LOFOTEN IN WINTER
7 DAY / 6 NIGHT LANDSCAPE PHOTOGRAPHY WORKSHOP
24 FEBRUARY - 2 MARCH 2019
An archipelago of islands scattered between icy fjords and ocean beaches, punctuated by snow covered mountains and fishing villages, Lofoten in winter is a truly magical place.
In late February the islands are blanketed with fresh snow and breath-taking views are everywhere you look. With the low arctic sun giving fantastic light for almost the whole day, as well as unusually long sunrises and sunsets, Lofoten really is a photographer’s paradise. The geography of the islands with coastline on both the north and south sides and long fjords that separate the different islands give us so many different angles and locations to shoot at different times of day, and wherever we are there’s always the backdrop of dramatic snowy peaks as a focus for the images.
We base our workshop at the iconic red cabins on the island of Hamnøy with each participant having their own private room. From here we explore the area taking in the most iconic views; the village of Reine surrounded by fjords and mountains, the rocky beach at Uttakleiv and the wind-blasted beach of Skagsanden. We’ll photograph the mountain views across the nearby fjords at Vareid, Ramburg and Flakstad, as well as reacting to the weather to find interesting compositions. For example, after a fresh snowfall every location is subtly changed; frozen tide lines form at the edge of the sea and the twisted ice formations in the frozen parts of the fjords reveal streams of blue water that contrast with bright white snow. Not forgetting of course that the cabins we’ll be staying in make a fantastic subject for photos across the water with jagged granite peaks behind, and just a short walk from our accommodation provides constantly changing views of the Reinefjord surrounded by mountains.
Finally, at this latitude and time of year we have an excellent chance of seeing the beautiful aurora, a sight that you really have to experience to truly appreciate it’s beauty. While it’s impossible to guarantee we’ll definitely see it, we can promise that if it does appear we’ll wake you up, and our central location means we can be at any number of perfect vantage points to shoot it incredibly quickly. Even if we’re not blessed with an appearance of the northern lights, shooting the night sky in Lofoten is a treat due to it’s low levels of light pollution.
All our workshops are designed to ensure that you can focus on photography while we take care of everything else. Airport transfers, ideally located and comfortable accommodation as well as all dinner are all part of the package, and of course the tour is structured to maximize your opportunities to get great images whilst improving your skills as a photographer. We use all our experience and knowledge to get you to some of Lofoten’s most beautiful locations in the best light, and in the field we’re on hand to provide as much support, advice or guidance as you want. Having three professional photography guides helps us to ensure that each participant gets plenty of one-to-one tuition and allows us to better tailor each session to your needs. Because of this we can accept range of experience levels from beginners to professionals and comfortably cater to each.
€3200 (price includes single occupancy room)
Beginner, amateur, enthusiast and semi-pro photographers. Almost all of the locations are accessible by car.
Landscape photography and shooting in unforgettable winter locations
Three professional photographers & guides who know the area
Local transpiration in snow equipped vehicles to and from the location
Post-processing workshops in Lightroom and Photoshop
All accommodation in your own room in one of the most picturesque cabins in the area
Dinners provided (not breakfast or lunch)
Airport pick up and drop off
This is a standard overview but it’s flexible and which day we visit each particular location will be decided depending on the weather and conditions. We will however ensure that we visit all of the locations listed below. At this time of year sunrise is around 7h35 and sunset around 17h00 with long periods of golden and blue hour during which we can shoot.
DAY 1 (FEB 24)
18h30 We’ll pick you up at Leknes Airport and transfer to our cabins in Hamnøy.
19h30 onwards We’ll check into our cabins in Hamnøy before having a welcome meal in a nearby restaurant.
DAY 2 (FEB 25)
6h30 – 8h30 Sunrise shoot in Hamnøy. Right outside of our accommodation we have the iconic view of the cabins we’re staying in below the peaks of the Reinefjord. Afterwards we’ll make the short trip to Reine for a wider perspective of the different islands and peaks surrounding the fjord.
9h30 - 12h30 After breakfast we’ll head out to explore the Lofoten islands. There are so many opportunities for photography depending on what the weather and conditions are like, so we’ll use our local knowledge of the area to get you to some fantastic locations.
13h Back to our cabins for lunch and to relax for a couple of hours. You’re welcome to set out and explore the local area on foot, the views from all around the many tiny islands of Reinefjord are amazing and it’s a wonderful place to spend some time.
15h - 18h By now the sun will be quite low in the sky offering great light wherever you look so we’ll head out again to find a place to shoot sunset. Depending on weather conditions we could head to the islands near Fredvang, the beach at Skagsanden, the lake at Storvatnet or anywhere else around the local fjords.
18h30 We’ll head back to our accommodation and then out for dinner in a local restaurant. Afterwards we can have a walk around Hamnøy and shoot the local area at night, and of course if there’s any sign of the aurora we’ll head out to find a great place from which to shoot it.
DAY 3 (FEB 26)
6h – 8h30 Sunrise shoot in Vareid. This stretch of coastline looks southwest towards the mountains above Flakstad and as the sun comes up the snow capped peaks are illuminated by the rising sun. There are lots of different compositions to play with along the rocky coastline, and after the sun has risen we’ll head along the fjord to the south where there are some fantastic locations and views across the frozen Flakstadpollen.
10h-11h30 After breakfast we’ll get together for a post-processing session looking at getting the best from the images we’ve taken so far. Our post-processing sessions will be tailored to suit the differing levels and requirements of our clients and can range from Lightroom basics through to Photoshop Luminosity Masks and more advanced techniques. Afterwards there’s some free time for people to have a walk around Hamnøy and have lunch.
14h30 After lunch we’ll head out to explore Lofoten again, stopping off at Nusfjord, a picturesque village of red cabins on stilts above the fjord and one of Norway’s oldest fishing communities. We’ll then make our way to the island of Vestvågøya, home to some of Lofoton’s most stunning beaches. We’ll visit Haukland, Unstad and the iconic Uttakleiv, as well as the stunning views across the peaks and fjord of the Tangstad area. The light will be great all afternoon before we choose our spot to shoot the sunset.
19h We’ll get back to our cabins and head out for dinner together, after which people are again free to do some night shooting in the local area.
DAY 4 (FEB 27)
6h – 8h30 Sunrise shoot on the islands in the fjord near Fredvang. The views south across the water here are wonderful, and once again as the sun comes up it paints the white peaks at the top of the surrounding mountains a beautiful warm colour. Afterwards we’ll head over to find some compositions in the frozen streams between Fredvang and the beach of Ytresand beach in the morning light.
10h - 12h30 After breakfast we’ll head out once again to explore the Lofoten islands. Depending on what the weather and conditions are like we’ll head to some of our favourite locations like the beach at Ramburg or the church at Flakstad.
13h Back to our cabins for lunch and to relax for a couple of hours and a couple of hours break.
15h - 18h Head out again to the island of Vestvågøya.. Between the beaches Haukland, Unstad, Uttakleiv, and the Tangstad area there’s still so much potential here to find a completely different place for sunset.
19h We’ll get back to our cabins and head out for dinner together, after which people are again free to do some night shooting in the local area. As on every night, we’ll be alert to the aurora forecast and make sure we’re in a great place to shoot it if it appears.
DAY 5 (FEB 28)
6h – 8h30 Sunrise at a nearby location. As usual, depending on the weather and on how previous shoots have gone, we’ll find a location from which to capture the day’s first light on this beautiful snowy landscape.
10h-11h30 After breakfast we’ll get together for a post-processing session and look at getting the best from the images we’ve taken so far on the trip. After this there’s a couple of hours break around lunch.
15h This evening we’ll make the most of our local surroundings in Hamnøy, Sakrisøy and Reine. The last light of day illuminates the granite walls of the peaks above the Reinefjord, so we’ll find a great place to shoot the sunset, and then in the blue hour head to the lookout over Reine to capture a wide panorama of the fjord in the blue hours with the lights from all of the houses on the various islands.
19h Dinner together in Hamnøy or Reine, and then depending on conditions perhaps some night shooting.
DAY 6 (MARCH 1)
6h30 – 8h30 Once again we’ll head out for sunrise, and as on previous days we’ll decide on our location depending on the conditions at the moment and on whether it snowed the night before. We could return to a location we’ve shot previously, or find a location that the snow and weather reveals to us, or maybe even the beach at Uttakleiv, which works just as well at sunrise.
10h-11h30 After breakfast we’ll make our last trip out to shoot the morning light in Lofoten, perhaps at the peaks of Tennvatnet or the frozen waters of Nordfjorden before going back to our cabins for lunch and a short break.
15h - 18h As the sun dips lower in the sky we’ll head out for our final sunset. Weather and previous trips will define where we go, perhaps the wide open stretches and wind blown foregrounds of Skagsanden beach in Flakstad, or perhaps the view across the the peaks from the beach at Ytresand.
18h30 We’ll head back to our accommodation followed by dinner in a local restaurant, and then cross our fingers for the aurora to appear.
DAY 7 (MARCH 2)
6h30 – 7h30 We’ll just have time on our last morning to catch a final sunrise in Hamnøy, Sakrisøy or Reine before grabbing some breakfast, checking out and getting you back to the airport in Leknes.
WHAT WE DO (AND WHAT WE WANT YOU TO GET FROM OUR WORKSHOPS)
Our aim is to take you to beautiful locations and give you every opportunity to get great images while improving your technique over the course of the workshop. From the beginning of your time with us we’ll aim to identify your photographic level and what you’d like to focus on, which combined with having three professional photography tutors allows us to tailor the workshop to your precise needs and provide each participant with plenty of one-to-one tuition both in the field and in the post processing sessions.
We also believe that having shooting sessions throughout the day means that participants get into a shooting rhythm and can quickly put into practice new skills as they are learned. We carefully select the dates of our workshops to try and make sure we are in each location at the best time of year. In Lofoten for example late February means that there’s still fresh snow covering the islands and long twilights with great light for quite a few hours in the day. There’s also a very good chance of seeing the aurora, although sadly it’s impossible to guarantee.
Our timetable is highly flexible and having a number of fantastic locations all very close to our base of accommodations means we can adapt to the weather and go where the conditions are best for shooting. This adaptability also extends to the post processing sessions. We believe that editing is an integral part of getting the absolute best out of an image but we understand that the range of participant’s skill levels and familiarity with post processing techniques varies greatly. Because of this we once again make the most of having three tutors to provide editing sessions in the afternoon that can potentially range from the basics of editing a RAW file in programs like Lightroom to more complex techniques like using layers and luminosity masks in Photoshop.
Finally, we want to share with you our passion for nature and landscape photography in this incredible place. We aim to make your experience here in the beautiful landscape of Lofoten a memorable one and a trip from which, as well as getting some great images from amazing locations, you’ll also go home having had a true adventure with great company in a very special place.
SOME OF THE PHOTOGRAPHY TECHNIQUES COVERED IN THIS WORKSHOP
IN THE FIELD:
- Understanding the light and choosing the best exposure
- Composition. Balance and harmony, leading lines and creating depth.
- Lens choice. From the wide-angle vista to shooting landscape abstracts with a telephoto lens
- Long exposures for blurring moving water and clouds and using neutral density filters
- Shooting the night sky (and the aurora if we're lucky)
- Shooting multiple image panoramas
- Controlling light in scenes with a wide dynamic range using graduated filters and/or multiple exposures
- Photographing snow
- Shooting in the blue hour and overcast weather
- Using Lightroom to apply contrast
- Using Photoshop layers to build up image adjustments
- Photoshop masks for local adjustments
- Using luminosity masks in Photoshop
- Different techniques for blending multiple exposures of the same image
- Using Nik Color Efex Pro, Silver Efex and Adobe Camera RAW on Photoshop layers
- Sharpening images
WHAT TO BRING
A dSLR or mirrorless camera
The criteria for the kind of work we’ll be doing is a camera that can be operated completely manually to ensure we get the best exposure with interchangeable lenses allowing us to cover a range of focal lengths
A wide angle lens
For many of the locations a wide angle lens really is essential if you want to get those epic landscapes that have the icy rocks right up in the foreground leading to the snow capped mountains in the background. 16mm or 17mm on a full frame camera (10mm or 12mm on an APS-C sensor camera) is ideal, but anything below 24mm (16mm on a crop frame sensor) should be OK.
A mid-range zoom lens
In some of the locations we’ll visit a wide angle zoom will make the mountains appear smaller, so a mid-range zoom will be great for maintaining the scale of the peaks while still including foreground. They’re also great for panoramas. Something in the range of 24-70mm (18-55mm on a crop sensor) is perfect.
A telephoto lens
Probably the least useful lens for this particular workshop as we’ll rarely be needing the compression or needing to pull the landscape closer, but nevertheless, there will certainly be times when it’s a useful lens to have in your bag, particularly if you enjoy shooting wildlife.
We’ll often be shooting in low light and it can also get pretty windy, so a good tripod is an absolutely essential piece of equipment.
A cable release
This allows us to trip the camera shutter without touching the camera, which can cause movement blur during longer exposures.
Comfortable waterproof walking boots and thick warm socks
While we won’t be doing any long hikes we’ll certainly be doing some walking over uneven ground, and we’ll often find ourselves standing in the snow. It’s very easy for cold feet to completely ruin your day, so good boots with thick warm socks are vital.
Insulated jacket, water and windproof shell and warm clothes
Lofoten is in the arctic circle, and while it’s generally warmer here than further inland in Norway, it still gets very cold and with the strong winds blowing you should be prepared for temperatures down to almost -20. Layers are the way to go with a base layer and mid layer and then a fleece on top. An insulated jacket on top of that and also a waterproof or windproof shell as a final layer to keep the worst of the weather out. Insulated long-johns/leggings below windproof hiking trousers to keep your bottom half warmer.
Hat, gloves, chute and gaiters
It’s essential to keep your head and neck warm, so a good wooly hat below your hood really makes a difference, and a chute or neck-gaiter will protect your neck and the lower half of your face. It’s also easy for your hands to get cold so thick gloves with a pair of glove liners underneath for when you have to remove your gloves to operate your camera. If you’ve got them, mittens that open at the top so you don’t need to remove them are excellent. Finally, gaiters for the bottom of your trousers will keep the snow out and of your boots if you find yourself in deep snow.
When moving your camera gear for any length of time a backpack can really save your back. A good backpack, one with sturdy hip straps, can safely distribute the weight of your gear and really save you from aches, pains and potential injury. Bear in mind that you’ll often be putting it down in the snow as well so it should be water resistant.
Laptop with Adobe Lightroom or Camera RAW and Photoshop
We’ll be shooting RAW, and as part of each day will be dedicated to post processing images a good RAW converter like Adobe Lightroom or Camera RAW is essential. Other converters like Capture One are also fine. Adobe Photoshop is great for more advanced processing as it allows us to be much more subtle and creative in it’s use of layers.
If you have any questions about what to bring, don’t hesitate to contact us.
For more information, including an overview of the weather, tips on how to get to Iceland, as well as all the terms, conditions and payment information please download the workshop PDF.
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