2 independent reviews for Lofoten Islands winter photography vacation, Norway

Reviews for Lofoten Islands winter photography vacation, Norway

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review 24 Feb 2018

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

The location of the stay was particularly chosen for the best view of the landscape and aurora. We had very fine weather throughout the trip in which we had lots of sunshine mixed with some clouds. I feel blessed to be able to experience the fine weather and lighting which is crucial to outdoor photography. The most exciting part was my cabin was facing the beach and I was able to see the aurora almost every night. Sometimes I waited until it got stronger before I grabbed my gear to go out. A much better way instead of waiting in the cold for hours for it to show up. A big thumbs up for the thoughtfulness of our tour operator in terms of choosing a great location to stay.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

Windproof and waterproof jacket is a must. One time we were out shooting when there was heavy snowfall. Although there was an option for people to stay in a cafe, it was a great experience to be able photograph in a snow storm. Also, spikes is a must for the safety of the person and the photography gears. Couple of times, we had to hike up on an icy hill. Without the spikes, it would be too dangerous.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes. We stayed in one place the entire trip. The owner and staff were very friendly and we ate food sourced locally with different kinds of fish.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

I would give a 6 star for the organization and planning of the trip. This is the second time I had traveled with the tour operator within the last 6 months. The first trip was in Iceland and they'd done a fantastic job. I had Cubby again as the photography tutor and he did as well as the last trip in terms of attending to my photography needs. He taught me more skills such as aurora shooting this time and suggested composition skills throughout the trip and those pictures turned out to be fabulous! I had very much enjoyed his company and sense of humor which made the trip much joyful like last time. Andy was also wonderful. He helped me to achieve the right shot when asking the question. He did very well in briefing what's ahead the next day and prepare ourselves for the upcoming needs not only for the gears but personal safety. Both Cubby and Andy were highly responsible to everyone's needs. And never hesitate to help out when questions were raised. The timing of the shooting opportunities was well planned according to the weather forecast. And many times, it was well paid off. One day, we had a heavy snowfall. According to the weather forecast it was going to clear up around sunset hour. We stayed in the van and had lunch in the storm. The experience itself was quite fascinating. The sky was all gray and windy. But miraculously, it did get cleared up within minutes right around sunset hours. Because of the decision to stay, we had one of the most beautiful sunset shots on the beach. It was the first time that I realize the ocean water can be in an emerald green color instead of deep blue. The water was so clear in the shots that I can almost see through the bottom. As a result, I believe the decision making is a big part of making or breaking the photography opportunities. Cubby and Andy had timed the shooting spots with the right weather and lighting very accurately and no one was disappointed. We hardly missed any sunset and sunrise opportunities. We even drove out few nights to find low light pollution spots for the aurora shooting. I like how we had the opportunity to see everyone else's work on the last night. We had a slide show in Lighrooom and everyone was impressed by each other's work. I have to give 6 stars to our tour operator this time because of the effort that the tutors had made to make this trip such superb experience! I feel another big improvement in my photography skills under the professional supervision of Cubby and Andy. I have one suggestion to make for improvement which is in the choice of the 2 course meal. I wish there was an option of getting the appetizer or desert with the main meal. We had desert after every meal except for the last meal which we had soup. For someone like me who is not that fond of eating sweets, having desert every night was too rich. I prefer to have soup or salad if there is a choice. When I was in Iceland, I had a choice and I chose the appetizer. Other than that, everything else is positive and fantastic. I would definitely choose our tour operator again and recommend to other people about this company! The quality of service in the office and in the field is outstanding and excellent!

review 6 Apr 2017

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

The whole vacation was memorable from the stormy maritime weather to the dramatic scenery of the snow covered mountains and beaches and the cozy cabins we retreated to at the end of the day.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

Have realistic expectations and be prepared. It is a winter vacation in an isolated part of the world and as such, the weather may be extreme and constantly changing, facilities may be closed and shops and cafes will have limited opening hours. The choice and availability of some types of food will be limited.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

The vacation will have generated income for some local businesses at a time of year when there were very few tourists.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

This vacation exceeded all of my expectations. The accommodation and food at the resort were excellent and the staff were friendly and efficient. I had special dietary needs that were meticulously met. The tour management and preparation for the tour was excellent. The tour leaders worked very hard for very long hours over the duration of the vacation to ensure that every opportunity to explore the islands and be in the right place at the right time was grasped. The technical support offered by the tour leaders was appropriate and practical.

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