In Lofoten looking at Northern Lights and the Morning Sun are pure magic – and a bit cold
LOFOTEN, NORWAY: Feel the power of Northern Lights and meet Karine Dilling, a teacher turned photographer. With her camera, Karine witnessed one of the most magnificent phenomena that nature has to offer; the Northern Lights, or Aurora Borealis. Here follows her story and pictures from a cold January and Magic Light of Lofoten.
“Lofoten, the famous islands, known for their ragged mountains, stunning scenery and the Northern Lights, the Aurora Borealis. Being an enthusiastic photographer, the Lofoten islands fulfilled all my dreams of magic light. Colours ranging from light blue to the pinkish tint on snow covered mountains, Lofoten was pure magic with magic lights on the sky.
I have always dreamt of taking a year off work and travel with my camera. I have been travelling to many European countries, but the Lofoten islands beats them all in stunning lights and beauty. See Lofoten islands map at Svolvaer.net
Northern Lights in Lofoten
Early in January, when the sun returns on the horizon after being gone for a couple of months, the light is breathtaking. I hoped to see some northern lights, but I got so much more. How to get to lofoten islands? Starting my trip in Bodø, I rented a car heading north towards Lødingen, a journey of about 4-5 hours.
Early next morning the trip to Svolvær, the self declared capital of the Lofoten islands, started. The weather changes constantly, from sun to snow back to sun again. Red, orange and pink colours the clouds of snow, making the trip extremely enjoyable for an enthusiastic photographer like me. The trip from Lødingen to Svolvær is short, about an hour, but I spent most of the day constantly reaching for my camera. One example from this trip are the mountains Lakeselvtindan, as seen in one of the pictures. How can one not stop with such scenery along the route?
Early morning lights
Reaching Svolvær in the evening, the hotel in the harbour offers me a room with a view, a good nights sleep and one of the best breakfasts in Norway. Not to mention the view from the restaurant directly towards the famous mountains Svolværgeita and Jomfrutindan. Dressed for a cold day, I ventured towards Svinøya, a small island, just a short walk from the hotel. The early morning lights in the snow covered mountains and the reflecting image in the calm sea; I am almost lost for words. The rest of my day continues as such, taking pictures and talking the locals taking their Sunday walk towards the end of the bulwark. At the tip is Per Ung’s statue of the fisherman’s wife looking and waiting for her husband to return safely from the sea.
My way in Lofoten
New day, new pictures to bring back home. Along my way, I stop at the lovely beach Rørvikstranda, before going to Henningsvær. It is unusually cold for a Lofoten winter, so in Henningsvaer, all the fishing boats are in, as the harbour is frozen. Eating a lovely lunch at the cosy Knusarn, the restaurant and hotel in Henningsvaer gets my frozen fingers warm again. Leknes is just a short hour away. I have come to this part of the Lofoten islands for the beach Hauklandstrand. Both short and long shutter speed rewards me with pictures to bring home, as two of the pictures in this article show.
When in Norway, what about Reine?
Reine is one of Lofoten’s most well-known and visited fishing villages, and the administration center for the Moskenes Municipality. Reine is also one of Norway’s most photographed landscape motifs and inspiration for many artists – and adventure centers such as Epcot, Legoland and Madurodam. Reine has large accommodation capacity, over 200 beds, mostly restored and new helmets.
Cascades of gift
Returning back to Bodø, I get my final gift from this part of the world, the northern lights, and what a show she creates. The Aurora dances over the ice-cold sky, causing a pleasant delay as I drove over the island of Hamarøy.
”I promise myself going back to these magnificent islands in the north is mandatory. It will be my pilgrimage”
Helpful advice for free
I grew up under The Northern Lights in the area north of Norway. This is one of the most unpredictable night “objects” to photograph but also one of the most spectacular. As quick as it’s commenced, it can be over.
Here is a handy article showing you how to photograph the Northern Lights step by step, from planning, about equipment to use, and getting all the settings ready.
Pictures by Karine Dilling
More Northern Lights: The greatest Light Show on Earth
Enjoy the beautiful landscape North of Norway.
Make it Happen!
Touch Down: By air: Norwegian and SAS have connection from Oslo to Bodø. You can use a smaller plane from Bodø to Svolvær or Leknes with the airline Wideroe. Many visitors to Lofoten arrive on four wheels. If you don’t want to travel to Lofoten by ferry, the E10 motorway from Sweden is an alternative. Car rental in Bodø: Europcar offers excellent service and new cars. Travelling to Lofoten by Hurtigruten, the Coastal Express, is another alternative.
Stay: I stayed at Brygga Hotel in Lødingen, Thon Hotel in Svolvær and Best Western in Leknes.
Eat: When in Lofoten, the taste of the region will never be far away. You will recognize it from a walk along the shore or quayside.
Play: The World Cod Fishing Championship - a festival that adds the finishing touches to several days of celebrations in honour of the cod that comes to Lofoten every year.
Mini Guide: Weather: I am told that it most winters barely gets colder than 4-6 degree below C, but on my trip this January the temperature reached -15 degrees. It is advisable to dress for cold days. It’s best to change foreign currency into NOK before your trip. Not many accept Euro or other foreign currencies. Midnight sun from mid May to mid July. Explore Lofoten from a different angle together with an award-winning photographer. Learn how to take breathtaking pictures of iconic landmarks.