End of Days
Lofoten Islands · Norway
There’s no other place I’ve been to that so richly rewards the wanderings of a restless soul. It was night number 4 in Lofoten, and the adrenaline and wide-eyed wonder that sustained the bulk of us through the first three nights had given way to leaden legs and weary eyes. But after a night that started with the northern lights casting its spell over us at Skagsanden Beach (see “The Incantation”), for some of us the heart still thumped like a kick drum with each electrical emission that pulsed the sky nonstop for hours thereafter. With options limited only by our sheer exhaustion, we headed back to our cabins, where some of us just needed to call it a night. The rest of us piled back into the van and dallied around Reine, hopping out at various roadside stops for the next couple of hours like hummingbirds sampling the wares at a vast English garden.
Finally around 3am local time the aurora’s bright green ribbons began to dissipate into amorphous sheets of color, and the allure of our pillows finally seduced us back to our cabins. Fully intent on catching up on my zzzz’s with no sunrise shoot planned for later that morning, I glanced out the window one last time. Big mistake (kinda). Although clouds were beginning to roll in, there was opportunity still within the transitioning sky, and I grabbed my gear and raced back out to the rocky shore just beyond the front door.
Not more than 20 yards beyond the threshold, this was the view: Olstinden’s thorny profile jabbing into the night sky, while Festhæltinden’s kinder contour slopes in from the right. Sodium vapor lamps from Reine off to the left impart the mountains with a soft orange blush, and off in the distance Mother Nature ends her virtuoso performance with a final plasma-green fury.