ‘This post was brought to you by Blah Blah Blah, opinions my own etc…’ at the bottom of this post – which would mean I got something for free.  I didn’t.  I just think this is a good deal for us Americans heading to Norway, and elsewhere in Europe.  Especially for us California folk.  And I really like Norwegian’s system of more or less considering every flight as one-way, which means it’s not any extra cost to fly to one destination and leave from another as you can easily book two separate one-way flights.

Now I just need to talk my brother into driving me to LA on a Sunday afternoon…

AUGUST – Sailing Trip to Lofoten

As I mentioned a little while back, I’m going sailing around Lofoten with Vertical Shot Expeditions.  I can’t really write how excited I am about this, but I am!  It is the first time I have ever signed up for any sort of tour – I’m normally quite a firm DIY type person; but there’s not really a way I could put a sailing trip together myself – well, maybe if I won the lottery or found some heavy duty sponsorship.  So the opportunity to participate in this trip was too good to pass up.  Hopefully I’ll return with lots of new images for this site.


I have been a little on the fence about what to do after the sailing trip, which ends September 6.  I have received a couple requests for some small private group tours – workshops around Lofoten for the Autumn, but so far none of these have come to fruition.  I also thought about going back to Sweden for another try at Sarek national park.  But I think it will be better if I put this off another year.   Luckily, life sometimes as a way of making decisions for you.

Without going into to much detail, I will be spending the whole of September on Lofoten.  I’ve already spent several hours looking at the topo maps at UT.NO, planning for the next series of mountain hikes to add to this website.  I think I’m gathering a pretty good list of peaks that I’m trying to sort out into various priority levels.  Though I’m not overly optimistic that the mostly calm, dry weather of the last two years will repeat itself again, so we’ll see how many mountain days I actually get.

There are also a few peaks I would like to revisit, like Himmeltindan, where I didn’t have the best Photography weather on my previous trip.  And there are a few seldom photographed valleys full of birch trees that will hopefully turn a brilliant gold come the second half of the month, with vertical walls of granite rising above.  So that might requite a few nights out in the tent, waiting for the light.  It’s only possible to plan so much for Lofoten, and then the weather takes over and decides what you will and wont be doing.  But I like to hope for the best.

OCTOBER – Norway Road Trip

I’ll probably leave Lofoten around the first of October, although I’m a little hesitant to leave right as the northern light season is beginning, hopefully I’ll see something decent by the end of September.  From Lofoten, I’ll have two weeks to travel through central Norway, and visit some places that have been on my ‘to photograph’ list for a while.  Though I fear I might be a little late in the year for some places.  In mid October I need to be in the Netherlands to catch a ferry to the UK.  Which is probably for the better, as the car wont have snow tires.

By the beginning of November I’ll be home in California again, counting down the days until January 2015 when I head back to Lofoten to help guide a Photography workshop by Muench Workshops.