Norway in Winter

The Lofoten Islands off the northern coast of Norway are unlike any other place I know of. There are snow covered mountains everywhere with many of them right on the edge of the sea.

I had made the trip to this area last year for the first time and there was so much there that I either had not been able to photograph or had not photographed under the best conditions, so a return trip this year was in order. This time I was there for a full two weeks to be sure I got what I was looking for.

There is a classic view of the red cabins in the village of Reine that I was hoping to capture this time with heavy snow on the ground around the trees. To our good fortune, it snowed heavily on our first day there and the next morning we were given the scene we were looking for.

Norway, Lofoten, Reine, Morning, Snowfall
Morning At Reine : Prints Available

If there is one constant in the Lofoten Islands, it is that the weather there changes constantly. We were always watching the radar and the sky and thinking about where we needed to be.

Norway, Lofoten, Hamnoy, Winter, Weather
Changing Weather : Prints Available

These little red boathouses are all over the Lofoten Islands. They’re all closed up in the winter, of course. We had been eyeing this one for days, waiting for a good blowing snowstorm to capture it in. Many of the images were ruined by snow on the lens, but with some diligent effort, we got a good one without any blemishes. I thought the way the snowstorm blurred out the mountain in the background was an excellent way to put emphasis on the little boathouse.

Norway, Ramberg, Winter, Boathouse, Snowstorm
The Boathouse : Prints Available

Although the water freezes in some of the fjords and inlets in the winter, it is constantly on the move with the tides. It can be all crammed up against the shore or too far out from it to include in an image and the trick is to have the ice close enough to the shore at sunrise to be part of the composition. We passed by this location many times and it just wasn’t right. Finally, on this morning, all the pieces fell into place. Not only was the ice in a good location, the wind was calm to give us the great reflections. It was just another example why you need one or two weeks in any location to be there at the right time.

Norway, Lofoten, Islands, winter, water, freeze, reflection
Ice Flow Reflection : Prints Available

This iconic location is overlooking the small village of Hamnoy. The little red cabins are the highlight of the show. Of course, a great winter sunrise with light on the mountain doesn’t hurt either. What made this sunrise so spectacular was the heavy snow that fell just before the sun came up covering the rocks right down to the water line. Sometimes you can only dream of having all the conditions the way you want them, but this time the dream came true.

Norway, Lofoten, Hamnoy, winter, snow, water
Norwegian Dream : Prints Available

Fishing is by far the largest industry in the Lofoten Islands. On this winter morning, we were photographing a variety of mountain scenes and they were nice, but just missing something. Then, this small fishing boat was heading out for the day and I knew it was going to provide the perfect balance and would be just what the scene needed. I guess I got a little lucky that day, but there’s nothing wrong with that!

Heading Out : Prints Available

There is a small waterfall in the Islands and the plan was to photograph it with the mountain in the background. The composition was okay, but after walking to an area above the falls, and getting my feet wet in the process, I fell in love with this composition from there. The angle of the flowing stream was perfect and the mountain behind the stream is absolutely beautiful. I tried quite a few compositions from there that were only slightly different from each other, but this was the winner. I love winter in Norway.

Norway, Lofoten, Mountain, Winter, Waterfall, Stream
Above The Falls : Prints Available

In the winter, the village of Hamnoy, Norway receives the direct light of the sun that rises from the southern part of the sky. It was clear enough where the sun was rising from the mountains and clouds behind the village lit up beautifully. The white snow, the pink clouds and the blue skies all worked in harmony at sunrise on this morning of Norwegian Colors.

Norwegian Colors : Prints Available

This location was one of our main targets during the two weeks we were in the Islands, but it needed a fresh winter snowfall to make it work. Finally, after ten days, the snow came and we headed out that afternoon with much anticipation. When we arrived, we found that the ice on the lake blocked the reflection of the peak of the mountain called Volundstind at most places along the edge of the lake. After some searching, we found a location where we could “get the point” of the mountain.

Norway, Lofoten, Fredvang, Volundstind, Winter, Reflection, Lake
Getting The Point : Prints Available

There is a fantastic view of the little town of Hamnoy in the Lofoten Islands from a nearby hill and it is just impossible to resist shooting this winter composition. It was simply the perfect morning with the sun rising behind us lighting up the village along with the mountains and clouds behind it. Although we were there for two weeks, we did not see similar conditions again.

Norway, Lofoten, Hamnoy, winter
Morning View : Prints Available

I head out west in April to check out some new territory between Lake Tahoe and Crater Lake. I’m hoping the road to Crater Lake will be open as it is currently closed due to broken snowplows.

Thanks for looking and feel free to share. You can also follow the journey on Facebook for more current photographs that may not be on the blog. https://www.facebook.com/JosephFilerPhotography

Oregon Coast and California Redwoods

Our main target of this expedition was the northern California redwoods. We were hoping to capture some of the Rhododendrons in bloom among the redwoods, but they were apparently on a different schedule than usual this year. This just meant that we had to search a little harder for some quality images.

On the way south, we stopped for a couple of nights in Bandon, Oregon. The beach there has these wonderful sea stacks that make for great subject in the sunset. I had been there on a previous trip, but did not have any luck. We struck out again with heavy clouds on the first night, but it came together on the second night. We could see the small hole in the clouds as the sun was setting and were hoping it would give us a nice sunburst and light up the scene. It did, if only for a few seconds, but that was enough.

Oregon, Bandon, Beach, Sunset, Pacific, Coast
Sunset At The Stacks : Prints Available

We headed south to Brookings, Oregon for a couple of days there hoping to get something good on the coast at Samuel Boardman State Pak, where there are these wonderful, large sea stacks with trees growing out of them. It was Fog City all day so we headed inland to some trails and captured two very nice images

Oregon, forest, trail, footbridge, Brookoings
Footbridge : Prints Available
Oregon, Brookings, forest, trees, woods
Full Of Life : Prints Available

Next, it was on to California and the redwoods. Here, the fog was what we were looking for and there was plenty of it. Just outside Redwood National Park, there is an area known as the Bald Hills, where the Lupine bloom. I couldn’t resist but to capture an image one morning here.

California, Redwoods, Fog, Del Norte
Into The Fog : Prints Available
California, Redwood National Park, redwoods, fog, trees
Morning Warmth : Prints Available
California, Del Norte, redwoods, fog
Standing Proud : Prints Available
California, Redwood National Park, Bald Hills, Lupines, Spring, Summer
Springtime : Prints Available

I return to Oregon in July and will be accompanied on this trip by my sister, who has always wanted to hang out with me on one of my trips. I look forward to it for many reasons. We’ll be working more of the inland areas and are sure to come away with some good images.

Thanks for looking and feel free to share. You can also follow the journey on Facebook for more current photographs that may not be on the blog. https://www.facebook.com/JosephFilerPhotography

Carolina Coast

December would seem like an odd time to go to the coast for photography, but the sun rises and sets to the south resulting in much different photo opportunities than in the summer. As a result, December has the sun rising straight off the coast in the perfect position for photographing the Folly Beach Pier and the jetty at the north end of the island.

In addition to where the sun rises from, these images must be taken when it is high tide at sunrise or there is simply too much beach sand and not enough of the ocean waves. We got to Charleston on December 3, just in time to have the tide schedule we needed. The sunrises simply exceeded what we hoped for.

South Carolina, Folly Beach, Pier, Sunrise
Stunning Sunrise : Prints Available
South Carolina, Folly Island, Sunrise, Beach
Sunrise Rush : Prints Available

Also near Charleston, is the Tomotley Plantation, one of a few of the old plantations that remains privately owned. Although you can’t go to the actual plantation house, the real attraction is the massive old oak trees that line the entry road. Its been on my list for a while and I’m happy to be able to have done this scene justice.

South Carolina, Tomotley, Plantation, Oak, Tree
Enchanting Entry : Prints Available
South Carolina, Oak, Trees, Tomotley, Plantation
Endless Oaks : Prints Available

Near the plantation are the remains of the Old Sheldon Church. It was first burned by the British in 1779, rebuilt, and then burned again by the Union Army in 1865. I rarely photograph old ruins, but the contrast of color and the framing by the oak trees made this one irresistible. I love the way the warm colors of the bricks reflect the early morning light.

South Carolina, Sheldon, Church, Oak, Tree
Southern Remains : Prints Available

After Charleston, we headed south to Savannah and Brunswick to explore the “Low Country”. In this area are these beautiful marshes with tall grass that glows with the rising or setting sun. The residents have long docks that extend over the marshes to get to the narrow channels of water. Some of these docks have very photogenic roofed structures at the end of the dock, but they are hard to find where you can photograph them as they are all behind someone’s house. I wanted to capture the feeling of the marsh at sunset, and with this image, I believe I did.

Georgia, South Carolina, Marsh, Sunset, Low Country
Savannah Sunset : Prints Available

Next up will be some wintertime photography in the Lofoten Islands in Norway in early February. This is another one of those bucket list photography trips that has been in the planning for a couple of years. I am practically counting the days.

Thanks for looking and feel free to share. You can also follow the journey on Facebook for more current photographs that may not be on the blog. http://www.facebook.com/JosephFilerPhotography.

Summer On The Maine Coast

In August, the sun rises and sets in Maine from the best locations. The other issue on the coast is the tides. You really want to be there when the tide is close to high at sunrise and sunset to avoid the look of low tide, which is not that attractive.

So, with the timing figured out, it was off to Maine. I have been wanting to photograph the very picturesque Portland Head Light for several years. I stayed in Portland for five days just to be sure I got the sky that I wanted and it worked out great. One day at a location is just not going to get you the best results. It can be a little boring, but that’s just the way it goes.

I spent the other half of my time four hours north at Acadia National Park. I had been there a couple of times before, but did not get the results I was looking for on Cadillac Mountain or at the Bass Harbor Lighthouse. In between, I was able to capture some nice images at the Cobblestone Bridge.

Success feels good in any form, and this was no exception. Next up will be the Wasatch Mountains at the end of September for fall colors and mountain vistas. I haven’t been there before and look forward to some serious exploration of the area. I may even sneak in a special side trip.

Thanks for looking and please feel free to share. If you haven’t already, please “Like” our Facebook page to get more up-to-date reports on our expeditions: www.facebook.com/photographsbynature

Maine, Portland, Portland Head, Lighthouse, sunset
Sunset At The Light : Prints Available
maine, acadia, bar harbor, Cadillac mountain, sunrise
Mountaintop Sunrise : Prints Available
maine, acadia, sunset, bass harbor, lighthouse
Harbor Light : Prints Available
maine, acadia, trail, trees, steps, fog
Steps On The Trail : Prints Available
maine, acadia, cobblestone, bridge
Boulders And Stones : Prints Available
maine, acadia, cobblestone, bridge
Side Glance : Prints Available

California Coast

Kelly and I headed to the coast to photograph a number of locations from San Francisco down to the Big Sur area. Our first effort was the lighthouse at Pigeon Point, and the sunset was just fantastic. Kelly really nailed that one.

Continuing south, El Nino was kicking up the weather with lots of rain and wind. While this was great for helping California with their drought, it wasn’t exactly what we expected.

As the saying goes, when life gives you lemons, make lemonade. So, with the high winds and surf, we searched for the best locations to capture some of the dramatic scenes it was presenting.

On one particular day, it seemed like it was never going to stop raining. We were sitting in the hotel watching it rain and then, an hour before sunset, the clouds began to break up. We grabbed our gear and headed to a location we had picked out at Soberanes Point. The sun peaked out for just a moment resulting in an amazing sunset. This is one of the better photographs I have ever taken.

Before leaving, we stopped for a sunset opportunity at Muir Beach, but were convinced it was just going to be cloudy and nothing was going to happen. Once again, the clouds broke for five minutes, the clouds began to swirl and we captured something pretty special.

I had brought a large 500mm lens hoping to have a chance to shoot down some of the waves as they crested. I was absolutely thrilled to have been able to capture some excellent images.

If you haven’t already, please “Like” our Facebook page to get more up-to-date reports on our expeditions.

Next up is Yosemite National Park in February and I’m hoping that the increased snow this year from El Nino will provide us some excellent winter images. Stay tuned.

Yesterday's Guide : Prints Available
California, Big Sur, Sunset, Garrapata, Soberano
Soberano Sunset : Prints Available
Strange Sunset : Prints Available
California, Garrapata, Storm, Wave
Coastal Explosion : Prints Available
California, Carmel, Storm, Wave
Windblown : Prints Available
California, Carmel, Storm, Wave
Convergence : Prints Available
California, Carmel, Storm, Wave
Escape Flight : Prints Available
California, Carmel, Storm, Wave
California Curl : Prints Available
California, Carmel, Storm, Wave
Power : Prints Available