How Does A Professional Photographer Tell A Story? Overland’s Luke Madden in Norway

In this post, we’ve asked professional photographer, Luke Madden, to tell us a bit about some of his favorite Overland photos in Norway. For anyone who aspires to be a professional photographer, these photos and comments can show you how a seasoned pro does it.

Kayaking is one of the key components of Overland’s Norway trips. Being in a kayak in the early morning on a Fjord is an experience that has not lost any of its splendor since I took this shot in 2019 with a Norway Explorer group. The sunlight coming through the steep cliffs onto the crystal clear water takes on a quality I’ve only ever seen in Norway. Sometimes showing a single Overland student in the environment can help accentuate the personal Overland experience that each student is part of.

Undredal is one of my favorite villages I’ve passed through with Overland. It sits right on the Fjord and you can hop out of a kayak right into the middle of town. Showing the access that Norway Expedition students have to amazing places like this is something I think is important to show in Overland imagery. The routes and location choices are all carefully crafted by Overland Trip Planners on scouting trips.

Camping in a Fjord can’t be beat. It’s quiet, humbling, and beautiful. Overland students always have a way of naturally unwinding at camp after a long day, and sometimes I find the most candid moments during this time. These two, on Norway Explorer, asked if they could use the Overland banner completely unprompted.

Many times while I am hiking in to meet a group, I have no phone service and only a general idea of where the group will be. This was one of those times, and on top of all that it had been raining all morning. I had no idea if the day would be a wash or not, but then the sun peeked out from the clouds right as this Norway Explorer group got their first great view of the Fjord below.

This is another one of my all time favorite Overland photos. It’s not a typical scene that you would see in the catalog or on the website, but it’s such a perfect example of being fully immersed in a new place. This was near the end of a grueling day on Norway Expedition with lots of rain and wind. We took a snack break in the shelter of this fishing shack, and as we were leaving—you can see the Overland group on the right in a tight circle with their hiking poles raised—a family emerged to organize their nets. Seeing both groups—the family, and the Overland kids and leaders—working together in such a remote and harsh but sublimely beautiful environment gave me a second wind to finish up the day with a smile on my face and a newfound lightness in my step.

Luke has been photographing for Overland since the role was created around 2010/11. Working with the Overland team, the role of Overland photographer has evolved into a critical means of sharing the Overland story with families, leaders, and the outdoor community. Luke has traveled across the country, to the Virgin Islands and Costa Rica, and throughout Europe to capture the experience of Overland’s students. During the rest of the year, Luke lives in Maine and does freelance work for a number of nonprofits which specialize in education and research/conservation.

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    Tom Costley

    When Tom Costley founded Overland in 1984, he sought to create experiences for young people that were fun, where new friendships could grow, where natural beauty was embraced, where there were real and varied challenges, and where Overland’s students would achieve something of importance to them. Overland’s focus on small groups, carefully crafted trips, and superlative leadership has made it a leader in the summer camp world. Overland’s commitment to excellence in everything it does has led to its success: over the past four decades, Overland has served 40,000 students and 5,000 trip leaders. Tom writes about the outdoors and travel from Williamstown, Massachusetts.

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