Workshop: Norway - Lofoten Islands and inland peaks in autumn
Dates: September 13-20, 2018 (8 days, 7 nights)
Regular Cost: 2800 Euro ($3300 USD) Last minute discount of $200 off this trip price!
Availability: generally fully booked with initial quota of 8 clients, but on request we may see if we can accommodate any additional last minute signups
Lofoten Islands is known for its dramatic scenery, with peaks like the Svolværgeita pinnacle jutting up into the sky. Himmeltindan Mountain sits on Vestvågøya Island. With plenty of time to do and see everything your heart desires, Lofoten has early sunrises and late sunsets during this time of year. Come join us on an unforgettable adventure while capturing stunning images of Norway's distinctive scenery with intense mountains and peaks, open sea and sheltered bays, the world's largest deep water coral reef, beaches and untouched lands.
While Lofoten is an extremely popular photo workshop destination, what makes this trip one-of-a-kind is that it features a unique itinerary combining the classic and popular photographic destinations of the Lofoten Islands chain along with a couple days in the inland mountains. These inland ranges, extending up to the Swedish Abisko area, are often drier being in the rain shadow east of the coastal Norwegian mountains, and so this gives us added and improved chances of clear night skies for witnessing the Aurora Borealis. At this time of fall, the autumn color of birch shrubbery is also amazing around these majestic inland mountains. For our local co-guide, we'll have Tobias Hägg and all the experience behind the eminent Nordic photo tour company Lofoten Photo Tours.
Day 1 - Arrival at Harstad/Narvik Evenes airport
13 September 2018
We immediately begin our Arctic adventure upon arrival. We recommend flying to Harstad/Evenes airport (EVE) from Oslo for convenience. Please make sure be to there as early as possible, or even arrive one day early. Upon arrival in Harstad/Evenes airport, we will board our spacious vans and drive straight to our rorbu cabins (a Norwegian traditional type of seasonal house used by fishermen) in Reine. These cabins are authentic, comfortable and warm. They include a fully equipped kitchen, heated floors, shower, and comfortable beds. As soon as we are settled in, we will have a group dinner and be on standby in case the Aurora Borealis shows up. If we are blessed with starry nights and clear skies, we will be able to capture the elusive and strikingly beautiful Aurora Borealis aka Northern Lights as she dances seductively on the night skies, right outside of our cabins.
Day 2, 3 and 4 - Reine, Hamnøy, Flakstad, Sakrisøy, Fredvang, Nusfjord, Å, Vareid, Leknes, Utakleiv, Haukland & Unstad
14, 15, 16 September 2018
Our base camp for the first leg of the tour will be on the island of Moskenesøya. This island is a world class location, and the likes of National Geographic, Lonely Planet and The Huffington Post and have all listed this very village as one of the most scenic villages on earth. One look outside your bedroom window, and you will understand why - incredible granite mountains rising straight out of the fjords, traditional fishermen cabins, and the location just oozes of great Norwegian history. In addition to Reine, we'll also spend time exploring the surrounding areas such as Flakstad (Skagsanden), Fredvang, Nusfjord, Ramberg, Vareid and Selfjord, which are all stunningly beautiful.
Day 5, 6 and 7 - Narvik, Skjomen, Stetinden and Abisko
17, 18, 19 September 2018
If we're lucky, we'll have Northern Lights galore as we head to our second base camp, which is Bjerkvik; further inland in Northern Norway. While staying here, we will explore some unknown yet spectacular locations that are off the beaten path. We will also make sure to take you to world renowned locations such as Stetinden and Skjomen. All of these areas are well suited in regards to photographing the aurora. As long as the weather is good, we will have a high chance of seeing the Northern Lights. Bjerkvik Hotel is only 30 mins from the airport, which makes your departure easy on the final day.
Day 8 - Departure
20 September 2018
The final day is reserved for winding down, packing up, and preparing for departure from Harstad/Narvik (EVE) airport. A final sunrise excursion will be attempted if logistics allow, but not for certain
Frequently asked questions
Group Size: ~6 participants + 2 guides
What should I bring?
Since we are exploring the high arctic and northern Norway archipelago's, you have to be well equipped for all kinds of dramatic weather including snowfall. Bring comfortable, warm and waterproof outer layers such as Gore-tex, thermal underwear, crampons and water resistant boots, or even waders. A complete list of recommended clothes as well as camera gear will be provided. We will not have clothes or shoes available for renting.
Will I experience snow or ice?
This trip is timed to coincide with autumn colors, and the chance for a snow dusting about the mountaintops. This time of year offers some of the most incredible scenes coming the reds of autumn and whites of early winter.
Will I see and photograph the Northern lights?
One of the highlights of the trip will be to hopefully photograph the aurora borealis over an epic mountain landscape. We will certainly do our utmost to make that happen, however can never predict weather and guarantee clear skies and brilliant displays of the this elusive phenomenon, but we will chase it for all it's worth throughout the entire week. If that means late nights and early mornings, so be it. We can all catch up on sleep after the workshop! One of the main advantages of this workshop's itinerary is that we spend a couple days in the typically drier, clearer inland mountains east of the Norwegian coastal mountains, which offer a rain-shadow effect, so if we've been unlucky in the first part of the trip, we have another last chance!
What does traditional fisherman seaside huts entail, and what about sleeping arrangements?
For some of the nights in Lofoten Norway, we stay in picturesque red seaside fishermen's huts that are converted over to tourist accomodation cabins. This is an authinetic Norwegian accomodation style. The trip price is based upon double occupancy, which means that two people will share a bedroom. You may opt Please note that you may elect to upgrade to single room supplment for an additinal 500Euro, but in the nights we stay in the fishermen's huts, a single room does not mean that you get your own cabin, it simply means a private room with a shared bathroom and kitchen. A whole private cabin is an extra option for those who want super privacy. All cabins come with fully equipped kitchens, showers, heated floors, Wi-Fi, sheets and linens, towels etc.
What do we do for meals?
Eating out is expensive in Norway, and meals are not included in the trip price. For a few of the nights we'll stay conservative by preparing our own dinners in the cabins, and will shop for groceries throughout the week. For those who are not keen on preparing their own food, there are restaurants on site that can cater to your wishes. The guides will provide guidance on the best options, balancing cost vs. convenience vs. time.
What kind of weather can I expect?
The weather and climate in northern Norway is renowned for being extremely unpredictable because of its many local weather systems. This means conditions can change within minutes and kilometers, also resulting in very dramatic light and photographic opportunities. Lofoten has a much milder climate than other parts of the world at a similar latitude, such as Greenland and Alaska. This is due to the temperature of the water of the Gulfstream. The coastal climate results in mild winters and cool summer temperatures. Traditionally, January and February are the coldest months with an average temperature of -1 degrees Celsius.
What camera gear should I bring?
A detailed list of recommendations will be emailed to your signups. The importance of good quality gear should be emphasized, while being careful not to overspend. Renting camera and lenses is also an affordable option.
How do I get there?
The easiest way to travel to the Lofoten archipelago is via Oslo Gardermoen airport (OSL code). From there you can fly to Harstad/Narvik Evenes airport (EVE code) where our tour starts and ends. Trip start and end is EVE airport.
This tour is open to digital photographers of all skill levels. Our only criteria is that you have a great passion for photography, and have the energy and motivation to be on the go each day and night. Reasonable healthiness is important for you to get the most out of this trip, although we don't expect to do anything too strenuous. If you have additional questions, the trip leader will be happy to answer them over the phone or by email.
This photo workshop is all about in-the-field field photography and situational instruction, working alongside your trip leader, and there will be no classroom workshops or presentations, unless there is extra downtime from rainy weather. Photographic topics that will be covered while shooting include classic landscape photography composition and technique, HDR (High Dynamic Range) imagery, panoramic photography, adventure and travel photography, tilt/shift focusing, slow shutter speed effects, and exhaustive use of filters. We will also be going on some shorter hikes (2-5 hours) to truly experience the land. Group participants may wander on their own occasionally if they wish to pursue individual photographic objectives, enabling each participant to get the most out of this once-in-a-lifetime trip. A small group size of photographers ensures you will receive ample personal photographic coaching in the field from a full time working pro, maximizing the group's flexibility and ability to shoot more places, more spontaneously based on light and weather, and provide an intimate small group adventure experience.
Deposit: A $600 deposit is due at the time of registration, and the remaining balance is due by the trip start. Until payment is sent, your place is not guaranteed. You may conveniently pay your deposit here (near bottom of page) securely with your credit card, processed by PayPal payment processor. The deposit portion may also be paid via personal or bank check for USA and Canadian clients. Please contact me if you need any assistance in signing up!
Final Payment: The final payment for the balance due on the trip (after your paid deposit), is due one week prior to the trip start. Payment options include bank transfer (details on request), cash in person at the trip start (with prior permission), personal or bank checks (preferred for USA and Canada clients), and credit cards (a 2% credit card fee will be added for final payments with card).
Cancellation Policy: In the unfortunate case if you need to cancel, cancellation policy is: deposit payments are refundable as 100% future scheduled trip credit up to 120 days before trip start, 50% future scheduled trip credit if cancellation is 120-60 days before trip start, and non-refundable less than 60 days before start. Final payments for the full trip balance are 100% refundable as cash until the trip start, and non-refundable after the trip start. If I am able to fill your empty spot on the trip, half of what you'd lose will additionally be returned to you, for all the above situations. If I cancel the trip for some major reason such as trip leader health crisis, etc, then I fully refund everything in cash or PayPal, or a pro-rated amount if the trip must end early for the same reasons. I am not responsible for reimbursing you for travel or other ancillary expenses you incur in prep for the trip.
- All photographic opportunities and professional instruction
- All ground transportation and guiding
- Accommodation for 7 nights. Accommodation will be chosen based on optimal locations to photograph, and will vary including authentic Norwegian seaside cabins, and hotels. Prices are based on double occupancy -- optional single supplement may be available for an added fee of EU 500.
- Trip insurance
- Alcoholic drinks
- Dinners. We will still eat as a group at some restaurants, and self-cater on some nights at our cabins independently, to keep our costs down. Expect to budget $50/nt/person on average for meals, more at restaurants and less when self-catering.
- Lunch, and breakfast when not provided by hotel
- Flights to and from EVE airport at beginning and end of workshop
- Anything else not listed as being included.
Johnathan Esper of Wildernesscapes Photography LLC, based in the USA, and Norwegian photographer Tobias Hägg are the trip's two photographic and location guides. Tobias Hägg is a landscape photographer probably best known as Airpixels on social media. Tobias Hägg brings with him all the experience behind the regions's eminent Nordic photo tour company Lofoten Photo Tours. Tobias is an official ambassador for the outdoor brand Fjällräven and a National Geographic-published Swedish photographer whose heart lies within nature, striving for perfection in all his work and a unique perspective of life. Johnathan is a full time photographer and highly experienced international photo trip leader having led over 70+ successful workshops and tours around the world in Iceland, Greenland, Faroe Islands, Cuba, and the Adirondack Mountains. Every trip so far has been an incredible, immersive, and adventuresome experience for the participants as they delve into capturing intentional and classic landscape photography while exploring the country.
Johnathan A. Esper
Wildernesscapes Photography LLC
PO Box 326, Long Lake, NY
phone: 001 518 241 3363 (USA) www.WildernessPhotographs.com or www.IcelandPhotography.com