We sent our tribe out on a journey close to their home to test our new camera bags, capturing the moments along the way. We wanted them to show us where they know – photography can take you anywhere.
- reflecting or characterised by both local and global considerations.
Words and Photography by Anki Grøthe | @ankigrothe
‘At 4 o'clock we should go back right. No matter what, before it gets dark’ Magnus looks at me, it’s 2 pm and we are nowhere close to our goal.
I’m on a quest, hunting towers for my personal photo project. Strange towers that are located all over Norway on different hillsides, to reflect mobile signals.
It’s a Wednesday mid-February, the days are short. We started the hike at the bottom of an icy, grey and cold valley in Borgund. The sun hasn't shined here for a month, maybe two. Covered in frost, everything feels dead down here, except the river, the stream is powerful.
But the sun is shining brightly up there on the mountain, and I can’t wait to get there. From our starting point, the mountain looks steep. Unreachable to me. And that is why I feel so lucky to have Magnus with me. Friend, and insurance. It feels good to be a pair on such a long hike. 3 hours into it, Magnus says he would never ever have done this if it wasn't for the fact that I needed the picture. The hike is unbearable. Unbearable because there is no snow here – there should be. This is Norway, and it’s February. Magnus is walking in his stiff ski boots.
The scary mountain I saw from the bottom turns out to be not so scary, the hike is easy, still long and high. Carrying the skis, snowboard and all the camera gear we scale the height. Meter by meter. The tower picture is a good motivation, making the trip fun.
I could see the tower from the main road, but after driving through a tunnel and back again on a small mountainside road, the tower was long gone and out of sight. I knew I wouldn't see it again until I was on the very top of the mountain.
We’d been following an old farm road that turned into a smaller icy path through the woods. Walking instead of ski-trekking steals the time away from us, the time and light I need to photograph the tower. Up there somewhere.
Again I have to think about the missing snow, climate change, the future. Will these snow conditions be normal in the future?
Halfway up the mountain, we are at the tree-line and the snow is finally here. Skipping lunch, we start sliding upwards on our skis and split board. Leaving some of our gear behind to try and catch up on some lost time. Little snow is better than no snow. I love the skins on my split board, it’s easy and fast, I am tired, still so happy, and the feeling of closing in on my tower is awesome.
Skinning upwards I suddenly hear Magnus yelling ‘Birds’! About 30 grouse fly by. Wow. Another great emotion runs through me. The white birds disappear just as fast as they appeared. And with white birds gone, new white arrives. Wind and lots of snow! I never say no to snow. YES, bring the snow. But, just like the birds, it’s gone as fast as it came.
The wet snow sticks to my skins and it is almost impossible to walk. Now I hate this. It’s 3 o’clock and the mountain that I believe the tower is on is so far out right, with a big huge valley between us. Now my goal is to reach the highest point straight ahead, and hope to get the tower in sight.
I have time to think through how I have to come back later to complete my failed mission. And I convince myself that the white tower picture that I imagine, will be just as beautiful with its summer suit on. But I don’t have to. Just as we reach the last 10 meters of the top, Magnus is ahead with a lucky smile, I turn right, and it’s there. My entire body feels the excitement. Barely sticking up from behind the peak on the other side. It is far away and looks small. But it should do. The wind is blowing and the clouds are grey and heavy. The dramatic landscape is perfect. It is meant to be. My picture!