Storm Light in Sarek

I had been out for nearly two weeks and only had a couple of days of food left in my backpack. I had been waiting for the right light conditions for days and I was starting to lose hope of getting a good photograph from this location overlooking Rapadalen in Sarek National Park.

According to the weather forecast it was going to blow up to a full storm the following day. I felt somewhat demoralized. Stormy weather is dramatic but usually doesn’t make for good photography in the mountains. It’s often to much of the good stuff. Heavy winds also makes it really hard to get a sharp frame.

I was left with the decision to either pack up and begin the two day hike and paddle back home or to stay and give it a last try. Although I was tempted to go home my gut feeling told me to stick around. I was not giving up on it. Not yet.

Looking out of the tent in the morning in Sarek National Park.
Waking up to snowfall and dense fog.

When I woke up the next morning it had started to snow and dense fog was limiting the sight to only a few meters. I had a cup of warm tea in the tent and thought to myself; it’s over, not a chance there will be any good light this morning.

Then the wind picked up and as of a miracle the fog lifted. I quickly got my camera gear together and ran up the mountain. When I reached the ledge I could see that the valley below me was painted in the most beautiful light.

There was only one problem. Or actually two. The wind was blowing like crazy and I had a hard time to even stand up straight. Secondly, the cliffs were coated in a layer of ice and extremely slippery.

After carefully balancing out on the ledge I got my camera up and began to compose the scene. The heavy wind made it hard to think and I acted instinctively. I set the aperture of the lens to f/5,6 and tried to hold the camera as still as possible in the wind while getting the compostion right.

I thought to myself; don’t screw this up. I was completely focused. In the zone. I had been waiting for this moment for a long time.

These photographs were captured during half an hour of bliss and hard work that very special morning.

Rapadalen in autumn colors with snow-covered mountains of Sarek in the background.
Ráhpa Light. Sarek National Park. September 2020.

Autumn colors in Rapadalen and the mountain Skierffe in Sarek National Park
Autumn Delta. Sarek National Park. September 2020.

The early morning light, combined with the rain and the peak of autumn colors created a beautiful and rare moment.

I’m so glad I made the decision to stay that day and when I look at these two photographs I’m reminded that hard work and determination pays off. Luck is earned.

I offer these photographs as carefully made Art Prints that looks stunning on the wall. Choose your favorite or get both to display them together for an even more immersive experience.

If you want the full story you can watch my film Autumn in the Ráhpa Valley.

/ Magnus

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