Fire and ice: Shining a light on Norway’s frozen waterfalls
9:29 AM EST, Wed November 6, 2013
During the summer months, water tumbles from the clifftops in Eidfjord, Norway. But come winter, this majestic landscape is transformed as the waters are suspended mid-flow -- creating frozen waterfalls, or icefalls. These stunning structures are popular with ice climbers who frequently scale the 500-meter tall structures during daylight hours. But never has their delicate beauty been captured in such a colorful way at night.
In January this year, a team assembled by Swiss mountaineering apparel and equipment company Mammut traveled to the area, which lies three hours east of the city of Bergen. Climbers led by Swiss mountaineer Dani Arnold prepared the frozen ground by fixing spotlights and flares in the ice before extreme sports photographer Thomas Senf set to work capturing the amazing effects on film.
"Photography and filming at night is a big challenge," Senf said in a statement. "The right lighting determines whether you succeed or fail. The ways to play with the factors of light, time and environment are boundless and fascinating in equal measure."
Arnold and his team used a network of ropes and cables to suspend the lamps on the icefalls. The lights created by Swiss artist David Hediger cast an otherworldly glow over the frozen Nordic landscape. Click here to watch footage of the expedition.
Arnold (pictured) is one of the world's most accomplished climbers and holds the speed record for climbing the north face of the Eiger. The 29-year-old completed the climb, in the Swiss Bernese Alps, in a time of two hours 28 minutes in April 2011. Arnold counts Scotland among his favorite places to go climbing because it is so "hard and dangerous." The expedition to Norway was his first. "It was a special trip, something really different. I was really impressed by the light," he said.
"We lowered all the material down from the top of the falls and often had to improvise because of the crazy ice formations; it required complete concentration," Arnold said in a statement.
Temperatures during the expedition ranged between -5 to -10 degrees Celsius, says Arnold -- who is happy climbing whatever the time of day. "When it gets dark, I just turn on my headlamp and keep going," he says.
Germany-born Senf moved to Switzerland in 2002 at the age of 21. His love for photography started when he was training to be a mountain guide. "I had considered for a long time how to work with artificial light, which is normally only possible in a photo studio, in major mountains. The transparency and reflective properties of ice in the sun had often caught my eye. With its virtually unlimited number of icefalls, Norway seemed like the perfect place to put our ideas into practice," Senf said in a statement.