Aurlandsfjord, Norway

Favorite Images of 2014

I welcomed in 2015 camping in the freezing cold temperatures outside Ouray, Colorado.  Though I was in bed by 6:30pm, because it was simply too cold to do anything but sleep, it seemed a fitting end to the year and beginning of the next.

Here are some of my favorite images from 2014.  Though I have gone to some effort to exclude most of my Lofoten Images, which I’ll post as a set of their own in a few more days over at 68north.  Otherwise, it would be too easy for this list to be entirely made up of images from the Islands.  But I also ended up a couple other places as well, so I thought I would separate the two collections.

2014 was fairly similar to the previous year.  Once again, a majority of my focus was on the Lofoten Islands, staying for just over 2 months in total this year, split between winter and autumn.

In February, between visits to Lofoten, I attempted to make a ski tour on the Kungsleden trail in Sweden.  It didn’t go too well and I never made it very far from Kebnekaise Fjällstation.  But I still had some fun and look forward to making another attempt one of these years.

The spring saw me return to the Silesian countryside of south Poland and a brief visit to the Tatra mountains.  The rest of the time I was in Wales.

In late August, I made my first visit to Tromsø, where I boarded a sailboat for a 2 week trip to Lofoten.  It was absolutely fantastic, and I hope I find the time to make a proper writeup one of these days.  After the sailing trip I remained on Lofoten for most of September.  It was perhaps the best month of northern lights I’ve ever had on the islands, with night after night of aurora filled skies until the early morning hours.

One of the highlights of the year was a 10 day road trip though Norway in October, From Lofoten to Stavanger.  I’ve never properly explored central Norway, only ever hitch-hiking or busses previously.  So it was happy to finally begin to explore some places that I’ve wanted to visit for years.  And the autumn color was some of the best I’ve ever seen, making up for the rather dull color on Lofoten this year.

I’ve missed out on celebrating the New Year on Scotland’s Outer Hebrides for the last 2 years now, which I slightly miss.  So in an attempt to make up for it, I headed to Scotland in October, only to be blasted by wind and rain for nearly 2 weeks straight until I finally lost all motivation and headed south to Wales before returning to California.

2015 will be off to a quick start.  Next week, I’ll already be on my way back to Lofoten to co-guide a photo tour for Muench Workshops.  After that, I’ll stay on the Islands until the end of February to work on my own photography and hopefully climb a few mountains.

 

Winter night at Kebnekaise Fjällstation, Lapland, Sweden

Photo: Evening comes to Kebnekaise Fjällstation, Lapland, Sweden.  February 2014

Old barn in farm field, Prudnik County, Opole Voivodship, Silesia, Poland

Photo: Old barn in field, Silesia, Poland.  May 2014

Spring thunderstom over fields, Prudnik County, Opole Voivodship, Silesia, Poland

Photo: Approaching storm over field, Silesia, Poland.  May 2014

Town hall and Rynek market square, Opole, Silesia, Poland

Photo: Opole City Hall, Silesia, Poland.  May 2014

Female hill walker on Carmarthen Fans - Bannau Sir Gaer with Picws Du in distance, Black Mountain, Brecon Beacons national park, Wales

Photo: Hiker on Bannau Sir Gaer, Brecon Beacons national park, Wales.  April 2014

Wild Welsh Mountain Pony at sunset on Mynydd Llangorse, Brecon Beacons national park, Wales

Photo: Welsh mountain pony at sunset, Brecon Beacons national park, Wales.  April 2014

Silhouette of person watching Northern Lights - Aurora Borealis  over coastline, Austvågøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway

Photo: Northern lights over coast, Lofoten Islands, Norway.  September 2014

Norddalsfjord autumn, Norway

Photo: Alpine farm above Norddalsfjord, Møre go Romsdal, Norway.  October 2014

Nigardsbreen glacier, Norway

Photo: Nigardsbreen glacier, Sogn og Fjordane, Norway.  October 2014

Aurlandsfjord, Norway

Photo: Clearing storm over Aurlandsfjord, Sogn og Fjordane, Norway.  October 2014

Markan, Lofoten Islands, Norway

New Lofoten Mountain Hiking Pages

Markan, Lofoten Islands, Norway

Photo: Sunset over Kråkhammartind from the summit of Markan, Moskenesøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway.  September 2014

I’ve added a few new mountain hiking routes from my September trip on the islands.

Markan – Moskenesøy

Munken – Moskenesøy

Stornappstind – Flakstadøy

I still have a couple more mountains to add as well, but time is going to be tight, with a little less then a month before I’m returning to Lofoten again to co-guide a photo tour with Muench Workshops.  I’m hoping to have the time to write up a few posts about my autumn travels, particularly about the sailing trip, which was fantastic!  But I’m not sure if I’ll be able to get around to it, so things might be a little quiet around here for a while.  Though most of the next couple weeks will be spent working on something cool, and if I can finish in time, then it should more than make up for my lack of posting here…

 

Scenic Myrland beach, Flakstadoy, Lofoten Islands, Norway

Lofoten Islands Friday Photo Series

Scenic Myrland beach, Flakstadoy, Lofoten Islands, Norway

Photo: Sunset at Myrland Beach, Lofoten Islands, Norway.  September 2013

Things will be a bit quite around here while I finish up the last few weeks of my travels before heading back to California in November.

In the mean time, I invite you over to 68 North where my weekly ‘FRIDAY PHOTO‘ series is nearing two years of posts.

Or, you can also see where I’m at and the images you’ll get to look forward to by checking out my FACEBOOK or INSTAGRAM pages, where It’s a bit easier to keep regular updates…

 

Looking down on Kvalvika beach from near summit of Ryten, Lofoten Islands, Norway

Kvalvika Beach – Lofoten Islands

Looking down on Kvalvika beach from near summit of Ryten, Lofoten Islands, Norway

Photo: Summer sun shines across Kvalvika Beach from the summit of Ryten, Lofoten Islands, Norway.  August 2012

was looking back through some old photos looking for something to post while traveling and came across these images.  I have posted the first one several times, as it is one of my favorite images of one of Lofoten’s most spectacular locations, Kvalvika beach.

The second image I’m not too sure if I have posted before.  But what caught me was the contrast between the two images.  They were taken 42 minutes apart, but might as well have been taken on different days.

Every time I hike up Ryten, I hike with the intention of staying for sunset.  But I also hope to get some nice light shining over Kvalvika beach.  Luckily this is an afternoon/evening event in summer, but there still can be quite a bit of time passed between a shining sun and sunset.  Time that I often spend shivering in the cold northern wind that seems to constantly blow across the summit of Ryten.

But the two scenes seem like such contrasts.  The first, the brilliant golden sunlight shining over the green hills seems so warm and inviting.  The second, dark and cold in appearance is more true to the day, where I was bitterly cold during the hours I spent up high in the mountains.

Looking down on Kvalvika beach from near summit of Ryten, Lofoten Islands, Norway

Photo: Twilight light over Kvalvika Beach from the summit of Ryten, Lofoten Islands, Norway.  August 2012

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

Back On Dry Land – Lofoten

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

Photo: Summer evening view from the summit of Ryten, Lofoten Islands, Norway.  August 2012

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! 🙂

But 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.

Kvalvika Beach, Lofoten Islands, Norway

Norwegian Sailing Adventure – Tromso To Lofoten

Kvalvika Beach, 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.

Norway Hiking

Tromso Norway

Norway Hiking

Photo: Hiking into the summer 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 Expidetions.

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.

 

 

Northern Lights fill sky above mountains of Lofoten Islands, Norway

Lofoten Images in 2015 Geo Saison Calendar

Northern Lights fill sky above mountains of Lofoten Islands, Norway

Photo: Northern Lights over Stamsund, Vestvågøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway.  October 2011

For any of you guys in the German speaking countries, a couple of my Lofoten Islands photos are in the GEO ‘Im Licht des Nordens’ 2015 calendar.

The first image is on the cover, a photo of the northern lights I took in October 2011.  It was my last night of a two week autumn trip to Lofoten.  Thus far, the sky had been quiet, not a hind of northern lights to be found.  Though 2011 was a turbulent autumn, so there often wasn’t much night sky to be seen.  But finally with one night left the weather calmed and the sky remained clear.  I could sense that auroras would appear.  The islands’ final gift to me; making sure I didn’t leave empty handed.  They lights were somewhat late to arrive, but when they did, wow!  I stayed on shore to photograph while Roar took the others out on the boat to gaze at the sky from the calm waters of the Vestfjord.  This was the best aurora I had seen up to that point.

The second image from from the summit of Offersøykammen.  Frustrated with my efforts for the day thus far, I decided just to hike up the small mountain and wait for sunset.  With about 40-50 minutes remaining before sunset, a layer of cloud began to develop over the summit of the mountain.  The cloud thickened, but before I was lost in a total whiteout I was given about 15 minutes of beautiful light.  I never saw the sunset, and as I descended the mountain and could see again I discovered that I hiked up the only mountain covered in cloud.  Though I think it worked out for the best in the end…

So, if you’re in Germany/Austria/Swiss and want to purchase the calendar, you can do so here: Geo – Im Licht des Nordens

geo-saison-2015

 

Geo Saison calendar 2015

 

View over Nappstraumen from summit of Offersøykammen, Vestvågøya, Lofoten Islands, Norway

Photo: Autumn light over Offersøykammen, Vestvågøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway.  October 2012

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

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.

SEPTEMBER – Lofoten

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 Himmeltindene, 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.

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.

View over Nappstraumen from summit of Offersøykammen, Vestvågøya, Lofoten Islands, Norway

Lofoten Islands Travel Podcast Interview – Kuadrant Podscast

View over Nappstraumen from summit of Offersøykammen, Vestvågøya, Lofoten Islands, Norway

Photo: Autumn view from Offersøykammen, Vestvågøy, Lofoten Islands, Norway.  October 2012

I was recently interviewed for a new Travel podcast – Kuadrant Podcast.  It was the first time I’ve ever done a ‘live’ interview, or basically any sort of interview for that matter, so I’m not sure how much to tell you to expect from me.  But if you’re interested in spending 30 minutes of your life to hear me talk about Lofoten, travel, and photography, you can do so…

KUADRANT PODCAST – Episode 11 – Capturing Seasons In Lofoten

Without going into too much detail, I talk a bit about my early visits to Lofoten (2001/2006 – I’m getting old!) and why I was drawn to the islands and have returned so many times over the years.  Give it a listen and let me know what you think.  Maybe I will try and do more of these things! (ha!)