Light Lines

"Light lines is an art project by Vegard Aasen using Moonlight headlamps. The objective is to showcase humans' interaction with wild nature in a new and unique way"

The project will put on the stage iconic Norwegian mountains through fine-art landscape photographs. By combining action sports and landscape photography, the project offers a playful twist to classical nature stills. By equipping skiers with Moonlight headlamps and using a long exposure technique, the at-dusk scenery of the descents creates the base of this project.

The dreamy backdrop of some of Norway's most famous mountains is inviting, but the light lines are a reminder of the power and impact we, as humans, have on these landscapes.  We hope to invite the viewer to reflect on the traces that we leave behind us. 

A call to action for the preservation of the wilderness:

 “Within a split second, we can change the landscapes. All it takes is a political decision to develop into untouched nature, and irreversible damage is done.”

The value of wild nature by itself is often trumped by economic interest. This project will engage our audience in this critical issue and provide them with a call to action in order to put the nature crisis further up the Norwegian political agenda. 

The “Light Lines” photos symbolise human impact on nature.

Within a split second, we can change these wild landscapes that have stood the same for millennia. All it takes is a political decision to develop into untouched nature, and irreversible damage is done. Our wilderness areas are disappearing faster than ever before. Last year, a study found that since 2014, 22 429 applications to build out into protected areas were sent to the Norwegian authorities. Of these applications, 21 102 were given the green light. Across the whole of Norway we are building cabins, ski resorts, gondolas, mines, wind turbines and roads. With this project we want to attempt to use the engagement in the Light Line photos to put the value of protecting nature higher up the political agenda in Norway. Visit Vegard's webpage to follow along and to take action

Discussion with Vegard Aasen:

Vegard Aasen. Photo by Adam Gairns.

Vegard Aasen is a Norwegian photographer and filmmaker specialising in wildlife and adventure sports. ​​He plans every image to the smallest detail, whether to put his subjects in mighty landscapes or tell a deeper story. When he works with wildlife, he spends much time getting to know the animals, whether at the species or individual level.

1) What are the technical challenges behind this project that people doesn't expect?

There are so many challenges that it is hard to keep an overview. And there are many different technical aspects as well. One is communication. I am standing on one mountain and the skiers on another; all the communication has to go over the radio. The photo will likely be messed up if we have a miscommunication. The most challenging when it comes to the photo itself is to balance the ambient light with the headlamp. I can not test the light line's exposure and must expose the landscape correctly. This means that the light line's exposure is determined by the lumens of the lamp and the skier's speed on the descent and not by the camera settings . We have a pretty good idea of how much light we can use, but it is never the same when you are in the mountains. 

2) When it comes to lamps, what products have you been using and why?
We have been using different lamps so far in the project. For the ascents, we have been using the Bright As Day 800, which are small, powerful, and have plenty of battery time. It is also handy that it can be charged with a power bank in case it is needed. I use the 800 when I work with the camera as well. For the descents, we have used the Bright As Day 4000. The 4000-lamp is perfect for most situations, and is reliable, has plenty of battery, gives plenty of light, and spreads the light enough for the skiers to have a safe descent. In May, when we went to Store Smørstabbtind, the night was not that dark, and we needed a lot of power to make the Light Line visible.
3) At Moonlight we design the gear to explore further, leaving only a visual light line behind us or a ski track in the snow, but even this can disturb the wildlife. Do you have any tips for ski tourers on how to be more responsible when evolving out in nature?
As people who enjoy skiing, climbing, biking, hiking etc., we must know that we can disturb wildlife whenever we are out in nature. After being hunted by humans for millennia, most wildlife has developed a fear of humans and will flee if they sense our presence. This can be fatal in certain seasons, as their energy reservoirs can be empty, or they can leave their newborn. 
Today, with Moonlight's brilliant headlamps, we spend time in nature after dark. We need to be aware that we are now disturbing wildlife at a time of day when they have been alone in nature. With e-bikes, we can go further into the mountains. With more trail runners, we disturb bigger forest and mountain areas. More people are climbing and establishing new crags. These crags are important nesting grounds for different bird species, and the high season for climbing is through the nesting season. In general, more people spend more time doing activities in more extensive areas, and they also do this through the night. I think that this trend will continue. If we are aware of this growing issue and can spread knowledge in our community, I think this does not necessarily have to be bad for wildlife but we need to be vocal about good conduct rules in the wild.
4) What are the next steps for the project this winter? Here in Ånalsnes, we are curious about the photo of Store Vengetind. How will you approach this one?
The next step is to get started! We are still waiting for the lines to get filled in with snow and to get the weather window we need with stable avalanche conditions. First up is Sunnmøre or Hurrungane, and then we hope to go to Lyngen and do the photo at Vengetind. Vengetind is definitely an iconic mountain, and the photo will look insane if we succeed. The line is pretty serious, so we need to wait for the right conditions to do it. We do not know if the mountain will allow us to do the photo at all this year, but that is a part of the game. We do not yet know exactly how to approach it. I am working on a few different angles, trying to find the correct one for this photo. 



The Backstory

Vegard's ultimate goal in his photography is to use his photos to engage people to take part in the conservation of nature. Through nature and wildlife photography, he has realised how much of an impact a powerful image can have on people, but powerful photos do not come easily today. It takes a lot to capture people's attention in our society, which is overloaded with information. How can one take unique pictures to catch people's attention and inspire them to make a difference?

After developing the idea of ​​"Light Lines" for several years, Vegard and the rest of the team started the project in the spring of 2022. By then, the idea had grown from being a single picture in easy terrain to becoming a film and photo project aiming to capture unique images of iconic Norwegian mountains spread across the length of the country. Photos of “Light Lines” have been done in the past, but no one has ever done it on this scale and on big mountains like these.

We hope that the project will have a significant impact on the Norwegian outdoor community. By scaling up the project, we want to build a platform and use it to engage people in the fight to protect Norwegian nature from development. We will do this through lectures, the film and engagement on social media. The "Light Lines" photos symbolise the human impact on nature, and the platform will give people a concrete call to action that will enable us to fight together to preserve what we have left of our vulnerable nature.

>> Read more about the print and the mountains and how to take action on Vegard's website. 



Text by Vegard Aasen and Paul Ogier

Illustration by Vegard Aasen and Adam Gairns