photography

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!

The Weekend

A stroll in the woods

So, its been a long time since I wrote a blog post now, and its been a long time since I was able to go outside and do some shooting. I have been in a kind off slump lately, where I haven’t had any motivation to go outside to shot, and the awful weather the last couple of months hasn’t helped either.

But now I’m hopefully back to doing some shooting on a regular basis. I’m going to try and go out at least once a week, and write a blog on either the following Sunday or Monday to get some consistency on my little page. My goal for this isn’t to try and take the most “breathtaking or jaw dropping” photos every week, but to just get out there and do some photography.

This weekend I decided to just take a little walk in the forrest behind my house, It is too late for the beautiful fall colors, and I’m really not a woodland photographer, but it was nice to just push the buttons on my camera again, haha.

Taken in the forrest behind my house close to Ilemyr. X-T2 with the 18-55

Taken in the forrest behind my house close to Ilemyr. X-T2 with the 18-55

Too late for the fall colors

As you can see from the picture above, all the leafs has fallen, I really regret that I haven’t had the chance to go outside and capture this place when it was in full fall colors, it must have been a beautiful sight. But, i’m not planing on moving, so I guess I will get a new chance next year.

But even though I missed out of one of the most beautiful times of the year, I managed to find some early hints of the season thats fast approaching, I’m of course talking about winter. It is starting to get pretty cold here now, and even though we haven’t had any real snow yet, its well bellow 0 degrees Celcius, specially during the nights, so the ground is starting to get hard and the water has started to freeze.

If you look to the bottom right of the picture above you’ll see that theres a little stream running there, and I went further down the trail looking for something interesting to photograph and a nice composition of the stream when I saw some ice sikles! I mean, there wasn’t a lot of ice, but it cool to see the environment slowly changing to the new season we’re approaching.

Some ice sickles in the stream close to Ilemyr. Taken with the X-T2 and the 18-55

Some ice sickles in the stream close to Ilemyr. Taken with the X-T2 and the 18-55

New motivation!

Going out and finally doing some photography again really gave me spark of motivation that I have been in great need of. I think we all (most of us at least) have some periods where we just dont want to pick up our cameras, we dont want to read about photography or look at videos or anything that has to do with photography. I have been that way since the end of summer if I'm being honest, so to finally get the desire back to go out and do some shooting is a welcome feeling.

I will of course still go out and try and take some “portfolio” worthy shots, but I no longer have a problem with just going out and bringing my camera to photograph what I see and experience. For me personally that has been a big obstacle to overcome, having always felt that an image has to include an awesome sunset or sunrise and a beautiful landscape, and I think that overcoming this obstacle will help me get out even more with my camera.

A little “bush” of dead grass - Taken with the X-T2 and the 18-55

A little “bush” of dead grass - Taken with the X-T2 and the 18-55

Whats to come?

If everything goes according to plan, I will now start to post on a more regular basis, and I have promised myself that I will at least once a week go out and just spend some time doing my favourite hobby, photography.

I will also start to write some small reviews from time to time about the stuff that I’m wearing/using. It might be fun to get an amateurs point of view about certain stuff, so I will try to do my best and give my honest, amateur opinion about the equipment I’m using when I buy something new or switch something out.

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!

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!