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Autumn Storm over Vestfjord

Autumn storm clouds over Vestfjord, Lofoten islands, Norway

Autumn snow flurries fall over the Vestfjord as seen from Moskenesøya, Lofoten Islands, Norway.

I’m in the process of making a new photo gallery website for the Lofoten islands that should be finished sometime in the end of June.  I thought about just putting more Lofoten photos on my main website, but I think a site dedicated to the islands is better suited.  I also hope to make it something a bit more creative and interesting than my main site, which is admittedly a bit boring.  Perhaps I’ll throw in some writings/stories as well.

I’ll also be traveling to the islands again sometime in July/August for some summer weather and long days, as opposed to the dark and cold months that have consisted of my last few trips.

Henningsvær – Lofoten Islands

Travel photography, Henningsvaer, Lofoten Islands, Norway

Harbor reflection at Henningsvær, Lofoten Islands, Norway.  I think it’s with good reason Henningsvaer is nicknamed the ‘Venice of the North.’

Å I Lofoten – Lofoten Islands winter

A I Lofoten in winter, Lofoten Islands, Norway

Winter view from Å (I Lofoten) towards the southern end of the islands.  The peaks of Værøy can be seen in the far distance.  This was the 6th of January, the first day the sun rose above the horizon since the middle of December.

Reine – Lofoten Islands

Landscape photo Reine in Autumn, Lofoten Islands, Norway

Autumn, Reine, Lofoten Islands, Norway.

What a difference two months make can make to a scence.   The Lofoten Islands have become somewhat of a long term project of mine.  I was there 3 times in the last year alone and have a rough plan to be back again in July, as I haven’t been there during summer since 2006, so I need some better coverage of the islands during that time of year.  So far I’ve been there in: January, March, April, May, July, August, September, and October.  So I’ve still got a few months to fill in.  And one might think what difference does a month or two really make, but with a place in the far north, there are quite dramatic changes in scenery as the year passes on and I think all of it is interesting to see.

Reine in Winter, Lofoten Islands, Norway

Reine in Winter, Lofoten Islands, Norway.

Lofoten Islands Winter Photo Gallery

Lofoten islands winter photo gallery: click here.

In early January I traveled north into the Norwegian arctic in search of the polar night.  At 68 degrees north, I was unfortunately too low and too late for a true polar night, finding only the ‘polar twilight.’  Twilight would begin around 9:30 AM and last until around 3:00, all other hours of the day I would consider to be night and stars were visible.  It was actually far brighter than I was expecting when the sky was clear, the day being essentially a 4 hour long sunrise/sunset all merged into one before the night’s darkness arrived again.  Needless to say, I got a lot of reading done.

Since there are no tourists to the islands at this time of year and no hostels are open I was left to sleep in my (tiny) rental car as best as I could.  Which wasn’t very good.  Only having a 0˚ C sleeping bag and temps down to -7-8˚ C ensured for some cold nights.  I felt like some contortionist trying to fit inside the car to sleep.  I could fold the back seats down, but there was no possible way for me to get even somewhat comfortable.  Better than an airplane seat, yes, but the cold and my lack of a proper sleeping bag would mean that if I didn’t maintain good blood flow to my feet, they would become super cold.  On one of the nights it snowed so much that I could hardly get out of my parking area in the morning.  Only twice did I get the car stuck in the snow.  Once having to track down some dude in a tractor and ask him for a tow.  His comment, “You’re not the first one today.”  Second time a car full of the young guys came along after about an hour and helped push the car out.  I tried to be more cautious after that but still managed a few close calls.

I was fortunate enough for one day of good weather.  The remaining days I would classify a somewhere between bad and ‘I wish I had a warm house to sit in and some decent food to eat and not be stuck in this freezing car being rocked about by the wind and buried under snow.’

Å I lofoten, Lofoten islands, Norway. Winter travel photography

Autumn in the Lofoten Islands Photo Gallery

Landscape stock photography: Reflections of autumn trees in Steinbakkvatnet lake, Hinnøya, Vesterålen, Norway

Photo gallery of Lofoten Islands in autumn: Click here

I’ve created a stock image gallery of Lofoten islands, Norway from September and October 2009.  Most of the pictures are from Moskenesøy, Flakstadøy, and Vestvågøy islands, with a couple from Vesterålen as well (such as the above photo of the lake).  I spent about 2 weeks at Stamsund, one of my favorite places in the world where I’ve returned to again and again since 2001 (I should probably just try and move there one of these days).  I rented a car for a couple days with a fellow traveler and Lofoten addict so I was able to get out to some of my favorite beaches at Utakleiv and Unstad, as well as the nearly tropical looking beach at Ramberg.  I also got to explore a few new areas, such as Gimsøy, where I had never previously been on my normal hitchhiking journeys through the islands.

My last few trips to the islands had always been in the late winter/early spring so I decided it was time for a change of scenery from endless snow to actually having some color in my photos.  Weather wasn’t always so good, hence the need to stay for 2 weeks just to get a day or two of sunlight and blue sky, but I think I had pretty good timing as far as the turning of the trees.  I think it’s always something magical to watch the snow level creep lower and lower down the mountains each night until one day the first big snow storm comes and turns the whole world white.

travel photographer: Scenic beach at Ramberg, Flakstadøy, Lofoten islands, Norway

Ramberg Beach, Flakstadøy, Lofoten islands, Norway

Travel stock photo: Snow covered rocky coastline at Stamsund, Vestvågøy, Lofoten islands, Norway

Autumn snow on rugged coast at Stamsund, Lofoten islands, Norway.

If you have any trouble seeing the below slide show, please let me know.

Haukland Beach – Lofoten Islands

Haukland beach, Lofoten islands, Norway

Haukland beach, Lofoten islands, Norway

Lofoten Islands – Flakstad

Panoramic landscape photography: Flakstad beach, Lofoten islands, Norway

Flakstad, Lofoten Islands, Norway.

In summer under blue skies, this is a wonderful beach that is often crowded with people.  In early January it is a cold and windswept place – which is perfect for me because there are no footprints.

Nikon D700, 24mm tilt-shift lens.

Unstad – Lofoten

Snow covered beach, Unstad, Lofoten islands, Norway

Unstad beach, Lofoten islands, Norway.

An unrelenting storm had been hanging over the islands all day, but the weather on the islands can be quite localized, so I took a gamble that the north side might have some better weather, and indeed it did.  Emerging from the tunnel to Unstad, the snow had stopped and been divereted around the mountains that surround the village.  I wish I had arrived earlier as the day was already late and darkness – and more snow – was soon to come.

Lofoten Islands – Kjerkfjord

Landscape travel stock photography: Kjerkefjorden, Reine, Lofoten islands, Norway

Kjerkfjord as seen from near Reine, Lofoten islands, Norway.

This is the light at around 1:30 pm on the afternoon of January 6, the first day since mid December where the sun once again appears on the horizon at 68˚ north.  Got lucky to have calm winds and mostly clear skies on this day.  Imagine more or less the same light like this lasting for hours.  Magical.