Challenges – the path to new achievements

I am so fortunate to have a fiancé who is an accomplished artist and that gives me good feedbacks on my artistic attempts. It is important to have someone who can give you honest opinions and help to push you onward.
When i years ago, now 9 years ago really started taking my photography up a notch when I went from analoge to digital and also invested in a 300mm F2.8 from Sigma I was in an environment that would give me harsh and good feedback on my bird photography, which was what i was doing then. I learned a lot from the challenges of hearing that this photograph isn’t a good one, it is unsharp, it is to harsh light etc.. I also learned to shoot my shots on manual to have full control over how I wanted the light to be in the shots.
Since then I have been seeking out other arenas to push myself and shoot things and situations outside my normal comfort zone. One of the things I have challenged me on is people. I have used any chance i have had to shoot for the Norwegian Guide and Scout Association, at different camps and championships. Here we have been shooting pictures for website, suvenirs and media. Anything from documentary, more photojournalism and totally posed photos. Here as well I have learned a lot – to approach people and to demand the situation as a photographer to be able to capture the scene as I want it has maybe been the most challenging and at the same time most rewarding for me. Prior working mostly with birds, mammals and landscapes I have no control over.
Now I am working mostly with landscapes. I consider myself to be really good at capturing colours and to get the mood of the situation in the frame. However I am not particular skilled with the composition, it has a tendency to be much of the same. So now with honest and direct feedback from my fiancé I am working on improving myself in that area as well.
When you have learned a technique and a skill you have the opportunity to make use of it, or you do not have to. But your choices and repertory has increased and that is vital. Many of the great painters where apprentices to other masters of the art to really learn the skill and techniques. I think it is important to challenge yourself and learn the skills, learn the techniques and improve your works. Challenge yourself to become better. In todays world we are fortunate enough to have this thing called internet where we on websites can share works and get feedbacks. The challenges today is to find environments where your work is not only priced but also really critiqued. There are to many places where people say “Nice Photo” without telling you what is great about it, or tell us that they really hate it and why. Art is ment to be provocative, and therefore it important if you are to become better at expressions that someone challenges your views.
Seek out an environment where you get honest feedback that can make your artistry grow.

At the stream

I was out testing the new lens. Sadly there was no sun outside, it was a clouded day with, where things where rather grey when it comes to light. Most of the lakes and the shores in the fjord are frozen with ice and snow on the top. So it was a rather white day so to say. I was trying to find a place where some open water would brake up the monoton colors. I drove to a lake called Semsvannet, which is in Asker. I lived here as a kid and know the area quite well. I know there is a little stream running out of the lake and creating what is called “Askerelva” or the Asker river.

Shot of myself on a bench facing the water

Here the stream was open and I was able to get some shots off.

The open stream

There where fences on both sides of the stream, but luck struck as it was possible to go down on the left side. I was able to get down to the shore of the stream with ease as I had high shoes on my feet.

It is often said that you need a sturdy tripod for landscape or nature photography, and even though you have lenses with IS (Image Stabilisation) you need the tripod when you want to slow nature down. I love to use ND filters to ensure I can put the camera on low ISO, and choose low aperture to have high level of sharpness and detail, and at the same time ensure that water is smoothed and fast pacing things, like humans on the bridge phased out.

Camera on tripod with low angle for sturdiness and low camera angle

I did take two shots (or call it subjects, did more then one shot of each). I decided to use the Big Stopper from Lee Filters, which is a 10 stop filter. I could have used the Little Stopper which is 6 stops as well. But the choice went on this.

Shot towards the bridge. 333s, f/11, ISO 100 @ 16mm

I am happy with how the photo turned out. If the sky had been blue and there had been some sun, it would have been even more stunning. Now it is  a good shot of the waterfall at the bridge. Choosing such a long exposure time removed me having to worry about the factor that there where a lot of people passing on the bridge, whom I didn’t want in my shot.

I turned the tripod and took a shot down the stream as well.

Camera with Big Stopper and 0.9 Grad ND filter
Downwards the stream – 287s, f/11, ISO 100 @ 16mm

I was happy with the turnout of this too. My comments is the same as with the first. A different sky would have made this more exciting.


I am so far very happy with the lens. It is much easier to work with then the 24-70mm I have mostly used before. As it both let me attach the filters on the lens that stays still vs where the other one where it is an outward zooming lens. Which means when attaching filters it is very easy to shift the focus. I am also very happy with the difference of angle and details I get in the difference of 16 vs 24mm. The sharpness and detail this lens gives is also very good. I am looking forward to use this lens much more.

At the foothills of the Adirondacks

When traveling to see other places of the world there are several things that are important to consider:

  • Equipment, what should I bring
  • What do I plan on photographing. This dictates or is being dictated by the equipment I bring.
  • Bring a good rucksack for equipment, that also enables you to carry water, food and some clothing.

As I was going to visit the love of my life and she knows I enjoy being out in nature, hiking and taking landscapes I decided to specialise on that. For camera I brought my Canon 1D Mark IV with only Canon EF 24-70mm F2.8L lens. I brought the tripod in the suitcase, as well as some filters. Lee Big Stopper, Little Stopper, a pack of gradient ND filters as well as a coloured sunset filter pack. In other words a light little package, that is specialised towards taking landscapes, but offers the versatility to take other photos, like generally holiday photos as well.

She took me to a Summit called the Sleeping Beauty. Not sure where the name comes from. It is at the foothills of the Adirondack Mountains. The Adirondacks is a massive mountain range north in NY state.

We had a great walk trough forrest terrain first at a dirt road, later on steep single track. I carried everything in a durable Norrøna 45L rucksack. I like this as it provides both good carry comfort and enough space to have with whatever needed. It has been a travel companion of me since I bought it in 96.

After close to two hour walk upwards being much alone in the forrest, seeing chip-monks and some different birds we came out on a clearing that was the summit. The view here was both surprising as well as fantastic. A tight layer of forrest in many different green colors, and hills upon hills as long as the eye could see.

As there where a few clouds I decided to go for a long time exposure both with the Lee Big Stopper and the Lee Graduate ND filter, chose the 0.9 version and took this shot at ISO 50 with aperture of f16 for 25 seconds.

Took a panorama with my iPhone to get the feel of the landscape as well.