The Lofoten Islands Winter and Summer

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My first visit to the magical Lofoten Islands was in May 2017 when I joined a Wild Photography Holidays group. I was there with a view of getting to know the area well enough to lead subsequent trips, both in winter and summer. In February 2018 I was back to lead two trips with Dave “Cubby” Cuthbertson.

Cubby and I have always worked well together and the two trips that we lead in February were probably our best yet for Wild Photography Holidays. The winter trips stay in the small coastal village of Ramberg, right on the coast. Auroras were a frequent sighting during our two weeks there and guests were able to look out of their cabin windows, then head out when things came good. We visited other locations for auroras with less light pollution, all within a 20 minute drive. Wonderful!!

Aurora borealis, Flakstadpollen, Lofoten Islands
Aurora borealis, Flakstadpollen, Lofoten Islands

Winter in Lofoten, especially during February and March has a lot to offer the landscape photographer. Daylight is quite long, so you don’t need to get out of bed stupidly early for sunrises, or stay out super late for sunsets. Pre breakfast photoshoots were commonplace during our stay, so as to capture stunning morning light. A mid morning breakfast back in Ramberg re-charged the batteries well enough to be ready for more by late morning, allowing time for another two or three locations to be visited before dark. The change of light at the start or end of the day seemed to have a time frame of its own, never rushing to start, nor finish. This allowed for lots of compositions to be enjoyed, never needing to rush any  of them.

A panorama across the fjord at Reine, with majestic snow covered peaks all around
A panorama across the fjord at Reine, with majestic snow covered peaks all around

 

A view across the bay from Fredvang
A view across the bay from Fredvang.

The steep sided mountain that rise majestically from the fjords, especially in the Reine area are truly magical. In winter the snow sticks to the steep spires and frequently lays a blanket right down to the waters edge. The mountains are of volcanic origin, belonging to the mangeritic group.

A classic scene at Hamnoy
A classic scene at Hamnoy.

 

Hamnoy on a cloudy day can be very dramatic
Hamnoy on a cloudy day can be very dramatic.

Wildlife in Lofoten can be of interest in the winter. Cubby and I took a Sea Eagle watching trip on a day off. This trip forms part of the summer trip to Lofoten and I am pleased to say that it is a fantastic outing in both seasons. We also took a road trip to the lovely fishing village of Henningsvaer. We stop there for a night in summer, and visiting the village in winter allowed us to see some wonderful east coast scenery, sea ice formations and a chance encounter with an Otter. Sea Eagles are also a regular sighting over head!!

A White Tailed Sea Eagle with a catch in Trollfjord
Sea A White Tailed Sea Eagle with a catch in Trollfjord.

 

An Otter on the East coast of Lofoten
An Otter on the East coast of Lofoten.

I will be back in Lofoten this coming summer, hopefully Cubby will join me. The days (and nights) will be full of light, animals and birds will be raising their young, buds will be on the branches and many of the wonderful locations we visited this winter will be on the cards again. I am really looking forward to going back, for many reason. Wild Photography Holidays attract some lovely  people, all keen to enjoy some wonderful photography, but also keen to embrace everything new that comes with travelling in Norway in mid summer. Endless daylight, great food, rather ripe stock fish drying racks!, and a couple of unforgettable boat trips, one to see Sea Eagles and the other across the Maelstrom to visit a Gannet colony.

The Gannet colony
The Gannet colony.
The Gannet colony to the south of Lofoten
The Gannet colony to the south of Lofoten

 

A few places still exist on the summer trip for this year. If you’re at a loose end, come and join us, it’ll be amazing!!

Thanks!!

The wonderful beach at Uttakleiv
The wonderful beach at Uttakleiv

 

The Lofoten Islands

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Last year I was very fortunate to be invited by Wild Photography Holidays to join them on their summer photographic trip to the Lofoten Islands, Norway. I have been involved with running some of their holidays in Iceland, so this was to be a working holiday for me, where I got to know the format for the trip and the locations  with a view to running trips in Lofoten in the future.

The summer trip to Lofoten, found here; http://wildphotographyholidays.com/holidays/lofoten-islands-summer-in-the-arctic-circle is very special. The fishing village of Svolvaer is the starting point. Local fishing activities, superb local scenery and the most wonderful Sea Eagle watching trip in the Trollfjord sets the scene for a glorious photographic holiday.

 

 

A White Tailed Sea Eagle on the way to Trollfjord.

 

White Tailed Sea Eagle near Svolvaer.

 

Trollfjord boat trip

 

Stockfish heads drying on the racks, Svolvaer. These are a common sight around Lofoten!!

Northern Norway is known as the land of the midnight sun. This is no joke and trips out to see the sunset do not disappoint. The sun slowly drops to touch the horizon, before climbing steadily again. Colours can vary from quite rich to gentle pastel tones and numerous coastal venues allow for a variety of midnight photographs opportunities!! Usually this means that you are then going to bed in the early hours and it is already very light outside!!

 

The midnight sun.

 

A calm sea at midnight.

 

During the days we spent time photographing local venues, or travelling to a new base, photographing along the way. Henningsvaer is a superbly scenic fishing village. Wonderful colours and coastal scenery make it a must stay at village. Ramberg is very well located to allow access to many venues. Coastal locations to the north and Reine to the south mean that you are spoilt for choices. Infact, there is so much to see and photograph that you have to put time aside to sleep!!

 

A view to the south, from Henningsvaer.

 

Reine.

 

North of Ramberg.

 

The emphasis on bird photography is certainly not an after thought on this trip. If you are in to your bird photography then plenty of opportunities exist. The Sea Eagle trip from Svolvaer is amazing. A good sized RIB takes us up to the Trollfjord, stopping en route to view Sea Eagles. You get plenty of chances to hone your fast action skills on this trip. Local scenic tours are often complimented with stops for some bird photography. Whooper Swans, Red Throated Divers and other Sea Eagle sightings are not uncommon. A very lively Kittiwake colony at one of the locations offers chances to get very close to birds nesting on window sills aswell as catching lots of action on the nearby cliffs. Plenty of  local scenery here means that time disappears all too quickly. Weather and sea permitting a real high point of the trip is a boat journey across the Maelstrom to the south of Lofoten to a Gannet colony. This usually happens in the evening, the light is lovely and the birds are not disturbed by our presence. The open water, scenery and  bird life all add up to this being a very special part of the holiday.

 

Gannet colony.

 

Gannet colony.

 

I will be back in Lofoten in May again this year to run this trip for Wild Photography Holidays. I am really looking forward to taking photographers to the many wonderful locations that Lofoten has to offer. There is a lot to see and enjoy!!

 

North of Ramberg

 

Reine.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My recent ARPS success

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As a way of re-kindling my interest in adding some regular blog content, I thought I’d write about my recent ARPS success.

The Royal Photographic Society have three levels of distinction, all of which carry credibility in the photographic world.

I did the first level, the Licentiate, in 2016 for some personal development in my photography. I needed to submit 10 images that showed a sensible level of photographic competence.

Happy with passing that, I moved onto preparing for the Associate level of distinction. For this award you needed to submit a set of 15 images that hung together coherently and showed a variety of aspects of your chosen theme. A statement of intent was required that explained the message that you were trying to get across. My panel was entitled “Alpine Ski Touring”.

 

As you can imagine, being out in the mountains skiing with fun people and taking the photographs is brilliant. That is something that I just do and I had a pretty good library from which to select my panel.

I printed and mounted the panel myself and posted it of to the RPS in Bath for an assessment date that I was unable to attend. It didn’t pass!! However, I found out later that the subject matter and content was very good, but there were a few technical flaws in my processing of the images., mainly over sharpening.

So, I got to work, reprocessing the offending images applying virtually no sharpening and tried again. Damn!! It failed again. How?? I asked the assessors at break time what I was missing and they pointed out some white line halos around certain parts of the subjects. Wow, I hadn’t noticed these flaws and struggled to see them without a magnifying glass, but they did exist which meant that my images didn’t make the cut.

The drive home was one of mixed emotions; joy that the assessment team thought that my images were great and worked well as a panel, a little upset that I hadn’t noticed the halos and more joy because I had learned how to fix the problem!!

So, I better have another go!! I went to Bath in October, with the offending images carefully re-processed and printed. I was a bit more gripped this time because I knew that I had done everything that I could do, or atleast knew that I could do.

The assessors were very happy this time and they seemed as pleased as me when they announced that I had passed.

The drive home this time was full of yeehaa’s and ear to ear grins!!

Was it worth it? Massively so! I learnt a lot about processing images which was good, but more importantly to me I realised that my personal choice of images was good enough to tell my intended story. It was a delight to find out also that my printing and mounting skills cut the mustard!!

The next stage, Fellowship, is a way off. I have a concept, but a lot of work to do in getting suitable and sensible images. All good for more photographic development.

PS. The RPS have recently published my ARPS panel on their website. If you’d like to see my whole panel, please follow this link. You might need to copy and paste into your address bar. Thanks.

 

Llanberis Mountain Film Festival

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I am delighted to be involved with the Llanberis Mountain Film Festival again this year. Last year was really successful, with loads of great speakers, events and workshops. I will be running some mountain and outdoor phtogoraphy workshops again this year, but they will be free this time round. Photography is such a great way to enhance any outdoor experience and I am keen to get more people involved this year. I’ve no idea what the weather will be like and where infact we will go, but I can guarantee that it will be a fun part of what is shaping up to be a great weekend!! Get involved!! Details are below.

LLAMFF Mountain Photography Workshop.

Andy Teasdale.

4th and 5th March 2017.

No charge.     10.00am until 4.00pm. Meeting point – Electric Mountain Centre, Llanberis.

The mountains provide us with a wealth of wonderful photographic opportunities. From wide atmospheric vistas to close up detail, every mountain environment has plenty to offer the enthusiastic photographer.

This one day workshop looks at two aspects of photography that are essential to successful image making. The first is the camera itself. How we use our camera is often dictated by our knowledge of its settings. How much do we want the camera to do for us? How does the camera know what I want to photograph? What effect am I after? So many questions where the answers lie outside of the cameras “auto” mode.

The second aspect of the day will be out in a suitable photographic location. We need to learn to see, watch, design, construct and ultimately capture an image that we are pleased with. Having learnt how to drive our cameras we can now use them with much more creative control. We will learn how to create images that we want to capture and not leave everything up to our camera, knowing that the end result will be good enough, instead of hoping!

To get the most out of today I recommend you bring the following with you. Some of the items are a little specialised, they are nice to have, but please don’t worry if you don’t have them.

Notebook and pencil.

Camera, fully charged spare battery, memory cards, filters, instructional manual. If you don’t have a hard copy, download it to your phone from the manufacturers website.

Tripod and remote release.

Waterproof and warm clothing. Walking boots.

Rucsac or suitable bag to carry everything in.

Food and drink.

Sense of humour, patience!!

Please contact Andy Teasdale on 07879818345, info@themountainphotographycompany.com or andy@andyteasdale.com for booking details.

 

Carneddau in winter

 

Welcome to The Mountain Photography Company!

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Let me warmly welcome you to the first blog from my new business, The Mountain Photography Company. The plan is to offer stunning mountain photography as both prints and workshops. Brilliant!! What else could give you such a fulfilling experience? Warm clothes, good boots, a camera and a sense of humour are all you really need. Get involved, get in touch, get outside. You know you want to!! Many thanks for staying with me so far, I hope to see you here or out and about sometime soon.

Morning light over Lliwedd and Llynnau Mymbyr
Morning light over Lliwedd and Llynnau Mymbyr