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Lofoten and Vesterålen March 2017

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Post Options Post Options   Quote pegelli Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Lofoten and Vesterålen March 2017
    Posted: 18 March 2017 at 19:37
Early March we went on a week long trip to the Lofoten and Vesteralen in Norway. It was not a dedicated photo trip but a "normal" vacation with my wife and I. Photography was obviously a part of it, but it meant we wouldn't for instance wait for nice light a few hours, we just took the scenes and light as they came by the time we passed. Fortunately the sun is still quite low early March, so most of the day decent pictures can be made. We went out specifically 2 evenings to spot Northern light, the other evenings it was either cloudy and/or no solar winds (we subscribed to a SMS Northernlight activity reporting service).

We covered a lot smaller area then travelshots reported on earlier this year over here, but I will try to make a similar thread where I add pictures on a periodic basis.

Hope you enjoy, and C&C is very welcome.

We arrived Monday March 6 around 7:00 pm in Harstad, after two flights with some delays. We were tired and hadn't subscribed to the Northernlight service yet, so we only took a quick stroll around the harbour and turned in early to be fully rested for the next day when it was projected to be very nice weather and we had to do a long drive (~145 km) from Harstad to Svolvaer.

1: Night view of the Harstad harbour

NEX6 + E10-18/4

2: An old sailing ship was moored at the quay

NEX6 + E10-18/4

The next picture is a funny story, it was supposed to be a picture of the big fountain in the moonlit Harstad harbour. To our eyes and on the LCD of the camera the sky was completely black. However at home I wanted to make sure the horizon was straight so I jacked up exposure and shadows in Lightroom so I could rotate as needed. That's how I discovered we had seen Northernlight one evening more then we actually realized while being there
Obviously I checked my other pictures from that night, but this is the only one that shows a hint of the Aurora Borealis.

3: The Northern light we didn't see, but still photographed

NEX6 + E10-18/4

4: The next morning we took another stroll around the harbour before taking off.

A6000 + E18-105/4

The following pictures covering a part of the yourney to Svolvaer will have to wait for the next post in a few days.

TFL
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Fred_S View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Fred_S Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 March 2017 at 20:05
A promising start Pieter! Like them all, but #3 is very nice, as well as the story behind it. In #2 I like the compo with the leading lines. Personally I probably would have tried to clone out that spotlight at the top. Looking forward to the next episode.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote pegelli Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 March 2017 at 15:18
Thanks Fred, I agree on the light in #3, but I tried a cloning job, but my skills in that area are not good enough to make an improvement. In all my tries you could see the area I worked on was "tampered" so I finally decided to live with it.


On our second day we drove from Harstad to Svolvaer, about 140 km through a fantastic landscape. We had sunshine and blue skies all day and if we would have stopped at every nice scene to look around and make pictures one day would not have been enough to cover the distance.

Our first stop was near the E10 bridge connecting the mainland with the first island of the Lofoten.

5: Icefall


6: The E10 bridge


7: Overlooking the Fjord towards the bridge


8: Towards the other side


Some miles later the road was slightly higher and allowed looking into the valley and Fjord from above

9: Spot the langlaufer


All A6000 + E18-105/4

More to come later
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Post Options Post Options   Quote waldo_posth Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 March 2017 at 21:15
That's a very promising start for a series - the lansdscape shots are stunning, particularly #6 and #7 and the "hidden" Aurora Borealis in #3 as background of the fountain is also outstanding.

#5 suggests that temperatures were still below zero - but how much?

TFS and all the best!
"Stare, pry, listen, eavesdrop. Die knowing something. You are not here long." (Walker Evans)   http://www.flickr.com/photos/waldo_posth/
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Post Options Post Options   Quote pegelli Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 March 2017 at 19:08
Thanks Harald. Temperatures were around freezing, just above zero for the day and a few degrees below in the night. However the mass of snow and ice was cold enough that not a lot melted during the day.

The next stop was really breathtaking, we stopped there a bit longer and also stood for some time not photographing but just taking in the beauty and quietness of it all.

10: Reflection


11: The closest we got to a sea-eagle (large crop @ 105 mm)


12: Wide view


13: The little houses on the other side


14: Reflection around the rock


15: Spot the sea-eagle


All except 12: A6000 + E18-105/4, 12: NEX6 + E10-18/4
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Fred_S Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 March 2017 at 19:41
You've captured this breathtaking scenery very well! 🤗 As always your pictures are crisp and tack sharp. Hard to pick a favourite from this episode. Can imagine you took some time to enjoy. It has been high on my wish list for a while to go there, this may help to convince the spouse TFS
 



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Post Options Post Options   Quote infrastellar Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 March 2017 at 12:12
what a beauty ... I can see myself hanging in the hammock by the lake with quite amazing reflections :)
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Post Options Post Options   Quote alanfrombangor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 March 2017 at 13:10
A particularly interesting set for me as we were there in September last year, similar length of day but much warmer and no snow. I'm not surprised you failed to spot the aurora, it can look like light grey cloud to the eye when it's weak. If I had to pick a favourite, it would be #10.

Despite spending a full day in Bodo, "the city of the sea eagle", we saw none in the entire trip. That's a lovely catch at #11, must have been quite close to get it at 105mm, even with a crop.

You hinted at more aurora shots so I'm hoping you have some to show us
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Post Options Post Options   Quote pegelli Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 March 2017 at 19:53
Thanks for the comments gentlemen.

Fred, by all means convince your spouse. My wife is not a very active photographer and takes pictures for memory with a point and shoot. But she also enjoyed the scenery and trip tremendously. As long as I didn't take too long to get my shots and could move on in a reasonable time she was fine. And she was as motivated as I to go out in the cold at night to see the Northern Light, not to photograph it but just to experience it. And we were not disappointed.

Alan, there was so much ice and compacted snow on the road that a bicycle tour around these times is probably near impossible. Our rental car had spike-tires, very much required given the road conditions we faced.

16: Icy road


17: A beach and a few houses, probably more a summer destination but very picturesque in winter


18: A view over the fjord


19: travelshots was there as well see his picture #8


16, 17 & 19: A6000 + E18-105/4, 18: NEX6 + E10-18/4
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Post Options Post Options   Quote pegelli Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 March 2017 at 16:01
I'm going to make a small jump in time, otherwise you'll probably get bored by more snowcapped mountains, fjords an picturesque houses.

After arriving in Svolvaer we made some inquiries for a good spot to watch the Northern Light and they directed us to Hov, about 30 km north of Svolvaer where there is a nice north facing coast with plenty interesting rock formations that can be used as foreground.

To scout the area by light we left quite early and found a good place at Lofoten Links (the golf course in Hov) which was not in use but had a safe parking space as well as some tracks towards the sea and the hole 1 tee-off, which was an ideal spot with good views to west - north - east.

Once the sun started setting we were first treated to a very nice sunset

20: Blue hour sunset

NEX6 + E18-105/4

21: Zoomed in to the lighthouse on a rock just off the coast

NEX6 + E18-105/4

22: While the horizon was still orange/red from the setting sun the first signs of the Aurora Borealis were starting to show

A6000 + E10-18/4

23: After that a spectacular show started

A6000 + E10-18/4

24: It's as if the light is coming from the rocks

A6000 + E10-18/4

25: A little bit later looking east it was probably at its peak for the day


After some time the activity went down as well as that some clouds were starting to roll in. So we started to make our way back to the car but when we came to the road there was a sudden opening of the clouds and a new (maybe last) brighter activity of the Aurora.

26: Last Northern light before the cloud cover became full

A6000 + E10-18/4

I've got 45 more shots from the same location in all directions, but I don't think it makes sense to show them all to you.

When we drove off back to Svolvaer we were cold, tired and hungry , but also extremely satisfied to have witnessed this spectacular natural lightshow
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Fred_S Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 March 2017 at 17:10
It would be easy to say that you can't go wrong with this light, but this is a beautiful set again. You've well captured the light, combined with fine compositions
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Anita Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 March 2017 at 17:11
I would love to see more, Pieter!
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Post Options Post Options   Quote alanfrombangor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 March 2017 at 18:29
Marvellous aurora images, worth waiting for. Is the faint orange glow the last of the sunset? I'd be interested to know what focal length and exposure time you employed.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote pegelli Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 March 2017 at 19:23
Thanks Fred, for me foreground is essential for nice Aurora pictures. I tried one straight up which became a nice memory but is not a great photograph.

Anita, more will come from the trip as well as one more evening of Northernlight. I just need some time to PP, upload and post them next to my other busy duties.

Alan, indeed, the faint orange glow at the horizon is last of the setting sun, enhanced by the very long shutter times. Most images were taken at 10 mm or a bit longer, but very few all the way at 18 mm with my E10-18/4 on an A6000. But since you can't see anything on the LCD or in the viewfinder it's a bit hit and miss, and most images were cropped a little to achieve better compositions. I used 20-30 seconds at f5.6 and iso 640 for most of them. Biggest problem was the focusing, AF is not an option at these low light levels and this lens doesn't have a hard stop at infinity (it's so called focus by wire). So I had to manually focus at something brighter and hope I would not touch the focus ring while zooming. I checked and readjusted several times during the evening and I'm glad I did, it's very easy to fumble the focus ring wearing thick gloves    
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