A Road Trip through Norway

It’s been now a couple of years that I haven’t been visiting Norway. With this ‘road trip’ this finally changed.

Summertime is Road Trip time! This time I took the kids for a round trip over to Norway. It went as planned: many kilometers and lots of things to see in a rather short time.

Despite it having been only a short visit the covered area was quite large. We went all the way from Rovaniemi (Fi) over Kilpisjärvi (Fi) to Trömsö (N), from there to the island of Somaroy, then from the island of Senja over Narvik and Kiruna (Swe) back to Finland. Guess that counts for about 2000 kilometers.

A Road Trip Through Norway.jpg

This was possible thanks a spontaneous decision to use the ferry from Somaroy to Senja, which happened to come just in time to hop from one island to another. I should have done this before. It is not only more fun but also saves a lot driving and is a whole lot faster. A trip that would have been many hours in the car, was done now in 45 minutes. I have already ideas for another trip as this opens a whole new set of possibilities.

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The Nordkapp

The last trip to Norway is now almost four years ago1, and during that, we also made it up to the Nordkapp. While we had mostly good conditions during the trip through the Finnmark area, the weather changed radically once we got close to the Nordkapp.

Just a couple of kilometres ahead of the Nordkapp I was taking pictures in beautiful sunlight but the closer we came to the cape, the foggier it got. The low visibility and the tight, and at that time under construction, roads got ever now and then rather scary to drive.

Visiting the Nordkapp wasn’t quite what we have expected. Conditions aside, we were surprised about it being such a tourist-y place. In hindsight, looking at the Nordkapp traffic which passes through here during summer, this shouldn’t have come much of a surprise.

Still it was a great experience and I would visit there again with the hope of seeing a bit more of it. But hey, fog always makes up for some very nice and eery images.

  1. Another proof that I am one of the more effective and fast writers. 

The Wide(r) North

Aside one visit to the Finnmark area two years ago, the majority of our visits to Norway took us into the Tröms area or the Lofoten, which was the most south that we have gotten so far. The road trip though led us again mainly through the Finnmark.

We began our trip just behind the Finnish/Norwegian border in Skibotn up to the northern spot on the European continent, the Nordkapp1. I find the wide open landscapes in this area to be very visually appealing and the resulting images reflect this in more streamlined and simpler compositions.

To capture these wide open spaces, I focused on creating panoramic images exclusively, something that I haven’t been doing for quite a while. It seemed though necessary as I had not the feeling I couldn’t capture the feel and atmosphere of the landscapes in a single frame. Looking back at the resulting images it proves me right.

My approach to photographing landscapes has changed quite a bit during the last two or so years as I have grown accustomed to the fact that the experience of being in a place is far more satisfying than the act collecting as many images as possible. Also I started to learn to deal with whatever the weather conditions are at the moment and stopped hoping or waiting for the right light.Right can mean a lot of things, and I think when it looks great, the light is simply is right.

During the short stint at these locations, many views have been left un-explored but I have the distinct feeling that this wasn’t my the last visit around there.

  1. And yes, I am aware know that it in fact not the most northern point, but who cares. 

A Case Of “Drive-Through” Landscape Photography

The sea, the coast, rocks and mountains are surely my favourite subjects in the landscape and luckily all of these can be easily photographed in Norway. I quickly learned this during my first, and admittedly very short, visit to Norway three years ago. Ever since I have returned to different parts of the country at least once or twice a year for a more or less extended photographic journey.

During this year though I haven’t had a chance for a real photographic journey in general and specifically for a visit to Norway whatsoever 1. A few weeks ago though, a work trip though brought me to the city of Narvik for something along the lines of 36 hours.

Since the nature of this trip, was purely a work related (that is, if one can actually call that what I’m doing as work, but that’s of course a totally different story), the chance to pursue landscape photography was very small one to begin with. To reduce luggage I in fact didn’t even bothered to take my gear with me. The thought of carrying a 10 kilogram backpack (plus tripod of course) while already being aware that I most likely wouldn’t have a chance for serious photography, wasn’t so nice and motivating after all.

Naturally though, I didn’t come totally un-equipped and took my Ricoh GXR with me. In Narvik itself I had no transportation available and the only chance I actually had to take at least some pictures was during a quick walk to the harbour just before breakfast. The outcome of those images isn’t worth mentioning in fact.

Things were a bit different on the way back though. Whilst the trip to Narvik led us first through heavy snowstorms and later for the greater part through the dark, the way back to Finland on the other side was a rather smooth ride in the bus in nice morning light in mountains. Since this was the only chance I had to do at least some photography during trip, I spent some time taking pictures out of the driving bus. This is surely something a lot different from my usual way of working.

The result is this little series of images, which I find interesting since they are of a slightly more playful character, a tad out-of-the-usual. At the same time they are taken from an angle I am usually not able to take images of. The slighty higher seating position provided often a better viewpoint (often over the tree line) than I would be able to work off would I have been working with my tripod from ground level.

Somehow I do enjoy the more documentary feel of the images, which somehow is supported by occasional reflections in the windows.

To me it feels that landscape photography is something that one really needs to actually want to do. It requires passion and ever so often, a lot of time. While I’m not lacking the passion, I am severely lacking time to pursue my photography. Sometimes small projects like these help to see a silver lining on the horizon and that soon more photographic opportunities will come up.

  1. Last year at exactly the same time I have been visiting Norway and photographed what would become one of my favourite series of images, the Mountain Sketches

Kiutäköngäs – A Series

It was only planned to be a little road-trip, but in the end the resulting images became part of my Falls-Project.

Our little road-trip leads us to our first destination in the east of Finland, a waterfall called Kiutägöngäs a bit north of Kuusaamo. I’m little familiar with the location as I have visited this waterfall, or more correctly rapid, once before now two years ago. During that visit I had a good chance to explore the scenery and then focused more on wider views.

Somehow though I didn’t had the feeling that I managed to capture the essence of the place and was not entirely satisfied with the outcome. This time the lack of light, switching to B&W and using a long lens inspired me to approach the torrent from a different angle.

Essentially this torrent is a wild river which caved its way through the hills and even though the rapid is rather large, it is though a narrow place and not necessarily easy to photograph.

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A Slightly More Winding Road

There are moments in landscape-photography when just about everything comes together perfectly: you’re at the right place at the right time and the conditions are just right. These are rare and good moments. And then there are the moments when just about everything goes wrong. This is one these…

So, I planned a quick visit to the island of Senja, Norway. We had been there last year and I wanted to go back there and take some images for which the conditions weren’t right then. The forecast predicted something which promised to be rather dramatic conditions: meaning sun, clouds and mild rain. Perfect!
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One Night In Lapland

I used a few days off to start my vacation with a short photo-trip to Lapland.

It has become a habit, that I as soon as my vacation begins head out and spent some time doing my landscape photography. In fact I usually take the liberty starting a little early, which requires me to be back for my last day at work, hence the first one is usually only a one-nighter.

The distance of these locations appears to get larger each time and this year it took me Finish Lapland, to a lake called Ukonjärvi. I passed-by there during my trip to the Finmark area in the north of Norway last year where I spotted a few nice locations along this lake. Then I had no time to explore this area, but at least some ideas came to mind, as for example the panoramic image, which I hoped to be able to take this time.
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Another Journey To The North 2/2 – Saana, you’re looking good today

On last day of this journey I was able to get the image that I had envisioned a long time ago.

Klick on the map to view location in Google Maps

The mix of snow and rain which is hammering onto the car wakes me up after a couple of hours of sleep in the front seat of my car, which I have left on a beautifully located parking area. I’m looking out of the window and the stormy conditions out there are really not very encouraging. I’m still in Norway and between me and the hopefully better conditions in the north of Finland is only the road through the mountains.

Sunrise is still a few hours ahead but waiting here and not doing anything is not really productive so I start the car and head over back to Finland on the dark and now much more slippery road. It’s roughly a 40km trip and the longer I drive the less rain is pouring on me when finally, on the highest point of road I finally see stars! The sky is clear, lit by stars and a heavy wind blows the snow over the road. Wonderful! The forecast in fact seemed to have been correct.

I continue driving a few more kilometers until I reach the village of Kilpisjärvi and I start to inspect the scenery as much as it is possible in the dark. The sky is full of stars with a few clouds appearing in the dark sky. This seems to be promising.

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