Lofoten by RIB Boat - A Photo Expedition During the Polar Night

Nowadays many photographers pretend to know well the Lofoten Islands in Arctic Norway. But how is that possible provided almost everyone is just driving on the only road there? It seems like few people realise that the only logical way to explore an island is to sail around it...

The Arctic photographer Vlad Donkov, a long-time explorer of Lofoten who has spent more than a year on the islands altogether, will take you to the locations that others simply don't get to – together with a seasoned local skipper you will sail on a powerful RIB boat. On top of that, we are going there at a time when the islands are nearly deserted – during the polar night! 

In 2012 Vlad was appointed by HASSELBLAD to photograph the island of Moskenes (West Lofoten) during the dark time of the year for 2 weeks. His photographs were then published in the prestigious HASSELBLAD Bulletin. This assignment was the core inspiration for the upcoming expedition.


Dates:  08 - 14 December 2014

Group size:  max 5 (+ 2 guides)

Accommodation:  guesthouse


At this time of the year, the chances of seeing the Aurora Borealis are greater and you could photograph the stunning landscape literally around the clock as there is no harsh light at any time. The polar night is an experience on its own! Most people never fully imagine what it is like to have no sunrises and sunsets: For several hours a day the sun stays just below the horizon and it feels like an eternal dusk.

Based in the picturesque town of Reine, we will be exploring the nearby fjords and south coast of Moskenes by a large RIB boat (on one of the days we will sail on a steel boat). On clear nights we will keep our eyes peeled for more of the Northern Lights experience in Reine. Lofoten's trademark in winter is the constantly changing weather: In just 30 minutes’ time it is quite normal to encounter a snowstorm, ice, rain, clear skies and Aurora Borealis – all that you need for a dramatic shot.

Here at Vertical Shot Expeditions we are happy to be creating the first ever Lofoten photography expeditions by a sailing yacht in summer and by a RIB boat in winter – this is the first of its kind tour and the places are limited to just 5!

So if you are the kind of explorer who doesn’t settle for mediocre journeys, just get in touch via the contact form

Itinerary *

Day 1:

Arrival in Reine and meeting your guides - if you arrive by ferry we will pick you up by car from the Moskenes’ port! Accommodation is at a cosy guesthouse (all ours) which will be our base for the next one week. Chances are that you will have travelled for a full day before getting here, so we’ll have a dinner and will go to bed early to recharge our adventure batteries for what’s coming next!

Days 2-6:

On three of the days we are sailing in an open RIB boat, well dressed in foul weather suits and lifejackets, exploring the hidden photographic locations inside the fjords and the south coast.

On one of those days, if the weather allows, we will make a long boat trip to an abandoned scenic village named Hell. Don't worry though: In Norwegian 'hell' actually means luck! The place used to be a lively fishing village before the outboard engines were introduced in the 40s - when the fishermen were forced to look for deeper ports. Many of the buildings are still there. Hell is fully surrounded by steep mountains and sea, hence it is only accessible by boat.

A day would be dedicated to sailing to into the fjord to Vinstad and the Bunes beach. We are boarding the local mini-ferry (most likely we are to be the only pasengers) – after half an hour of sailing we port in the village of Vinstad, the is no road to the village and it has just one permanent resident. From there we take on an 1h walk to the massive beach of Bunes on the north coast of the island. The view in this area makes you wonder if you have not entered into the “Lord of the Rings” movie set...

Being in the sea every day in winter may be a bit tiring, so in the middle of our stay we will have one full day on land - dedicated to a relaxed walk by the coast for a several hours of landscape photography in the twilight.

Decisions regarding places to go are made daily and in accord with the current weather conditions and forecasts – most of the locations are inside the fjords, where we are fairly sheltered and not so exposed to wind and waves (as opposed to boats in the open sea). However, most importanly, in the Arctic weather is King and we all depend on it! We believe that there is no such thing as bad weather for photography, so your guides will make any effort to take you to the best possible locations!

Day 7:

Breakfast, time to say goodbye and get used to the thought that you are soon to see the sun for the first time in a week! If you have some time before your transport you may go on a walk around the scenic coast. We would drive you to the ferry port in Moskenes or you could hop on a bus/taxi to the town of Leknes and board a flight to the mainland.

* Vertical Shot Expeditions' guides reserve the right to change the above mentioned itinerary in case of severe storms and other unforeseen circumstances in the best interest of everyone's safety.

This expedition is fully booked. Our next RIB boat in this area will take place in December 2016. If you are interested, please leave us a message using the form below: