While places like Iceland and Patagonia are incredibly popular destinations for landscape photographers these days, a remote part of Northern Norway is quickly climbing the ranks.
Known as the Lofoten Islands, it consists of a series of fjords, dramatic peaks, arctic beaches and incredible seascapes. As icing on the cake, it is located above the Arctic Circle which not only means that you get nice soft light throughout the day, but also high probability of experiencing the Northern Lights when you have the right conditions.
The mountains on the way to Uttakliev are gorgeous when they light up during sunrise
While you will certainly want to pack for a cold weather experience, here are a few items I highly recommend you bring with you on your adventure into the Lofoten Islands.
Being above the Arctic Circle, there is a high probability that you will encounter both snow and ice on the ground around the Lofoten Islands. While crampons are certainly overkill, I am a huge fan of Micro Spikes that slip around your boots. They are 100x better than Yak Traxs…which I don’t recommend even to my enemies 😉
Like Iceland and Patagonia, the Lofoten Islands are known for their dramatic light caused by dramatic weather. In a given morning shoot you could witness snow, hail, gail force winds, rain and sunshine all within a 2 hour window. This can make shooting seascapes, northern lights or sunrise/sunset even more challenging than normal. A good sturdy tripod will be a must. I personally use an Induro CLT 304L with BHL 2S Ballhead for most of my needs.
Waders or Gaiters
With so many seascape opportunities, it will be important to try to keep your feet dry. Depending on how far you wish to go into the water to get “the shot”, I recommend you bring your own waders or gaiters to help. Waders are generally half suits that allow you to really get into the water while gaiters usually attach to your boots and reach up to just below your knee.
The easiest way to get there is to fly into the town of Leknes (LKN). You can find domestic flights from Oslo (Norway’s Capital) through SAS Airlines. The flights go through the town of Bodo where you will need to change planes, but all in all the transit is fairly painless, with short flight durations.
Reflections of the town of Leknes, Norway
Near the town of Leknes you will find a number of gorgeous arctic beaches to explore and photograph.
Closest to town is Haukland and Uttakleiv. Both offer a variety of different photographic options depending on the tide, weather and light you are greeted with.
A stream runs through Haukland Beach which can make for a great leading line
Aurora seen over the town of Reine in the Lofoten Islands
Additionally, while it is a bit farther away, the Unstad beach is also worth a visit. The rounded boulders that make up much of the shore line can be incredibly fun to photograph at sunset.
Once you are done exploring Leknes, you will want to take Highway E10 West towards the photographic town of Reine, but don’t miss out on the beautiful fjords and mountains that are visible along the way. There are plenty of pullouts to stop in and safely get out of your car.
Depending on how much snow is on the ground, look for small lakes with amazing reflections
The fjords offer can offer an incredible sense of perspective and scale
The white snow offers an amazingly beautiful contrast to the mountains in these Fjords
Once you have made it to Reine, you will want to stop along the Hamnoy Bridge to take a shot of these famous red cabins. While you will see plenty of other red cabins throughout the Lofoten Islands, these are easily some of the most picturesque in all of Norway.
Be sure to try to get to the Hamnoy Bridge for Sunrise
The rest of the town of Reine isn’t bad to photograph either
Continuing down the E10 will take you through the town of Reine, having you drive over a series of one way bridges. There are plenty of places to stop and photograph,
but keep an eye out for a series of yellow cabins that are worth spending some time with as well.
Panorama shot with my Sony a7R + 24-70 f/4 FE Lens & Induro 304L Tripod
Further down the E10, just outside the town of Ågvatnet, you will find the Ågvatnet lake. If the lake hasn’t frozen over, it is an incredible location to walk around and explore a bit. Park your car and walk the 5-10 minute walk up to the lake edge…it is worth the effort!
Incredible reflections from the Ågvatnet lake
As you can see, there is a reason why the Lofoten Islands are quickly becoming a bucket list destination. Regardless if you choose to book your flights and explore on your own or join one of my photography workshops/tours in the region (LINK),
it is time to get up above the Arctic Circle and start having some fun!