Posts Tagged ‘landscape’

Exploring Norway’s Lofoten Islands: Utakleiv Beach

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Gorgeous scenery at Utakleiv Beach

Of all of beaches I saw in Norway’s Lofoten Islands, Utakleiv had the most diversity. It’s a photographer’s dream with it’s creamy white sand, green grass, jewel toned tidal pools and rocky coastline.

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Tidal pools and emerald seas in Norway

Utakleiv Beach is also easy to reach by car and doesn’t require a hike, making it one of the most photographed spots in the Lofoten Islands.

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Portrait of Ana at Utakleiv Beach 

While Ana and I explored Utakleiv Beach during the day, it’s also a popular spot to watch (and photograph) the northern lights.

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We had Utakleiv Beach all to ourselves

While we heard that the beach was popular during the summer months, one of the benefits of traveling during shoulder season is that we had the place entirely to ourselves.

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Ana on a grassy knoll at Utakleiv beach 

The clouds were moody, adding to the dramatic and craggy scenery.

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Clouds, water, rocks, and sand 

The light was soft and flattering during our visit so I used the opportunity to shoot a few portraits of Ana using the depth mode (aka portrait mode) feature on my iPhone 7 plus. I love the results.

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Ana at Utakleiv beach (portrait mode)

The beach is also a favorite spot for photographers in winter when the rocks along the coastline are covered in snow.

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Portrait of Ana among the rocks (iPhone 7 plus)

There were a few picnic tables on Utakleiv, and it’s a popular spot for camping when the weather is suitable.

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Jewel toned tidal pool at Utakleiv Beach 

Directions:

From Leknes, it is about 20 minutes out. Follow the E10 out of Leknes and turn right onto Vikveien. Then take the Fv826 to Uttakleivveien. At the intersection, take a left to stay on Uttakleivveien until you see a parking area on the right and the beach right next to it.

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Exploring Norway’s Lofoten Islands: a Photo Essay

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Ana walking around the Bend in Fredvang

When I was planning my trip to the Lofoten Islands of  Norway, I wanted to see (and photograph) the Northern Lights. But like much of life, it’s not the big highlights that make up all of my memories of the trip. Part of the charm of the Lofoten Islands is that they are small, scenic and sparsely populated. This combo can make them a dream for photographers.

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Sheep in the Lofoten Islands

The pastoral scenery of Northern Norway is lovely. Fjords with small clusters of fishing cottages and small farms filled with sheep. There were several places worth pulling over to the side of the road to take a photograph or wander a bit.

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Fall frost in the Lofoten Islands

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Portrait of Ana near the Fjords in Northern Norway

Renting a car (or having access to one) is essential in this part of Norway. As the days grow shorter, many businesses tend to close for the season so you’ll need a vehicle to get from place to place. Norwegians do the sunbird thing and flock to the Canary islands for sunshine and a lower cost of living.

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Ana on sandy Ramberg Beach

I was most surprised by the white sandy beaches in the Lofoten Islands. They add some unexpected atmosphere and charm to the dramatic landscapes and were delightful places to walk even on a windy autumn afternoon.
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Ana stopping traffic in the Lofoten Islands

Businesses in Svolvær are more likely to be open year round, and it makes sense to stay here off seasons. Many of the smaller restaurants and rorbu (fishing cottages) in smaller towns like Reine and Hamnoy close seasonally for some or all of the winter. If you are visiting during the off-season, be sure to take some snacks with you. Ana and I found our hunger kicked in during off hours and the nearest open grocery store was some distance away.

 

 

 

 

 

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Day Hike to Kvalvika Beach in Norway’s Lofoten Islands

 

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Dramatic clouds and scenery on the hike to Kvalvika Beach

Norway’s Lofoten islands are known for their dramatic landscapes. But the handful of gorgeous sandy beaches came as a real surprise to me as a first-time visitor to the area.

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Clouds reflected in a pond

An unexpected highlight of my recent trip to Norway was the scenic hike we took to Kvalvika Beach. Located onMoskenesøy and only accessible by foot, the day hike is popular with families and photographers. It’s easy to see why.

 

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Looking down at Kvalvika Beach

After about an hour of minutes of pleasant hiking with some slick patches due to the wet grass and natural oil oozing from the land, the mountain landscape opens up to reveal a glorious crescent shaped beach with waves crashing against the golden sand.

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Ana taking in the view from the hike

The hike itself is interesting (and popular) throughout the year. During the summer, campers head to Kvalvika Beach to spend the night under the midnight sun. In the fall and winter, photographers and families head up for the dramatic views.

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Kvalvika Beach, possibly the prettiest spot in Norway’s Lofoten Islands

We wound up being led on this hike by Alex Conu, who we hired from Colors of Lofoten to be our photo guide for the day.

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Red grass and pink clouds on the hike to Kvalvika Beach

It’s worth the effort for the scenery alone. You’ll pass fields of red grasses and lakes before getting a bird’s eye view of Kvalvika Beach.

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Otherworldly landscape in the Lofoten Islands

I appreciate unusual landscape and the moss, rocks, oil, and mountains made this one of the most visually satisfying hikes I’ve ever taken.

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Oil oozing from the Lofoten Islands

There are some step sections, and hiking boots are key to handling this terrain.

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The landscape before dusk looked drastically different

We took this hike just before dusk, when the colors and light were changing quite a bit. Views looked dramatically different on the way back than they did on the way up, We opted to retraced our steps to save time, since we were prioritizing photographing the Northern Lights that evening rather than take the long way back.

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Portrait of Ana in the outdoors

Kvalvika Beach was featured in a documentary called North of the Sun, about two surfers (yes, arctic surfing is a thing) who spent nine months there catching waves. You can watch the film on iTunes.

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Clouds reflected

If you’re headed to the Lofoten Islands and fit enough to handle a reasonably easy hike with some moderate altitude gain, I’d highly suggest taking the hike to Kvalvika Beach.

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Portrait  of Ana in pastels on the hike to Kvalvika Beach

Getting there:

From any location on Lofoten, take the E10 to Fredvang. After leaving the E10 and crossing the twin bridges, turn left into Fredvang and continue along the road through the village. After approximately 3 kilometers (from the turn) you will see a red boat shed on the left near the water. Immediately past this is a paved parking turnout large enough for 10-15 cars. Park here.

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Exploring the Big Island of Hawaii: Sunsets at the Fairmont Orchid

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Kohala Coast Sunset on the Big Island of Hawaii

Gorgeous tropical sunsets are the stuff Hawaiian post cards are made of. The Kona and Kohala Coast of the Big Island offer some spectacular spots to watch the sun dip below the horizon and enjoy the last rays of the day. The lagoon at the Fairmont Orchid Hotel  was my favorite sunset spot on my recent trip to the Aloha State.

Big Island Sunset Time-Lapse

I shot the sunset time lapse above using the Time-Lapse function on my iPhone 6s on the lagoon beach at the Fairmont Orchid, which is a popular gathering spot around sunset.

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Last light off the Kohala Coast of the Big Island

After sunset, the Fairmont Orchid hotel offers stargazing opportunities for guests a few nights a week, with giant telescopes set up right on the property and an on-site astronomer.

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Big Island sunset at the Fairmont Orchid

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Sunset at the Coconut Grove 

The Fairmont Orchid’s Coconut Grove is a popular choice for destination weddings on the Big Island. The scenery is pretty spectacular.

Fairmont Orchid, Hawaii

1 North Kaniku Drive
Kohala Coast, Hawaii  96743
TEL + 1 808 885 2000
FAX + 808 885 5778

orchid@fairmont.com

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Exploring Stockholm, Sweden: a Photo Essay

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The view from Södermalm

I recently returned from an Arctic Adventure to Swedish and Finnish Lapland with Photo Enrichment Adventures. My first stop was Stockholm, Sweden, where I spent a few days getting over jet lag and exploring the “Capital of Scandinavia.”

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Love locks- they’re not just for Paris

Some of my favorite things about Stockholm were exploring the Nobel Museum in Gamla Stan, Stockholm’s old town. I enjoyed the charming cafes and interesting old streets in the area.
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Swedish still life in Södermalm

Södermalm was my favorite area of Stockholm, with it’s trendy restaurants, cafes and creative vibe.

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Taking a boat tour is a classic way to see Stockholm

If you’re into boats, don’t miss the Vasa Museum, one of the best experiences you’ll ever have with a sunken ship. I did not get to visit the Abba Museum, but I’m big on saving something for the next trip.

Swedish Zen at the Miss Clara Hotel

I stayed at the Miss Clara Hotel the first few nights. Located in a gorgeous 1910 Art Nouveau building that used to house a girls school, the vibe was modern and quiet, and had a lovely sauna in the basement.

Window shopping in Gamla Stan (old town)

Stockholm is chilly in the spring, with it’s waterfront location bringing winds off the Baltic sea.

A cute Stockholm native

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a Swedish Frenchie in old town

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Salmon, salmon and more salmon

I got to try a traditional Swedish smörgåsbord with all the trimmings at the Grand Hotel. Lingonberry jam, smoked fish, and the house 1874 Grand Aquavit to wash it down.

Skål! I’m a fan of the Aquavit

Flavored with caraway, anise and fennel, the aquavit reminded me of the Brennivín I tasted in Iceland.

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Stockholm at night

I did some night shooting in Stockholm in preparation for heading to Lapland and chasing the Aurora Borealis. I was colder during the night shoot in Stockholm than anytime during the lapland part of my trip, due to winds. But I do like I the images I got of the city at night.

I couldn’t resist taking a selfie in gorgeous Stockholm window light

The light in Stockholm was beautiful at times and flat at others. But the window light was so delicious I couldn’t resist taking a selfie on my iPhone 6s.

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