Lofoten Coast

Stormy weather over rugged coastline, Vestvågøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway

Coastline near Stamsund, Vestvågøy on a rather cold and dreary evening.  Lofoten islands, Norway

Fallen Giant

For perspective, I’m 1.83m (6 ft) tall.  Redwoods are some big trees.  Bad self portrait, I know…

large trunk of fallen Coastal Redwood tree - Sequoia sempervirens, Humboldt Redwoods state park, California

11:56 pm – The Road Near Kvalnes

Lofoten islands Norway landscape photography: Reflection of clouds in water, Kvalnes

Three years ago out on the coast near Kvalnes. Unsuccessfully hunting the midnight sun with a German and two Norwegian’s.  We were a day or two too late in reality, had there been no clouds.  The cool thing about this time of year in the north: you can shoot sunset, sunrise, and then go to sleep for the night and not have to worry about setting your alarm.

Night Comes to Lofoten

Lofoten islands panoramic landscape stock photo: view of Austvågøya and Vestfjorden in winter

View from the top of Stamsundheia above Stamsund, Vestvågøya towards the village of Henningsvær and mountains of Austvågøya.  The mountain peak in the center of the photo is about 16km away.  The second set of mountains behind that are about 35km away.  The Furthest distant peaks are the Norwegain mainland (Hamarøy I think) about 65km away, sperated by the mighty Vestfjord.

The night arrives slowly this far north due to the low angle of the sun.  In the weeks prior the the nearly 2 month long “day” of the summer months, night never really properly arrives, just a few hours of twilight.  Though here in March the night eventually comes, delayed enough that one has enough time to walk off a mountain after sunset with relative good visibility.

Storm over Selfjorden

snow covered boat shed on shore of Selfjord in winter, near Fredvang, Moskenesoy, Lofoten islands, Norway

Boat sheds on the Moskenesøya side of Selfjorden, the far shore being Flakstadøya.

Travel landscape stock photography: boat shed in winter snow storm, Selfjorden, Lofoten islands, Norway

Only 15 minutes between these photos.  I had been haunted by this storm for hours as I watched it slowly approach.  At times it would be held up by the 1000 meter high mountain peaks rising from the sea and I would escape its arrival for a precious few minutes, but once I gained exposure to the north it hit with a fury of snow and wind.  A bitter cold straight from the arctic winter, chilling me to the bone.   It was a wild ride that night, alone in my tent halfway up some mountain pass.

Conway Summit

Panoramic landscape photography: Conway summit, Sierra Nevada mountains, California

Pano Stitching Gone Wrong

I make most my panoramic photos using photomerge in Photoshop.  Normally it works super good without any problems but sometimes I just have to sit there and scratch my head with what it outputs.  This first photo for example:  3 vertical images with a Nikon 85mm tilt-shift lens.  In other words, it should go together absolutely perfectly, without any distortion or misalignment anywhere.  What happened in photomerge?  A great mystery of life.  All I can think of is that the clouds may have given it some problems.  I just had to use the old fashioned way and combine it by hand.  No problem.

bad-stitch2 mountain-snow-pano

Interesting results on this second photo as well.  And again, it was simple enough to align and blend by hand for a perfect result.

bad-stitch

lofoten-islands-winter-snow

The Kind and the Cruel Sea

Further down highway 1 from the Redwood national park area, yet still a few hours north of San Francisco, is Salt Point state park.  The waves here crash against rocky beaches and cliffs, rising into coastal bluffs and forests.

Salt Point state park, California

silhouette of trees at sunset

Rocky coastline at sunset, Salt Point state park, California

Dead seal pup on beach, Salt Point state park, California

In the rugged beauty of places like this, one is often reminded in the frailty of the life that lives there.  While the never ending crashing of waves may look good for my photo’s, they can be deadly obstacle for a young seal pup.  I counted 4 of the little guys along the short stretch of coast I walked along at days end.  The wind was blowing so fiercely that I would only pickup the smell when walking immediately down wind.  A quick search among the boulders and the source would be found.

Tafoni eroded boulder, Salt Point state park, California

Cool looking erosion in the sandstone rocks, called Tafoni.

Tafoni eroded boulder, Salt Point state park, California

Salt Point state park, California

The North Coast

After a night in the Mt. Shasta Area I headed west, through the winding mountain roads of the Trinity Alps and out towards the coast north of Eureka, almost to the Oregon border.  This area is the home to Redwood national park and numerous smaller state parks.  My favorite being Prairie Creek Redwoods state park, a mixture of thick redwood forests and beautiful beaches.  This area is so from my home in southern California (it is a shorter drive from Seattle, Washington than from Santa Barbara) that I only first came through here a couple years ago in the summer and then again in the autumn of 2007.

Gold Bluffs beach - Prairie Creek Redwoods state park, California

Prairie Creek Redwoods state park, California - tents among sanddunes at Gold Bluffs Beach Campground

There is this super cool campground at Gold Bluffs beach, set amongst coastal dunes with the endless crashing waves of the Northern Pacific ocean just a couple hundred feet away.

Roosevelt Elk graze in camproung at Gold Bluffs Beach, Prairie creek redwoods state park, California

Roosevelt Elk lazily wander and graze throughout the tents and campsites.  I would have liked to get a photo of them walking along the beach, but I never saw them there this time.  More reason to go back again.

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Fourth

Santa Barbara, California - 4th of July fireworks over harbor

4th of July fireworks over Santa Barbara Harbor.