Hvaler – The perfect surroundings for art

Yesterday I was in Hvaler in South Norway. Hvaler is a group of islands that are placed in the Oslo-fjord towards the open sea to Denmark. So it offers surroundings that are quite unique, at least to where I usually am.  Whenever I am at places like that I wish I could quit my day-job and move into a cabin and spend the days creating art in the vastness of the nature.

Although it is only 2 hours with the car each direction I am here way to seldom, something I most definitive have to change. It is also a fantastic place to fish, but that is a different story.

I brought my main camera the 1D Mark IV, the EF 16-35mm F4L IS. I ended up using the Lee Filter Little Stopper and a 0.6 Grad ND Filter. I of course used my Benro tripod to get good stability on exposures that last several seconds, and I used the remote. One reason to use the  Little Stopper over the Big Stopper is that on my camera the light measurer still works with the Little Stopper. I have also gotten myself the “Lee Stopper” app for my phone that helps me exposure the light. However I have experienced that many of the photos come out to dark when I use that app.

I shot a few locations and I shot some of the photos in a HDR style. Or i used different exposures of the same subject and then used Lightroom’s HDR function to knit them together in a good exposure photo.

 

The edge of Stilness

into the eternity

 

Gazing out of the vast horizon line the viewer is drawn into the simplicity yet complex nature of how the rocks beneath the waters edge are captivated as Still-life.

This questions the viewer to consider what is more important to take into perspective, the expansiveness of the ocean or the details of the rocks below. Thus introspecting upon the state of nature we are constantly faced with as human beings we can only take so much in within an instance with the human eye. Reaffirming that photography can do for humanity what nature cannot. Meaning that photos can be revisited and details once missed through living the memory can be experienced.

 

Skilled people have more luck?

One big advantage with doing something regularly is that you in time get better because you know the techniques, because you are better prepared and because you know the surrounding landscape better. I have heard this expressed as that “skilled people have more luck” once.

This evening I was again out, it was a good day, a mix of rain and sun, which means clouds, possible good lights, possible more. This evening it turned out to be a light rain close to where the sun went down.

I wanted to capture cloud movements, colours, reflections, shadows, calmness. The quiet most never experience. I read an article written by a landscape photographer out of NYC, where he said that the beaches usually where empty of people in the early morning and evenings. It hits me where I live that it is like that, most people miss the most spectacular time by the sea.

I mounted my camera on the tripod, added the Lee Filter Little Stopper, and a 0.6 gradient ND filter (as the sky is more light then the ground/sea. Since I knew it was raining I brought an umbrella. Not for me, but to hold over the camera to avoid getting good shots ruined of the raindrops on the lens. I have also found out the Little Stopper is very nice because it enables me still to focus trough it, something which is impossible with Big Stopper.

umbrella tripod

I usually try to place the tripod out into the water to be able to have the photo start of right away with interesting foreground. Well the shot to the right tells I do not always do that.

I was quite happy with the outcome of today.

Horizon on fire
Horizon on fire – 16mm, 10s, f/11, ISO 50

 

horizon on fire II
16mm. 20s. f/11, ISO 50
16mm, 49s, f/11, ISO 50

 

Storm is coming

I am not really a fan of photos taken with a mobile camera. My biggest concern isn’t that it is a camera in everyones hand, but more the fact that the photos are not really that great unless they are presented at that screen or as a tiny web image.

On the other hand is todays DSLR’s and mirrorless cameras totally overkill for most usage, you will never really need 20+ Megapixels for presenting a 72dpi photo in normal resolution online.

Nevertheless it isn’t really the camera, it is the one taking the shots. Some days I was out doing a different activity then photo, and the weather changed fast and turned out to be a storm with thunder and lighting in the horizon. As I was playing golf, I was really hoping it would stay away. And fortunate it never got closer.

storm  storm II

Selfie  storm III

 

 

Panorama

Last evening I was down at the beach at a place I like to go to. A peninsula  called Bygdøy. On the south end you have some distanse to the horizon and can often view the sun going down. This day was rather dark. However as it is with clouded days there are always, or close to, cracks in the cloud layer where sun gets trough and with long exposure this spots or cracks get more visible.

All photos here are shot with Canon EOS-1D Mark IV and Canon EF 16-35mm F4L IS USM, and Lee Filters Little Stopper (6 Stop ND filter) and Lee Filters 0.9 ND grad filter. The Grad filter is adjusted different from photo to photo. The 6 Stop ND filter is used to give me long exposures where I am then able to blur water and clouds and let nature paint patterns and structure based on the movements present.

Often when I shoot the landscapes at sunset or right after as I like to do I think they get a bit to dark blue, so I often add a layer that is a bit coloured to adjust the effect to how I do enjoy it more.

First I was shooting exposures and made some nice ones.

At dusk
16mm / ƒ/11/ 30s / ISO 50
16mm / ƒ/11 / 55s / ISO 50
16mm / ƒ/11 / 55s / ISO 50

I decided as the sky was interesting and there wasn’t to much movement in it that it could be interesting to attempt a panorama. So I shut 4 frames at 34/35s exposure where I moved the camera sidewise with the tripod head so that all other settings where the same. As 35s requires bulb mode it requires some awareness. Then I used the create panorama feature in Adobe Lightroom and the four exposures where aligned next to each other. I then cut the photo so that all edges are straight.

I am very happy with the results of this.

16mm / ƒ/11 / 34s / ISO 50
16mm / ƒ/11 / 34s / ISO 50

 

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.

IMG_1839

After rain comes calmness and clouds

The last two days it has been raining here. rather heavy after almost two weeks with sun. Sun is nice, but sun often entail no clouds. Clouds give pictures more life.

As the rain stopped I wanted to capture some of the beauty and drama that was out there.  I put my camera on the tripod and took the shot. The photo under was shot at 24mm @ 4s, f18, ISO 50

This is a great landscape with amazing contrasts and colors. I wanted to take it further. So I put on a Lee Big Stopper to see if I was able to really draw movement direction of the water and clouds together. I first tried to do it with the same aperture, this however required an exposure time of around 20-30 minutes, closer to 30, if the light had been constant. However as it got fast darker it would have to be something for another time. I readjusted the aperture to 3,5 and shot a photo at on 125 seconds instead. This would also ensure that the moon that was up wouldn’t drift to much in the frame. I am pleased with the end results.