- Jonas Paurell
Lofoten & the Northern Lights - 2019
Lofoten & the Northern Lights - A Photography Expedition with Andy Mumford
The plan was easy. In late February the stunning Lofoten archipelago of islands scattered between icy fjords and ocean beaches, punctuated by snow covered mountains and fishing villages is often blanketed with fresh snow and breath-taking views are everywhere you look. The low arctic sun gives 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 there’s always the backdrop of dramatic snowy peaks as a focus for the images.
The focus of this particular workshop was to connect more deeply with the landscape by hiking to some of lesser visited winter destinations like Ryten or Offersøykammen, or the beaches of Bunes, Kvalvika, or if we are really energised, the remote Horseid. Or at least that was the plan…
As often is with plans, they don’t always work out! Especially not in winter. I had arrived a few days before the intended arrival of the expedition participants to be able to film a project that I had long planned for. But Mother Nature had different plans for me… Just after arrival it starts snowing, and then kept snowing for almost 48 hrs. non-stop. After just one day I was unable to even leave Hattvika Lodge where I was staying and there I remained for almost three days until the road had been cleared, and it took another three days before I could leave the island and travel around the archipelago. By then there was no time to film and I went to pick up Andy Mumford at the airport (after being pulled out of the snow by a tractor, but that is a different story…). In total, more than one meter of snow fell. I tested the terrain before the expedition participants arrived. Without snowshoes it was impossible to move, and with snowshoes I managed to average 1kmph… which basically made it absolutely impossible to get to the distant beaches on snow shoes, not to mention dangerous with incredibly high avalanche risks – something that one always has to consider when moving through mountainous terrain in wintertime.
As bad it always feels to abandon adventurous plans – we headed to the more easily accessible beaches and landscapes for the expedition and had a fantastic time and everyone came home with some new portfolio images. Andy and I also took the opportunity of a lodge based expedition to really deepen the discussions around the creative sides of photography and everyone took something away from this. Already looking forward to Lofoten next winter as it is one of those places that are just incredible!