At the far north end of Norway, above the 68th parallel, lie the Lofoten Islands. The jagged mountains rise straight up out of the various fjords and are so close, it seems you can reach out and touch them. The wintertime photography there is exceptional and has only become popular in recent years, which is somewhat surprising.
The combination of the red Norwegian cabins against the snow covered mountains is simply stunning. Everywhere you look there are amazing photographic opportunities. The days were short with sunrise at 9:00 am and sunset at 3:30pm. This gave us great low light all day. As a bonus, there was the ability to photograph the Aurora, which we were able to do on one of the clear nights.
Understandably, I’ve been wanting to get there for a few years. It finally worked out for me this year and I couldn’t have been happier with the results. I am looking forward to going back.
Next up will be Death Valley and the Eastern Sierra in March.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The San Juan Mountains in Southwest Colorado can simply be spectacular in the fall if you have the good fortune to have some snow on the mountains. The last time we were there, two years ago, there wasn’t much snow and it was somewhat disappointing. As we headed south from Grand Junction and got near Ridgway, we could see there had been snow!
We headed to an area known as the Dallas Divide for sunset and captured the first photo you see below. It was the best sunset I had ever seen there. In the days that followed, we had more success at other nearby locations.
We came across this out of the way location by chance. The horses in the pasture were fenced in by the rustic wood fence, which was just what the image needed in the foreground. If I go back again, I’ll have to take some apples for the horses to get them closer to me.
It is said that the shootout scene at the end of the original “True Grit” was filmed in the pasture here beneath Chimney Rock. Other scenes were filmed nearby in and around Ridgway, Colorado. The clouds at sunset above the Rock almost look like smoke coming out of the Chimney.
I really love it when I can find some nice ferns under Aspen trees in the fall. We were driving through an Aspen grove area near Crested Butte and I let out an excited “Stop, Stop” to my friend who was driving when I saw this scene. Long hours and lots of searching can really pay off big.
More Aspen trees photographed in the area.
I was delayed getting this report done as I have been working on my New Website! Everything is now found at www.josephfiler.com. There are some boring Google search reasons for the change, but aside from that, it is designed to load images faster, work on all sizes of devices from desktops to phones, show what is in the galleries at a quick glance and be easier to purchase prints. I still have some small tweeking to do, but I am really pleased with it.
Next up will be a trip to the Lofoten Islands in northern Norway at the end of January. The winter mountain scenery on the rocky coasts there is incredible and there is also a good chance of seeing and photographing the Northern Lights.
We scheduled our photo expedition to the park several months in advance to be there in August when the flowers are blooming and the summer storms bring interesting weather. What we didn’t know was going to happen was the large number of wildfires that started two weeks before we got there and continued throughout the time we were there. It was happening all over the northwest section of the country, resulting in smoke and haze so think that you could barely see the mountains on some days.
We were there for ten days and every now and then the wind would blow out of the east and push the haze back to the west and we could get a few shots in. I considered leaving and going somewhere else, but there wasn’t anywhere else to go that didn’t have the same problem. We stuck it out and I’m glad we did.
The mountains there are impressive, especially Mount Oberlin. It quickly became my favorite and we returned there every afternoon until we could capture the image we were looking for.
At the same location, there was this colorful field of Fireweed that made for a great foreground in front of the mountain just to the west of Mount Oberlin. Multiple attempts and a truck load of patience got us the great sky and clouds in front of the mountain.
In the Many Glacier area, if you are lucky enough to get a calm morning, there are some great reflections of Mount Grinnell and Mount Wilbur.
One of the iconic locations in the park is the view over St. Mary Lake with Wild Goose Island. Almost every morning the smoke and haze prevented us from photographing it. We got one clear morning, it was a little stormy, but still a nice image.
An unexpected surprise was this late day view of Clements Mountain. There was one tiny space to park on the narrow, winding road, but it was all we needed. The warm light of the setting sun provided exactly what the scene needed.
A main target for the trip was to get up to Hidden Lake. It’s a little bit of hike, about a mile and a half uphill with one of the most spectacular views in all of the park. We hiked up there three separate times because of the smoke and haze. On this sunrise, the wind was out of the east blowing most of the haze away. The smoke from one of the new fires is clearly visible, and there is just something about it that seems to add an interesting element.
Next up is Fall in southwest Colorado at the end of September. I’ve been there three times before, but it is just one of those locations that is hard to pass on. Thanks for looking and feel free to share. I also post more currently at www.Facebook.com/JosephFilerPhotography. We appreciate all “Likes” of the page.
June and July were busy months, photographically and otherwise. One of the main attractions in the east in June is the Rhododendron bloom in the mountains of North Carolina. In July, we headed back to Washington State and Mount Rainier for some unfinished business there.
On the way to Roan Mountain North Carolina, we made a stop at Babcock State Park in West Virginia to photograph the Glade Creek Grist Mill. Usually, this is done in the Fall, but I wanted to shoot it with a more lush backdrop of green summer trees. We were fortunate enough for it to have been raining all day, giving the trees deep, saturated color. I got wet in the rain, but it was well worth it.
The Rhododendrons were in full bloom at Roan Mountain. There is an ideal spot to photograph sunset from that turned out to be a couple of miles over and up some of the foothills. I wasn’t alone and we all made the hike back to the parking lot in the dark with the help of our headlamps, where my sister and daughter were patiently waiting for me. The results were worth the effort.
Flowers were also blooming in a variety of areas along the Blue Ridge Parkway. I was checking out a trail up the mountain to a viewpoint and came across this wonderful setting of Rhododendrons blooming under a tree. It was totally unexpected, which just made it all the more fun to photograph.
While scouting around the Parkway, we came across this beautiful area of ferns under the trees. I am just a sucker for ferns under trees. We immediately made plans to come back the next morning when the sun would be bursting through the trees behind them. We took a large number of multiple exposure images from various positions, but after all was said and done, this was the blend that worked the best.
Before heading to Mount Rainier after arriving in Seattle, we first headed to an area a couple of miles south of there. For several years, I have been wanting to photograph Lower Lewis River Falls, but just couldn’t get up there from where I was at the time in Oregon. It’s a short hike to the river, but the trail stops short of the river, about 6 feet above it. There is a rope you can use to repel down to the river at that point. With rubber boots on, we waded out to the middle of the river where you can get close enough to the deep aqua pool at the base of the falls. We had to keep wiping the spray off the lens between shots, and after taking a bunch of them, this was the one that really conveyed the beauty of the falls.
It was on to Mount Rainier, where I have been wanting to photograph it from the east side at Little Tipsoo Lake. The weather was a challenge, with either the mountain being covered by clouds and not visible or totally clear skies with no clouds. We would head out at 4am every morning to get there for sunrise, that would be behind us to light up the mountain. After days of zero clouds, they came back, but covered the mountain where you couldn’t see it.
With the heavy cloud cover, we took the chance to drive up to Sunrise Point to see if we could get above them. It was really spectacular. We captured this one image before the clouds moved in and covered the area that was picking up the color from the sunrise. In some ways, it was my favorite of the trip
It was a good couple of trips and I’m pleased with the images. We head for Glacier National Park in a few days. Hopefully, the flowers are in bloom at Logan Pass and we get some good skies. This is another one that has been on the list for a while.