Personal favorites of 2014. Post #4. Bavaria.

For the last of my 2014 favorites postings I have selected a few images from my autumn trip to Bavaria and the German Alps. I have shared all these images before here on my blog, so I won’t bother you with repeating the story behind them.

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Evening light, Riessersee

 

 

The trip to Germany exceeded all my expectations. I was really fortunate with the autumn colors and the weather. I hope to return to this region soon, maybe already next autumn.

Bavarian forest

Bavarian forest

 

 

This concludes my 2014 favorites postings, and it only remains to wish you all a happy and prosperous 2015! I will be back next year with more images, so stay tuned!

Dag Ole

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Enchanted forest

 

Personal favorites of 2014. Post #3. From The West.

Setting sun at Cape Royal

Setting sun at Cape Royal

 

The western parts of the USA is a landscape photographers dream. Period. From the roaring shores of Big Sur to the breathtaking views of Grand Canyon, this part of the world showcase some of the most beautiful, dramatic and picturesque locations on our planet. California, the Sierras, and Yosemite in particular, is by many considered to be the cradle of landscapephotography. Ansel Adams and other members of group f.64 brought the sheer beauty of this area to the rest of the world and in many ways sparked the environmental movements we see today.

I had the pleasure of visiting the Western USA for one month this summer on a trip that took me to iconic locations like Yosemite and the Sierras, the Pacific coastline, Death Valley, Antelope Canyon and Navajoland, Zion National Park, Joshua tree National Park and of course Grand Canyon. Although I have visited several of these locations before, this trip brought many new images and memories that will stay with me forever. And I will return. Hopefully soon.

The first of my favorites from this trip (top of page) is from the North Rim og Grand Canyon, specifically from Cape Royal. In contrast to the often crowded conditions on the south-rim, I was almost alone here this evening. I had planned this shot for a long time, and was very happy to see the skies clearing just as the sun set.

 

Magic morning, Yosemite

Magic morning, Yosemite

 

Yosemite Valley is known for its amazing beauty. And I must agree. Although I have visited before, I always lose my breath when I drive into the valley and see the 1000 meters tall cliffs with beautiful waterfalls, wonderful forests and the Merced river. This morning I was fortunate to find some morning fog around El Capitan meadow and I walked into the woods below El Capitan with an image like this in mind.

 

Setting Moon, Badwater

Setting moon, Badwater

 

The advantage of visiting Death Valley in summer is the solitude. Although never crowded, I found myself mostly in total solitude when I visited this June. The drawback is of course the temperatures, often reaching close to 50deg C. I have planned my visit to coincide with a full moon, with this particular image in mind. However, the day of the full moon, the light was flat and dull. So the day after, I repeated my 2-3 km walk out on the Badwater saltpans, and this morning the sunrise was beautiful.

 

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Light in Lower Antelope Canyon

 

The Upper and Lower Antelope Canyon just outside Page, Arizona,  has reached iconic status among photographers. From being mostly unknown as late as in the 1980-ies, a photography session there now is a very crowded experience. I found lower Antelope Canyon to be most rewarding photographically, as there are far fewer people here and the rock-formations are just as stunning.

Hope you like my images, I will be back in one of the next day with one last 2014-favorites post.

 

Dag Ole

Personal favorites of 2014, post #2. From Venezia.

Rialto gondolas

Rialto gondolas

 

 

Venezia, or Venice, in Italy is a photographers dream. I have visited this beautiful city several times, and every time I’m equally stunned by the timeless beauty and mood of this place. What makes it so rewarding to photograph is that it is so full of unique character. From the canals and gondolas to many of the wonderful building and small squares, so many characteristics are unique for Venice and the viewer instantly know where the image is captured. A visit during peak season, summer, can be a very hot and crowded experience, to say the least. I recommend a visit during late autumn, winter or early spring, when the locals mostly have the city to themself, the pace is slower and more relaxed and the often present morning fog adds to the mood of the city. When I visited last, in march 2014, I spent every night walking the narrow streets in dense fog. The image above was captured such a night by Canal Grande. I find that monochrome works very well in timeless cities like Paris and Rome, but maybe most of all in Venezia. I was fortunate enough to receive honorable mention for my monochrome portfolio from Venezia (where this image was one of several) in this years International Photography Awards, IPA. The picture below is captured a different morning, minutes before the sun emerged as a red fireball over St. Marks square.

Before sunrise, Venezia

Before sunrise, Venezia

 

 

The last of my images in this post is actually not from Venezia, but from a different island in the Venezian lagoon. About one hours ride with a “bus-boat” from Venezia, you will find the small island of Burano. Known for its characteristic small canals and houses painted in vibrant colors, it is definitely worth the detour for a photographer interested in travel and architecture! This image is also part of a portfolio that received honorable mention in IPA.

Burano study 7

Burano study 7

 

Personal favorites of 2014 #1

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“Twelve significant photographs in any one year is a good crop”     Ansel Adams

As this year is coming to an end, it is time to recapitulate and summarize 2014. We are all getting older, but as a friend of mine often says, it is better than the alternative. A few more wrinkles but many experiences richer. For me, this has been a great year with so much joy, happiness and love. I am a very fortunate guy!

Photographically, 2014 has also been pretty good. I have had the fortune of visiting amazing locations such as Venice, California, Arizona, Utah, Nevada, Bavaria and the German and Austrian Alps, Thailand and numerous places in Norway and the other Nordic countries. Furthermore, I have been pretty lucky in a few photographic competitions with gold medal in Trierenberg Supercircuit special themes, a gold and a silver medal in PX3, bronze medals in Epson Pano Awards, several honorable mentions in International Photography Awards, a 3rd place in B&W Spider awards etc. It is not easy to rank these, but at least what surprised me the most was the silver medal in the professional press/travel section of Prix de la Photographie Paris for my Tuscany-portfolio. However, the most important thing is that I have made a few images that I am happy with this year, and my plan is to present them one after one in single postings in the next days with a little story around how it was captured. As any photographer knows, picking personal favorites is a difficult task. My choices are very personal, and of course influenced by my connection to the subject matter, what happened before and after the capture and tons of other personal stuff. But hey, that’s the way it is! 🙂 BTW, these images come in random order. Picking some images are difficult enough and ranking them… well that’s impossible for me.

Enough talk. The first of my personal favorites from 2014 is this one:

 

The first summer night

 

 

In the end of august 2013 I made an image I titled “the last summer night”. When the summer of 2014 emerged I planned to make a similar image titled “the first summer night”. I used the last days of may to scout locations and plan this shot. When june 1st approached, the weather was perfect, the subject matter was just as I had imagined and the moon was in the right place. I got exactly what I hoped for, and thus, this is one of my favorites from 2014. Hope you like it too, stay tuned for more!

 

Dag Ole

River aurora

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I haven’t been able to post as much here as I hoped or planned for this month. My apologies. I have been out travelling (and still am, kind of..) for 4 of the last 5 weeks. And as always, travelling makes some logistics more difficult, e.g. access to image archives (which are locked down in my safe when I’m not home) internet access, editing images on laptop screens etc. Well, enough excuses. Here is my first christmas-posting this year.

I’m currently in the northern parts of Norway, visiting friends and family. Where I am right now, the sun is below the horizon these days, but will be seen again in early january. Furthermore, the skies have been clear and the moon mostly invisible. This means that nights are long and very, very dark. Couple that with a latitude that often sports aurora borealis, and it is given what I have been up to every night this so far this christmas.

Shooting the aurora is not very challenging, technically. I basically use the same settings as I do for starry-sky photography, maybe a little lower iso, as the aurora lights up the land somewhat. Iso 1600-3200, f 2.8-4 and an exposure-time of 10-20 sec mostly give nice results. I prefer to use a very wide-angle lens to capture as much as possible of the skies. The challenging part is to find an interesting foreground and wait for the aurora to appear and match the foreground. Although I am born and raised in this area and more or less know it like my own pocket, it is still extremely challenging when it is so very, very dark. Also, handling the cold may be a problem. Using live-view for hours when temperatures are below -10 deg c may be a problem. And good, warm shoes and clothes are a must!

Anyway, I got a few images, both of aurora and deep starry skies. This particular image was captured at around 5 am in Valnesfjord, Norway, dec 22nd. I used one of my d800 bodies and the nikkor 14-24 @ 14 mm. Exposure setting were iso 2500, f 4.5 and 10 sec. Hope you like it, more will come!

I wish you all a wonderful Christmas and hope for peace and prosperity for all of you!

Dag Ole

Andaman dawn

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I am currently out travelling and photographing south-east Asia again. This is an image from the west-coast of Thailand, capturing the green waters of the Andaman sea at dawn the other day. Hope you like it, stay tuned for more!

Dag Ole

Ps this has only been edited on my laptop and not on one of my calibrated large-format screens. Thus, it is definitely not ready for publishing in my gallery or for sale yet, but it will be edited properly as soon as I get back home!

When you least expect it!

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Morning blues, Lake Jonsvatnet, Trondheim, Norway. Nov 23. 2014.

This autumn has been long and warm here in Norway. Until this weekend there has been no snow or ice in the Trondheim-area where I live. However, the last days have sported sub-zero temperatures, at least at night. The days are now very short with sunrise at around 9 and sunset around 15 PM. Due to the very low angle of the sun, the blue “hour” last for at least two hours in the morning and ditto in the afternoon. Furthermore, daylight is “golden hour” quality all day long! So… life is good for a landscape-photographer!

At this time of year, the aurora borealis is also at its most intense, even though we don’t have very much of it as far south as in Trondheim. Early yesterday morning I drove to the Swedish border, a couple of hours away, to capture some night-time mountainscapes, starry skies and maybe even some aurora. When I reached my destination at around 6 am, conditions were nice. Frost in the trees, clear skies and intense stars. I worked there through the morning and well into the day before I returned home. I got a couple of nice images, and was fairly happy. Due to a long trip yesterday I decided to work locally today. Skies were grey and dull, no stars and the temperature was rapidly increasing and removing all traces of rime in grass and trees. I was a little disappointed and decided to head back home to catch breakfast with my family. I drove pass a lake on my way back and noticed some ice on the shore. I stopped my car and climbed down to the water only to realize that the skies cleared a little to the south-east, making room for a colorful sunrise. I started to work along the shore at around 8:20 am with exposure times of 30 sec at an iso of 1600 and f 5.6. Pretty dark in other words. But the little light that was there had a wonderful blue-pinkish hue and the long exposures managed to capture the colors in the skies even better than my eyes. I worked there for an hour and by then daylight was there and the magic was gone. I have processed a few of todays images and I’m pretty happy with the one above. Maybe the surprise of getting this light on an initially dull day and finding ice at the lake added to my satisfaction? After all, this was not what I expected at all…. Hope you like it, have a super week!

Dag Ole

Enchanted forest

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Enchanted forest. Bavaria, Germany, october 2014.

Enchanted forest. Bavaria, october 2014.

Driving from Garmisch-Partenkirchen towards Ammersee one day early in october, I was continuously scanning the landscape for interesting scenes. The skies were overcast and there was light rain in the air, perfect conditions for photography in the forests. After a quick lunch I passed a small but dense forest. I stopped on a small turnout and headed into the woods. On my way back the car, these wonderful twisted backlit trees caught my attention. Hope you like my image, have a wonderful weekend!

This is a new release in my gallery nordhaugphotography.com

Dag Ole

How it was made…

Dawn, Frosta

Dawn, Frosta. Norway, november 2014.

 

 

Ok, so this may seem a little basic to some of you, but I’ll take my chances and post it anyway. I just wanted to share this image and how it was made.

Images of coastal landscapes are very popular. Just have a look at 500px, google+ or any other photography-site and you are likely to find hundreds of captivating, wonderful seascapes. Furthermore, it is something about the moon that adds an element of mystery or tranquility to a scene and I think the combination of long exposure seascapes with the moon often work out very well.  If you are planning to create such an image, be sure to find a good location well in time before the capture. In my opinion, important elements are a low horizon or a horizon with an interesting focal point (e.g. a mountain peak). The foreground is equally important. Be sure to include som nice rocks, a beach with sand-patterns or anything with lines leading the eye towards the sea. When you have found an interesting location, use “the photographer’s ephemeris” (iPhone app) or other programs that describe the moon’s location and phase at different dates. Find the ideal date when the moon is in the right phase and at the right place. This image features an almost full moon, which in my opinion, is not ideal. I think that either a 100% full moon or a thin crescent works best. Also, notice when sunrise or sunset is. As in any landscape-capture, the most important element of the image is the light. You want to be working at dusk or dawn when the sun is just under the horizon. At that time, the exposure differential between the landscape and the moon is not very big, and you avoid getting a pitch black landscape and a burnt out moon. At the same time the skies are still somewhat dark so that the moon stands out. These times also open the possibility for longer exposures without filters, so you can work with different exposure times to capture the movement in the water. When you have found a nice location and the ideal date and time of day to photograph, you want check the weather-forecast. If skies are totally overcast, plan for a different shot. For an image like this, ideal skies are partly cloudy, so that the emerging sun has something to enlighten. Strong winds are also ideal as it produces wonderful waves that adds to the foreground.

Ok, so you have found your location, the exact date and time of day to capture the scene, and forecasts are promising. Lucky you! Be sure to arrive at the location at least half an hour before ideal conditions and plan the details of your shot. Scrutinize the foreground elements and find the best possible composition. A wide-angle lens is ideal to emphasize the foreground, but this is a trade-off as the moon gets very small at the widest angles. Use a focal length that balances this. I have found that 24-50 mm (on full format) often work well. You definitely need a sturdy tripod and a cable release. Many use the self-timer set to 2 sec delay instead, but for capturing waves at the exact right time, that technique is not ideal. Set you tripod fairly low close to the surf to underline the foreground and the waves and use a small aperture  such as f16 or f22 to get enough depth of field. Focus on the hyperfocal point or about 1/3 into the depth of the image. Play around with different ISO’s to vary the shutter-speed as this captures different moods in the waves. This image was taken at a shutter speed of 5 sec because I wanted to blur the waves totally to add to the tranquil feeling of the scene. A shorter shutter-speed would have frozen the movement of the waves to a larger degree, and would have given a more energetic feeling to the image. If you use shutter-speeds longer than ca. 10 seconds, be aware that the moon moves and may become blurred. To get a five second exposure in this image, I used a 2 step neutral density filter. In addition, I used a 2 step graded neutral density filter to minimize exposure differential between the foreground and the sky and moon.

If you are totally unfamiliar with these techniques, be sure to practice before the ideal date and time!

Also, there are numerous digital techniques to help you in creating images like this. Most obvious is of course adding a moon to a nice landscape in Photoshop by merging two files. Many (including me) find that such images may look very unnatural, so be aware. I have used this technique from time to time, but always pasted a moon from another image taken at the same time and location on top of the moon that was there in the original file! This may be to minimize exposure differential or to enlarge the moon slightly. But as mentioned, be aware that this may look very un-natural and awkward if not done very carefully and subtle. Also, techniques of focus-stacking to get infinite depth-of-field or HDR techniques to minimize exposure differential may be employed. However, if you choose to use digital techniques like this, remember that this does not compensate for bad originals. I think it is always best to get the original as good as possible even though this may involve some compromises e.g. size of the moon etc. This image is made from one single raw-file and only minimally adjusted. I hope you like it, and feel free to comment and follow me if you like my work. Have a super weekend!

Dag Ole

Wallpaper, anyone?

Morning shores

 

This image was captured the same morning as the image in a previous posting, “perspectives”. I specifically composed this image for wallpaper-use on my new iPhone 6. The wallpaper-version is cropped slightly different from the image above, and optimized for the iPhone 6 screen-resolution, but is otherwise basically identical. In my humble opinion, it worked out quite well on the phone. So now I’m considering making a gallery on my homepage with this one and a few other images that I think could work well as wallpapers. For a limited time, I’m planning to give them away as free downloads. What do you think? Is this a good idea, would you consider downloading this? I’ll give it a thought for a few days, then we’ll see. In the meantime, I hope you like my image, have a splendid weekend! I will soon be back with more posts, so stay tuned!

 

Dag Ole