I had the opportunity this past winter to visit Lofoten, Norway. It’s an amazing place. Almost like a fairy tale. Tall mountains, big skies, and gorgeous coastlines. I won’t lie to you, but it was crowded with photographers. Plus it was hard to photograph there. There aren’t pull offs on the roads and there is no shoulder, just gullies. We saw a lot of people who slid off the road into these gullies.However, if you didn’t mind walking and parking a bit of a hike away you could find locations like the one in the picture above. I did a 35-second exposure for this shot. It blurred the sky and smoothed out the water. While I really loved the location I probably won’t visit there again as the crowds of photographers makes it hard to enjoy.
Ok, I’m not one for the iconic image of a place but I must confess I shot it. It was crazy when taking this photo. It was made from a bridge just a short walk from the hotel – cabins we were staying in. The bridge must have had 50 photographers on it all shooting the same things. I absolutely hate that. i don’t like being where there are other photographers. It disturbs to no end. Seems everyone wants the same shot and here I was just as bad as them. So, enjoy the photo but know I feel bad about putting up an image so many other have done.
As you can probably tell I really enjoyed Lofoten except for the fact that there were too many other photographers there. Everyone that I encountered were trying to make iconic images as they must have seen on websites. except for a few instances, I wanted to see things differently. Thus I tried a lot of long exposure and I looked for patterns and things in the landscape. This image was made to show depth of field in the foreground with small details and to then allow the rocks and surf to become part of the image too. I used a new filter system by Wine Country to handle the ND filters I used. I’ll be doing a review on this system in the next few weeks. Hope you enjoy this image.
One of the things every photographer hopes for when visiting the northern latitudes is the opportunity to see the Northern Lights. I was fortunate enough to have a few great opportunities on my recent Lofoten Norway trip. These lights are tricky to shoot. If you are a photographer you’ll find that first, you need to set your lens to infinity. This is not easy with most of today’s lenses. I use a 14mm Rokinon lens that has an infinity stop. I know just how far to back off the infinity mark to get a sharp image. If you are using a lens that doesn’t have an infinity stop you’ll need to manually focus it on infinity then tape the lens down so the focus ring doesn’t move. You’ll set the camera’s ISO to 3200 and the widest f-stop. No depth of field needed when shooting something at infinity. I start my first exposure at 8 seconds and I turn on noise reduction. This adds an additional 8 seconds after the exposure is made but assures a cleaner image. You can’t use a histogram so you’ll have to make a judgment call from the screen on the back of the camera to determine if you need more or less exposure. If is too dark raise your ISO. Don’t shoot over 8 seconds if you can help it. I find an exposure of 4-8 seconds to be great for most lights. You’ll get the hang of it pretty quickly. Then all you do do is shoot away as the sky puts on a show that will amaze you.
I just returned from nearly two weeks in Lofoten, Norway. It was an interesting trip. I was an instructor along with Art Wolfe and Ignacio Palacios with 18 photographers. The weather was challenging and even more challenging were all the other photographers. I am really re-thinking how I do my workshops in the future as there are so many photographers offering workshops these days and all of them are going to the same places. I am asking myself why. I used to have a spot to myself and now there can literally be 50 plus photographers all trying to get to one position. Add on to that the boom in Asian tourists who have no clue and walk right into the shots and it’s not getting to be any fun anymore. In any case, I walked away with a series of images that are different than most and then again like the image above iconic like everyone else. So over the coming days look for more Lofoten images.