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… To the Fjords of Norway – Chasing Nothing



Fjords For Days

After weeks of each others company, it was time to say goodbye to Niko
He was headed off to do a lap of Europe with more partying involved and less long distance riding.
Fair enough.

Cheers for everything mate, this project wouldn't have been half as good without you.
With Niko off I only had a few days left with the bike.
I would finish off my second lap - which this time was mostly through Norway, before heading back to Sweden.
In these last few days, on my own with just the bike and what it was carrying, I got some last few key shots, pushed myself a bit creatively and in terms of riding and really put my gear to the test.

Fjords For Days

So; my final assessment of the bike?
I'm not a fan of big heavy bikes normally - even for long distance riding.
Personally, small and light is the way to go, cut down on gear, cut down on weight. You never need half of what you think you do, for a long distance ride.
But it's the growing trend in long distance riding that the answer to carrying lots of gear long distance is to just make the engine bigger and more powerful whilst the bike gets heavier. This was made popular by the rise of the BMW GS, but plenty of other brands .
While the KTM definitely follows this trend (there's no getting around the size of that near 1300cc engine) - and I still insist that a bigger bike is not my style - I'd be lying if I said that I didn't enjoy the hell out of the Super-Adventure.
Especially for all the highway riding we had to do on this trip - it was an amazing experience.
I'm normally not a fan of electronics and overly complicated designs on motorbikes, dictating how I should ride. However here, the electronics merely compliments whatever your style is. It seems so intuitive and unobtrusive.
And yet it is so clear that the motorbike is constantly making so many tiny little adjustments all the time in order to maximise the riding experience.
Like I said an absolute pleasure, and my only regret was that I didn't get some dirt tyres for it and really put it to the test.... maybe next time.

The Land of the Midnight Sun

 Travelling further and further North was an experience.
I've been somewhat North in Russia before this - enough that the hours of the day start to really warp and mess with you, the day seemingly running out before it begins - that was in Autumn, this was in the height of summer and in Sweden and Norway.
Lacking the discipline and experience Niko and I kept making the mistake of staying up too late riding. My body didn't know what was going on. The constant light just had me riding well into the night constantly for no other reason than it never felt as late as it was.
This standard effect of the midnight sun aside - there's a more obvious challenge as a travel photographer in this region... working hours. Golden and blue hours seem to drag on 3x longer (at least that's what it feels like) but the flip side is that in some points sunrise and set are only a few hours apart.
This makes for a gruelling shoot schedule and often I just found it easier to stay up, taking a break in the middle of the day to have a snooze and just going on a split day routine in order to be up and around during the middle of the night.
A rather strange experience all round, but oh so worth it.

Some Serious Terrain

The highlight of this was my last days in Norway, in which I went all the way out to Trollstigen, battled the rain and cold in order to launch my drone from one of the biggest cliffs I could find... and promptly crashing in the worst possible place.
Flicking the drone out of level mode at an inopportune moment mixed with pilot error (my bad) the drone flicked from a nice steady flight into a sharp downwards somersault - it would have been impressive if I'd meant to do it and it wasn't a big deal; I had plenty of height.
I flicked it back to level mode and throttled up to pull it out of the dive. However this is where the problems really started. It nosed up but had trouble recovering control, the throttle was enough it was still falling and then I got interference on the FPV screen, static filled the screen and I could no longer tell where it was or if it'd even recovered. I frantically looked up trying to find it in the sky, panicking I made my second error, assuming it was lost I hit the kill switch cutting the motors for a hard landing, but it was then that I saw it, still falling out of the sky, it was slowed, but not enough. It had dropped below the hill-line, that's why I lost signal but I still had control on the radio.
I hit the throttle harder, I still had a chance to save this ... but nothing happened. I'd killed the motors.
In reality this all happened in seconds.
It was over all too fast the drone dropped out of sight and somewhere on to the grass of the cliffside, it bounced massively back into the air, before disappearing from sight. The total fall had to be something like a 100m drop.
I grabbed the video controller - and using it's directional antennae, I walked around this cliffside pinpointing the location gradually.
And you know what; it was totally fine. A landing pad had been flung loose and one or to props snapped (all replaceable) but apart from that there was no indication it had just fallen from the height of a large apartment building into a rocky outcrop.
Not even a scratch.
And the footage made for a great ending to the cinematic video - a rather nice way to end the project as a whole, with technology literally meeting terrain in a serious way.

Just have a look for yourself below:
It was time to wrap up.
I'd spent something like 6,000km on the road in a matter of a few weeks.
We flew the drone dozens of time in a matter times, frequently in some amazing locations. Making many mistakes and damaging more than a few protective outer lenses with the inevitable crashes not all of this flights made it into the final cut.
But ultimately we did achieve our goal - to take this new tech and throw it into the environment that I know all so well.