Saturday, April 23, 2016

Top 7 Dreamlike Landscape Photography Tips

Abstract photo of trees in oregon

Through my photography work I aim to convey a sense of wonder and respect for nature, and I was recently asked by ViewBug to provide some tips on how to create dreamy landscape images. While I do often incorporate a sense of mystery or fantasy in my images, I prefer to stay grounded in reality while pushing the limits of creative post processing. Landscape photography has allowed me to explore the way nature evolves, grows, and adapts; I hope it is able to do that for you too. Without further adieu, here are the tips for creating dreamy landscape images:

1. Wait For The Light

Night photograph of barrel and cholla cactus in arizona superstition mountains

Fine art landscape photography is all about capturing beautiful light in a scenic location. Photographing a stunning landscape in harsh light will unlikely yield a dreamy looking shot no matter how much post processing one knows. The light during golden hour, blue hour, and twilight is best for this. Often this means getting there earlier and staying later when most people are not around.

2. Have Everything Tack Sharp

Photo of a river and mountains at smith rock oregon

This is a general tip for most landscape photography, but it’s worth including here because the details are what really makes the image stand out. Learn how to squeeze every bit of sharpness out of your equipment by learning basics such as shooting with a tripod, cable release, as well as advanced techniques such as maximizing depth of field using hyperfocal distance, and focus stacking.

3. Capture Periods of Time

night sky astrophotography photo of milky way and sea stacks along the oregon coast

One of the techniques I love is using long exposures to capture extended periods of time, and compress it into a single image. A long exposure is beyond what is seen by the normal eye, so it has a sense of mystery and fantasy. I shoot a lot with a circular polarizer to enhance colors and cut reflections, but also this cuts down some light, making longer exposures possible. When I need to cut more light out I use neutral density filters. I recommend at least a 3 stop ND filter. Be aware that a 10 stop ND filter will allow you to take long exposures during the brighter parts of the day, but you probably won’t be able to see enough to focus or compose your shot with it on. I will also shoot well after the sun has dropped below the horizon when light levels are low and exposures times are extended.

4. Use the Orton Effect

Photo of st. mary's falls, a waterfall in glacier national park montana

If you haven’t heard of the orton effect, you’ve probably seen in used in images and not known it. It’s a technique in post processing that blurs the image slightly and adds contrast. This has the effect of making things appear to glow. It is very handy to create a dreamy look. There are many resources out there on how to do this in post processing. If you do start using orton, remember, less is more. Stay classy.

5. Travel to Interesting Places

Photo of lofoten, norway, mountains, grass, stream water

This one is challenging but also a bit obvious. This planet has so many fascinating natural phenomenons that feel like they cannot exist, but they do. So go take a trip and experience them for yourself. One of the best things about being passionate about landscape photography is that it naturally leads one to amazing places. It’s easier to create a dreamy looking shot when you are standing in front of something that is simply unbelievable.

6. Shoot in Strange Weather Conditions


Dreams and fantasies are weird, strange and unusual, so why not shoot in strange conditions? The stranger and more unique the better. I seek out interesting weather conditions to photograph, and plan my trips around the weather for this reason. Check the forecasts often and plan accordingly. Don’t be afraid to go in “bad weather” just be prepared and stay safe.

7. Get In Touch With Your Imagination

Night sky astrophotography of a sea stack along the oregon coast

As we grow up we become conditioned by our society and culture, and for many of us this has the effect of stifling our creative imagination. A common theme is imagination is child-like, and to function (and succeed) in this world as adults, one must abandon imagination and instead get serious. This subtle social pressure over time erodes our ability to think wildly and creatively. I encourage you to get back in touch with your inner child and tap that youthful curiosity and playful imagination that all children have.

If you want learn these techniques in great detail, join Dustin Wong for a seascape photography workshop down the Oregon Coast in May.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Achieve Maximum Depth of Field - Understanding Hyperfocal Distance

Focus: How to Get it Right

The latest camera sensors and post processing software can compensate for many mistakes we make in the field, but there remains one thing you must nail in the field - Focus. There are many tips out there to achieve tack sharp focus: put the camera on a tripod, shoot in live mode, shoot with a cable release, and use manual focus. Yet some of us still wonder if there is more... and yes there is!

Just to make sure we are all on the same page, Depth of Field or Effective Focus Range, refers to the distance between the nearest and farthest objects in the scene that will appear acceptably sharp in an image.

Beginner advice, states:
small apertures = large f-stop number = deep (longer) depth of field
large apertures = small f-stop number = shallow (short) depth of field.

Generally this is fact, but actually lens sharpness falls off at the extreme ends. Image quality is affected when the aperture is closed down (towards f/22) due to light diffracting around the aperture blades. Therefore a more useful understanding of sharpness is that the middle apertures are ideal. On any given lens I try to shoot between f/8.0 and f/11 if I'm trying to get the whole scene tack sharp. There are times where I will stretch that to f/16 but anything farther than that I expect to lose sharpness.

That still leaves us photographers with the decision of what to set the manual focus to, since lenses can only be set to focus on a single precise distance. Sharpness falls off gradually from the selected focus distance in both directions (near and far, unevenly) so more than just objects at that distance can be acceptably sharp.

For landscape photographers, often the goal is to create an image that has tack sharp detail in the foreground all the way to the distant background. What is the best strategy to achieve that?

Redwood Forest, California
ISO 100 | 16mm | f/10 | 0.4 sec
Pacific Redwoods, California

What is Hyperfocal Distance

The key to understanding where to target the manual focus is an optical quality called the hyperfocal distance. For a given focal length and aperture, there is a corresponding hyperfocal distance. When the lens is focused at this distance the maximum depth of field is achieved. The effective depth of field at the hyperfocal distance ranges from half the hyperfocal distance to infinity.

For example: At 16mm & f/8 the hyperfocal distance is 3.5 feet (this applies to any lens at 16mm). If you were to focus on say a rock that was 3.5 feet away from the front of the lens, then all objects 1.75 feet to infinity would be acceptably sharp.

16mm | f/8 | focused at 3.5 ft

One interesting thing to note here is that if you focus closer than the hyperfocal distance than your depth of field will be cut short, not extending to infinity. Continuing the example above, if you focused to 3 feet, your depth of field would be from 1.82 feet to 21.02 feet.

16mm | f/8 | focused at 3 ft

If you focused beyond the hyperfocal distance you will still achieve focus out to infinity. Focusing at 4 feet results in a depth of field from 1.87 feet to infinity. Even focusing at 8 feet results in a depth of field from 2.43 feet to infinity. This means that a safe strategy is to focus a bit beyond the hyperfocal distance. Another way of thinking about it, is that the hyperfocal distance is the closest you can focus before you lose infinity.

16mm | f/8 | focused at 4 ft

The screen shots you see above are taken from the "Depth of Field Calculator" app for the iPhone. I highly recommend this one because it allows you to visualize the range quite clearly. This app (and nearly any other app) allows you to select your camera which will account for crop factor multipliers.

Alternatively you can use this depth of field calculator on the web to try out some focal length and aperture combinations.

A couple other additional items and highlights:

- Note that the markings on the lens indicating focus distances are not precise enough to use as a guide.

- Wide-angle focal lengths will allow you to achieve maximum depth of field on closer objects than a telephoto lens. If you happen to use a telephoto lens to focus on something quite close, your focus distance will be less than the hyperfocal distance and therefore your depth of field will be fairly short (this is also the reason why it is easier to create bokeh with telephoto lenses than with ultra wide angles lenses).

- Hyperfocal distance is only determined by focal length & aperture.

- Depth of field is effected by focal length, aperture, AND focus distance.

- It helps to memorize some focal length and aperture combinations that you use often so that you can be confident in the field you are getting a deep depth of field.

- Target your focus slightly farther than the hyperfocal distance to make sure you get a depth of field that includes infinity. Extending the focus distance past the hyperfocal distance will only lose a couple of inches of depth of field on the near side. Focusing closer than the hyperfocal distance could drastically reduce your depth of field and disastrously blur distance objects.

- "Acceptably in focus" is a subjective term and you may be someone who desires incredibly sharp photos (like myself). Since focus falls off gradually from the focus point, this means that the depth of field given by the calculator is too loose. Using the DoFViewer app you can configure a tighter requirement for focus, and you will notice that the hyperfocal distance gets pushed farther out for each focal length and aperture combination.

Wait, How Do You Get Objects That Are Super Close In Focus?

I'm sure you have seen those images that are tack sharp from front to back, but also include an object that is extremely close to the lens. Now that you understand hyperfocal distance, you know that objects closer than a couple feet won't be in focus if you want to focus to infinity. This problem is solved by a technique called focus stacking where several shots are taken at varying focus distances (more are needed at the near end) to get the very close objects sharp. The images are then combined and blended in post processing.

The photo at the top of this post and also the photo below, both required focus stacking to achieve the depth of field that you see in the final image. In both images, the nearest object was not extremely close to my camera, so I only needed a couple of shots to cover the entire range. However, it is not uncommon for some shots with extremely near objects to require 7 or more focus stacked photos.

Lofoten, Norway
ISO 100 | 16mm | f/9 | 1/50 sec | 4-shots focus stacked
Buff & Blue - Lofoten Islands, Norway

If you found this tutorial helpful please share it with others! If you have any questions please email me or leave a comment! I cover this topic in depth during my workshops; click to learn more about my workshop offerings and instruction.

Want to Connect?
Instagram: @DustinWongPhotography
Sign up for my mailing list


Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Oregon Coast Workshop: May 7th - May 14th 2016

A Coastal Journey Photography Workshop

I'm excited to announce that I have teamed up with Joseph Rossbach and the Adventures in Light team to offer an Oregon Coast workshop this May. I'm honored to be included on a team with David Thompson, Kurt Budliger, Alex Noriega, and Alex Mody. They are all amazing photographers who have inspired me over the years.


Come join me as we explore hundreds of miles down the 101, photographing dramatic sea stacks, colorful moody skies, and of course Pacific Ocean wave action. If you are interested in the night sky there will be some opportunities for that as well! If seascapes are your thing, look no further than this amazing trip.

Book Now!


Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Monday, December 7, 2015

The Abundance of the Pacific Northwest Pt 2

Photo of ferns and the mossy forest in the Columbia River Gorge, Oregon

Great Green Oregon

Welcome to part 2 of my pacific northwest travel update. This year I got to spend quality time photographing the Pacific Northwest, and my favorite state to photograph to date has been Oregon. This state has so many natural beauties from the coastal areas, mountains, forests, waterfalls, and even deserts - I barely scratched the surface. I found the coast so enjoyable I will be leading a photography workshop there spring of 2016!

View Part 1 the best of Washington.

The Columbia River Gorge

The well traveled Columbia River Gorge located just a short drive east of Portland is a waterfall lovers paradise. With several easily accessible majestic waterfalls within a couple miles of road it's no surprise visitors flock here during the summer months. The surrounding forest typically gets so much rain that it is lush and filled with mossy trees and plant life. I've heard stories of many off the beaten path spots that I hope to explore one day. Even though this was my 5th time here, I still felt compelled to hit some of the main spots.

Years ago while trying to find this spot I mistakenly took the wrong trail. I returned to broken windows in my car and many possessions missing. Don't be careless with your belongings - keep them out of sight. Sadly, Oregon has a history of trail head break-ins such as this. My return this year was much more pleasant, beating the crowds that have begun to visit this spot in droves, probably due to the popularity of the photographs of this pristine spot. The hike in involves walking over large fallen trees a.k.a the log jam, that have gotten stuck in the canyon opening. Then a wade through chest high icy cold water to reach the falls - it's lovely.

Photo of Oneonta Falls in the Columbia River Gorge, Oregon
Oneonta Gorge
Oneonta Falls, Columbia River Gorge, Oregon

On another short trail through the mossy forest one can stumble upon Emerald Falls. A small cascading section of the Gordon creek that often has green foliage popping up all around.

Photo of Emerald Falls in the Columbia River Gorge, Oregon
Emerald Spring
Emerald Falls, Columbia River Gorge, Oregon

The Cascades

The testament of how awesome this state is that I still haven't made it to the iconic Mount Hood or Trillium Lake, but hopefully I will soon. There are yet more waterfalls in this area, and this one is slightly less traveled than the Columbia River Gorge spots. A very pleasant hike follows the river underneath wooded forest until opening up to the jaw dropping Tamanawas Falls. Water pours over a 150 foot drop in a natural amphitheater made of columnar basalt. I made this trip with Peter Coskun and I remember him telling me that this was his favorite of them all.

Photo of Tamanawas Falls in the Mount Hood National Forest, Oregon
The Falls
Tamanawas Falls, Mount Hood National Forest, Oregon

Abiqua Falls has been on my list to visit mostly due to the "Waterfall Whisperer" Tula Top, who has shot this place like no other. In fact he has shot all the Oregon waterfalls in ways I could only dream of. I could go on an on about how amazing my experience here was, but that would only serve to make this spot more crowded, which would adversely impact the magical experience of solitude at this haven. So don't go it sucks!

Photo of Abiqua Falls, Oregon
Abiqua Falls, Oregon

Central Oregon

The next area of the state that is covered with scenic hot spots is Central Oregon. The main city here is Bend, Oregon and is a lovely place to spend a couple of days. Year round outdoor activities draw people and there are too many places to list. Here were some of my favorite images from my time in this outdoor playground.

Photo of sunset at Smith Rock, Oregon
The Raven's Nest
Smith Rock, Oregon

Photo of crooked river at Smith Rock, Oregon
Smith Rock, Oregon

Photo of Proxy Falls a waterfall in central Oregon
Mossy Harmony
Proxy Falls, Oregon

The Oregon Coast

The Oregon Coast stretches for over 360 miles and runs the entire length of the state. As one would expect for such a large area, there is plenty of diversity. Sea stacks are common up and down the coast, but each region has various types of forest, cliffs, and sand dunes butting up against coastline areas. The north end is very beautiful. Cannon beach, a top beach destination in the country, is a very long beach with several interesting sea stacks visible from shore. It also has highly refined, clean sand making it desirable for just about anybody, photographer or not.

Photo of sea stacks at Cannon Beach, Oregon Coast
Ocean Stone
Cannon Beach, Oregon Coast

Photo of sea stacks at Cannon Beach, Oregon Coast
Cannon Beach, Oregon Coast

A visit to the coast would not be complete without a stop at the notorious and legendary, Thor's Well, which has knocked photographers flat on their ass, and damaged countless cameras. To get up close to this naturally occurring lave tube, which spews forth water washed up by large waves and drains it at rapid rates, is a bit like tracking bears. Getting too close and falling in would amount to a near certain death. Not all days are crazy, but to get a good shot it often will be a little hair raising.

The day that I visited, a rising ocean swell of 12 foot faces (6 foot Hawaiian scale) was rolling in on the incoming tide. It was burly! The occasional extra large wave, or set waves, would inevitably wash through and soak us all standing around the well. I would raise the tripod above my head to keep it from getting wet, while trying to keep my footing and balance. One eye on the ocean and one eye through the view finder. This has to be photography at it's most exciting (well shooting an aurora storm is pretty exciting too)! This image is the result of several bracketed shots for dynamic range amidst the chaos that is Thor's Well.

Photo of water draining in Thor's Well along the Oregon Coast
Pacific Cauldron
Thor's Well, Oregon Coast

Further down the coast the crowds disappear and beaches go on and on. Bandon Beach has very interesting sea stacks including one that looks like a wizard hat. Good shooting conditions were tough to get here though, so return trips will be in my future.

Photo of sunset at Wizards Hat at Bandon Beach, Oregon Coast
Wizard's Jewel
Bandon Beach, Oregon

This remote southern Oregon beach once again, stretched on for miles. I didn't get more than 100 yards from the parking area before I spotted this rock and waves in the sand. I wanted to explore more the beach, but I just loved this rock that was deflecting wind around it leaving a comet like wake around it.

Photo of rock on Meyers beach, gold beach, along the Oregon Coast
The Roamer
Remote Oregon Coast

The marine layer lit up the sky briefly at another spot along the coast.

Photo at sunset of sea stacks on Meyers beach, gold beach, along the Oregon Coast
Remote Oregon Coast

I could watch the waves wash up on the shore for hours. Anticipating the next pulse, each one slightly different.

Remote Oregon Coast

Photo of the Oregon coast sea stacks at night
Remote Oregon Coast

Photo of drift wood on whaleshead beach along the Oregon Coast
Whaleshead Beach, Oregon

Photo of whaleshead beach along the Oregon Coast
Midnight Lights
Whaleshead Beach, Oregon

Photo of waves at whaleshead beach Oregon Coast
Whaleshead Beach, Oregon

Thanks for making it this far along my photographic journey, as you can see this part of the country has more places to visit than one can do in just one trip. I really enjoyed my quality time in Oregon this year, and I hope you get to see it yourself soon.

If you enjoyed this, then I would love to connect with you on social media.
Instagram: @DustinWongPhotography
Sign up for my mailing list

Posted on 6:32 PM | Categories:

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

The Abundance of the Pacific Northwest - Pt 1

photo of liberty bell in Washington state

Lush, Rugged, & Wild - This is Washington

My intention for 2015 was to spend some quality time photographing the Pacific Northwest. Oregon and Washington, after all, are inhabited with outdoor enthusiasts for good reason. The land is incredibly diverse, having beautiful coastal areas, mountains, forests, waterfalls, and even deserts, and accessibility ranges from very easy to experts only. Staying close to my home base in Seattle was a nice benefit as well. This post will feature the Washington Spots, and look for Part 2 featuring the best of Oregon.

The Washington Coast & Olympic National Park

The Washington coast is a favorite among locals who have often spent childhood vacations out there. Located over 5 hours away from Seattle by car, or a bit less taking the ferry, it is still quite a trek to get there. The beaches are fairly rugged, sea stacks rise from the sand to create strange structures that are habitats for rugged trees that can lay roots in the precipitous rock.

One of my favorites was Second Beach, accessed by a short hike in, this hidden gem opens up to a huge area with silky fine sand and large rocks to explore. The forest extends right up to the beach so campers struggle to find space to pitch a tent that won't get washed out by the incoming tide.

Clear nights are extremely rare along the coast. I was blessed to be able to capture the stars and the Milky Way at this idyllic spot.

Photo of the milky way galaxy stars and night sky at second beach on the Washington Coast
The Gift
Second Beach, Washington Coast

Another great beach is Ruby Beach with an allure of a simple setting that can be quite dynamic. This image was captured at blue hour, well after the sun had dipped below the horizon. Venus shown brightly even as the last rays of the sun were filtering through the atmosphere.

Photo of stars and Venus in the night sky ruby beach along the Washington Coast
The Siren's Call
Ruby Beach, Washington Coast

Venturing inland from Ruby Beach, the legendary Hoh Rainforest awaits. One could do a short hike, or explore 20 miles deep into the wilderness. Moss grows abundantly here, nearly as abundant as the energy and mystery that is present in this land.

Photo of the Hoh Rainforest in Olympic National Park washington state
Enchanted Dimension
Olympic National Park, Washington

Along the hike there seem to be things that resembled faces: a gnome like mushroom, and a tree stump with the profile of a lady. I captured this being in our campfire late that night.

photo of an elemental being in fire
Olympic National Park, Washington

One of the pleasant waterfalls in this area is Sol Duc Falls - I remember a simple photo of these falls that I bought at the visitor center years ago. It has served as inspiration to me for many years so I decided I had to go see it for real this time. Nothing fancy here. Just a beautiful cascading flow and a lovely walk through the forest.

Photo of sul duc falls in Olympic National Park, Washington state
Sol Duc Falls
Olympic National Park, Washington

Mount Rainier National Park

This dominant volcanic mountain in the Cascade mountain range can often be seen from Seattle on a clear day. However it's true majestic qualities must be appreciated up close. The park is large and the road basically routes one around the mountain, as if to show off each of its intricate faces. A popular vantage point from the south is Reflection Lake. My time at Rainier was a lot of early mornings and late nights. With sunrise at 5:30am, being in position here meant setting the alarm clock at a brutal 4am.

Photo of wildflowers and the sun rising at reflection lakes at Mount Rainier National Park, Washington state
Reflection Lake
Mount Rainier National Park, Washington

The mountain has become quite popular for night photographers to get a shot of the milky way and the mountain, and with clear skies showing on the weekend weather forecast, it was sure to be busy. Such is the state of nature photography these days! Another photographer, Victor Poon, who was visiting from Hong Kong, and I kept running into each other around the mountain. It seems we had similar ideas of where to shoot each day. We convinced each other that hiking in to look for a night shot was a good idea so at 1am we were on the trail passing many photographers taking up positions near the parking lot. The hike was worth it and we got there just in time for the alignment (as we had planned). Instead of dealing with massive crowds we shared a spot with four other chill photographers who were shooting a timelapse sequence. The magic of the mountain and the heaven's was in full on display--I couldn't have been happier to share this experience with a small group of photographers.

Photo of milky way galaxy, stars, night sky at Mount Rainier National Park, Washington state
Heaven's Gate
Mount Rainier National Park, Washington

Victor and I decided make it an all-nighter and stay for sunrise. We had hiked in to the spot in dark so we didn't really know what the surrounding area looked like. As first light began to fill in we were gifted a most incredible reveal in 360 degrees of the glory that is Mount Rainier National Park.

Photo of  Mount Rainier National Park, Washington state
Burroughs Selfie
Mount Rainier National Park, Washington

The Northern Cascades

The most rugged part of the state is located in the Northern Cascades. Mountains and alpine lakes dominate the scene here, but roads are scarce and trails involve a fair amount of distance and elevation gain. I had driven up here for the night as conditions looked promising. As I neared the location in the afternoon rain clouds began to form which were totally not in the forecast! I arrived to gloomy looking conditions and decided to wait it out the van. I periodically checked outside to see if it was getting better, but it wasn't. At some point near sunset I decided it was time to go out and setup regardless of what it looked like. To my surprise the weather was rapidly changing, a full brilliant rainbow was forming over me! I grabbed all my gear and ran out of the van. I was a flurry of mixed emotions: full of shame for missing this moment sitting inside waiting for the rain to stop, and so excited that this was actually happening! Pumped full of adrenaline and a side order of anxiety flowing through me, I setup at the first spot that looked any good. The scene was so big that I had to go with a pano and reeled of this sequence. I will be back for more from this part of the state for sure!

Photo of a full rainbow at Liberty Bell in the northern cascades, washington state
Once Upon a Time
The Northern Cascades, Washington

The Enchantments

Each year there is more demand for the amount of permits they offer to camp in the backcountry of the famed Enchantments. My buddy, Fadi, and his lady Reham, were fortunate to secure a lottery backcountry pass and invited Megan and myself along. The pass was for Stuart Zone, which is not ideal for visiting the Core Enchantments Zone because the distance is still formidable for a day hike. I won't bother to go into too much detail about this, but the distance proved too much for our group and we made it halfway up Asgard Pass and turned back. Rounding out the day with 11.5 miles and returning to camp at dusk exhausted.

Photo of hikers on asgard pass overlooking colchuck lake in the enchantments, washington state
Half Way Up Asgard Pass
Enchantments, Washington

Panther Creek Falls

Located at the south end of the state near the Oregon border is the magnificent Panther Falls. A slippery descent drops one into a verdant garden of may apple and moss. The ever flowing water at this location keeps the vegetation healthy and the visitors glistening wet. However with an increase in traffic, much of the plant life is struggling and a muddy mess is starting to form at the base of the falls. If you do visit this location please do be careful where you step as to not damage the plant life any further. This falls unique mossy tendrils make it one of the best waterfalls in the state.

So there are some of the wonderful places I visited this year! All of my above images are available for prints and licensing. If you enjoyed this post please take the time to share it - it really does means the world to me - much love and gratitude!

Part 2 - Great Green Oregon

Photo of Panther Falls, Washington
Panther's Claw
Gifford Pinchot National Forest, Washington


Saturday, June 27, 2015

Cosmic Forces

Photo of Aurora Borealis over Skagsanden Beach, Norway

Photographing the Aurora in Norway

I joined rock star landscape photographers Arild Heitmann and Ryan Dyar for their Lofoten & Senja Arctic Workshop/Tour for 10 days in March ( Our group was there primarily to see the aurora borealis (a.k.a the northern lights) and photograph the cosmic spectacle in the majestic setting of the Norwegian Fjords.

Photo of a sunrise at a river bend in Norway

The Lofoten Islands are an archipelago located within the Arctic Circle around 68 and 69 degrees north latitude--a hot spot for viewing aurora during the winter. The islands consist of rugged mountain peaks that form right up against the shore. Snow melt flows regularly down the mountain peaks so creeks and waterfalls are very common. After countless turns, bridges and tunnels along the one road that traverses the island chain, the landscape continues to impress and left me in awe of how many opportunities exist in this small corner of the world. There are rocky shorelines and soft-sand beaches that nearly always have an impressive view of some snow-covered mountain on the next island. I found it quite unusual to be at a beach where straight offshore another large mountain can be seen. I suspect there are few places on earth where this condition exists.

Photo of a beach and mountain in Lofoten, Norway

We arrived at our cabins in the scenic fishing town of Hamnoy just outside of Reine. This quaint fishing town has become world famous for it's photogenic qualities.

Reine, Norway

The second night we spent the evening at Skagsanden Beach, a well known location with an iconic mountain across the water. The skies were clear and around 9pm we started seeing some mild activity. After an hour the night sky had turned into a full blown spectacle.

Photo of the Aurora Borealis over a rocky beach coast line in Lofoten, Norway Photo of the Aurora Borealis Photo selfie under the Aurora on a beach in Lofoten, Norway Looking straight up in the heart of the aurora borealis

A typical day on the workshop would start early for a sunrise, then back to our cabins for a nap and food. Some days we would scout out a place during the mid day, or just wait until sunset. We followed nature's schedule (constantly checking weather conditions) and when there were chances for good light we were out shooting something. The region has so many scenic locations.

Photo of a river bend and grass in Lofoten, Norway Zoomed in photo of Mount Rulten Photo of the fishing town Reine during blue hour

We had some great lighting conditions.

A photo of a stormy sunset in Lofoten, Norway A photo of a wave flowing over rocks during sunset at Vareid Beach, Norway A photo of a stormy sunset in Reine Photo of ice in frozen Solstadvatnet Lake during sunset in Lofoten, Norway Photo of waves at Skagsanden Beach Lofoten, Norway

The aurora was a frequent occurrence for us, (half of the nights) each display presenting very different conditions. I thoroughly enjoyed traveling through this mystical land abound with photogenic opportunities. The fellow participating photographers were all very inspiring to be around, and our guides Arild and Ryan were always in great spirits and very open to helping teach their craft. I left wanting to return to explore more of the idyllic scenery.

Photo of Aurora Borealis over a mountain lake in Norway A selfie on a road under the aurora borealis A black and white photo of Mount Rulten