Norway’s Senja Island in Winter

Mountains to the Sea

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Located deep within the Arctic Circle, the island of Senja is home to some of the most beautiful and photogenic landscapes in the world. A day’s drive north of the more famous Lofoten archipelago, chiseled and raw Senja is Norway’s second largest island—about 600 square miles with a population of 8,000 people.

 

COMBINE THIS TRIP
This trip can be combined with our Norway's Lofoten Islands Photo Tour February 3-11, 2023. 
Senja is often touted as “Norway in Miniature,” with a topography rolling and gentle towards the mainland, and rugged, harsh, and furiously stormy towards the Atlantic Ocean. Its quiet bays and coves lined with picturesque fishing villages stand counterpoint to steep granite rock walls plunging from high promontories straight into the tempestuous sea. Craggy rock teeth rise out of steel-blue fjords in a Tolkienesque landscape reminiscent of The Lord of the Rings. The island’s diverse scenery—mountains, seascapes, fjords, sandy beaches, rivers, lakes, and primeval forests—reflect almost the entire breadth of classic Norwegian landscapes. This spectacular panorama is wonderfully enhanced by a thick blanket of snow in winter.

It is said that Norwegians are born with skis on their feet. The word “ski” has Norwegian origins, and there are petroglyphs of Stone Age Norwegians on skis dating back 5,000 years from this region. In mythology, Ullr, the Norse god of winter, frequented this land, hunting and skiing in this wintry dreamscape. Norwegian skiers have long known the wonders of Senja in winter, but it is only recently that a few photographers have also discovered Senja’s spectacular photographic potential.

Weather conditions change rapidly here due to the swirling warmer water of the Gulf Stream, creating conditions significantly more temperate than much of northern Europe, with a mild, yet snowy, winter climate.

During the time of our trip, the winter day length gradually increases and provides good opportunities for daylight landscapes, often bathed in low, soft arctic twilight. Yet the nights are still long, dark, and free of light pollution—delivering excellent prospects for stunning images of aurora borealis dancing above this awe-inspiring terrain.

During our journey we visit the Lyngen Peninsula on the adjacent mainland in Finnmark. Also known as the Lyngen Alps, this scenic and mountainous area contains many of the highest and most photogenic peaks in northwest Norway.

Expect to work hard. Up very early for breakfast to be in a great position for the sunrise and then out at night to be in a prime location for the aurora after dinner—atmospheric conditions permitting. We follow the ever-changing winter light from the sun's first glow on jagged snow-clad peaks rising directly out of the sea until the lights of cozy fishing villages reflect in quiet harbors under the shimmering aurora.

Join this photo-inspiring adventure to High Arctic Senja and the Lyngen Peninsula in coastal Northern Norway. For years this spectacular area has been flying under the radar of most photographers, yet this relatively undiscovered region is everything a winter photography destination should be.


For trip questions or to enroll give us a call at (206) 463-5383

Tour Itinerary

Day 1 (Feb 11, 2023)
Depart home. Participants arrive at Harstad/Narvik Airport, Evenes, Norway. Depending on your flight schedule from home it may be possible to fly to Evenes in one very long day. However, it is recommended to fly to Oslo, Norway, on February 10 and spend the night at an airport hotel. Then fly to Evenes on the morning of February 11. A shuttle is available from the airport to the hotel at Evenes. (D)



Day 2
Following breakfast, a three-hour drive through miles of picturesque snowy arctic landscapes brings us to Nordkjosbotn and the Lyngen Alps. Following check-in at our four-star guesthouse we venture out into this snowy world—it is the snowiest time of the year during our trip—for sunset photography of the jagged and imposing Otertinden mountain in Signaldalen. Weather permitting, we photograph the northern lights over the alps, easily one of the best locations in the world for northern lights. The aurora is frequently seen at this latitude in February even during times of low Kp activity(BLD)

Day 3
Up and out early we shoot sunrise of Otertinden. During a clear sunrise, the mountain lights-up like a beacon. After the sunrise shoot, we return to our hotel for breakfast and check out. We travel to our base camp on Senja—another spectacular three-hour drive. We settle into our waterfront hotel surrounded by serrate maritime mountains in the picturesque fishing village of Mefjordvær and then head out for sunset photography, nearby. Like every evening on this photo tour, we will be out for aurora borealis photography as atmospheric conditions permit. (BLD)

Days 4–5
Our days are unscripted on Senja as we explore around the island photographing from sunrise to sunset—with appropriate breaks. We visit numerous locations that provide a wide assortment of photogenic island seascapes and mountain landscapes. Aurora borealis photography as atmospheric conditions permit. (BLD)

Day 6
We pack the vans after breakfast and start heading south on a lengthy drive with stops along the way. The drive brings us closer to the area we focus on for the next days. We check-in at our waterfront hotel close to Narvik. We shoot sunset at the incredible Skoddeberg Lake—a fantastic wintry landscape surrounded by towering mountains. Aurora borealis photography as atmospheric conditions permit. (BLD)

Day 7
After breakfast we depart our hotel, leaving our luggage in a storage room. We head toward one of the most spectacular locations in Norway, Stetind mountain. Stetind is designated as Norway’s national mountain—and with good reason! This steep, vertical mountain looks like a giant anvil rising majestically from the sea. We spend the entire day in this area before driving to Evenes following our luggage pick-up on the way back. If the weather is good, we do a final photography shoot at Skoddeberg Lake in the evening. (BLD)

Day 8 (Feb 18, 2023)
Following breakfast we load our vans and drive to Harstad/Narvik Airport at Evenes for return flights to Oslo and onward. (B)
 
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Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris Enrollment Information

Norway’s Senja Island in Winter

Feb 11, 2023 - Feb 18, 2023


ENROLLMENT CONDITIONS

1. REGISTRATION
A deposit and completed and signed Registration Form are required to reserve a place for you on a Joseph Van Os Photo Safari.

2. PAYMENTS, CANCELLATIONS AND REFUNDS

All prices are quoted in US dollars and all payments must be paid in US dollars. For deposits only, we accept Visa, MasterCard or American Express. Final payment of the trip fee is due 120 days prior to departure and must be paid by check or bank transfer. Trip deposits are non-refundable and non-transferable.

We must receive written notice of your cancellation, at which time cancellation fees in the following amounts apply:

If Written Cancellation is Received:
90 days or prior:
89 to 61 days prior:
60 or fewer days:
Cancellation Fee:
100% of deposit
50% of entire trip fee
100% of entire trip fee


No partial refunds are made for unused portions or services of a trip for any reason whatsoever. Trips are sold as a package only. This policy also applies to tour extensions and independent travel arrangements. Cancellation fees are not transferable.

3. TRIP INSURANCE
Protect your travel investment and purchase a trip insurance policy that includes emergency evacuation coverage. A trip insurance brochure will be sent with your enrollment confirmation. A CANCEL FOR ANY REASON policy is available.

4. HEALTH CONSIDERATIONS
Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris are within the capabilities of average people in good health. Some of these trips require the capability of walking for several miles over uneven trails, stepping from a small boat to a wave-washed rocky beach, flying in small planes and helicopters, and occasionally hiking at high elevations—all while carrying an assortment of camera equipment. If you have concerns about your own capabilities and/or fitness as it relates to a trip, please inquire with our office before reserving a space. By forwarding a signed Registration Form and trip deposit, you certify that you do not knowingly have any physical or other conditions of disability that would create a risk for you or other trip participants and you agree to inform our office in writing if changes in your health occur any time prior to the tour. We reserve the right to request a doctor's statement of good health. The company's or trip leader's judgment shall provide the ultimate determination of an individual's ability to embark upon or to continue a trip. Once a trip has been confirmed, medical circumstances will not be considered as exceptions to our cancellation policy. We assume no responsibility for medical care or for special dietary requirements. “Meatless” meals are normally available at most locations. Due to the remote nature of many photo locations, and the growing diversity of today’s dietary trends, participants requiring special food items are encouraged to bring their own.

Tour members are asked to refrain from smoking with or near the group.

5. CONTACT SCHEDULE
Participants will receive three emails before the trip departs: 1. Initial Tour Information sheet confirms the deposit and provides pre-departure information. 2. Invoice/Practical Information provides clothing and photo gear recommendations, climate data, applicable health advisories and reading list. Visa information will also be included (if applicable). 3. Final Tour Information includes arrival instructions, itinerary revisions (if any), hotel addresses, trip telephone contact information and participant list. We provide the trip leader's telephone number(s) and/or e-mail address with final documents so you can inquire about special photographic questions you may have regarding your trip. We welcome your calls or e-mail messages to info@photosafaris.com.

6. PHOTO SAFARI COSTS
Information supplied upon enrollment describes the specific costs that are included in your trip fee. Generally these costs include lodging in double room occupancy, all meals (specified in the itinerary as BLD denoting breakfast, lunch or dinner), ground transportation during the trip in vans or small busses, air transportation as specified, meal and baggage tipping, and guide services provided by the trip leaders. Not included are airfare or other transportation from your home to the trip staging location, airport departure taxes, insurance, alcoholic beverages and bar expenses (plus bottled water and soft drink expenses on international tours outside of North America), tips and gratuities to local guides abroad, phone calls, passport or visa expenses, laundry or items of a personal nature. Gratuities to Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris trip leaders are optional and always appreciated. Rates are based on group tariffs; if the trip does not have sufficient registration, a small party supplement may be charged.

Single accommodations are available for a supplemental cost in many locations; see the pre-departure trip information or call our office for details. You will be charged the single supplement fee if you desire single accommodations or if you wish to have a roommate, but one is not available. In some remote locations, clients with single rooms are infrequently compelled to share a room due to circumstances beyond our control. In such cases, appropriate per diem refunds will be made reflecting the direct cost of the single room at the facility where clients are required to share. There is no additional single supplement fee on ship-based cruises, if you request a roommate and one is not available.

Cost increases may occur unexpectedly due to rising costs of airfares, ground transport, fuel surcharges, accommodations and currency fluctuations, among others. Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris, Inc. may be compelled to amend prices, and we reserve the right to do so without prior notice. An increase in trip prices shall not be sufficient grounds for any refund of funds paid for the trip other than as determined by the terms of our cancellation policy.

7. LOGISTICS
Whenever possible, our trip participants are lodged in comfortable, modern hotels. We select among the best available accommodations, but refrain from extravagance. Some interesting photographic destinations are far removed from modern amenities, however, and where necessary we will be accommodated in rustic country inns, cabins or tented camps.

Meals are always a special part of our trips for the camaraderie they engender and the opportunity they provide to try new foods from different areas. Depending on the trip and specific locale, participants order restaurant meals from the full menu or, less frequently, table d'hôte. Some trips include picnic lunches in the field. Fruit juice for breakfast and coffee or tea are included with the meals. Soft drinks are included with meals on tours within North America. Participants are responsible for their own bar tab (including bottled water, soft drinks and alcoholic beverages on tours outside of North America) at restaurant lunches and dinners.

Our itineraries are intended as examples only. Participants should allow for flexibility due to changes in weather, natural history or cultural events, or other logistical arrangements deemed necessary by Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris, Inc. or our leaders.

The second tour leader (and any subsequent additional leaders) listed for each trip on the website will be added as the group size warrants. If only one space remains on a trip, and logistics permit, we accept two persons traveling together, even if it exceeds the trip maximum.

8. RESPONSIBILITY
Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris, Inc. and/or their Agents act only as agents for the passenger (trip participant) in regard to travel including, but not limited to, sightseeing, meals, lodging, transportation, and all other services whether by railroad, motorcar, motor coach, boat, ship or aircraft or other conveyance, and they assume no liability for injury, damage, loss, accident, delay or irregularity which may be occasioned either by reason of defect in any vehicle or for any reason whatsoever, or through the acts, bankruptcy or default of any company or person engaged in conveying the passenger or in carrying out the arrangements of the trip.

They can accept no responsibility for losses or additional expenses due to delay, cancellations or changes in flights or other tour services, and by force majeure including sickness, weather, strike, war, volcanic eruption, terrorist acts, political unrest, quarantine, epidemics and outbreaks, or other causes.  All such losses or expenses will have to be borne by the passenger, as trip fees provide for arrangements only for the times and locations stated. Baggage is at the owner's risk entirely.

The right is reserved to 1) substitute hotels of similar category for those indicated and to make any changes in the itinerary or transport where deemed necessary, or caused by changes in flight schedules or equipment substitution; 2) cancel any trip prior to departure due to low enrollment, in which case full refund of the paid trip funds will be given, but Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris, Inc. is not responsible for any other trip preparation expenses such as penalized or non-refundable air tickets, visa fees and medical related expenses; 3) At the company’s sole discretion, suspend or postpone any trip due to force majeure in which case the trip may be rescheduled, or a refund issued less any non-refundable deposits paid to tour component providers on behalf of the passenger, or a travel credit given, but Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris, Inc. is not responsible for any other trip preparation expenses such as penalized or non-refundable air tickets, visa fees and medical related expenses; 4) substitute trip leader(s) for the leader(s) originally specified, in which case the substitution is not a basis for participant cancellation or refund other than provided by our normal cancellation policy; or 5) accept or retain any person as a member of any trip.

Trip prices are based on tariffs and exchange rates in effect at the time of publication and are subject to adjustment in the event of any change therein.

A Registration Form including the Enrollment Conditions and Release and Assumption of Risk sections must be signed by each participant prior to the commencement of the trip. Participation by any trip member will be declined in the absence of the signed Registration Form including the Release and Assumption of Risk section, with no trip fee refund. No modification to the Registration Form including the Release and Assumption of Risk section will be accepted.

Should Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris, Inc., or anyone acting on their behalf be required to incur attorney's fees and costs to enforce this agreement, the enrolling trip participant(s) agree(s) to indemnify and hold them harmless for all such fees and costs. In the event a lawsuit is filed, the enrolling participant(s) agree(s) to do so solely in the County of Lewis in the State of Washington. Certain ship owners require the use of pre-printed ticket forms that limit the ship owner's and operator's liability. When such tickets are used, the passenger is bound by the terms of these tickets with respect to the passenger's legal relationship to the owners and operators of the ship, their agents (Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris, Inc.), and the ship's crew.

Norway’s Senja Island in Winter: Easy Activity Level

Van Travel. Expect cold and wintry conditions throughout the trip. Insulated knee-high waterproof boots are a necessity—we recommend Muck Boots (brand) Arctic (model) to keep feet warm and dry. Optional photography by standing in shallow water and breaking waves on beaches and rocky shores. Expect icy, slippery conditions throughout the tour and micro spikes are recommended.
Trip Details
Feb 11 - Feb 18, 2023
Fee: $TBA from Evenes, Norway
Deposit: $1,000
Limit: 12 participants
Activity Level: EasyEasy
 
Highlights
  • Discover an almost “undiscovered” arctic landscape photography destination
  • Trip timed for optimum winter aurora activity, weather permitting
  • Create images of snowy picture-postcard fishing villages juxtaposed with towering granite mountains
  • Shoot expansive raw and unspoiled seascapes
  • Cozy four-star hotels throughout the tour
 
Tour Leaders
Todd W. Pierce

Todd W. Pierce

And local photography leader