landscape photography

Falcon

Satellite scouting

I have been having a hard time figuring out where to go the last couple of times I have wanted to go out and shoot. Like, I know about a lot of great looking places, but I have some ideas for those places that the weather conditions we have right now won’t work with. Of course I have some places I can go to no matter what and most likely end up with a photo, but I’m wanting to find some new locations at the moment and capture something “fresh”.

If you google “Hvaler” you will get a ton of pictures, but they are almost all from the same popular spots so not much help there neither. What I decided to do was and go to gulesider.no and just look at the satellite map of Hvaler, scrolling around until I found something that looked cool.

Screenshot of the satellite map

Screenshot of the satellite map

Sydengen Spjærøy

After I had been scrolling around for a while I saw this little pier and it caught my attention. The image quality of the satellite map isn’t the best but it looked to me like an old wooden pier, and now in the winter time the boats next to it would hopefully be gone. I decided that I wanted to check it out a little further, so this Saturday when I was out on a little trip with my family we drove by to check it out. Luckily all the boats where gone like I had thought and the place looked pretty cool. To my surprise this place is actually a historic place, the remnants of the old ship “Falcon” lies there, right next to the pier.

Taken with the iPhone 6S

Taken with the iPhone 6S

Its pretty easy to see the hull of the old sunken boat, but the only thing I have been able to find out about it so far is that it was built in 1861. What I do know though is that I thought the place looked cool and I wanted to go back and try and capture a sunrise there. As you can tell from the picture above the weather on Saturday wasn’t anything to brag about, it was the typical grey weather I have been complaining about so many times before.

Sunday morning

The sun rises about 08:00 here now, so I woke up at around 07:00 and drove out there. Its a 10 minute drive from my house, and from the parking lot down to the pier its a hefty 10 meter walk. Even though its close to home it was almost so I didn’t bother going out there this morning, the wind was crazy and when I looked out of my window the conditions didn’t look very promising. But I got dressed and thought that worst case scenario I could just turn around when I get there.

When I arrived at Sydengen I think the people living around there could hear me sigh, it looked absolutely dreadful and I didn’t feel very motivated to get out of my car and set up my equipment but I did it anyway.
I walked around and quickly decided how I wanted my composition to look. It was very windy so I was a little worried about camera shake for the long exposures, but the X-T2 was sturdy as a rock on my heavy Manfrotto tripod.

Taken with the iPhone 6S

Taken with the iPhone 6S

As you can see from the iPhone photo above, the conditions doesn’t scream “PHOTOGRAPH ME!”, but having already spent 30 minutes out there I figured I might as well wait until the sunrise was finished in about 20 more minutes. At this point I’m having my camera set in intervalometer mode, so it’s taking an exposure every 30 seconds, while i’m pacing around just begging for the sky to do anything except staying so awfully grey.

Colors out of nowhere

Then suddenly, like with the flip of a switch the sky turned beautifully orange and magenta. I couldn’t believe my luck that I had decided to go out this morning, and that I stayed out when it looked certain that nothing would happen. I stopped the intervalometer on my camera and put on my Lee 6-stop ND and a polarizer so I could smooth the water and saturate the colors of the sky even more. The water looked so cool, the left part was this cold blue color, while the right part reflected the color of the sky with these amazing warm tones. Just look at this iPhone shot bellow and compare it with the iPhone shot above to see the difference that about 10 minutes did to the conditions.

Taken with the iPhone 6S

Taken with the iPhone 6S

The colors lasted for about 10 minutes before everything turned a little grey again, but during those 10 minutes I got a picture I think was pretty decent actually. The image I captured out there is probably the easiest shot to get there considering its just a shot straight down the pier. But I will absolutely go out there again some time to see what other compositions I can find.

I will also continue to use the satellite map to do some scouting, I have already found another place on Spjærøy I want to check out, so stay tuned for the blog post about that trip. This was my third sunrise shoot in a row, and while I think sunrises looks amazing I still can’t wait for late sunsets again. But anyway, here is the picture I got from todays morning trip, hope you like it.

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

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

So until next time, have a good one!

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!

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!