Behind the photo: Magical View
In the Behind the photo series, I want to go into more detail on why and how I took a particular photo. This time it is not so much about technique or photography, but more about how I got to this epic viewpoint.
To get to where I’m standing, you have to hike. The hike itself is not difficult but it is quite long and quite steep, but the scenery and views are incredible. It is one of my favorite places on the Lofoten archipelago. The whole hike offers a spectacular view on the beach, the surrounding mountains, and across the ocean. And to top it off, quite literally, from the summit, the view towards Kvalvika beach is one of the most stunning to be found anywhere on the Lofoten.
There are several ways up Ryten, but for me, the most fun one is across Kvalvika beach. The hike to the beach, which is around 1.5 hours, is quite nice on its own. This will be my third time on the summit, and the first time without snow. So I’m looking forward to see the autumnal colors that are now abundant.
We park the car and head to the start of the trail. Then follow the path uphill where we are asked by a local lady whether we want to take some wooden poles uphill. They are constructing a new path to prevent any further erosion, which is really necessary because the old path is in bad shape. We agree and both take two poles. When we drop them at the place she asked us to, we are delighted to do so, because after a while they become heavy and annoying to carry. We continue uphill and spot two sea eagles flying overhead. Super epic!
We follow the path between two mountains and start our descent toward the beach. For me, the first glimpse of the ocean is something magical. The color, the beach and the smell! I love it. After a steep descent we set foot on the beach and really enjoy this moment. The weather is fantastic! We explore the westside of the beach before continuing upwards. The route to Vestvika is fun and worth your extra time. It follows some cables and chains across the rocks and boulders next to the sea. To my relief, the mess I found on Vestvika, on my previous visit is now gone! Stoked about this we walk back to Kvalvika and towards Ryten. Seen from the beach, Ryten looks like a majestic steep wall rising 543 meters directly from sea.
We follow the path next to the creek, where I fill my water bottle with freshwater. Nice and cold! That is what I love about places like these. The air is clean and the water is safe to drink. I don’t need to bring a larger water supply for the whole hike. This is also nice because this spares me a bit of weight in an already overweight camera bag. After a while we pass the lake to our right and take a left steep uphill. This brings us to a larger path on the actual cliff side, which we follow all the way to the summit.
We pass the viewpoint but first continue towards the real summit. Here we chill for a while and crack a brew. This is just a perfect place to do so. Life can be so good! We enjoy the view and take it all in.
After a while we head back to the viewpoint were I set up my gear. A polarizer to deepen the colors and to get the glare of the water. Furthermore, I use two medium edge ND grad filters, because the sky is quite bright. It is a simple shot, with a simple composition. Starting from the rock in the left corner, I follow the line towards the ledge. Both beaches and the ocean are in the frame and I make sure that the mountains have enough room. With my remote in hand, I get onto the ledge and overlook the beaches and the mountains. I take a deep breath and a feeling of love overwhelms me! Standing here makes you feel small and humble. The beauty of this landscape is so amazing! I fall in love with this place every time I’m here! The low sun gives the mountains a little golden crown and the few clouds that roll-in add some more drama to the sky. But even without all that this place is perfect! Without thinking I press the remote a few times, and remain at this exact place for a while. Reluctant to leave I move away from the ledge because it is time to get back down. The sun will set in about an hour and we need the light to get back to the car.
As we walk back, I can see that the clouds that were moving in are becoming more abundant. More and more clouds move in, but I also see a gap between the clouds and the horizon. I know that this is where the sun will be, which means that there will be an amazing sunset.
With this knowledge, we continue further down. I know what I want for this shot and I know where to take it from. Only thing is, we need to get there in time! Half way to the beach, there are some rocks with moss and different types of grass that have amazing colors. I know that the light of the sun will hit these rocks and therefore I want to take the shot from this location. The warm light will make these colors look even warmer. We get to this spot in time and I can feel the excitement and anticipation grow! Before the light is there I get setup and ready for the shot. The gap between the clouds and the horizon is really thin so it won’t last too long. When the sun appears through the gap, I get filled with joy! This is what I had been waiting for! The light, the colors and the timing is spot on! When taking shots like these, with the sun in my frame, I choose a higher aperture in order to get a beautiful sunstar!
Stoked about this shot, it is time to pack and hurry down. Now that the sun has set, it’ll get dark in a while and we still have some 1,5 hour of hiking to do. We have one final climb, and from there on it goes downwards until we reach the car. The final part of the hike is in complete darkness and we almost miss a turn (in the little forest there are a few paths so it is easily to get confused when you don’t see much) but somehow get back on the main track. Super happy and a bit tired, we reach the car after an amazing day!