skies

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!

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!