Alex Harford Photography & Travel


Photos of Medieval Time Travel: Dragons and Norse Warriors

I was recently given the opportunity to travel back in time. After hearing rumours of dragons in 13th century Scandinavia, I chose to travel back to Norse times.

One electronic item was allowed. We were told we could communicate with the present to call for help if needed - with radio or mobile phones - but only 1G technology would work. What 1G phone has a camera? Dragons could potentially be very dangerous, so the mobile or radio might be useful...but - dragons! Obviously I wanted photos. Obviously I took my camera.

I wouldn't believe it until I saw them for myself (I still don't) - the dragons were the most incredible living thing I've ever seen. Magnificent and fearsome. I felt something I can't explain when one looked me in the eye - it was like all the world's history, pain and joy flashed through me in a millisecond. Their iris' were filled with the biggest fires burning in the deepest oceans, with pupils like a black hole that had swallowed every universe.

I was too in awe to get my camera out, and after our Old Norse translator was badly burnt, the Norse handlers didn't let the dragons come close again (you thought health and safety rules were bad now). It was even more awesome to see them fly though. On the ground they seem huge and cumbersome, but in the sky their movements seem effortless. The handlers did an amazing job of directing the dragons to fly where I requested, as you'll see. Some photos took a few attempts to get right, so we got through more goats than planned.

Every person pictured below is a model who time-travelled - the Norse people were too freaked out by my camera. After seeing a photo of one of them, if I even pointed my camera in their direction, they went berserkr (that doesn't need much translation to English). They said not to skirra (scare) them again, wouldn't give me any more kaka (cake), said it was a mistaka (mistake) and I would go to Hel (Hell - did we need a translator anyway?) if they didn't slahtr (slaughter) me first. Other than that, they were nice people.

I'm not sure exactly where in Scandinavia we were, but the building I photographed looks suspiciously like the ruins of the 12th century Lilleshall Abbey in Shropshire, England.

The Norse didn't want us to loan their clothes or armour either. Thankfully, Christopher Peet was on hand - the amazing outfits are from his Norse Dragon Armoury, apart from Nadine's Norse Dragon Chest, Vambraces and Greaves by Black Raven Armoury. I couldn't tell the difference between the models and the Norse once they were dressed. At one point Phil Bruce pretended to be a Norse local, and I thought my life was over (there wouldn't have been time to reach for a mobile phone anyway).


Nadine had a few minutes to spare before she travelled back to the present. I was very pleased as this is my favourite shot of the day.

Nadine on PurplePort
Nadine on Facebook

Phil Bruce and Faith Breese

Faith Breese was more fearsome than some of the warriors. This was the moment she told Phil Bruce she'd show him his grave. I don't think he realised the seriousness of the threat...

Phil Bruce on PurplePort
Phil Bruce on Facebook

Faith Breese on Facebook

Raven Balor

Raven Balor remained amazingly cool when the local shaman conjured up some ghosts of him. Don't worry about the blood - it's from one of the goats that was fed to a dragon.

Raven Balor on PurplePort

Melissa Bushell as a Vǫlva

A vǫlva is a female shaman and seer from Norse times. Our translator said the literal translation is "bearer of a magic staff."

There's no Photoshop involved - Melissa accidentally did some sort of spell to cast that blue light, and also made the trees go all weird.

Melissa on PurplePort

Wolf and G. Brodie as a Viking

G. Brodie turned up to tell us our time was up, and I snapped this photo just in time.

G. Brodie on Instagram


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