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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

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.