When I mentioned to my friend Roff Smith that I was going to Norway he immediately wrote back that I should go to the Lofoten Archipelago. Roff is is a National Geographic writer and cycling enthusiast. We spent a considerable amount of time together when I photographed him bicycling around Australia for a three part story in National Geographic which he eventually also turned into a book called Cold Beer and Crocodiles. I trust his judgment so I made the extra effort to fly into this area on the remote north west coast of Norway. He was right. It was an amazing place.
The Lofoten Islands have been the centre of the cod fishing industry for over 1000 years. Their remoteness and isolation was assured until recently when a wealth of oil money brought much needed infrastructure in the form of new roads and bridges to the main islands. Isolated fishermen’s huts have recently been converted into rustic and cozy tourist accommodation and now all of the main islands are linked to the mainland by a series of tunnels and bridges.
The scenery includes jagged mountain peaks, fertile valleys, a rugged coastline and traditional fishing villages reflected in the still waters of protected harbours. The light in summer is spectacular with the midnight sun providing 24 hours of continuous illumination from May 25th to July 17th. In winter the strange dance of the northern lights lures visitors from all over the world.
Photography tours to this extraordinary area are just starting to become popular and like Iceland I predict it will eventually become a mecca for landscape photographers from all over the world.