Join us on one of our tours to one of the most beautiful areas of Europe, the Lofoten islands. Steep, snow-covered, mountains rise straight out of the intense blue colored fjords. Lakes and puddles are frozen solid and even the rocky coastline can be covered in a thick layer of ice. Picturesque (red) fishermen villages are dotted along the main road which winds through Lofoten and create a pleasant contrast in color with all the blue and grey of the snow and ice. The hours of daylight are limited during the winter period, but when there is sunlight, it is beautiful of color and intensity. And even with “bad” weather, the dark clouds and grey skies give the already rugged landscape something extra sinister. Lofoten during winter… a paradise for every landscape photographer.
The Lofoten is a group of islands in the Nordland province in the northwest of Norway. The landscapes make this one of the most beautiful areas of Europe. In the winter it is a paradise for every landscape photographer. Steep, snow-covered, mountains rise straight out of the intense blue colored fjords. Lakes and puddles are frozen solid and even the rocky coastline can be covered in a thick layer of ice. Picturesque (red) fishermen villages are dotted along the main road which winds through Lofoten and create a pleasant contrast in color with all the blue and grey of the snow and ice. The hours of daylight are limited in this time of the year, but when there is sunlight, it is beautiful of color and intensity. And even with “bad” weather, the dark clouds and grey skies give the already rugged landscape something extra sinister. Staying alert is an absolute must during clear nights, because the chance for aurora borealis (northern lights) is always there. A beautiful green icing on an already richly filled cake.
The (possible) subjects
Mountain landscapes, coastal landscapes, culture landscapes (fishermen villages), aurora borealis, abstracts from the sea, sand, water, snow and ice. With some luck some mammals and birds.
This beautiful area is the playground for an intensive 8-day long photo tour in the winter of 2017. The emphasis during this trip lays on improving your photography skills, learning to “see” and learning how to use creative techniques. Also image processing will be addressed. We will of course mainly photograph the beautiful landscapes which can literally be found around every corner, but also spend time making abstract and creative images. If any good opportunities arise, we will try to photograph wintering birds and mammals which we may encounter on the way. Every evening and night we keep a close eye on the sky for the first signs of the aurora borealis. Once visible we go outside to experience and photograph this amazing phenomenon.
What you will learn
Landscape photography, usage of filters, night photography (aurora borealis), intimate landscapes, abstract photography, shapes and lines, slow shutter speeds, panning, working with backlight, image editing in Lightroom and Photoshop, basic exposure blending.
We drive around in large vehicles with up to 4 persons per car. There is enough space for all the gear. Most of the islands are connected with bridges and tunnels. Therefore we do not need to use any ferries during this tour.
The overnight stays are in charming wooden houses and (fishermen) cabins. Always located on beautiful spots and close to the most stunning parts of the Lofoten. All accommodation is equipped with bedding, (shared) bathroom, kitchen and is based on double rooms.
Food and drinks
All meals are included. Breakfast and lunch are bought in the supermarket and are prepared by ourselves. The diners either take place in our accommodation or in one of the local restaurants. Alcoholic beverages and special requests are not included.
In February / March the days get longer quickly, an hour of extra daylight per week. The twilight last long which gives many hours of potentially beautiful light for (landscape)photography. Obviously we make use of those hours. Noon is usually used for traveling or resting. If there is any sign of aurora borealis in the evening and night, we immediately head out to a nearby dark photogenic place.
This tour is meant for avid nature photographers who want to improve on photographing landscapes and details and post processing images. Therefore, much attention will be invested in learning and applying various techniques in the field of landscape photography and learning to “see” shapes and patterns. If at night the aurora borealis is visible, we will focus on the principles of night photography. During the tour there will also be attention for optimizing RAW images by processing them with Lightroom and Photoshop. Most locations are easily accessible. A perfect tour for any nature photographer who wants to be immersed in a beautiful winter setting, wants to learn to shoot better and wants to return home with a varied portfolio filled with stunning shots of this beautiful area.
Day 1. Arrival Harstad/Evenes airport around 5.30 PM Introduction, explanation and a ride in the dark to nearby Leknes. We keep our eyes open for northern lights!
Days 2 to 4. Leknes and surroundings During these days we will visit several stunning locations on central Lofoten, including of course the famous photogenic beaches Uttakleiv, Haukland and Unstad, but also less known beaches and fjords.
Days 5 and 6. Reine and surroundings We’ll visit the most southern part of the Lofoten, where some of the most famous and photogenic locations are situated, such as the picturesque Reine and the beach of Skagsanden.
Day 7. Direction Harstad Today we have a long drive northwards to go, where we have our final accommodation in Harstad. During the drive we will visit some of the previously visited spots, or we will visit new spots which we passed during the drive south on day one.
Day 8. 1.30 PM home bound flight Already our last morning on the Lofoten. On the way to the airport we can make short stops for the last photo sessions. Or we sleep in and focus on image processing, comfortably in the warmth of the hotel.
The itinerary above is intended as an indication. Depending on the circumstances and our nightly activities (aurora borealis), we adapt in order to take as many beautiful pictures as possible during this tour! The area presents opportunities abound for this.
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Or contact us for inquiries for other dates and other questions.
2023: 26 Feb - 5 March (1 spot available due to cancellation)
2024: 25 Feb. - 3 March (2 spots available)
Max 6 persons
Shared double bedrooms in apartments
NOK 22.500,- (5000,- deposit)
Evenes/Harstad/Narvik Airport, transfer via Oslo Gardermoen Airport
Accommodation: Shared double bedrooms in large apartments
Breakfast, lunch and diners
Transport: All local transport, including the pick-up and drop off at Evenes airport.
Photography workshop hosted by Marijn Heuts & Floris Smeets (Sony ambassador)
Single rooms: Single room fees depend on room availability. Please ask for the additional price when making the booking.
Price does not include
Flights to and from Evenes airport
Alcoholic beverages and snacks
Travel insurance (you are responsible for your own travel insurance)
For landscape photography, a wide-angle lens and a moderate tele zoom lens are an absolute must. The best would be if you could cover the range from 16mm up to 200mm. For example, a 16-35mm, 24-70mm and a 70-200mm. If you will bring a 100-400mm or similar, this can replace the 70-200mm. If you don't have a full frame camera but a crop camera, try to cover the range from 10mm up to 150mm.
For the northern light a wide angle lens with an aperture of f2.8 or lower is advised. Filters such as a polarizer and neutral gradient filters are definitely useful. Floris and Marijn have several of these that can be used if you don’t have any. A macro lens can be useful for abstracts but is not required. A long telephoto lens is rarely useful during this tour and can better be left at home. If we get into a situation where we can photograph wildlife, we’ll do that with a smaller tele zoom lens (such as 70-200mm or 100-400mm).
What is required is a sturdy tripod. If possible, also bring with you a cable release or another type of remote control. Very useful for both landscape photography and night-time photography (northern lights). An external hard drive or image tank for storing / backing up the (many) photos taken is absolutely advisable. And otherwise in any case more than enough empty memory cards. A laptop is useful (but not required) to discuss pictures taken during the tour. Also during the image processing sessions you will be able to join in. To sum up the things you should bring additionally to your cameras and lenses:
Plenty of memory cards
Plenty of batteries (these can drain fast while shooting northern light in the cold nights)
Tripod (please bring a sturdy one!)
Filters (ND, gradient and polarizer) (please let us know if you need filters)
Remote control / cable release
Laptop, external harddrive or image tank to back up your images
Laptop if you want to edit images
The temperature on the Lofoten Islands during the winter can vary a lot. At the coast the temperature will most likely be around -5 degrees Celsius, but more central on the islands the temperature can drop below -15. Please bring plenty of layers so you can dress accordingly.
Winter / ski trousers
Thermo base layer (merino wool)
Winter boots (Sorel makes comfy and affordable winter boots)
Thick warm (woolen) sweater
Base layer gloves with which you can still control your camera
Warm gloves / mittens
Several pairs of thick warm socks
Sincere thanks to Photo Tours Norway for a brilliant trip to Lofoten. They took this landscape newbie under their wings brilliantly and allowed her to learn to fly and work outside of her comfort zone of wildlife photography. The patience, understanding, expertise and good humour of Floris and Marijn were endless. I learned an awful lot, detailed histograms, using curves and lines to enhance composure, using filters creatively to slow shutter speeds and bring out texture, panoramas, night-time photography and finally Lightroom processing which pushed some of my comfort boundaries. So much and much much more.
I was very fortunate to be with such a fantastic group and have the great daily banter even though English was not everyone’s first language. I really enjoyed the way the trip was set up and organised and think the fact we were not all in individual hotel rooms was a real bonus. This meant we could socialise as a group over breakfast and dinner and have the ability to learn collectively and provide critical support to each other.
The highlight was of course the stunning landscape, the northern lights dancing across the water and of course the company.