foto blog

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!

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!