Lofoten Islands

Voyager Series Night Photography tour

This will be a winter workshop focused on photographing the rugged snow-covered mountain islands, northern lights, pristine fisherman huts, and the untouched beauty of this remote and breathtaking region of the world. March is a perfect time to visit Lofoten—the milder winter temperatures make the overall experience ideal for catching the auroras over a snow-globe winterscape.

Workshop Gallery

photos © Gabriel Biderman

Workshop Details

March 8-16, 2020 — Sold Out, Join Waitlist Below

This is an 8-night, 9-day workshop. Your adventure begins with an overnight flight on March 7 and ends with the flight of your choice on March 16.

$4,500 + applicable taxes. Register below.

Skill level

Open to all who have a sense of adventure and understanding of the basic principles of photography and of their cameras.

Class size

12, with 2 instructors — 6:1 ratio

Workshop Leaders

Register Now Waitlist Only

HOPING TO GET A SPOT? Sign up Below for our no-fee WAITLIST.

  • Deposit of $1,125 is required to reserve your spot at the workshop.

  • Balance of $3,375 due on December 9, 2019. Pay balance here.

  • You may choose the “Pay in Full” ticket if you desire to pay all at once.

  • Last day for a cancellation request is December 8, 2019 (see cancellation and refund policy).

  • For more information about the tour fee covers and does not cover, keep reading below.

 


The Lofoten Islands Experience

Did I mention that Lofoten is remote? It will take you a full day to get here with at least three flight changes. There is one road, the King’s Road, that connects the archipelago. This official Norwegian Scenic Route is a wonderfully winding road that offers picturesque views around each bend and that links the pristine red and yellow rorbuer fishing villages.

We will base our tour out of Ballstad, centrally located and within one hour of most of our shoot locations. Must-see picturesque spots such as Reine, Henningsvær and Nusfjord will all be on our shoot list, but we will also slow things down to fully explore creative long exposures along the beautiful beaches of the north.

March brings longer days, milder weather, and a lot of fish! The culture and old currency of Lofoten is cod. We will gain a deeper insight into the history and heritage from the family that has owned Hattvika Lodge for several generations.

This photo tour will feature long days and nights with intense periods of photography. It’s not a workshop—there will be no formal classroom instruction or lectures. There won’t be time, as we will be photographing day and night.

This is not to say that it won’t be a learning experience, but the first and foremost goal of this trip is to provide you with a comfortable and organized opportunity to create images of the dramatic landscapes of Lofoten and—fingers crossed—the aurora. You’ll be working closely with people of varying levels of photographic experience, and we’ll all learn from each other while making friends along the way.

The trip is suited for people of all photographic levels, and the leaders will provide instruction on night and low-light photography techniques in the field. We will be available to work with you one-on-one, offering as much or as little creative and technical advice as you want.

Night photography will be a big part of the trip, whether or not we see northern lights. Whenever the weather permits, we will venture out to search for and photograph the aurora borealis. There may be time for casual sharing and review of images, especially if there is “some weather.”

Ticket Info

Included:

  • eight nights of accommodations at the Hattvika Lodge

  • modern “rorbuer” cottages along a private wharf with spectacular harbor views

  • all transportation in Lofoten in two comfortable vans

  • private welcome dinner by a local chef on the first night and farewell dinner on the last

Not Included:

  • international flights to and from Leknes, Norway

  • all other meals

  • optional outdoor wood-fired hot tub and scenic sauna

  • alcohol

What You Should Know

Participants must have at least basic photo skills, know their cameras well, and be comfortable shooting RAW in manual mode with a DSLR or high-end mirrorless camera.

If you would like to attend this workshop but are unsure whether you have adequate night photography skills, we can offer pre-workshop tutoring to get you ready for your adventure with us. Alternatively or additionally, a few of us have written books that may be productive pre-workshop reads.

What You Will Learn

As this is a photo tour rather than a workshop, the emphasis is getting participants to great locations with great light, and making sure that everyone has the trip of a lifetime. It isn’t every day that you get to travel this far north!

That said, we do encourage you to think about and set goals for the trip.

What would you like to gain from this experience?

  • great images?

  • lasting memories?

  • new photography skills?

  • capturing auroras?

  • eating some of the freshest fish in the world?

The instructors will be available for one-on-one guidance in the field as much as time permits. You can pull us aside during quieter moments to check out your images if you’d like.

Night & Light Conditions

Travel

You are responsible for booking your flights to and from Lofoten. It is a very remote place and will take at least three flight legs and one full day. Check the flights from your home airport and if you have any questions, just ask. 

We recommend that you plan to fly to Oslo on March 7. Most flights are overnight and you will arrive early on March 8. From there look at which flights will best get you to Leknes (LKN) and it will probably be two additional short flights on small planes that will bring you to one of the most beautiful and remote regions of the world, Lofoten.

Once you get to the Leknes airport, which could be the smallest one you’ve ever been to, we will be there to pick you up. You won’t have to worry about rental cars or transportation—Chris and I will each have a large van to whisk you away for the rest of our time on the archipelago. 

Upon your arrival we’ll give you checked in, and we’ll let you rest and relax the rest of the day. Perhaps you’ll opt for a session in the hot tub or sauna, and of course a welcome dinner!

You will want to plan your return flight for March 16, preferably before 2 p.m. Depending on where you live, there are limited flights that can get you from Leknes to your home airport in one day. I stayed the night in Oslo, where there is the fabulous and not-that-expensive Radisson Blu hotel steps away from the terminal. I spent the night there, had a wonderful dinner and then caught a more convenient flight home the next day. Or spend a few nights in the capital of Norway—the hotel offers multiple shuttles to downtown Oslo for more Nordic explorations!

 

Food & Lodging

We will be staying at the wonderful and very accommodating Hattvika Lodge. We have eight single occupancy rooms in two four-bedroom Sørbua luxury apartments. These apartments are more like houses with generous sized bedrooms with underfloor heating, shared living room, dining room, kitchen and a large bathroom with an additional toilet. There is also a chill space on the mezzanine level with seating and skylight for additional aurora viewing! The apartments also feature a log-burning stove and are tastefully furnished in a very modern Norwegian style.

The Myklebustbua cottages are two double occupancy rorbuer and would be ideal for couples, though one cottage could have separate rooms. Each apartment has kitchen facilities for self-catering, modern bathrooms and zones for relaxation.

Great views welcome all the guests of Hattvika Lodge, Mount Skottinden looms behind, and the wonderful water views of the harbor made this our favorite spot to stay in Lofoten. Two saunas (one looks like something out of The Hobbit) sit at the end of the pier, offering relaxing downtime after our long days and nights. We highly recommend bringing your bathing suit!

Due to the limited amount of restaurants that will be open, we will be bringing all of our guests to an excellent local grocery store so you can stock up on supplies to make breakfast and lunch during the week. This will allow us to best chase the light throughout the day and have (no-host) group dinners at locations that are convenient to our shooting locations.

Weather

The weather can be very unpredictable in the Lofoten Islands. While the Gulf Stream brings warmer temperatures for this extreme latitude, it also can bring lots of variable weather in general. We will most likely experience rain or snow every day. But like most oceanic locations, it could last for a short time or be on only one side of a mountain. This weather is excellently suited for dramatic pictures—lots of rays of light battling through clouds and spraying across the landscape.

Expect daytime temperatures to be in the 30s to 40s F, and lows at night could get down to the teens.

Recommended Attire

Layers and winter wear. While a full winter suit won’t be needed, thermal long underwear and quality base layers are highly recommended. A rain/snow-proof winter jacket will offer you the best protection from any wind or weather. Rain or ski pants that can go over your jeans wouldn’t be a bad idea. Wool socks, waterproof hiking boots, hats and Vallerret photography gloves (made in Norway) are also highly recommended.

Considerations

No vigorous activity will be required during the workshop, but please consider your physical abilities prior to registering. There won’t be any long hikes, but there will be long walks on uneven and snowy surfaces. You should be comfortable carrying your own equipment in these conditions and in the dark.

Please read our FAQs section for more information about skill and gear requirements, and other information that pertains to all our workshops.

If you have questions, please contact us—we're happy to talk it over with you.

 

The Land of Giants ...

I was surrounded by epic peaks that rose from the ocean and crashed against the clouds. There were photos to take around every bend, bridge, twist and turn.
— Gabe

I was flying to Tromso, Norway, several years ago. Luckily I had a window seat. I was in awe as we passed through the snow-filled mountain islands of Lofoten.

I couldn’t stop taking pictures—and I wasn’t the only one. It seemed like the airplane was shifting to the left as everyone was leaning over to view this incredible winter wonderland. Everyone was taking pictures out the window of the plane and the passengers in the middle and aisle seats were passing their phones to the lucky window recipients. It was an amazing and dramatic landscape to see from above, and I knew I needed to get a closer look.

Fortunately getting a chance to do so took me only three years. In the meantime, Lofoten had blown up on Instagram as the new, more isolated “Iceland,” and was dealing with its own skyrocketing tourism, most of which goes to hike the mountains and enjoy the forever twilight of the summer months.

I went back in the early fall. The first snows had not arrived but I still felt I was in the Land of Giants. I was surrounded by epic peaks that rose from the ocean and crashed against the clouds. There were photos to take around every bend, bridge, twist and turn.

It was like stepping back in time. Most of the fishing villages had kept their old charm. You can’t take enough pictures of the red robur cottages tucked quaintly under the sleeping giants. The beaches revealed so many unique compositions that I could explore them for days. The Viking history is rich in Lofoten—many left to settle what became Iceland.

I look forward to sharing this journey to some of the most breathtaking landscapes you will ever witness. Just make sure you book a window seat on your flight out!

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