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LOFOTEN ARCTIC NIGHTS AND PASTEL LIGHT

22-28th FEB 2021 with optional four night extension.

WITH DOUG, VALDA & TERRY

“The beauty of this place is simply staggering.” - LONELY PLANET

The Lofoten Islands are draped across the turbulent waters of the Norwegian Sea, far above the Arctic Circle. This rare wilderness outpost offers an untrammelled landscape of majestic mountains, deep fjords, squawking seabird colonies and long, surf-swept beaches.

It is not unreasonable to suggest that there is nowhere on earth like it.

With its distinctive topography and imposing beauty, it is no surprise that Lotofen has been attracting artists since the 19th century. The islands have a thriving arts scene of painters, ceramicists, jewellery-makers, sculptors and countless other creatives who look to this extraordinary landscape for their inspiration.

Much time has been invested in planning this tour to the north of the Arctic Circle in an effort to do the area justice, seek out the best opportunities and to give you an experience to last a lifetime.

We will fly from London, Gatwick, into the tiny airport at Narvik (via Oslo) to collect our vehicles and will then enjoy the drive down, island hopping, Norway style, into the Lofoten archipelago.

Driving along we will pass beaches, coves, fjords and mountains - dramatic scenery unfolding minute by minute.

It's a journey that is liable to take much longer than we anticipate as the drive-by shooting entices us at every turn.

While Lofoten is not abundant with forests, they do exist. The birch woodlands take on a fairytale appeared when cloaked in snow.

The native spruce trees look particularly majestic when dusted with white flakes and hoar frost.

The tiny fishing villages are astonishingly picturesque - the richly coloured wooden buildings contrast so beautifully against the crisp white blanket of freshly fallen snow.

Evidence suggests that even Stone Age people were fishing around these waters from at least 6000 years ago.

Our base is close to one of the prettiest - Reine, where weathered wooden cottages cluster around rocky bays.

Famous for its natural beauty and scenic locations, where the majestic Lofoten peaks meet the Arctic Ocean will give us plenty to inspire us.

Although the days are relatively short, we will have ample time to immerse ourselves in the landscape, explore the coves and beaches, the spidery branches of skeletal trees in the snow and colourful harbours of Lofoten.

We want to help you reinterpret this place in your own way and in your own style - putting your twist on the images.

We will be here at the end of February when the clearest pastel colours imaginable will be visible. The days are slowly beginning to lengthen and when the sun dips below the horizon we will be treated to a palette of the softest colours, the likes of which will not be seen at any other time of the year

"Thank goodness for the first snow. It was a reminder - no matter how old you became and how much you'd seen, things could still be new if you were willing to believe they still mattered" Candace Bushnell

AURORA and tripods (!)

This is most definitely not an ‘aurora chasing’ tour. We are here with the primary goal of exploring our personal creativity. However.....

...... if the Northern Lights do put on a show while we are there (and it is highly likely that they will) we will certainly grasp the opportunity and go out to experience it - after all, it is one of natures true wonders. We will not , however, go chasing around the country looking for them.

"Snow falling soundlessly in the middle of the night will always fill my heart with sweet clarity" Novala Takemoto

Hygge....

Pronounced HOO-gah, this is the Danish word for a gentle feeling of joy and conviviality together with wellness and contentment.......cosiness of the soul.

A comfort blanket to appreciate the simple pleasures of life. Almost always accompanied by candlelight, thick woolly socks and a warm drink if the images we see online are to be believed.

Although the Norwegians claim that 'hygge' is actually an old Nordic word, they have reinvented it as 'koselig'.

It defines something/someone /an atmosphere that makes you feel a sense of warmth very deep inside in a way that all things should be: simple and comforting.

However one chooses to name it, the definition remains very similar and we will certainly spend time in cosy and creative reflection with hot drinks and critique sessions in order to fill the hours after sundown.

A nourished mind is a creative mind

When it comes to food and drink - a subject close to our hearts - it is perhaps worth mentioning that a culinary revolution has quietly taken place in the last few years in Norway. Local chefs now have worldwide acclaim and small-scale producers of cheese, pastries, honey and ecologically produced meats are popping up all over the country.

Norway is amongst the world’s top three coffee consuming countries so we can reasonably expect our morning lattes to be first class. There are also hundreds of microbreweries experimenting with different styles and recipes for beer.

Some of the dishes we might reasonably expect to be presented with...

OPTIONAL ADD ON.....

FINLAND - the real Narnia

We will spend six nights in Lofoten and as our time there draws to a close, we present you with a choice. As we head back to Narvik airport, we can drop you off in time to catch the return flight to Gatwick, or you can continue on with us and enjoy the second, (optional extra) part of our Scandinavian adventure.

We will head east, towards the winter wonderland that is Finnish Lapland. Through birch and pine forests, across frozen lakes, it is here that the pastel hues take on an ethereal glow.

We stop en-route in Sweden, at the very first Ice Hotel where we will spend a night enjoying all its amazing delights. This ice hotel has a focus on art, and the creators have used their skills to make every room unique, sculpting the ice into amazing designs. The hotel will be a fabulous place to make images.

We will stay in their 'warm' rooms (although you can opt to sleep in an ice room for a supplement if you choose - subject to availability) and we will have access to much of the property in order that we can shoot the fabulous sculptural creations and deep blue light before we head off to our destination in Finland.

The following day we head across the snowy landscape, a hundred miles north of the arctic circle into Finland until we reach our destination. We will stay for three nights in a luxury ‘igloo’ complex for a totally immersive artic experience. You will have your own glass roofed chalet - with laser warmed glass to keep it frost free so as not to impede your view of the night skies and (fingers crossed) the aurora.

Igloo chalets in Levi, Finland

This Narniaesque landscape is about as close to the mythical 'Winter Wonderland' as it is possible to be - frozen trees encrusted in layers of snow and glowing mists rolling across the slopes.

We are here for three nights - ample time to enjoy photographing the Finnish wilderness in heavy snow. Our accommodation is outside of Levi affording us some peace and quiet, yet with an extensive array of activities and attractions close by.

Our accommodation can organise reindeer, husky or snowmobile excursions into the Finnish wilderness (optional extra) exploring off the beaten track with our cameras. We will, of course, also have our own rather more mundane form of transport to take us around.

"Snow provokes responses that reach back to childhood". Andy Goldsworthy

Igloo Village - our base for three nights

This leg of the tour also includes evening meals - perhaps to enjoy before going out to witness star filled northern skies, and with luck, the Northern Lights.

There is no translation for 'Hygge'. Nor indeed 'Koselig' in Finnish, apparently. They do, however embrace 'kalsarikännit' - loosely translated as 'the feeling when you are going to get drunk home alone in your underwear – with no intention of going out'. Try as I might, I was unable to locate an appealing enough image to illustrate this activity.

We do hope you join us for this extra special part of the tour. Sitting around at the end of the day in your underpants is entirely voluntary.

After three nights, we head back to Narvik for our flights home - no doubt with memory cards filled with fabulous images and our own precious memories of a very special adventure into the Arctic.

Valda, Terry and Doug will lead the tour which will be limited to 13 participants. As always, we will be on hand throughout to help you in any way we can with camera techniques, composition, and creative thinking. It is our mission to make sure you don’t just have an amazing holiday but that you achieve your photographic aspirations. We are very excited about all we have planned for you and hope you can join us.

Doug clearly got dressed in a different climate zone before heading out

22-28th FEB 2021 & optional 4 night extension.

valdabailey©2020

images © Doug Chinnery, Valda Bailey, Terry Gibbins, Shutterstock