From mountains to waterfalls
In August 2018 I traveled to the southern part of Norway in search of waterfalls and beautiful spots in nature. Our trip started in Stockholm, Sweden and our journey went through the highlands of Telemark county and ended the first two days in the small village of Odda in Hordland county. Odda is situated right between Hardangervidda National Park and Folgefonna National Park. It is from Odda that you probably will start your journey if you want to visit the extremely popular rock “Troll tunga”. But we had other plans for this trip and we were looking for the beautiful waterfalls in the area.
I got the inspiration for the trip by watching Oddbjørn Austevik and his YouTube series “Running Waters”. In that series he travel around the south part of Norway chasing waterfalls and two locations that he visits in that series are Vøringsfossen and the magma geopark Gloppedalssura. I then decided it would be fun to do something similar and visit Norway for a few days of holiday.
The nature in Norway is amazing. No one can say anything else about Norway and when we travel from one point to another we are constantly greeted with interesting and beautiful places. As much as the nature is always predictably fantastic, we can clearly find that the weather is very unpredictable. In fact, one can say that the weather is relatively predictable with its damp, foggy and often rainy elements. From time to time, however, the sun shines over the landscape and all is good again. But it's the drama that makes Norway so amazing, especially photographers. Norway has it all! The weather, the mountains, the fjords and the beautiful expanses.
The southern entrance to the small village of Odda has just everything you could wish for from Norway. Dramatic mountains that slopes straight down into the valley with small winding roads and raging waters. When traveling on national road 13 from the south towards Odda, you will pass the 165 meter high waterfall Låtefossen. The waterfall is unique as it consists of two separate streams that unite in the middle and invite you to a very spectacular sight as you cross the old six-arched stone bridge. It's a must to stay and experience the power of the fall and the amazing environment with old bridge. Expect to be soaked by water vapor from the fall so keep something handy to shade the front of your lens. At the time when we visited the area, the bridge was undergoing renovation and unfortunately, the picture of the waterfall I planned before the visit did not work. But seeing this place is makes me definitely want to go back and visit it again.
From Odda it’s a two and a half hour drive to the amazing waterfall Vøringsfossen. On the way we took a small short detour and visited Ulvik area where I took a panorama over the fjord. Vøringsfossen, located in the Eidfjord municipality, has gone from unknown to one of Norway's most visited tourist destinations. The waterfall consists of a 145 meter vertical drop into the waters of Bjoreio. The waterfall itself is situated near the highway 7 at the far end of Måbødalen in Hardanger. If desired, you can book rooms at the Fossli hotel at the top of waterfall. The area is majestic and the ravine runs like a giant crack in the landscape as far as the eye can reach. The fall can be experienced from the top and bottom as there are hiking trails that can be followed alongside Bjoreio.
There are also many photo opportunities further downstream where parts of the old road are left with abandoned bridges in connection with smaller waterfalls. The road up towards Vøringsfossen is lined with high mountains with dramatic edges where it may be worthwhile to stay and explore further. I would guess there are a few pictures there to be had in the right conditions. At the time for our visit it was a grey and overcast day so the light were unfortunately rather flat and not optimal for photography with amazing colors.
Gloppedalssura is a magma geopark situated in Gjesdals municipality near Byrkjedal. It is one of the largest screes in Scandinavia and Northern Europe. It formed 10 000 years ago and during the second world war the Norwegians used the fallen rocks as a natural fortress when fighting the German forces. The area is highly accessible and the road Fv503 goes right through the area. Because of the rocks and it´s giant nature be very careful if you decide to climb out in the scree. There is great risk of injury if you fall between the rocks.
The area is a bit tricky to photograph but there is a tree that’s interesting and forms a natural subject overlooking the fjord below. At the time of our visit it was quite wet so I decided not to take the risk of climbing the rocks so I were left photographing the area from the prepared viewing points. I would have liked to get closer to the tree in order to get better angles and stronger foreground interest. The area is very interesting and if you’re in to photographing giant boulders in a mountainous situation with an addition of a fjord then it’s a great place to check out.