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A local treasure

Viker

Even though I think all of Hvaler is extremely beautiful, and if you want to experience the awesome Norwegian coast and nature you can go almost anywhere around the islands and be amazed, there are some places I have a sweet spot for. One of those places is Viker, and if you have read or read my blog you'll know that its a place I have visited quite often.

Usually I go to Viker in the spring, summer and autumn because thats when I think its at its most beautiful. But another reason is that during the winter the rocks out there gets extremely slippery because of the sea-spray that freezes. I was out there about a month ago and no matter where I tried to put my feet down I just could not get any traction.

A morning view of Viker, taken with the iPhone 6S

A morning view of Viker, taken with the iPhone 6S

500 shades of grey

The entirety of last week was another typical Norwegian winter weather week. Grey textureless boring clouds, cold winds and just generally awful conditions. The only glimmer of hope according to the forecast was Sunday, so I decided that I would get up early again and try to capture another sunrise. With the amount of snow we have had the last week, I wasn't sure where I should go and had actually planed to go to a place called Utgårdskilen before I decided against it Sunday morning and drove out to Viker instead.

Getting out there I knew that I really didn't want to go out on the rocks considering how slippery they where the last time I was there, so I decided to just go about 50 meters away from my car and out on a jetty made of rocks and concrete and see if I could capture something from there. It's weird really, I have been at Viker probably 50+ times but I have never really considered going out on the jetty and try to shot from it. Whenever I go to Viker I go out to the coastline on the rocks, its a nice little walk and the views out there are spectacular.

At Viker you're pretty much exposed to the elements, so when its cold outside its even colder out there. Luckily I have been smart enough to invest in some proper gear, so staying warm isn't that much of an issue and I can use my energy to scout and look for compositions instead.

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

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

The jetty out there is shaped like an upside down L, so I walked all the way out to where the turn is and set up my camera. I think the composition is okay, and I'm not sure if there really is a lot of other ways to shot from there. Sure, you can move your camera from side to side and change the parallax, but other than that I don't think there is a lot of options.

Since it had been grey the entire week and was forecasted to clear up in the morning I was hoping for a spectacular sunrise. Well, that didn't happen. The sky got some color in it and the clouds looked interesting, so even though it didn't have a lot of beautiful color it was still worth capturing.

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

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

What I do like about the shot above is the snow in the foreground. I think it gives a good contrast to the rocks and the water, and I'm not sure if I would like this shot at all if it didn't have the snow in it. I will try and go out there again during the fast approaching springtime and see how it looks, but I'm pretty certain this shot in particular works best with the snow.

This week it's supposed to be a little warmer but still grey and boring. I hope that the snow will melt a little so I can go back to Kuvauen again during the weekend if the weather clears up a little. I really want to continue to explore the new place I wrote about in a previous blog, and see what other compositions I can find there.


So until next time, have a good one!

Maybe next time

Early morning

Shooting sunrise is something that can be quite spectacular – this time was not one of those times. 
When my alarm rang 0620 I first thought it was time to go to work, and I spent a good couple of minutes before I remembered that it was in fact Saturday and I had planed to go out in the morning to do some photography. I had already packed my bag the night before, so I just had to brush my teeth, get dressed and fill up my water bottle before I could head out.

The weather this weekend has been so and so, and Saturday morning was nothing special.
I had decided to go to a place called Rødshue on Kirkøy here at Hvaler. Its a park with a lot of different sculptures, and generally a pretty cool place. I have only been there two times before, but never to try to do some proper photography.

You can read more about the park here:
https://www.visitnorway.com/listings/coastal-path-on-kirkøy-(hvaler)/10051/?lang=usa

Taken with the iPhone 6S

Taken with the iPhone 6S

When I left my house it was about -5C degrees, but out there by the coast with a lot of wind the temperature felt like -10C degrees at least. It was so cold that when I wanted to take a zip of water after having walked around for about 30 minutes, the water in my bottle already had little chunks of ice in it. But despite the cold and that it was pitch black outside I ventured on and tried my best to find a decent composition.

The camera set up and ready to go. Taken with the iPhone 6S

The camera set up and ready to go. Taken with the iPhone 6S

The struggle.

You would think that in a sculpture park, with the Norwegian coast right next to it that compositions would just jump out at you. For some people that might be the case, but it most definetly was not for me. I walked around out there for a good hour at least before I found something to try to shot. I went to Rødshue because I wanted to capture some of the sculptures in the sunrise, but I think it's much better to go out there in the evening for some sunset photography instead because the sculptures all points in the wrong direction for the sunrise.

Rødshue Skulptur kunstpark hvaler kirkøy fredrikstad foto

The sunrise in itself was okay I think, not the best I have seen but far from the worst. As you see from the picture I think the left side is okay, but the right side with the really ugly cloud ruins it for me. I'm not a fan of the composition neither, and I'm kinda annoyed with myself for not being able to find something better to photograph out there. I will probably go back there some other time during the sunset instead and see if its easier to find something to photograph then. There are a lot of cool sculptures out there and a lot of rocks and paths that absolutely should make for some interesting shots, I just have to have a second look I think and keep practicing my composition skills.

My February plans

I hope that I will be able to go on a camping trip during February, I just need/want the weather to be a little better first. Next weekend I'm hoping that I will be able to go out again for another sunrise or sunset trip, I don't know where just yet but it will most likely be somewhere here at Hvaler again. Also, the days are getting noticeably longer now, so it won't be long before I can do some shooting in the evening after work also which I'm really looking forward too.

So until next time, have a good one!

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!

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!

Wild Camping & Photography

Camping season has finally started, I went on my first trip a couple of weeks ago but I got a serious headache during the afternoon so I didn't do any photography on that trip. This weekend a friend and I went back to the same place and camped again and it was a great trip. 

 

My home away from home

My home away from home

The place we went to is called Vansjø, its a pretty big lake and my friend has one of those cool little inflatable boats with a little electric engine on it so we took that and drove it out to a little island. 

The island itself is awesome, it got everything you need for a good day out and its relatively close to the shore if something bad is going to happen. Right next to the islands there's a smaller island that is crowded with seagulls, and if you're like me you get kinda tired of the insanely loud screams after a while - so luckily I remembered to bring my earplugs for when it was time to go to sleep. 

Every time I go camping I bring my fishing equipment, but I never catch anything (neither does my buddy so thats a small comfort). I dont know if its because I use the wrong lures or bait, I buy what I see other people recommend but so far all I have gotten is a couple of tiny baby fish.

A nest with eggs

A nest with eggs

One of the cool things to find was a nest with eggs, and there were some birds around the island laying on their nests as well. I'm a big believer in that you shouldn't disturb animals in the wild, so we set our camp away from the birds and tried to be as quiet as we could the entire time. I'm not really a bird person, but seeing the birds in the wild laying on their eggs like that is actually something I haven't experienced before so that was cool. 

The weather was really nice during the day, so I didn't do much photography before the sun went down, but I did try out a really long exposure shot of another island with a little cabin on it. In my camera bag I have both the Big-Stopper and Little-Stopper from Lee, so I combined those two together with my Polarizer and got a total of 18 stops of light for a 15 minute exposure. It was kinda windy so I'm actually surprised that my tripod was sturdy enough, and I actually think the end result was nice enough. The sun is in the middle of the sky so there isn't any beautiful golden light or anything like that, but it has a nice "camp" feel to it. 

A 15 minute long exposure taken with the Fuji X-T2 and the 18-55mm at f11.

A 15 minute long exposure taken with the Fuji X-T2 and the 18-55mm at f11.

Just 20-30 minutes before the sun was about to set a huge bank of clouds rolled in over Vansjø, making the possibility of some nice golden light on the trees slim to none. So I took my equipment with me and ventured over to the other side of the island where a log was pointing out into the water, and there was some cracks in the sky letting some nice colour shine trough and reflect on the water. My tripod stood on some really shaky ground, so I was a little worried that I would get some blur because of that but in the end it turned out okay I think. 

A 30 second exposure taken with the Fuji X-T2 and the 18-55mm at f11

A 30 second exposure taken with the Fuji X-T2 and the 18-55mm at f11

After I had that shot in the bag I was satisfied. The little colour that was there quickly disappeared and at least this time I got a couple of shots that I'm happy with compared to last time when my head started to ache like crazy. 

I packed up my stuff and went back to the camp to grab a beer and barbecue some sausages on the camp fire and just relax and talk with my buddy. 

A nice little camp fire

A nice little camp fire

By the way, when camping (or if you're just out in the woods) make sure to pick up your litter! Every time I go camping or just for a walk I find so much trash and it sucks. How selfish and stupid do you have to be to throw your trash in nature, ruining it for everybody. Leave no trace behind is a golden rule that we all should follow.  

And before I end this post, I also just want to tell everybody to be careful when handling hooks for their fishing equipment, I somehow always manage to get it stuck in one of my fingers. It might not look that bad but I would still prefer to not have it happen you know....

The result of getting a hook stuck in my thumb, again.

The result of getting a hook stuck in my thumb, again.

So until next time, have a good one!