I am back after 5 days exploring the Faroes and what a fantastic time I had. From Moderate hikes to extreme weather changes and epic scenery, it was an amazing experience. And photographically speaking a success, with some minor set backs.
So, lets take it day by day.
After a somewhat turbulent flight from Copenhagen airport to Vagar, my wife and I picked up a car from the “Visit Faroe islands” information office. We opted for the daily wifi option and were pleasantly suprised how well it worked. Michael the owner of JustDrive.fo was very friendly and gave us a few tips about the islands whilst showing us to our car. After a pleasant exchange we got in our car and drove to our rented airbnb accommodation which was a cosy caravan 5 minutes away from the airport. With eight hours of travel behind us we decided to stay in and make some dinner, then get up early in the morning to explore the island of Vagar.
We got up to the sound of our alarms blaring at 0700am but after breakfast we got out at 0800 and decided to visit out first location, Gasadalur. During the drive up we were met by incredible views of the sea and winding roads. Since it was raining heavily the night before all the waterfalls were in full force making the scene even more spectacular. Stopping every so often and getting out of the car (on the designated stopping points) to enjoy the view, we were mesmerised by the scenery that seemed like something out of a movie, but that was only the start of our journey. As we made our way back on track we entered the tunnel in the mountain (blasted in 2010) to the once isolated village of Gasadalur. We parked up and followed the sign to the famed waterfall “Mulafossur” and we were met by a view that seemed to come straight out of a fantasy film. Truly a sight to behold. I stood there with my wife and took in the violence of the whole scene. The waves crashing against the rocks, the wind doing its doing its best to overthrow my tripod. It was truly majestic, even though I was being pelted by heavy rain and harsh winds, my hiking gear kept me relatively warm and dry.
Here is the image I captured that day. The harsh wind and heavy rain allowed for me to capture the waterfall in its full glory. Even though this shot was not done at the typical sunrise/sunset times, I really like the way this image gives off the feeling of power/violence yet somewhat resistance by the land itself.
The hardest part of taking this photograph was trying to keep my tripod as still as possible. Also I had to keep wiping water spots away from my lens.
This image is for sale in the “Prints” section of the site.
The Witches finger
After taking this shot the wife and I decided to go back to our rented caravan and thought it would be a good idea to rest up and then continue after drying our selves off and checking our next location.
It happened by accident that we ended up going to the witches finger. We were originaly heading to Traelanipa’s view point, but upon driving and seeing the sign for witches finger which was very close I decided to head there instead.
After a short drive ( 15 minutes ) we arrived at the car park and got out of the car. There was a marked path up to leading up to the view point, taking us 40 to 50 minutes to reach it (considering we kept stopping to admire the view) Upon our nearly reaching the view point I was met with this beautiful waterfall (again in full force due to the weather)
I was pleasantly suprised to see this water waterfall in full force. I decided to compose this shot in a way where there is no real “anchor” point hence allowing the eye to “flow” around the image just like how a waterfall flows. I did set up a composition using the rule of thirds but decided to disregard it in a way which would allow my to give a sense of movement. whether I was successful or not I dont know, only you the reader can judge. However I am happy with the way this turned out.
5 minutes more walking and we reached the viewpoint to see the witches finger. It was mightly impressive and I absolutley have to stress this, no photo can ever do the place justice until you have been there to see it yourself.
The waves were crashing against the cliffside, the wind was howling and fog was just starting to set it. Again, It was something straight out of a film, or a video game. I just stood there taking in the sights and smell of the salty sea air. I didnt care at that moment whether or not I was pelted by rain, or whether or not the conditions were perfect for photography. I was just glad to be there and experience such a dramatic view.
This was the view I was met with and its size and scale dwarfed me completely. Again for this shot I wasnt able to get everything as sharp as I wanted and that was down to me using a Manfrotto 190 GO aluminium base. it’s a great tripod but I realised just then it didnt have a hook where I could add the extra weight of my bag to it, helping to keep it steady. Even though I love this photo I will not put it up for sale. I dont think the quality of it is good enough to sell due to excessive artifacting…
The village of Gojgv
I was still coming down from the dopamine rush I experienced from the amazing veiw at witches finger. After driving off and leaving it behind we stopped at a petrol station and filled our snack bag with sandwhiches and water, readying ourselves for a long drive to the island of Estyroy. Our current location was the island of Vagar so about 70km away from the sleepy little village. As we were driving the Faroes opened up its beauty to us showing us the deceptively large scale of the mountains. My wife insisted that we played the lord of the rings soundtrack Whilst going through a mountain pass and to say the least it did add a little more “epicness” to the already epic scenery.
1 hour and 30 minutes later we reached the village of Funningur, but we didnt stop. We had driven a little further halfway between Funningur and Gojgv to a little parking area. I researched the area beforehand and found out there was another veiw point after a short hike directly up from the parking lot. So I decided it was going to be worth doing. I Was told that doing this “short” hike would only take ten minutes, however it took me considerably longer due to me not being as fit as I thought I was. 30 minutes later, huffing and puffing with my legs feeling like led I was met by the view…or lack of it. I was utterly heartbroken as this photo would of been the real highlight of my trip to the Faroes.
The fog was intense and I could only just barely make out the fjord.
As mentioned in the caption my wife and I waited for an hour for the fog to shift. I was persistent in my endeavour and would not budge until I got my photograph. However it wasn't meant to be. An hour of being pelted by rain and cold winds, causing my water resistant jacket to “wet out” was the main reason for my eventual acceptance of defeat. In a way it was a blessing in disguise because the fog still had not shifted many hours after and knowing me I would of stayed no matter how long it would of taken if the weather had permitted me to do so. None the less just being there was a joy in and of itself and this is a great location to visit if you are visiting the island of Estyroy. I had found this location in one of the videos of youtube photographer Mads Peter Iverson who marks it down on a map in his vlog (search “Mads Peter Iverson Estyroy” in youtube). If you are going to watch it to find the location I suggest that you get google maps going as well so you can mark it down yourself. The drive there is pretty epic. The winding roads and overbearing mountains give you sense of the grandeur of it all.
When we finally descended from he treacherous, but short hike we had a small snack break in the car and then headed straight to the village of Gojgv.
This sleepy little village was cosy and eerily quiet, but it offered some fantastic views.
We didn't spend much time here, maybe about 30 minutes as we had to head back to our caravan which was 1hour and 30minutes away and my wife wasn't as confident driving at night, but during our little adventure here we explored a little, but sadly I wasn't able to take as many pictures as my camera battery ran out.
Again there was a nice little view point which was very easily accessible and offered a great view of the natural harbour that the town is known for.
A visit here is a must because of the easy access to the view point. A car if necessary in my opinion for this leg of the journey.
We woke up to the sound of silence…I was stunned for once because by this point I was only just getting used to the howling wind waking me up every time I tried to sleep. But alas! 7 hours of pure unadulterated sleep had been mine to enjoy.
Not much happened on day three as we were in search for different accommodation which had electricity and running water…And after a couple hours of searching we came across it. The Vagar Hotel. Although it was ten times the price of our very cheap and cosy caravan, we just couldn't have stayed there any longer. Especially without running water or electricity to charge our devices up. It was a shame because I really liked the caravan but a lot of simple things let it down. For example the lack of cleanliness and basic facilities made what would've been an otherwise cosy stay very un-cosy so we had to get out of there before it ruined a great holiday.
Making our way to the hotel my wife and I were cheering on the inside as I fantasized about having back our basic facilities. It really made me think of how much I do take for granted and still do to this day…
After a warm shower and a cup of black coffee I realised how tired I was, especially Solera (My wife’s nickname) as she was doing all the driving. I could tell today she wanted to rest up and do something different. So we had a very long nap and drove to the capital city of the Faroes: Torshavn (pronounced “Tor-shun”) It was 19:00pm when we set out and was pitch black. This time Solera thought it would be a challenge to drive at night and so she did. To my surprise for someone who hadn't driven in six years she did an awesome job and again I give a massive thanks to her for being my friend, travelling companion and driver during this trip and for having to put up with my stringent standards on getting the “shot”.
Sorry I have no photos of the place we ate at, but part of the fun of travel is discovering for yourself. I did do some research on how to get to different islands but after that we just explored the place for ourselves. Much more fun to do it that way in my opinion.
This was basically the last day we had as our flight the day after was at 8am.
I reluctantly got up at 6am and sunrise was scheduled at 8am. That being said I really wanted a sunrise shot of the viewpoint and I was willing to skip breakfast just to get there. Solera wasn't too happy but agreed to drive there on the promise that I make it up to her. We left and headed for the view point located on the Island of Vagar itself. We reached the parking lot in ten minutes and we started along the trail. The funny thing is on this trail you can actually see the view point and the hike looks deceptively short. I honestly didn't think it would take nearly 2 hours to reach, but it did and I just missed sunrise by 10 minutes, mind you I had managed to capture the beautiful crimson/redish hue in the sky, leaving an almost fantasy feel to the photos.
The beautiful thing about this view point is that as you get two in one. This first shot being the famed waterfall Bodalafossur which is even more stunning in real life. It is only a two minute walk (down hill) from Traelanipa.
It is really is best to bring some good hiking boots and waterproofs with you as I saw a couple of people leave after 5 mintues of getting there just because they didn't have the right gear. True its not all about gear, but if you're going somewhere like the Faroes then it is important to be prepared so you get the most out of it.
Also not to mention that I saw a couple of tourists nearly lose their footing whilst taking selfies on the edge of a 400ft cliff. Needless to say if you fall you will probably die. No shot is worth risking your life for and the wind can come at full force without warning.
Now we reach the main viewpoint of Traelanipa.
Absolutely stunning in scale, the warm colours and snow-capped mountains in the background truly made this one of my favourite shots. It may be a view point that has been photographed many times before but I just had to, especially with those colours in the sky.
After taking the shot Solera and I relaxed and had a small picnic whilst casting our gaze onto the vista that lay before us. Some sheep sitting near us decided all at once to stare our way, we didn't want to disturb them so we ended up moving on.
Back at the hotel we realised our time in the Faroes was almost up, a sadness washed over us knowing the daily grind of real life was going to catch up with us shortly, so we savoured every minute we had whilst walking back to the car.
The day we went back home. Due to how early our flight was (8am) we didn't really have time to do anything at all. We returned the car back to Michael (owner of justdrive.fo) and thanked him for providing us with such a fantastic service, then it was time to go through the motions of travel, checking in luggage, security and of course the unnecessary shopping at the duty free just to ease the sadness of leaving such a lovely place.
Sitting on the plane I reminisced on how much I had taken away from this trip and what I had learned firstly as a husband and secondly as a photographer.
My time in the Faroes had been fantastic. A God given dream come true and whilst I had fun and enjoyed the trip I learned a lot about myself and my wife as well. I learned she was much tougher than I had ever given her credit for, much braver and she kept me going at times when my morale was low. I learned that with patience we solved a lot problems during the trip and we did it as a team. So I am truly thankful for the experience I shared with her and for all her help during this trip and not to mention the patience she had with me when I was in “Photographer mode”.
Photographically speaking I learned how to a take slower approach to photography and not to always assume that I had the “shot” in one composition. I took many different compositions that were “technically” correct and many that weren't and was pleasantly surprised at the results.
Photography will never be an exact science/art form because there are so many perspectives that we all see from and what we find aesthetically pleasing might seem as pleasing to others. That is not to say you can throw out all the rules, no. As with any art form/discipline there always has to be some form of basic rules every one must follow, but that does not mean that they can’t be bent every so often. The main thing is to look at your surroundings first, take a little time to walk around before setting up the tripod and see what hidden treasures you might find.
All in all I had a great experience and there are some parts of the trip that still need to sink in.
I hope you have enjoyed reading this post
Until the next time