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Norway in a Different Light

Photographer Ben Moon takes us on his journey through Norway, using the all-new Lytro Illum camera—designed to capture fuller, deeper, and more stunning images than ever before. Relive his adventure through the Nordic countryside with four artists and VW camper.

Oct 15, 2014
Outside Magazine

We set out for the north of Norway with a simple goal: to find inspiration from a fresh landscape while leaving space for the unknown that would only happen while traveling without a script. Making a nearly antique VW camper van our home for the month meant that hurrying was not an option, and that breakdowns were inevitable—there were three. I am often conflicted between my visceral need for spending time in the ocean and my love for rock climbing, so Norway held a special appeal to me, with its craggy peaks providing a stunning backdrop to many of its unique surf breaks. A photographer, a filmmaker, a writer, and an illustrator: all four artistic minds on the journey were in a state of transition and craving the creative reset that only time in the outdoors can bring—and the vast and volatile landscape of coastal Scandinavia delivered to the fullest. 

Filippa Edghill is a Swedish illustrator who, seemingly on a whim, would create imaginative pieces of art whenever she had a moment on the trip to paint or draw. This was one of many incredible locations in the Lofoten Islands, where a series of granite outcrops jutted into the sea, topped by smooth lookout points on which to draw and watch the sun go down.

The lion’s mane is the largest known species of jellyfish, with tentacles sometimes reaching over 100 feet in length. We encountered many of these beautiful creatures in the north, and mostly avoided getting stung, thanks to the crystal-clear Scandinavian waters. This particular place was an abandoned fishing camp, most likely deserted because of overfishing, which can cause the jellyfish to thrive due to lack of predators. We called this spot Breakdown Point after our gear linkage broke for the second time in Mya (our VW van), and we had to stay for a few days until we found a mechanic who could make the repair. 

The Lofotfiske is the seasonal cod fishing that takes place here in Nusfjord and other areas of Lofoten each spring. The fish heads are dried and sold separately from the rest of the fish, which are hung from large wooden racks called hjell, a common sight in this region. Cod and other whitefish are hung on the wood in the open air for about three months, a process that requires a proper balance of weather conditions, humidity, and temperature. It must be warm enough not to freeze but cold enough to avoid rotting and flies, and ideal drying conditions are found in Lofoten between January and April.

Writer, traveler, and photographer Matt McDonald wakes up to a view of the climbing potential in the Lofoten Islands. Vågakallen is the prominent peak amid a group of crags that surround this area. Traveling in Norway is unique because of allemannsrett, or “all men's right,” which means the right to have access to and passage through any uncultivated land in the country, as long as respect is shown to the environment, other users, landowners, and farmers. We found countless undisturbed places to camp and roam, with stunning views and solitude.

Filippa Edghill installing a fin on a surfboard featuring her artwork as a swell builds in Lofoten. After being skunked for waves for weeks on the trip, the fickle Norway coastline finally had served up a solid dose of swell and waves. For a few hours the point was firing, then a gusty onshore squall moved in and the window closed again. 

Ben Moon is a Portland, Oregon-based photographer with a diverse range of subjects and clients in adventure, commercial and music.

Surviving cancer in his twenties provided him a greater connection to the inspiring individuals he documents and gratitude for the astounding beauty of the environment around him.

With the Pacific Northwest as his playground and international travel assignments, Ben is accustomed to working in a wide variety of conditions. He is just as comfortable 1500' off the ground hanging from a rock face or swimming through heavy surf, as he is filming a musician in the studio or on-stage.

Ben's appreciation for every moment is palpable both on and off the set. He has an innate ability to capture the moments between while nailing critical composition, which gives his work an uncommon depth.

A sample of his work can be seen at benmoon.com.