Summer on the Lofoten islands

For our summer trip my brother and I headed to just above the Arctic Circle in Norway. We spent one day hiking in Rago National Park (more about that some other time) but our main base was the Lofoten islands, which I’ve wanted to visit for some time. Visiting in late July the days of 24 hour sunlight were over, but only just… the sun set after midnight and rose again around 2am! With photography in mind we settled into a routine of sleeping in late, hiking in the late afternoon and evening, and staying up for the sunset / night (which was never dark enough to really need lights) / sunrise.

Lofoten islands sunset

Last light on the mountains, above Unstad beach

Hiking Ryten Lofoten islands

On the ascent of Ryten

Lofoten islands dawn

Moss and rocks on the Lofoten coast

Lofoten twilight

Twilight, the Lofoten islands

The hiking on the islands was good but not exceptional; we found the condition of the trails to be poor and didn’t really find any hiking destinations that were more interesting than spots near the road. The photographic potential, on the other hand, is first class. It’s a truism that photographic locations live or die on the quality of the light, but I felt that to be particularly true on the Lofotens. We had a couple of overcast or rainy days when making any kind of image was hard, and a couple of mostly sunny days with great sunsets and sunrises that made for nice conventionally pretty landscapes. You probably need some interesting or unusual weather if you want a unique image, and if I went back I’d probably try my luck with late winter.

For a different take, my brother shot a gallery largely in infra-red, which worked quite well on the sunny days when the light for color images was nothing special. We planned the trip with the aid of the 68 North website, an excellent resource if you’re visiting the Lofotens with photographic goals.

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