Inspirations

Last week I was with my wife on our honeymoon in New Orleans. What a special and exciting place. Well first I didn’t think so, we went to the French Quarter and my first impression how dirty and hot it was there, and how small it was compared to what I thought it was. Well that was all to change, I now understand why people really love that place. I soon discovered there where many gems for the visual, the taste and cultural everywhere. It was quite the surprise.
Anyhow that isn’t what this blog post is about. It is about Inspirations. Being in New Orleans I got inspired, not by the insane sunsets I didn’t get to photograph because I just had basic equipment with me. My wife probably don’t think it was that, with a camera taking half our lunch tables. I didn’t bring tripod and I didn’t bring any filters… Well back to subject.
We stumbled upon the gallery of Photographer Frank Relle. I really recommend everyone to check out his art. He is doing great stuff. And if I not just had bought a house I wouldn’t mind buying some of his art. Especially shooting landscapes myself knowing some of the work he has put into these pieces. Although my equipment with a DSLR is way easier than his full format camera.
Wandering his gallery I loved one of his quotes. “Landscape photography is about access. Access means trespassing”. Where I am from in Norway i can go where ever I want to shoot beautiful landscapes. Here in New York state where I live now, everything I would love to access has signs of trespassers will be prosecuted. I have been very tempted to take some shots regardless. Maybe one day when autumn comes one very early morning. We will see. His words resonated with me about landscapes in the USA. Difficult to make being all lawful there.
But what really inspired me was that all his shots where from New Orleans and the surrounding area. They where all portraying what makes that area special. For someone who lives in the area it is all normal. For someone that isn’t living there it gives a deep insight in all the special aspects of the area. I spoke with the curator of the gallery and she said that some of the locals didn’t really understand the art in the shots, as it was their neighborhood. At the same time Frank Relle has won dozen of awards for his photography.
My lesson from his photography is to look for what is special in my surroundings and shoot that. It may be totally normal for me here, and nothing special. For someone living somewhere else it may really touch them.

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

 

Outdoor recreation year II

Back in september I took photos at an event in the “Outdoor recreation year 2015”, where the Crown Prince and his daughter visited local scouts in the forrest. Now the Norwegian Guides and Scout Association have released their new edition of the members magazine “Speideren”. My photos are published together with the text of the journalist.

 

Links:

Outdoor recreation year

In Norway we are into the “Outdoor recreation year”. In whole 2015 it will be marked with different arrangements to point out how amazing it is to be outdoors. His Majesty Crown Prince Haakon is the high protector of this year long happening. He had chosen a few activities he wanted to visit and one of them where The Norwegian Guide and Scout Association.

This beautiful autumn day in early september, the 7th, the weather was good and temperature around  18-19 degrees Celsius. 30 scouts where there to teach the the Crown Prince and his daughter about scout activities. They where to make a meal on a camp fire.

The view the day of the happening - Canon 1D Mark IV, Canon EF 24-70mm F2.8L, 1/125s, f5,6, ISO 100
The view the day of the happening – Canon 1D Mark IV, Canon EF 24-70mm F2.8L, 1/125s, f5,6, ISO 100

I was here to take pictures for the Scout Association to be used for magazine later this autumn, the website and for other publications. It was a well arranged photo session. In addition to us from the Scouts, me and a journalist, there were TV teams from NRK and TV2. NTB had one who filmed and a photographer and the local newspaper budstikka had a journalist and a photographer. The communications office of the castle had arranged for us to be transported up in a car, have 30 minutes to take pictures and then be transported down again. Giving a different perspective to work with.

Crown Prince Haakon is interviewed by the press. Canon 40D, Canon EF 24-70mm F2.8L, 1/320s, f7,1, ISO 1000
Crown Prince Haakon is interviewed by the press. Canon 40D, Canon EF 24-70mm F2.8L, 1/320s, f7,1, ISO 1000

How does one prepare for a job like this?

As I didn’t really know what to expect of access to the scouts and the royals I thought I had to prepare for everything. I packed two camera bodies. My main, Canon 1D Mark IV, and my backup Canon 40D. Ideally I think the backup camera should have been upgraded, the 40D lacks buffer. It is always irritating to have to wait for the photos to be saved when your out shooting at a job. I had with me three lenses. Canon EF 24-70mm F2.8L, Canon 70-200mm F4L and Canon 300mm F2.8L IS. The Canon 24-70mm is my workhorse, suitable for a vide range of subjects and situations. The 300mm is very good at isolating a face in a crowd, due to the shallow depth the 2.8 aperture gives, as well as the superb bookeh this lens creates. The 70-200mm F4L lens I have never really fallen in love with. I do not use this range much really, although the lens is a great one. I keep bringing it with me on travels and assignments without really using it.

In addition I brought with me two Canon Speedlite 580 EX II flashes, as well as a tripod. I see now I could have let the tripod be home. Didn’t use the flashes either, however I should have used it when I shot som close up portraits to remove shade from eyes as the lighting was a bit hard.

 

Photos

Isolating from the crowd done with the Canon 300mm F2.8L IS USM lens. The subject stand out and even if the photo is chaotic it looks less crowded then it is. This is perhaps not the best example, will find better examples for later blog posts.

Canon EOS 1D Mark IV, Canon EF 300mm F2.8L, 1/800s, f3,5, ISO 500
Canon EOS 40D, Canon EF 300mm F2.8L, 1/800s, f3,5, ISO 500

Here are some photos of the activities. Scouts trowing lifeline, to save someone on the ice.

The princess in red
The princess in red – Canon 1D Mark IV, Canon EF 24-70mm F2.8L, 1/60s, f5,6, ISO 100

 

Publications

Photos from this shoot have been published the following places: