Cody Duncan is a (now) local photographer and author of an ebook series about Lofoten and Skandinavia. Due to the amount of hours he spends on moving camera equipment on mountains and waiting for the perfect light (what he calls „hiking“) we would call him a geek anytime. Check out his website www.68north.com - the most detailed webpage about hiking in Lofoten. We met Cody on Flakstadøya on October 2nd.
1) How does a guy from California end up on Lofoten?
It’s a long story best told beside a campfire with some whisky. But after first randomly arriving here in 2001, only having heard of Lofoten the day before I got on the ferry from Bodø to Moskenes (this was still in the dark ages of travel before much internet or social media), it has always remained a special place for me. I’ve attempted to live in a few other places around the world, but Lofoten is the first place that has finally felt like home - which is good, as I haven’t been back to California for over 2.5 years!
2) What´s the most fascinating thing for you about Lofoten?
I like both the mountains and the sea equally. Few places in the world have a combination of these two elements as dramatic as Lofoten, while also not being somewhere completely at the edge of the world. But perhaps the best is the freedom and accessibility of the land here. I can walk out the front door and in 1 - 2 hours be at any number of amazing views, cook dinner while watching sunset, and then be down before dark. Or, in late afternoon if the weather looks good, I can pack my camping gear, sleep on a mountain for the night, and be back home before breakfast.
Beyond that, it is also the always changing seasons and weather. I like to say that no two days are ever the same on Lofoten. Growing up in California we had the ‘slightly warm, mostly dry’ season and the ‘slightly cool, a little bit of rain’ season. Nice, but pretty boring. Here, as soon as I get used to the midnight sun it is setting into the sea again and the trees are turning yellow. Then, before I know it the beaches are covered in snow. Until one evening I walk into my house and notice I don’t need to turn the lights on anymore and soon summer will be back. For me as a photographer, there is no time to get bored here!
3) Talking about the intense atmosphere: This September was insane
Yes, I think this September had more ‘summer’ days than the whole of the summer combined! It was the best autumn since 1934 apparently, or at leasts that’s what the newspaper said. And the good weather also combined with some high solar activity, proving some amazing nights with dancing aurora overhead. Luckily the guests on my autumn photo tour were here for one of the better nights, and had aurora on 4 or 6 nights total. And for myself on my own, I got several good nights in the tent under the aurora while not freezing to death!
4) Seems like the „off season“ months May and September will become an insider tip.
Yes, but maybe not for long! September is kinda like summer with northern lights. Still mild weather for hiking and outdoor activities, northern lights at night, and only a fraction of the crowds of summer. So once the secret gets out, September might become the new summer. Same for May as well - midnight sun and often calm weather, though a bit colder than the autumn.
5) Any advice for our Camper guests about Lofoten-Photography? What are your your top 3 tips?
Beaches are always a good choice. If you manage to get up for sunrise, then you’ll likely have the place to yourself. Let the weather guide what you do, and try to avoid planning too much - the best reason to have a van! If the sky is clear, don’t go to sleep too early or you might miss the light show - not every night, but often.
6) Which (Lofoten) motive is next on your bucket-list?
I’m supposed to be focusing on Vestvågøy at the moment, but I always seem to end up in the west when the weather is good. So probably just wandering around the mountains and waiting for the right conditions. But as winter approaches, looking forward to pulling out the skis soon!
7) Talking about your photo courses. Any Chance, there might be a guided tour with Arctic Campers from Lofoten to Tromsø again?
I’ll run a few workshops focusing on outdoor Lofoten and getting up in the mountains for the midnight sun and sunsets during the summer and autumn, in addition to the normal winter stuff, which is my busiest time of year. We’ll see about a camper tour, I like the freedom to move around and be flexible - you just need to make sure the vans come fully loaded with firewood (and the guitar ;) ).
If you are about to book a camper van with us you will find a discount code for Cody´s e-books on the booking confirmation. They are definitly the ultimate way to prepare your hiking trip in Lofoten. Thank you Cody for the interview, the amazing pictures and of course the discount for Arctic Campers :) on your e-books.