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December & January

A little overdue!

What a nice December and January I’ve had. I have been on a camping trip, I have celebrated Christmas with my family and I have been able to go out and shot a couple of times - what more can I ask for? 

At the start of December a friend and I decided to go camping at a place called Børtevann. Its a big lake with some nice forrest around it, and its a place we have camped before. The last time we were there was in late August and the weather was amazing, and I even got some cool shots of the morning mist on the lake that time.

Taken with the X-T2 and the 55-200 lens

Taken with the X-T2 and the 55-200 lens

This time though the weather was awful with completely flat textureless grey skies, no light and just generally boring conditions. And it was absolutely freezing, I think at the end of the night I was wearing three pairs of wools socks, two pairs of wool underwear beneath by pants, three wool shirts, a fleece sweater and a down jacket. But even though the weather didn’t play ball, and the photography part of the camping trip didn’t go as planed for my part, the camping trip itself was pretty cool. We actually managed to order pizza and have it delivered in the woods to eat around the fire, and let me tell you, it tasted awesome. I’m absolutely going to go back to Børtevann during the spring, I’m certain that there are a lot of nice shots to be had there with the right conditions.

Pizza and a bonfire, perfect!

Pizza and a bonfire, perfect!

Going back to Kuvauen

In December I had 12 vacation days around Christmas, so I got to spend some quality time with my family and I got to go out and do some shooting. All in all a perfect way to end 2018!

Those of you who read my blog know that I mostly shot around where I live here in Hvaler, and this time was no different. My first trip out during my vacation went to Kuvauen, its one of my absolute favourite places to go and I almost always have the entire spot to myself. Its a place thats great for photography, but its also a place I can highly recommend if you just want to spend some time outdoors and experience the beautiful Norwegian coastal nature. Having been going to Kuvauen so often I sometimes struggle with finding new compositions, and I dont’t bother with shooting the same composition twice unless the conditions are a lot better. Luckily there was a lot of sea that day that made for some dynamic pictures with a lot of motion, so in the end I think I got a couple of photos worth keeping.

Taken with the X-T2 and the 18-55mm lens.

Taken with the X-T2 and the 18-55mm lens.

There were some serious waves that day and I was pretty close to the edge of the rocks, but I luckily avoided being soaked by the sea spray, and my camera stayed dry. The picture above was the first picture of the day, and after I had taken that I ventured further down along the coast to see if I could find another picture to take. The light that day was pretty nice, so even though it was only around 14:00 o’clock, the low winter sun made it almost look like sunset. After walking around for about 15 - 20 minutes I stumbled upon a composition that I hadn’t seen before, and with the light being great and the ocean full of motion it made for a cool shot.

Taken with the X-T2 and the 18-55mm lens

Taken with the X-T2 and the 18-55mm lens

After I had grabbed this shot I looked at my watch (aka iPhone) and decided that I was going to run back to my car (about 30 minutes) and head out to a place called Brattestø to shoot the sunset.

Same day, different conditions

I made it out to Brattestø with about 15 minutes left until sunset, so I had to act quickly to find my composition. Brattestø is most famous for its, lets be honest, ugly lighthouse called “Pikesten fyr”, so setting up a shot there isn’t the hardest task in the world, seing that its the lighthouse you want to capture there.

As you have seen from the shots above, the light that day was very golden yellow/orange, so I was pretty surprised when I got to Brattestø and saw that the conditions were completely different. The sky was covered in some great looking clouds, and at the horizon the sun was setting casting a thin line of pink across the bottom of the sky. The light quickly died out after I had gotten a couple of shots, but I’m glad that I made the run back to my car and drove the 15 minutes from Kuvauen to Brattestø. I feel like I was rewarded with a nice picture in the end for my little impromptu jog.

Taken with the X-T2 and the 18-55mm Lens

Taken with the X-T2 and the 18-55mm Lens

January 2019

So far I haven’t been out photographing that much in January. There was a weekend when we were supposed to be able to see the aurora, and I went out and got a couple of star shots before the clouds completely covered the sky, hiding any signs of an aurora anyway.

I have of course been back at Kuvauen though, and this time I went in a different direction than I normally do when I go out there. I have always walked all the way down to the shore and then followed the coastline in a northern direction. This time though I decided I should try and see what I could find walking south instead, and I am glad that I did. I don’t know why I haven’t checked out the other direction before, it has just been a habit to walk the same path every time I guess. Anyway, after having balanced over a stretch about 50 meters with round slippery rocks, climbed a little hill and then walked some more I found what I think was a good composition.

I was outside pretty early that day, I left from home at around 13:00, and was set up at the place I wanted to shoot at around 14:00. The sun was scheduled to set at 16:06 so I just had to wait patiently. Around 15:20 the light started to be pretty good, and the sky looked pretty awesome in my opinion, so I set my camera in interval timer shooting and let it shoot through the entire sunset.

Taken with the X-T2 and 18-55mm lens

Taken with the X-T2 and 18-55mm lens

As you can see there was a lot of drama in the sky, and I think the composition is pretty decent. I’m definetly going to check out more of the southern direction of Kuvauen, it feels like a completely different place so far which is awesome.

I even took a selfie while I was out there, something I normally dont do, and standing still for 1 minute is pretty hard if i’m going to be honest.

Taken with the X-T2 and the 18-55mm lens

Taken with the X-T2 and the 18-55mm lens

Im gonna end this blogpost here, but so far I think 2019 has gotten off to a great start and I’m hoping it will stay that way. I have a list of places I want to go this year both locally and a little further away, so hopefully its going to be my best year photography wise.

So until next time, have a good one!

Summer Vacation Part 1

What an awesome summer this has been. I started my vacation on Friday the 13th of July and on the morning after my family and I got in the car and headed for our cabin in Skåbu, a little place on the mountain outside of Vinstra. 

I had a lot of plans for both photography, hiking and fishing, and I'm glad to report back that I got to do almost everything I had hoped. 

From our home in Hvaler its a five hour drive to get to the cabin, but its worth it in the end and the drive itself is actually pretty spectacular. As you drive further and further up north you can see that the land changes. Where Østfold is flat and kinda boring in that regard, the further north you get the bigger the mountains become and we get an awesome scenery that is completely different from what we are used to at home. 

Sheep, so many sheep. Taken with the iPhone 6S

Sheep, so many sheep. Taken with the iPhone 6S

It isn't just the scenery thats different, at the mountain there are a ton of sheep, cows and goats that just hang out on the roads walking around eating stuff and living life. My three year old son loves looking at the different animals and is the world champion at making sheep noises, something that never gets annoying. 

We have been going to the cabin for summer for a lot of years now, but we have almost always visited the same spots when we have been there, so this summer my gf and I decided that we wanted to explore some more, and get to know the areas around us. We bought a map and found some cool locations, some that we went to for walks as a family, and some that I went to by myself as a hike. 

 

Vinsterfossen

I had no idea before we bought the map that a short 20 minute car ride from the cabin and a nice 2-3km hike would take me to a beautiful waterfall, called Vinsterfossen.  So one evening I naturally had to go there and check it out, and it did not disappoint. 

The start of the trail to get to Vinsterfossen! Taken with the iPhone 6S

The start of the trail to get to Vinsterfossen! Taken with the iPhone 6S

The hike itself is easy enough if you're in okay/good shape. There are some parts that are pretty steep, but all in all I think most people would be able to go there from the starting point I used. There are however other ways to get there which are a lot quicker if you prefer that which are super if you're going there with kids or people who aren't in shape to hike but want to see beautiful places.  

The waterfall itself is about a 20 meter drop, and when you get to it you have to do some "climbing"  if you want to get down to the bottom of it. Being that this was my first time there I didn't know how to get down to the bottom of it, so I sat up my camera on the top for the first image of the evening. 

Taken with the X-T2 and the Fuji 18-55 with a Lee Polarizer and the Lee Little Stopper.

Taken with the X-T2 and the Fuji 18-55 with a Lee Polarizer and the Lee Little Stopper.

After I had the shot from above the waterfall in the bag, I really wanted to find a way to get down to the bottom. So I started walking a bit further into the woods where I found a trail that was maybe 15cm wide and going pretty much straight down. I'm not much of a climber, and it wasn't very challenging to get down there, but I won't recommend that people take their kids down there if they aren't old enough to do some basic climbing. Once I got down I saw that there was a lot of cool rocks and different compositions to be shot, so I sat up my camera again and started shooting. 

The X-T2 ready to go! Taken with the iPhone 6S

The X-T2 ready to go! Taken with the iPhone 6S

The first image from down bellow is pretty much straight at the waterfall with the nice rock as a complementary element in the fore/middle ground of the picture. The summer this year has been super dry so a lot of the trees with leafs, and flowers on the ground has that beautiful early autumn colour already which I think looked pretty good in the final photo. 

But I have to say, from an environmental standpoint the summer we have had so far is pretty scary, but I'm not gonna ramble on about that - back to the blog! 

As you're gonna see in the picture bellow, I once again used a long exposure on the waterfall. I know that its a little overdone and cliché, but I really like the look of the silky smooth water running down the mountain. 

Taken with the X-T2 and the Fuji 18-55 with a Lee Polarizer and the Lee Little Stopper.

Taken with the X-T2 and the Fuji 18-55 with a Lee Polarizer and the Lee Little Stopper.

After I had taken the picture, I felt pretty happy when I reviewed it on the LCD of my camera and almost wanted to go straight back to the cabin and look at it on my Mac. But I wanted to do some more shooting before I packed up so I went a little further down the stream and found another cool rock that I thought would work well as a foreground element. 

Taken with the X-T2 and the Fuji 18-55 with a Lee Polarizer and the Lee Little Stopper.

Taken with the X-T2 and the Fuji 18-55 with a Lee Polarizer and the Lee Little Stopper.

Again, look at some of the colour on the leaves that have fallen, and you could mistake this for being in the middle of September not the middle of July, we desperately need some rain right now. 

Being at Vinsterfossen was pretty cool for me personally. I have never really seen a waterfall live before, so witnessing the power of the water as it fell 20 meters straight down and hearing the thundering noises that it made was awe inspiring, so I wanted to try and get another picture before I started my climb/hike back to the car. 

Walking another 20-30 meters or so further down the stream I saw another composition that I thought looked interesting. In this picture the waterfall really isn't the main focal point, but a part of a nice backdrop for the foreground interest instead.

Taken with the X-T2 and the Fuji 18-55 with a Lee Polarizer and the Lee Little Stopper.

Taken with the X-T2 and the Fuji 18-55 with a Lee Polarizer and the Lee Little Stopper.

After I had taken that picture I packed up everything and headed back for the cabin. I was and still am so glad that we bought that map, going to Vinsterfossen is one of my absolute best photography experiences, and I hope I will experience many like it in the future. 

And I can't stress this enough - Invest in a polarizer! Seriously, I don't use mine nearly as often as I should, but I'm so glad I have one and that I brought it with me. Without it there was some serious issues with glaring on the rocks in all of the images, and I feel that the polarizer helped take most of it away so it didn't ruin any of the images. 

This post is part 1 of 2 that I will write about the summer in Skåbu. In part 2 I will write about my hike to the summit of Olasfjellet where there were some serious winds that made photography so, so difficult. 

So until next time, have a good one!

The windy sunset

Nothing beats having a couple of days off from work. I get to spend time with my family and squeeze in some me time to go shooting. It didn't look like the sunset would be particularly good last night, but I still wanted to go out and I decided to go somewhere I have been many times before, a place called Kuvauen. 

If you have read any of my other blogs or looked at my pictures you'll now that Kuvauen is a place I go to quite often. Its a beautiful place and the hike to get there is a great little hike. My dog and I go for walks there almost every day, and now during the summer when its nice and hot outside we use to finish our walks with a little swim in the ocean. 
 

Taken with the iPhone6S

Taken with the iPhone6S

There are a tons of places where the colour of the rock is this deep saturated red/brownish colour. I really want to take a picture of it sometime, but I still haven't found a nice composition or figured out a way to include it in an image yet, but one day I know I will. 

Lately the weather has been awesome here where I live in Hvaler, but last night the wind was something else. The ocean was stormy and some of the waves got pretty big, splashing over the coastline. I decided to skip the shorts and t-shirt, and put on a sweater and some pants, but as soon as the sun was starting to go down I regretted that I didn't bring more clothes and I was cold and miserable. I was also a little nervous the entire time I was out there that a wave would wash up and spray/knock down my camera. To take the image of the composition I wanted, I had to put my camera a little close to the water. In the end I managed to find a spot that didn't have any wet spots on it, so I figured that ment that the water wouldn't hit my camera as long as the waves didn't get any bigger. 

My camera all set up and ready to go (Taken with the iPhone6S) 

My camera all set up and ready to go (Taken with the iPhone6S) 

Sunset is at around 22:00 right now where I live, and I left my house and arrived to Kuvauen at around 19:30 so I had plenty of time to find a composition. Having been there so many times before I have now started to go "blind" and usually struggle to find something new to photograph when I'm there. This time though I was actually a little lucky and found a good spot that I thought looked interesting pretty quick, so when the clock was about 20:30 I had already set up all my gear screwed on my polarizer and focused my shot. 

The sun was now low on the horizon shining straight into my camera lens, so I waited a little bit before I started shooting and just hung out in the wind and watched the ocean. When it was about 40 minutes left until sunset I put my camera into Intervalometer shooting and took a series of bracketed exposures every 2nd minute until the sun had completely set. My plan originally for the picture was to show the movement of the water, but I had to change my plan during the shooting and use my 10stop ND-filter when I didn't get the movement in the water that I wanted. 

 

A 240 second exposure taken with the Fuji X-T2 at f11 with the 18-55mm f2.8-4

A 240 second exposure taken with the Fuji X-T2 at f11 with the 18-55mm f2.8-4

As you can see, the sunset didn't go "wild," just as I had predicted before I left my house. There was a blanket of grey clouds going deep below the horizon line stopping the sun from lighting the clouds from below. But I am still happy that I went out to shoot and I think the image I ended up with turned out okay even though I would have loved a little more colour in the sky. 

I hope this is just the beginning of a great summer with loads of photography opportunities, and hopefully I will be writing another blog soon enough. 

So until next time, have a good one!