Hamnoy, Lofoten Islands, Norway by Michael Blanchette

Picture Story

The Lofoten Islands sit far above the Arctic Circle in the turbulent waters of the Norwegian Sea. This rugged archipelago is known for its majestic mountains, deep fjords, surf-swept beaches, and small fishing villages. In winter, the wild landscape here is often covered in a blanket of snow that further beautifies the scenery in a contrast of colors. And then, there are the awe-inspiring northern lights, or aurora borealis, that frequently splash green across the night sky.

Hamnøy or Hamnøya is a small fishing village on the eastern side of the island of Moskenesøya. It’s the oldest fishing village in the Lofoten archipelago, considered one of the most picturesque in the islands. Hamnøy is dotted with colorful fishing cottages called Rorbuer, a Norwegian traditional house once used by fishermen but now mostly rented by tourists.

I took this photo on a February morning near the harbor at Hamnøy. We had just photographed a glorious sunrise on the other side of the harbor when we stopped at this spot. In winter, the sun in these parts stays low near the horizon, so the light remains photogenic all day.

Since both the water and the clouds were moving, I decided to take a long exposure for a more serene image and mounted a 6-stop neutral density filter on my lens to slow down the shutter. The 67-second exposure served to soften the choppy waters and shifting clouds. The triangular-shaped mountain on the right is Olstinden, one of the most iconic mountain facades in the entire archipelago. The red fishing cottages on the left add color contrast against the blue-green waters of the harbor and snow-covered mountains.

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