Trip report. FROZEN LOFOTEN 2017 #1
Yesterday, the 3rd tour of the winter season came to an end. In a few hours we will pick up our next group, with who we will run the same tour again. I do not have much time to write this trip report, so it will be a short one again.
"Frozen Lofoten" is an intensive photography workshop tour, focused on landscape, northern light and abstract photography. Together with Marijn Heuts, I run this tour every year in the end of February and the start of March. We only take small groups of max 6 persons per tour, to make sure that each participant gets the maximum attention from us and so that we are not standing in each others way. If you want to know more about this tour, you can find all the details here: English description - Dutch description. On this tour we had guests from three different countries, with photographers ranging from starting to professional. The conditions during the tour were not easy, due to strong winds and heavy snowfall. But we managed to get plenty of photo moments on each day of the tour.
The first day of the tour we used for traveling to our first accommodation in Ballstad, just south of Leknes. We flew on the airport of Evenes - Harstad and from there we drove in 4 hours with two rental cars to our accommodation. The last hour we drove through a real frozen Lofoten in heavy snowfall. A great way to start the tour.
On this first photo day, we focused on the area north from Leknes, where some of the most iconic beaches of the Lofoten are located. We started with a smaller beach, which is not that often visited by other photographers. Here we were the only people on the beach, giving us a nice calm start with all the freedom to photograph. The snow from the day before, had changed the landscape into a winter paradise, giving us plenty of beautiful sceneries to photograph. After the first beach, we also visited the famous beaches Haukland and Utakleiv.
After a short drive from our accommodation, we entered a completely different area as the day before. A valley filled with birch forests, lakes and steep cliffs gave us plenty of subject to photograph for the day. At the end of the day we visit another less know beach. The great thing of this day, was that we were the only photographers at each location. Giving us again all the freedom.
In the early morning we packed our bags and started our drive further south on the Lofoten islands. Before the first light we arrived at Skagsanden beach, one of the most popular photo locations in this area. Here you are seldomly alone, but when you see the scenery, you understand why. You will always manage to come back home with some good shots from this location. After a long morning photo session, we drove to our second accommodation of the tour, on the island Hamnøy. In the afternoon we photographed in the direct surroundings of our accommodation. In the evening we returned to Skagsanden for photographing northern light. It was cloudy, snowy, windy and it didn't look good. We had set up our tripods on the beach and returned to our cars to warm up, when suddenly the sky opened up and colored green. The show didn't last long, but long enough to get the first northern light shots of the tour.
Before sunrise we walked from our accommodation up to the bridge of Hamnøy for probably the most popular shot of the Lofoten islands. The shot of the fisherman village of Hamnøy with the mountain Lilandstinden in the back ground. The rest of the day we spend photographing in the direct surroundings of our accommodation, as far as the weather allowed us to do so. The wind had pick and from time to time we had heavy snowfall. After dinner we kept a close eye on the sky for any sign of the northern light. Once again the clouds opened up exactly at the right moment. Withing a few minutes the sky was filled with dancing northern lights, straight over our accommodation and over our heads.
Today the wind had really picked up and there were periods with heavy snowfall. This gave us limited possibilities to photograph. But we still managed to be outside for most of the day. We stayed in the area around Reine, which has plenty of great photo locations and is close to our accommodation which provided us the warmth to de-freeze between the photo sessions.
Sadly this was our last photo day of the tour already. But it was a great one! Finally the hard wind and snowfall had disappeared and the sun colored the sky slightly in the morning. We visited several great photo locations over the day, while driving all the way up to our hotel in Harstad.
After eating dinner in the restaurant, we quickly headed out again for the last photo session of the tour. The weather forecast predicted clear skies and the aurora forecast predicted KP4 activities. So things were looking promising. A few minutes before arriving at our photo location, we could see from the car the first signs of the northern light. After having set up the cameras, the sky started to slowly fill with green lights, but nothing spectacular. It looked like it would stay like this, when suddenly the intensity increased and the northern lights were dancing over our heads in the most spectacular way. What a great way to finish the tour!
Early morning we had our last breakfast together. The guests packed their bags and we drove them to the airport where we said our final goodbye.