fredrikstad

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!

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!

Viker, again!

After what has felt like a year with miserable weather, the grey textureless cloud blanket disappeared right in time for easter and the five days I have off from work. 

Now that the winter is supposed to be gone (its still freezing outside) the sun doesn't set before around 20:00, which means that I again have time to go out and shot in the afternoon before its pitch black and be able to look around and find some compositions, something that I have really missed the last five months. 

Last night I ended up at Viker again, its one of my favourite places here at Hvaler but its starting to get kinda hard to find anything to shot out there that I haven't already shot. 

 

Doing some scouting with the iPhone 6S.

Doing some scouting with the iPhone 6S.

The walk from the parking lot and out to the shore is a short 10 minutes. Its not very difficult to get there, but once you're there it feels like you're far away from society, something I enjoy when I'm out in nature. 

Yesterday when I got there I first walked to the rocks you see in the upper left corner of the scouting picture, but I had no chance at finding anything there to photograph that I hadn't already done. I mean, I have no issues with taking the same picture twice, but then the second picture has to be an improvement on the first one and yesterday that would not have been the case. 

So after walking around for about an hour on that distant rock, I gave up and headed back to where the scouting picture is taken from. And lo and behold, I found something that I hadn't noticed before, a nice rock in the water, not connected to the main land at all. It caught my eye, and I decided that tonight, trying to capture that rock in the sunset would be my goal. 

The X-T2 set up and ready to go for sunset. (Taken with the iPhone 6S)

The X-T2 set up and ready to go for sunset. (Taken with the iPhone 6S)

When I got to my final location I still had about 40 minutes before sunset, so I could really take my time to set up, focus properly and do small adjustments to my composition until I was satisfied. About 10 minutes before the sun went down I put my camera to intervalometer mode and just let it take three bracketed exposures every minute. When the sun had gone down completely, I put on my Lee Big Stopper (10stop ND) and took a 125second exposure to smooth out the water. Lately I haven't been that fond of really long exposures, specially on water- but on this occasion I thought I worked out well. 

Fuji X-T2, 18-55f2.8-4 at 30mm with a 125second exposure. 

Fuji X-T2, 18-55f2.8-4 at 30mm with a 125second exposure. 

When I had taken the images I needed and wanted I did what I normally do, packed my camera gear and just sat on the rocks and enjoyed the rest of the sunset. 

So even though it was very cold and a little windy, I ended up with a shot and I got to experience yet another beautiful sunset at one of my favourite locations. And now that summer is getting closer, the sun will stay up longer and longer giving me the opportunity to go out and shot even more. I also have a lot of plans for some wild camping this year, so hopefully I will be able to get some good shots out of those trips as well. 

So until next time, have a good one!

Hvaler by night

As most people know the winter in Norway means short, short days. The sun sets very early so excluding weekends the chance to go out and shoot sunsets or just scenes filled with light in general are rare. I consider myself more of a photographer who enjoys sunrise and sunset photos than night/astrophotography, and I have never really bothered to try it before neither.  But this winter I decided to try and go out when there was clear skies, and no moon (it doesn't happen very often) to capture the stars above the islands of Hvaler. 

 

Taken with the Fuji X-T2 and the 18-55f2.8-4

Taken with the Fuji X-T2 and the 18-55f2.8-4

The first trip out was late October, and to my big surprise you can actually see the milkyway pretty clear here at Hvaler. Its the first time I have managed to capture it, so that was very exciting as well, and even though the technical aspect of the photo definitely show that this isn't the type of photography I normally do it was fun to make it. 

This photo was taken at Viker, one of my favourite places to go here at Hvaler. I know it like the back of my hand and if I ever want to go out and do some shooting but I dont have a specific location in mind, I always end up at Viker. Its a beautiful place and I very rarely meet other people there when I walk out on the rocks towards the ocean. 

 

Fuji X-T2 with the 18-55f2.8-4

Fuji X-T2 with the 18-55f2.8-4

November came and went, and the weather never got good enough that I would be able to capture some stars. But in December I got some nice nights, and on one of them I went to Brattestø. Its a "beach" filled with big rocks and a rather ugly lighthouse to be honest, but its still one of the most photographed places in Hvaler. As you can clearly see, the milkyway is almost invisible come December, at least here in Hvaler, as far as I  know the best months to photograph it is October through November up here - but please correct me if I'm wrong.  

Again I had the place all to myself, and I spent a couple of hours there, just enjoying being outside in the cold gazing up at the stars. Even though I have never before been a big fan of doing night/astrophotography I have always thought that the night sky is one of the most beautiful things we can look at, specially on cold nights when the air is crystal clear. 

 

Taken with the iPhone6S

Taken with the iPhone6S

A thermos with hot coffee is a must when you're spending several hours outside at night in freezing temperatures. And a batteribank for the phone, lets just say the iPhone isn't a fan of the cold and without the batteribank my phone dies the second I take it out of my pocket. 

With the milkyway being almost invisible now on the night skies here in Hvaler I wanted to try something that I have always thought looked cool - making star trails. So last night, I had my first trip out to do some shooting in 2018 and went to a place called Ørekroken, which is located on the island Kirkøy. From the place I went you can see Viker (the place on the first photo) beneath the trails and I was happy enough with how it turned out. One thing I learned though is that I need a second camera. Doing star trails and letting the camera be static for 1 hour gets kinda boring. Don't get me wrong, I love just sitting and watching the sky and enjoying the peace and quiet, but I also want to be able to do something else if I feel like it, or I see another composition. 

Taken with the Fuji X-T2 and the 18-55f2.8-4

Taken with the Fuji X-T2 and the 18-55f2.8-4

What I learned from making my first star trail photo is also that I need a lot more than 80 pictures. I learned that even though the interval timer in the X-T2 is awesome, I need a remote to avoid the 1sec delay between the pictures, because there are a lot of small gaps. And I learned that I need a new mac, because holy macaroni! Editing and stacking all those files was a pain. All in all I'm happy with how it turned out, and want to try to make some more star trail photos. 

This winter has been fun for me, I have gone out of my comfort zone and tried something new that I haven't done before. Doing photography at night is absolutely something I will continue with, and instead of dreading the next winter I actually look forward to it. The winter will last at least a couple of more months here, until late February early March, so if the weather comes good again, the moon stays away so the sky is super dark I will absolutely bring my thermos and the camera equipment of for another long cold night to do some photography. 

So until next time, have a good one!

Summer - Better late than never

So finally the summer decided to come to Norway, it only waited until May 19th - but better late than never. 

The last few weeks have been a total mess, its been raining almost none stop, with heavy winds and boring grey skies. But as I drove home from work yesterday the weather suddenly cleared up and I knew that I had to go out for a walk with my camera that evening after I had put my kid to sleep. 

I went to a place called "Guttormsvauen" here in Hvaler where I live, from the parking lot its about a 15 minute walk before you're out by the water and the rocks. Having been there several times before I didn't have any high hopes of capturing anything new - and to be honest I struggle to find decent or good compositions out there, but none the less, its a nice walk and I wanted to be outside for a couple of hours. 

 

 

The view from "Guttormsvauen" looking over the water to the "Sister Islands." (Taken with the iPhone 6S)   

The view from "Guttormsvauen" looking over the water to the "Sister Islands." (Taken with the iPhone 6S)

 

After having walked around for a bit, not finding anything particular that I felt I wanted to photograph I put my gear down and just walked around the mountain looking, thats when I came over a spot that I haven't seen before, even though I have been there hundreds of times.

The light was quickly fading, so I had to run back and get my gear, but I was to late, most of the natural light had already disappeared and I was thinking about packing up my gear. But then I remembered that I had my headlamp, so I tried to illuminate the near foreground with it, and having never used artificial light in nature before - I think it came out pretty cool. 

 

Sunset at "Guttormsvauen" - Taken with the Sony a6000

Sunset at "Guttormsvauen" - Taken with the Sony a6000

When I had captured this I packed up and almost ran back to my car, because I remembered another scene that I wanted to capture as well, but as I got to my car it was no longer any light left - so that will be for another day. 

So until next time, have a good one!

 

A gorgeous sunset at Viker

Finally I was able to go out and do some shooting again, I dont even remember the last time I did it. The last couple of months when I have been using my camera its been to take some snapshots and candid photos of my family. But my passion for photography came as a part of my love for nature, so to finally be able to go outside alone and do some shooting again was so sweet.

I got to take my first panorama as well last night, but I'm not able to upload it here, I get an error when I try. Now that spring is truly upon us, and the weather is getting better and the sun stays up for longer I hope to get out a lot more. I also have a goal that I will do at least five wild camping solo trips this year, and I'm stacking up on camping gear! 

But anyways, it was nice to go outside again, it would have been an awesome night out without the camera as well, but I'm glad I had it.

 

So until next time, have a good one! 

Cheers!