Norway 2012 – Autumn in Dovrefjell

In September 2012 my friend Arnfinn Johannsen ( invited Danny Green (, Tom Dyring ( and myself for a week long trip to the mountains of central Norway in search of Musk Oxen and wild Reindeers. The latter proved unsuccessful, but we could spend a nice 5 days in Dovrefjell photographing the Musk oxen with a beautiful background of autumn colors. Thanks to Arnfinn’s meticulous organization, we could do our photography work from morning to evening under ever changing skies and light, and enjoy an evening dinner together and night under the comfortable protection of a nordic “lavvu”.

Finding a 300kg/2m long dark haired ox in the almost treeless landscape of Norway’s highlands is not particularly challenging, as over 300 of those animals that were reintroduced some 80 years ago now roam the area, but approaching them and finding good angles and backgrounds for pictures was all the trick. When grazing in small herds the musk ox might seems like a peaceful and harmless creature, but like other large sized bovids dominant males have quite a temperament, and a carefully planned approach is needed to safely get close to the animals. A wrongful or hurried drive will be almost certainly punished by an impressive “bluff” charge that will only stop a few meters away from you, and that was just a warning… But when being sufficiently cautious and patient, the reward is to get the herd confident enough to move closer to you and sometimes surround you as if you were just another stone in the landscape.

Here are some of the pics i managed to get, and i already look forward to a next trip to Dovrefjell, this time in winter when the entire landscape is snowy white, except for the musk oxen.

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