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The Isolation of Winter - part 5 of 1 2 3 4 5

by Paul Gallagher Published 01/02/2017


On my last afternoon I took the road east from Leknes over the hills towards Stamsund and followed its winding path along the fjord edge.

I explored the intertidal zone and the otherworldly features created by the Arctic winter. During the night the fjord tides would rise and with the harsh drop in temperature, the seawater would freeze. As the tide retreated and the water levels dropped, the layer of ice would rest on the boulder fields at the edge of the fjord and gently crack. Facing east the skies retained a little more of their yellow evening warmth. I spent every last minute here until my hands and feet were numb and I realised it was time to get some food and warmth.


Having completed these trips and looking at the photographs I have made on them, I now feel compelled to go back each year. In fact, I actually have my flights booked to head up to Tromsø in northern Norway in January 2017. You have short days with very harsh temperatures, hard winds that feel like they will cut you in half regardless of your clothing layers– but the rewards far outweigh the challenges. It was in Lofoten that I witnessed the most rapid change in temperature I have ever experienced. I was nestled on the edge of a fjord blissfully working away and decided to move on. I arrived back at the car and the temperature gauge indicated it was -5°C. I began the drive to my next location and saw the skies above me turn a deep purple/blue; it was apparent that weather was arriving from the north. On arrival I got out the car to feel a threatening cold from the prevailing wind off the landscape. I made one exposure and began packing away my kit. I vividly recall retracting the legs of my tripod and thin sheets of ice shedding off into the dry air. I got back into the car, put the heaters on full and noticed the outside temperature had plummeted, within 10 minutes, to -20ºC!

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