26 May 2007

The Pentax Gallery

The Pentax Photo Annual was a yearly publication by Pentax in Japan that, as far as I know, stopped a couple of years back. I have been able to lay my hands on a few of them, and it is fascinating to study the differences in photographic aestethics between Japanese photography and my own.

Last December, however, Pentax USA sought to revive the spirit of the Photo Annual in a gallery website, and invited photographers at the Pentax Discussion Mailing List to contribute their images. As of today, the gallery is still in the "beta"-stage, but the number of photographers and images is rising steadily.

If you want to see what they're up to, you can find the beta version here.

I am proud to say that I've got about a dozen images accepted in there myself, but with such a grand-scale undertaking, personal exposure comes second to finding inspiration. What I really hope for the Gallery is that it will become as good as the Annuals were. - It probably means they'll have to throw me out, but honestly, that would be all for the better to the gallery. :-)

Good luck, Pentax USA. Your efforts are deeply appreciated by this blogger.

17 May 2007

Happy constitution day!

Congratulations, Norway!

It's the day of national patriotism, the day of unlimited supplies of hotdogs, lemonade, ice cream and cakes, the day of flag waving, the day of celebrating democracy, monarchy, and national identity.

Constitution Day became a children's celebration by the initiating efforts of Henrik Wergeland many decades before we even gained independence as a nation. It's one of the things I'm really proud of as a Norwegian; that we manage to keep Patriotism free of political nationalism.

The first person to greet me with "happy Constitution Day" today, was a woman dressed in a beautiful beige and brown costume, a white shawl over her shoulders and a beige silk cloth covering her hair as her culture and muslim religious faith requires. As we exchanged glances for a few seconds while I returned the greeting, I think I saw in her eyes a sincere thought about this being a day worth celebrating. I really hope I understood her right, because she reinforced the very thought in me.

Here are a few shots from the local celebrations.

The Cake and Hotdog supply depot

Frozen lemonade

Pillow fight; The moment of defeat

Airing the flags

15 May 2007

Proceeding spring

When I was a kid, we always hoped the silver birch would pop its leaves out before the 17th of May, which is the Norwegian Constitution Day. "So much nicer with some green on the trees", my parents said.

Odd, that...

Noone seems very concerned about it anymore.

A shortcut to work takes me across 15 meters of greening pasture. Here's what it looked like today.

09 May 2007

Commutable mode of transport

Thanks to Boris and Knarf for trigging me on this one. It's more or less a follow-up on the discussion from my previous blog-post, and taking Knarf's advice on acting locally to the heart.

Time and again, I've made half-hearted attempts to make the Road To Work into a photo project. Since my work is technically within walking distance from my house, I feel a bit sheepish each time I cave in and use the car instead.

But today I walked. And a nice walk it was too. The motifs that present themselves are not within my usual sphere of interest, but heck. Maybe it's time to throw more than just local wilderness into the blog bargain.

Into the light

04 May 2007

Can a blog protect the global environment?

I write this just two hours after IPCC's press conference on the publication of their "Mitigation of Climate Change" report, and the main points from their document has already reached the headlines of national newspapers. If the journalists have got it right, the effort needed to halt global warming in the short term is a 3% reduction in global GDP, which is a surprisingly small figure in my opinion. However I'm sure this figure will be fiercely debated in the next weeks. James Lovelock (the Gaia-guy) has already announced that doom is imminent no matter what we do. Politicians (eg. Bush administration, Norwegian government, Hugo Chavez, etc.) and scientists backed by fossil fuel industry will predictably criticise the report and try their best to destroy its credibility. The more time they can bargain for, the more money they'll make. But I digress. As my friend Frank Thériault stressed in his blog two days ago: Act locally!

So, can my blog help *me* to protect global environment? Or is it just a rhetoric question to justify my masochism?

Alas, yes.

A lot of good things can be said about photographing locally instead of travelling far and wide. Reducing car emissions is a big one. The big question, however, is whether local activity replace expeditions or simply add to them.

In my case, it's an add-on. As I stated in one of the first posts in this blog, regular photographic exercise is necessary to maintain skill. What I should have added is "for when you really need it". Which in my case means dedicated photo trips. Since january, I've been planning a fortnight's trip to Northern Norway, which means more than 2000 km driving. Yes, 2000 km. Norway is pretty stretched-out. I hate to think about the emissions in my wake, but I'd love to get those pictures.

In fact, my targets for the trip are areas that will be altered by climate change. One is an archipelago that will disappear completely with a two meter rise of sea level. The other is a glacier. Both are protected by legislation; the archipelago is a UNESCO world heritage site and the glacier a national park. Does this make my trip a moral dilemma?

To me, yes. And my solution?

As most people do, to find a justification (or excuse, if you like) ranking "higher" than the environmental cost. I won't insult your intelligence by explaining how.

Instead, I'll keep telling myself my expedition pictures better be damn good!

03 May 2007

Pardod by dose (snif)

My father stopped by this afternoon. He complained about dizziness, and I asked him if he was troubled by the heat already.
"not the heat," he said. "Pollen". I should have guessed.
He has a tough time every spring, but this year has been the worst in a decade for him. The warm weather has made the birch unleash its pollen like a mist.
Here's the intended target. The female catkin of Betula pubescens. It doesn't look the least like a nose, though, does it?

01 May 2007

Sampling the water

My daughter is a brave eight year old. Three days ago she was defiantly insisting that the water temperature in nearby lake Vesletjern has reached bathing levels, and got moral support from her equally defiant (and brave!) friend.

I believe they got their knees wet, eventually. I guesstimate the water temperature to around 10 degrees Celsius. :-)

Pentax K10D and FA 77/1.8 ltd.

Notice the lack of leaves on the tree. However with the current temperatures I wonder how long it will take. Probably it will be all green in a fortnight or so. Spring is definately early this year.