28 June 2007

Home for granted

By coincidence, I've arrived in the middle of a religious gathering. Lots of Amens and Hallelujahs, smiling people and music. Spiritual encouragement abound, too. These people seem to find reinforcement of their christian beliefs in Norwegian nature; mixing awe for nature with religious feelings.

However I think the two are closely related, and understand their reason for the confusion. The awe sits deeply within me too. At the moment, I think that this is an area well worth returning to. Hopefully as soon as practically possible, given that it is at least 800 km from home.

Speaking of home, some friends from university have settled up here, and winding up in this religious gathering has a lot to do with them arranging it. There are people here from all over the world; all expressing an awe for the nature akin to my own. This goes for my friends too, although they've lived here for eight years now. On the other hand, there are locals present too. People born and grown up here. Their attitude to the natural splendour is markedly different.

They take it for granted.

23 June 2007

Half way

After a week of sleeping in a tiny tent, or even in the car, the desire for a shower had moved up the priority list to the very top.
So here I am, clean, shaven, and connected. The place is the island Lovund, a good way out into the archipelago fencing in the coastline of Nordland county. Here's a Google Map link (opens in separate window). A nice little resort with B&B, a restaurant and a wireless network for paying guests.
The trip has been good so far, but the continuous light wreaks havoc on my sleep patterns. I'm still a few km south of the polar circle, but there's midnight sun here, all right. On summer solstice itself (21. june) the sky was all clear, and the sun didn't touch down on the horizon at all.
Only last night the weather failed me. I was up in a mountain side to photograph puffins, but was chased down again by rain and midges. Perhaps I'll try again tonight. However, there are midsummer celebrations on the beach tonight. The party and the bonfire could make for motifs just as nice as those wingflapping featherballs. With considerably less effort involved.


14 June 2007


Here's a short version of the itinerary as promised in the previous post, by days.

  1. Oslo - Trondheim transport leg
  2. Trondheim - Vega transport leg
  3. Vega
  4. Vega
  5. Vega - Alstadhaug
  6. Alstadhaug - Dønna
  7. Dønna
  8. Dønna - Lovund
  9. Lovund
  10. Lovund - Engavågen
  11. Engavågen/svartisen
  12. Engavågen/Svartisen
  13. Engavågen - Mo i Rana/Melfjorden
  14. Melfjorden/Svartisen
  15. Melfjorden - Trondheim
  16. Trondheim - Oslo
This will most likely see modifications, though. There's a festival going on at Alstadhaug when I pass, which may be worth spending time at. It will also depend much on how far spring has advanced up there. There's a lot of calciferous rock around Svartisen making the flora very interesting if spring has been good.

Right now I'm so keen to get off that it's difficult to concentrate on the packing. :-)

Oh, well. To anyone who actually bother to read this blog, see you in a fortnight.

11 June 2007

On the virtue of masochism

According to onelook.com, masochism is a word reserved for sexual pleasure induced by punishment. When putting out the subtitle for my blog, I had nothing that raunchy in mind. I assumed that there was an additional and more abstracted meaning of masochism in English. More like in Norwegian, where it is also used for more mundane cases of self-inflicted unpleasantness for the sake of a future reward, with the twist that the unpleasantness is a also a blessing in disguise.

I'll keep the subtitle, and hope that dictionaries are not up to date on second interpretations.

It is the disguise part that made me think of the term to begin with. It goes back to the issue that I kept sulking about in the first two posts in this blog, that photography needs regular practice to maintain skill. I shall not harp that issue any more (for now), but rather share an anticipation.

In less than a week from now, I will know whether I've practiced enough to unleash creativity from day one on a lenghty photo excursion.

The planning of this year's photographic excursion began on the same day as I started this blog. For six months, I've been looking forward to it, talking to people about photo op's on the way, connecting to locals in the area, studying maps, planning what equipment to bring, Plan B for poor weather, etc. etc.

I did mention looking forward to it, didn't I? There's motivation for you. This is what makes me tick. No self-infliction of unpleasantness at all. :)

I have no idea whether I can get online during this trip. If I can, I'll make this blog a travel diary. There will be another post with an approximate itinerary before I leave. Then there may be a fortnight without any posts.

Whether by silence or by words, the Blog will tell.

08 June 2007

Go Pentax Photo Annuals!

A fortnight ago I claimed that the Pentax gallery was a replacement for the Pentax Photo Annuals. After having laid eyes on the 2006-2007 edition of the Annual, I stand corrected.

However, the challenge still stands for the Gallery. It has a quality publication to live up to.

To the uninitiated, the Pentax Photo Annual is a yearly publication by Pentax Japan, featuring Japanese pentaxians' take on the World At Large. The only non-Japanese name I've ever seen in there is Sam Haskins, whose blog I warmly recommend. The Annuals are not widely distributed. The only place I've seen a near-complete collection is in the offices of Pentax Norway, who have been kind enough to let me in on the secret.

It is sad that this publication is such a well-kept secret. The pictures in these books are well-printed, well-selected and well-presented collections of Japanese photography. As I commented in the former post, the difference in aestethics between the books and my own work is pronounced. Today I'd like to add "compelling" (after looking up that word in a dictionary...). There's something about them that attracts and challenge. Especially in the way of interpreting landscapes.

Imagine a picture of a Japanese cherry tree. Beautiful flowers, with a sense of spring in the surroundings. Then imagine trying to shoot your inner image. I would go for maxiumum colour and texture impact, perhaps with a foreground flower up close and a repetition of the pattern in the out of focus background. Crispness in rendering would be imperative also.

Then again perhaps not. Maybe the cherry is a fragile beauty in an early spring scenario where the scene must be rendered with tenderness rather than impact. The resulting image would be quite different. To me, the latter is the more awe-inspiring.

Certainly, the former would be more Sellable. More Catchy. More Wow. But the latter would bespeak something else, something more profound. And with a more quiet voice.

Maybe this doesn't make sense to you? That's ok...:-) Viewing images is an individual exercise anyway, isn't it? Perhaps it's all down to personal taste rather than global differences in aestethics. Anyway, I have only my personal experience to base recommendations on. If you can lay your eyes on one of these books, then don't miss the chance. Consider the pictures, and make your own opinion. As they say in the hair product TV commercials; "you're worth it".

07 June 2007

In lack of elephants

Sometimes I marvel at panning shots. Trees become smooth, vertical structures without any untidy branches cluttering the lines. Pictures of animals or dragonflies zooming by leave the panned background smooth and palatable.

Trouble is, it doesn't take many such shots before they become boring and repetitious. One notable exception that comes to mind is an article in National Geographic from the mid-nineties. The photographer had combined long shutter speeds with flash to produce, for example, an eerie shot of an elephant charging in the tropical twilight, the flash producing an almost demonic glint in its eyes. I don't have that issue of National Geographic anymore, unfortunately.

In lack of elephants, and mostly any other kind of cooperative wildlife, I decided to make my own first experiments in that direction on trees. Yeah, I know it's hard to get those eyes right that way, but I had something else in mind. I want to create a sort of "ominous-looking fairytale forest". Not quite there yet, but I think the concept looks quite interesting.

Click the image for a larger version.