winter

Sunset at Reynisfjara / Dyrhólaey

The Landscapes of Iceland - Winter Edition (II)

Iceland won’t lives up to your dreams you have before the trip. It is often not the frozen winterish wonderly landscape you might expect – it is the all changing landscape that constantly redresses itself. Every time it changes, it does so with a huge cocktail of snow and ice and storm and sun and clouds and pink and blue and yellow and black and white.

Iceland in Winter: Different to your expectations

Although it’s hard to pinpoint what to expect exactly from a volcano in the far Northern Hemisphere, I was surprised of the different moods it finally presented. Snowstorms, ice and frozen waterfalls on Snæfellsnes. A smiling Kirkjufell hiding under the snow. Massive greyness accompanied by vastly illuminated cloudscapes during sunset in Southern Iceland (Þórsmörk, Reynisfjara and Dyrhólaey). Hardly any ice at Jökulsárlón and the glaciers and Diamond Beach due to massive rain and higher temperatures. Silent fields of pure emptiness. And in between: overwhelming beauty. Colors and impressions you will never forget.
Iceland does not live to the sterotype of a northern country in winter. It’s different, it’s surprising and it is worth every single step you make. Every mile you drive on oh those roads, those endless roads.


Sunset in Þórsmörk

The Landscapes of Iceland - Winter Edition (I)

On the one hand, winter obviously changes the look of Iceland. An island of color temporarily hides under a blanket and turns into a monochromatic dream of colors and tones. But on the other, it also changes the country’s acoustic appearance – and therefore creates an opera of light and change.

Iceland in Winter: snow, rough storms and Aurora Borealis

The desaturated country becomes a silent desert of snow and loneliness. The only sound that reaches for your ears is the roaring of the waves – and the scissoring blow of the storm that just appeared out of nowhere. But within a minute, the view and color and light and mood changed instantly. At Dyrhólaey and Reynisfjara, nature reinvented itself about a dozen times. From light to darkness, from eternal warmth to cutting coldness. The elements shapes the landscape and creates stunning vistas. The landscape around Þórsmörk is the perfect example. Volcanic rock and ice create strong contrasts – a bit like you might think about the moon Europa. Especially around Snæfellsnes (Arnastapi & Gatklettur) the effects become omnipresent. You cannot run away from its beauty – not even while trying to hide behind the waterfall Kvernufoss (Seljalandsfoss’ less visited brother). In the end, the Northern Lights will get you anyway. Hopefully.
Thank god you can take a rest and breath from the visual bombardement in the capital Reykjavik – especially at the amazing Hallgrimskirkja or the sculpture Sólfar by Jón Gunnar Árnason. Just for a moment though. You know you want to return. As soon as possible.


Sunset at Passo di Giau

The Landscapes of the Dolomites (I)

Exploring the Dolomites / Dolomiti, an Italian part of the majestic Alps, is a unique experience and offers countless possibilities to worship mother nature.

The Dolomites, an UNESCO world heritage site

The landscape can be visited during the entire year. This tour leads us to awesome lakes and mountain passes during the beginning of winter. Autumn colors are still visible, but the harsh contrast between the snow whites and the mountains’ blacks, the colored fog during sunset – all those monochromatic tones change the way you perceive the mountains significantly. I always reminds me of those stunning views in Norway.
The winding roads of Passo (di) Giau lead us to the summit around the mountains Monte Nuvolau and Monte Averau. Sunset is the best time to enjoy the colors.  The surrounding municipalities of Selva di Cadore and Cortina d’Ampezzo are worth visiting as well.
Also, don’t miss the stunning lakes of Lago di Braies (Pragser Wildsee, an instagram famous) and Lago di Dobbiaco (Toblacher See). Another highlight is the remote valley of the comune di Villnoess (Villnöß / Valle di Funes) near Bozen/Bozano. Especially the views around St. Magdalena / Santa Maddalena Alda  are worth freezing like a maniac.

Part 2 (ongoing) will be published soon.


Sunrise at Charles Bridge, Prague

Exploring winter in Prague, Czech Republic

You want to get lost in Prague, the capital of Czech Republic. Explore the maze of its endless alleys of the old town around the bends of River Vlatava/Moldau.

Prague whispers its melancholic memories

As a result, you need to listen to those stories on every corner. Roam around its roads, enter those hidden courtyards, waste time in those bars and restaurants. And while wandering, listening and living, your journey will lead you to the crowded and popular Charles Bridge, the beginning and end of every exploration. Only during sunrise you’ll most likely be alone. Those rare moments are priceless. Here, the entire European Tradition emerges. Beautiful baroque churches. The sound of music and literature. Crowned by one of the most beautiful cathedrals of the continent: St Vitus Cathedral located within the walls of Prague Castle (Pražský hrad).

 

The architecture continues to blow you away. Therefore, open the heavy door of the barque churches such as St Nicholas and the famous Libraries of Strahov Monastery. Continue your journey and appreciate one of the most pittoresque cities of Europe with its breathtaking urban life.

 

But wandering makes little tiger tired.

 


Reine, Lofoten, Norway

The Landscapes of Lofoten, Norway

You have to return to those winter landscapes of Lofoten, Norway.

The best advice on Lofoten? Turn around.

If you ever think of leaving Reine, this picturesque fishing village at the end of Lofoten Islands, you will start driving the magical E10. Drive carefully, because your eyes will be in trouble watching the road itself. The scenery will constantly distract and surprise. Check your mirrors. Turn around and drive back where you’ve come from. And enjoy the beaches of Flakstadoya like Skagsanden near Flakstad.

 


Sunset at Skagsanden Beach, Lofoten

The Beaches of Lofoten, Norway (III)

The most scenic beaches of Lofoten are the ones you visit. How about those?

Countless fjords, endless beaches, impressive mountains – there simply isn’t one perfect beach on the Islands. There are dozens of them. Each of them insanely spectacular after and during those short but intense snow storms. The experience of arctic beaches is often beyond imagination. Especially at night, when you fairly often have the chance to encounter the famous aurora borealis.

Haukland Beach – the all time classic of Lofoten’s beaches. Vik Beach – Haukland’s smaller brother, facing the same fjord. Skagsanden Beach. The Beaches of Storsandness and Myrland, which are usually less crowded. The ones facing to the north are the ones who are usually the place to be for northern lights. The different times of the day. And of course – winter.
Ask Duncan for his Travel Guide to Beaches.

 

Lofoten, Norway. Limited edition prints coming soon.

Storm over Myrland Beach, Lofoten
Storm over Myrland Beach, Lofoten

Meanwhile, the picture above represents a special project I am currently working on. There will be a small selection of prints (limited edition of 10) made on Hahnemühle paper. Pictures will be published once the printing and framing had been done.

In case you’re interested in supporting the series, feel free to contact me. The final product will be for sale via this website.

 


The Village of Nusfjord, Lofoten

Travelling Lofoten, Norway - Roads & Villages

Travelling Lofoten, Norway, is more then just following E10. It’s about getting lost.

The best way to get an overview of Lofoten Islands is to drive along the European Route E10. Starting at Å (and actually ending at Luleå, Sweden), it’s one of the most scenic routes I have driven for a while. You’ll be amazed about those beautiful vistas – and you might be shocked on what to miss in case you stick to this single route.
Turn left on the island of Flakstadøya and visit the tiny village of Nusfjord, one of the oldest (and best preserfed) villages of Lofoten. You’ll find plenty of beautiful bays with its typical rorbu cabins.

 

 


Sunset at Uttakleiv Beach, Lofoten

The Beaches of Lofoten, Norway (II) - Uttakleiv Beach

Uttakleiv Beach is known as the most beautiful beach of Norway. Here’s why.

Uttakleiv (or Utakleiv) – next to Haukland beach – is the most popular (and therefore most photographed) beach of Lofoten Islands. It is well obvious why: Especially during winter sunsets, people wait for the astonishing light show. Also, it is a well known place to experience the aurora borealis. On less cloudy nights, it is an unforgettable experience.

 

About 10 miles away from Leknes, Vestvågøy, the beaches eastern direction makes it just perfect for sunsets during winter. The contrast between the pink and blue sky, black rocks and the Carribean water is simply breathtaking.

Utakleiv is a great spot in general, as you have to drive past Vik and Haukland Beach to reach this gem of landscape. Also, Mannen Mountain offers a really great hike to discover an amazing areal view.

 


Sunset at Skagsanden Beach, Lofoten

The Beaches of Lofoten, Norway (I)

Travelling the winter beaches of Lofoten, Norway.

Lofoten, an archipelago in the county of Nordland, Norway, is well known among photographers for its incredible landscape. During winter, the contrast between steep mountains, sandy beaches all covered with a gentle cover of snow becomes even more fascinating. And intimidating.

The photographs were taken during sunset at the famous Uttakleiv Beach, Haukland Beach and its adjacent Vik Beach (north of Leknes, Vestvågøy). During winter (February/March), those beaches a perfect for a stunning sunset and sometimes perfect to see the aurora borealis. Skagsanden Beach, right next to Flakstad, offeres the same experience: an endless beach bordered by mountains.

Over the next couple of weeks, I will constantly post the photographs taken during a trip in March, 2016. In case you want to experience this part of the world as well, prepare yourself with the help of Cody Duncan’s amazing 68north.com.


Winter Landscape, Lusen, Germany

Winter Landscape at Lusen, Bavarian Forest

Lusen is a mountain between Bavaria/Germany and Plzeň Region/Czech Republic) at the Bavarian Forest (National Park).

 

The Lusen mountain, 1,360m in height, is a rather popular winter destination. Due to strong winds in the rather unprotected area, snow and ice turns the landscape in surreal icy sculptures. The extinct trees due to the bark beetle makes the area look rather dead, although it is still a breathing and living area.

The Bavarian Forest together with the adjacent Bohemian Forest at the German/Czech border is a wooded low-mountain area. It is the largest protected forest area in central Europe.

Lusen, Bavarian Forest, Germany