I took this image on our first trip to Lofoten in January. It was well after sunset and some 100+ kilometers ahead of us to Svolaer. We were returning from the place called Å, the tiny village situated endmost in the Lofoten islands. We scouted for locations to return to on our next trip as we had already decided to stay in Reine next time. I admit I have not paid too much attention to where we were when shooting this photograph because we were late and in a hurry. Moreover, Ota left me with my two and a half minutes exposure all alone. Despite the dull sky, I tried it at least for seeing how this rather unorthodox compositions would look like. Did not have too many other options as there was an ugly little quay on the left from houses.
I'm surprised with how the sky came out - dramatic yet rather smooth and tranquil. I would be quite happy with the result overall unless a friend of mine from lightharmony suggested to ask people living in the cottages to turn the lights on. What an idea! Thanks, Robo. :-)
So the plan was on. When I travelled back there at the end of March, I stumbled upon these 'rorbus' (these fishermen's huts) when looking for accommodation. Didn't need any more! By the way, it proved to be one of the most beautiful spots in Lofoten, the little community is called Hamnoy. I could now turn the lights on myself. :-) So I did and went to the opposite concrete peer to wait for the beautiful sunset. It had not come the first night nor the second. The third one was the last one hence despite the lighting was bad again, I made the below shot. The clouds were low and heavy after whole day snowing.
Light in the huts is not as spectacular as I expected because it was not dark enough yet. If you wonder why the two images are so different in colors rendition, I can only tell that the original transparencies look almost the same as here with the second one little lighter than when processed. The only thing I can think of is that the first one was photographed much later after sunset but the clouds were not stormy at all, they were lighter (almost white with no detail) and much higher. Hence bluer hue. While clouds on the second one indicated a snow storm that actually came right after. I did not record the exact time of shooting but this one could have been made few minutes after the time of sunset and despite the sun could not be seen, the film perhaps managed to capture some of its inherent light.
I did not get to photograph what I originally planned when it got dark enough since few minutes after this exposure the snowing started again. Now heavier than anytime during the day. In a moment, all my equipment got wet, which was the signal to pack. But the mood all around reminded me those quite and peaceful days back home when nobody gets out and if you do, you can hear the snow falling. So I decided to experiment a little bit with the scene. I put a longer lens on and mounted my Phase One digital back, which is obviously the better medium for playing than film. It somehow remembers much more of metadata so I can learn from it later on. In hopes for capturing the atmosphere and snow paths against lit cottages or something similar, I made few shots but the display initially looked disappointing - no snow that I could see except for the one melting on the front glass of my lens.
Now the time for my favorite tool came into being. I sometimes happen to carry the Streamlight Ultra Stinger with me, the extremely bright flashlight providing up to 35,000 candela of beam intensity. This is the second and last attempt to light paint the falling snow flakes. Bluish cast of surrounding areas, be it sky or sea, together with warmer lights in houses (now they are exactly as I hoped for them to be) and quay add to the mood of this moment. Out of the three, I'm satisfied with this the most. It proves that even when precisely planned, the landscape shooting might easily end up in unexpected challenges and results. You just need to get out when it snows... ;-)