We feature some of the brightest Instagram storytellers in the Passion Passport community through our Instagram Spotlight series. This week, Tor Arne Hotvedt (@torahot) tells us about his travels through Norway, Italy, and Japan.

Odda, Norway

The spectacular and famous rock formation known as Trolltunga is located near Odda, a small town and municipality in Norway. It hovers 700 meters above Lake Ringedalsvatnet, and although I am not particularly afraid of heights, looking down at the edge of the cliff made my feet tremble a bit. I hiked up to this point with a friend of mine (@andegri) in late August; it was sunny on our way up, but it started to rain on our way back. There were moments when the sun broke through the clouds and really made the colors of the landscape come to life. The scenery of this place is as breathtaking as it looks, and the lake beneath it is also worth photographing.

Katterås Hyttefelt, Norway

Katterås is a really unknown place in southern Norway — even Norwegians ask me where it is. I’ve been coming here since I was young because my family has a cabin there, and it’s the perfect place to unwind from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. The cell phone reception is scarce, which is an added bonus. In the summer months, I enjoy traveling to Katterås and exploring the surrounding area with my camera, especially right before sunset when the rays of light create beautiful, warm colors. With the right light, even ordinary things can appear extraordinary.

Cinque Terre, Italy

Cinque Terre had been on my bucket list for quite some time, and it was just as beautiful as it appeared in the photos I’d seen. All of these images are from Riomaggiore, which was my favorite of the five villages that comprise Cinque Terre. If you go, I recommend getting up early to avoid crowds of tourists. I have to admit that I’m not really a morning person, but if I have a good idea in mind I will force myself (on occasion) to get up early. Almost all of the villages in Cinque Terre feature alleyways with intricate twists and turns, colorful facades, and stunning coastal scenery, so go out and explore!

Tokyo, Japan

When my wife and I were planning our trip to Asia, we really fell for Japan. We decided to explore the country for two full weeks instead of just staying for a few days. And I’m so glad we did!

To this day, Japan is by far the most amazing country I have ever visited. Tokyo is a photographer’s dream — with charming streets and stunning architecture around every corner, there are photo opportunities everywhere. I’m always drawn to simplicity, symmetry, and lines, so Ginza Crossing was fascinating to me in that sense. It may seem like these photos were taken with a drone, but I was actually standing on the top floor of a shopping center, where the windows were tilted slightly forwards.

Tokyo also has a lot of rainy days, and photographing on such a day can be quite an experience. I have never seen so many people with umbrellas gathered at the same time before.

Osaka, Japan

Osaka is an energetic city filled with futuristic skyscrapers and typical Japanese streets with neon lights and electricity cables. Coming from the small cities of Norway, it was really overwhelming to experience such a city with so many towering buildings, but it was fascinating to see the modern architecture mixed in with more traditional Japanese style. For someone who is fond of symmetry, this is a place where I easily filled up an entire memory card with photos. My favorite spot for these kinds of shots, and for viewing the city from above, is the Umeda Sky Building. The escalator in this image is located inside the building, and it’s actually the tallest escalator in the world.

Related:  Hong Kong’s Hidden Calm
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Tor Arne Hotvedt
Tor Arne Hotvedt is originally from a small town called Larvik in Norway. Although he was educated as a pharmacist, he developed an interest in photography a few years after finishing his schooling and used it as a creative outlet. His images often alternate between city and nature. Tor Arne currently lives in Oslo.

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