fotograf

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!

Early Saturdays

The beach

After another week with pretty awful weather, the forecast predicted that the boring grey sky blanket would lift Saturday morning, so Friday night I decided that I would get up early to try and capture the sunrise. I choose Storesand beach as my location, its a place I haven’t photographed that often, but I know of some cool things there, like a shed made of the garbage that has been washed up onto the beach.

07:00 in the morning my alarm went off. I had slept pretty little during the night so I had to force myself to get out of bed. I went over to my window to see if the forecast had come true, and lo and behold the sky actually looked pretty good. It was still a lot of heavy clouds, but there were some clear spots and the clouds weren’t just those flat boring grey blanket clouds, but they had some texture to them.

I splashed a lot of water on my face to wake up a little, brushed my teeth, put clothes on and got into my car. From my house its a 20 minute drive to Storesand beach which is located on the island of Kirkøy here at Hvaler. During the summer its booming with people and is a great place to bring the family for some beach fun, but now during the winter you end up with this massive beach all to yourself, specially early in the morning. I arrived at around 07:40 and it was still very dark outside and I had of course forgotten my headlamp, but the parking lot is only a 100 meter walk away from the beach so it wasn’t a problem.

I have photographed the shed on Storesand before, but never during a sunrise. During the winter months the sun doesn’t rise behind the shed, so I was a little worried about getting any colour at all in the sky, and the clouds that looked to be gone when I woke up appeared to be coming back again. And dont get me started on the wind which was pretty insane.

The iPhone really isn’t a great low-light camera, but here’s the X-T2 all set up and ready to go!

The iPhone really isn’t a great low-light camera, but here’s the X-T2 all set up and ready to go!

After having found my composition (I knew before I got there what I wanted to photograph) it was just a waiting game to see if the sun would come out and cast some colour onto the clouds, or if the entire outing would be a miss, at least photography wise.

The X-T2 has a feature I really like which is “interval timer shooting” (ITS). I use this almost every time I find a composition and my camera has to stay still for an extended amount of time. First I set everything up, make sure my focus is correct and take a couple of test exposures, then I put my camera in Aperture Priority mode, switch over to interval timer shooting and let the camera take an exposure every second minute.

The sunrise was a 08:44, so I had plenty of time, so while my camera was shooting in ITS I was just walking around on the beach watching the sky and hoping for the best. The sky never turned crazy good, but in the end I think I got a decent picture.

“The Shed” at Storesand beach taken with the Fuji X-T2 and the 18-55mm

“The Shed” at Storesand beach taken with the Fuji X-T2 and the 18-55mm

Like you can see, its not the most colourful sunrise ever captured, but it has some nice tones and the colourful shed is really something unique in my opinion.

The water is cold in December

After I had gotten what I primarily went out to photograph I ventured further down the beach.
I found some nice looking compositions that I will have to get back and photograph on another day, because the waves washed up so much that I would have been soaked since I weren’t wearing any rubber-shoes, and I really wasn't interested in an early morning winter bath.

Walking around a little more and towards the end of the beach I did find something that I thought looked nice and safe to photograph so I put up my tripod and camera and prepared to take another shot. In the shot posted bellow you guys will see a wave, and thats the wave that made it so I ended up with soaked feet anyways.

“Here it comes” on Storesand beach - Taken with the X-T2 and the 18-55mm

“Here it comes” on Storesand beach - Taken with the X-T2 and the 18-55mm

Was this picture worth getting cold and wet feet over? I don’t know, I kinda like it but I haven’t completely decided yet. What I do know is that when the wave washed up and turned my nice dry warm shoes into a cold wet mess I wanted to head home. So I packed up my gear and walked back to my car. I had then been out since 07:40 and now it was around 09:45 so I had gotten a good couple of hours outside during the morning which was super nice. I also got two pictures that I’m happy enough with so I can’t complain about the start I got on that Saturday.

My future plans

Next weekend I’m going on a little camping trip from Saturday - Sunday with a good friend of mine, we still haven’t decided on a location but both of us have photography as a hobby so hopefully I will be able to capture something. I have also decided that I want to go back to Storesand soon, its a place I really haven’t explored that much but I imagine that there are tons of cool compositions to be found.

And a little wish from me to my few readers, please think of the environment. The amount of plastic and general trash in the ocean is alarmingly high. We should take care of the oceans and the marine life, they are extremely important and we should treat them as such.

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!