Lofoten under the midnight sun. The narrow, UNESCO listed Nærøyfjord. The Norwegian west coast off Sotra. With Tomasz Furmanek’s kayak in the foreground, these are all getting a lot of attention on the world wide web.
Tomasz Furmanek bought his first kayak in 2005. Two or three years earlier, he had started taking pictures as a hobby. Perhaps it was just a matter of time before he brought his cameras out on the water?
“It wasn’t so much for the pictures, at first, that I went kayaking. But photography has become a much more important hobby now, than it was back then,” says Furmanek to Visit Norway.
The two interests – kayaking and photography – should prove to be a golden combination. Today, his kayak pictures are making waves online. Yesterday, he was featured in the major British newspaper Daily Mail, and he has a rapidly growing following on Instagram, numbering just under 78,000 at the time of writing.
“I’m out on the water two or three times a week, not counting the weekends. I mostly paddle after work, and at times I have taken leave from work as well,” he says.
Tomasz Furmanek. Photo: Øyvind Heen
Many of the images follow the same pattern. You see the tip of the kayak, surrounded by calm water. But then, you notice the landscapes all around.
Living in Bergen, Furmanek is surrounded by some of the world’s finest coastal and fjord landscapes. Moreover, his Oru kayak can be folded to fit in a backpack.
“The coast outside Sotra near Bergen is very nice. When I want to paddle in the fjords, I often go to the areas near Gudvangen and Flåm, though there are a lot of people the in summer. Lofoten is great, but waters can be rough, depending on the weather. You should have a guide there if you’re a beginner,” he says.
For those who want to give it a try, Furmanek recommends taking a beginner’s course, so that you’re trained to get back in the kayak should you fall into the water. Beyond that, the sport is suitable for most people.
The pictures, however, require the right equipment and timing. Furmanek himself mainly uses GoPro and compact cameras, as well as his waterproof phone, a Galaxy S7 edge.
“I rarely bring an SLR out on the water. In good light, the difference between those and compacts is way smaller than it was only five years ago,” he says.
As for the timing, it depends on what you’re after.
“Spring, autumn and winter are usually best for photography, and also in the late evening or early morning. Then the water is still and you get the best light. But in Northern Norway it’s great in summer, considering the midnight sun. Kayaking at night at Lofoten is great, and you can get very good conditions,” he explains.
Give it a shot, if you’d like – and enjoy these ones from Furmanek himself.
If you really want to get up close and personal with the stunning Norwegian fjord and coastal landscape, kayaks or canoes are ideal options. Buckle up for a paddling adventure – here are some of the hotspots.