Born and raised in the northern parts of Norway, I was exposed to the great outdoors very early in life. The magic light north of the polar circle with midnight sun and endless summer nights as well as long blue hours and aurora borealis during winter, had a profound impact on my view on nature and photography.
I got my first camera at the age of nine (a Hanimex 35mm with fixed 35mm lens, surprisingly good quality!) and I was sold. Surrounded by nature, landscapes became my first subject matter and has stayed with me ever since. A couple of years later, I had saved up enough money to purchase a SLR (Yashica/Contax with 35-70 lens) and I spent almost all my spare time out shooting. Two years later I converted to Nikon (a top modern state-of-the-art Nikon FA!) and has stayed with them ever since.
The expenses of photography in the days of film soon made me realise that I had to make an income to continue. Back in those days, selling images, both as stock and press-work, was far easier and better paid than today. I did mostly press work, and that “brought me through highschool” as the saying goes. I saved up enough money to purchase darkroom equipment and to my mothers despair, occupied a bathroom in the basement for the next years. Of course I did mostly black and white work (Tri-X and Ilford films, Ilford paper), but after a while I moved into Kodaks E6-process to develop my slides and did tons of Cibachrome work in color.
In 2002 I started to work digitally, but did not convert fully to digital before 2012. The possibilities in a digital workflow is amazing, and by far surpasses what I was able to do in the darkroom. With recent years surge in quality, I am now working 100% digitally. However, I am very grateful for the “film and darkroom” years, and I believe that those years gave me a priceless foundation to understand the technical aspects of exposure and printing better.
I use Nikon d800E camera bodies, with a variety of Nikkor lenses, including the “holy trinity” zooms 14-24, 24-70 and 70-200. In 2015 I have also invested into a medium format digital system in the form of Hasselblad H5D. This system sports a 50mpx CCD sensor and will be used for most of my landscape work. I will still keep my range of Nikon gear for use on longer hikes and in low light. I do 95% of my work from a tripod. The importance of a sturdy, reliable and stable tripod cannot be overestimated. In my opinion, Gitzos carbon tripods are the best out there, and I have a few in different sizes and weights with heads from Arca-swiss and Sirui. If I was to give a budding landscape-photographer one advice – it would be to buy a really good tripod and head and mount a L-bracket on your camera!
Adobe Lightroom is the basis of my digital workflow, and I guess 90% of all editing is done there. However, I also use plugins from OnOne and Nik-collection (e.g. Silver EfexPro II to all my B/W work) as well as Adobe Photoshop when necessary.
Although I publish my work on the web extensively, I consider the print to be my ultimate product. Fine-tuning a print can be such a challenge, but oh so rewarding when the result is good. I do not consider an image “finished” before I hold a large matted fine-art print in my hands. I use Epson professional large-format printers with Ultrachrome K3 ink for a superb and lasting result. During the last few years I have tried out almost every paper on the market. From regular high quality photo-paper through different metallic papers and rags. I have found barytta-papers to be most in line with what I want to express, and have now landed on Hahnemuhles Photo Rag Barytta. Very expensive, but extremely high quality. The longevity of these prints by far surpasses Cibachrome and maybe even darkroom produced B/W prints!
I will make several posts on my equipment and workflow in the weeks and moths to come, so stay tuned!