I took this image 14 years ago and I still love it.
a photographer's view to the world – a traveler's blog
In German, we have the word See for the sea. But, it can have two different meanings, depending if one uses the male (der) or the female (die) article.
Der See is a body of water enclosed by land and translates to “lake” in English.
Die See is the same as “sea” in English, but also a poetic name for seas. In addition, we have the word “Meer”, which also translates to “sea”, but this is a more ‘technical’ and emotionless description of “sea”.
Btw. the word “ocean” also exists and is used in the same way as in English.
“Die See” is also referenced when saying “Ich fahre / er fährt zur See / Er is Seemann” (it’s used to describe, the I / he is sailing (the work) or a seaman/sailor).
I love standing or sitting near the sea and watching the waves come in. I love the distinct smell and the sound of the crashing waves. I love the feeling of having sand below my feet or at least below my shoes.
This is one of my favorite images taken in Norway this year. Without being disturbed by the wind, the water in the fjord perfectly mirrors the surrounding mountains. The rising full moon gives this scene a very calm ambiance. In addition, only the peaks of the mountains are still touched by the warm light of the setting sun, while the rest of the scene is already bathed in cold blue light.
Just before we arrived at the small parking lot, two minibusses drove out, stopped and spit out a dozen people. The minibusses clogged the whole parking lot because of stopping right after the entrance and parked side by side in the road instead of giving room for other vehicles. So our own two cars filled up the remaining space and even had to park in knee-deep snow. While most of the minibus passengers didn’t seem interested in the location or the scene, others crossed the road and the guardrail to head down to the water through the still untouched snow. One of them is in the image. Try to find him 😁!
Our hope was to see white-tailed eagles here. When I was there, back in 2016, we saw a couple of them here. They were either in the air or sitting on the ground beside the water. Because of bad weather and being on a long transfer trip, it wasn’t possible to get nice images in 2016. This time, there were no eagles visible. But, we were compensated by this awesome light and mirror. For me personally, the rising full moon and its reflection is an additional eye-catcher that upgrades the image from great to awesome.
Do you dream at night? Are your dreams artistic? Sweet? Or more like nightmares? I supposed, in this bedroom, nightmares are close by. It’s another bedroom for up to two people. In addition to the very artistically shaped ice of the walls, all the lights are changing slowly but constantly and randomly. So, another mood and ambiance is created every other second.
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This is one of the “standard” rooms of the Icehotel near Kiruna, Sweden. When walking around, strong memories of the first Man of Steel movies from the 1980s, where a gigantic crystalline fortress was made by the green crystal thrown by Clark Kent (the later Men of Steel) in the Canadian Arctic.
You can rent a room for a night made of ice. Sleep in a sleeping bag on a bed made of ice covered with reindeer furs set up in a room made completely of ice. They offer three different kinds of such rooms. Besides the “standard” rooms for 2, 3, or even 4 sleepers (the “bed” is broader for more sleepers), there are other rooms that were more individually decorated. You can find a few examples in my “I’m back, …” post. All of these are supposed to melt as soon as spring starts and return their water to the lake beside the hotel. According to the website, “the room holds a temperature of -5 to -8 degrees Celsius. The bed is covered with reindeer hides and you sleep in a thermal sleeping bag. Instead of doors, the hotel rooms have curtains that you draw to give you and your company privacy.“ So, I wish you a good night and sleep well 😁
The entrance fee for seeing these rooms as well as the premium, deluxe, and art rooms, is quite high but definitely worth the money. While I was expecting only a bar made of ice set up in a room made of ice and equipped with chairs and tables made of ice, I was visiting an art gallery where not only the rooms were made of ice, but also the pieces of art itself. Btw. they also have the bar 😁.
This was another mystery for me while walking on seemingly abandoned cemeteries in Scotland: why is the grass seemingly cut? Many of the cemeteries were not even. There were usually no buildings other than the abandoned chapels. It didn’t look like someone had used an electric power-driven lawn mower (how can one have done this without a power supply) or tracks of a fuel-driven lawn mower. On the other hand, the uneven ground would have made it extremely hard to use such a device. But, you can definitely see, the grass is very short.
Maybe we can see the reason in the back of this image: sheep! they are running around everywhere freely and you have to drive carefully because they don’t obey human rules on how to behave correctly in the streets and they don’t interact with the car drivers.
A wonderfully bright and friendly snowy landscape in Norway. When looking at the shadows of the bushes, you can see, the scene is backlit. The light source is slightly above the upper edge of the image. The color temperature is quite cool as a result of the silvery light. A real winterly image as there is no warmth in it. But, something’s wrong with the image. Look carefully and try to discover, what’s wrong before reading further. As usual, you can enlarge it by clicking on it.
On the right, you can recognize lights: there’s a restroom on the parking ground and a car with switched-on lights is driving on the street. Far in the back, there are a few more lights from houses and a town.
Although in Scandinavia you have to drive with lights on during the day, the lights were not visible in an image taken at daytime. Same with the lights issued by houses. During the daytime, you would not be able to see them even when being closer to them.
This image instead is taken at night: 22:32h at full moon. We were out there to photograph the Aurora, but she didn’t appear. So, I was using the time to do also other things.
I hope, you like this image and the idea. Try it on your own and be surprised by the results.
… from northern Norway again. During the last 12 days we tried to meet the Green Lady again, but the overall outcome is quite disappointing considering the current peak of solar activity which is the cause of the Aurora.
At first, we had 2 days in and around Tromsø with snowy and rainy weather, but no Aurora. Next 4 days on Senja: snowstorms, thick clouds, and partly rain 😲 to melt the snow, and such even prevented nice winter images.
Thus, after checking the weather forecast for the greater region, we left 1 day early, canceled the next location, and postponed another one. Instead, we escaped to Sweden, which was proposing the best conditions for the next few days.
It was a horrible 320km drive to Sweden crossing a mountain pass: towards darkness during a snowstorm on such a steep and small road is quite a challenge, even with spikes. At first, we lost an hour because the pass was closed for rescuing a truck stuck in the snow. Snow chains were an absolute necessity for trucks. The bad sight demanded further delays because of the quite slow speed for driving. Driving convoy was also necessary to make sure to not lose sight of the car in front of us.
After dinner on the arriving day, we noticed a greenish glow above the town. So, two of us (me included 😁 of course) decided to give it a try. Despite being quite late (in comparison to their usual schedule), she popped out and danced for us. We were back at the hotel at about 2 a.m., tired, but with happy smiles on our faces. My companion even wanted to stay way longer. The first meeting with the Aurora for this trip. The others were too tired from the drive.
Unfortunately, the next two days she was shy again and didn’t show us more than a weak glow between the clouds, that already arrived there, too, although the weather forecast said differently.
After 3 nights in Sweden, we headed back to Norway for the remaining 3 nights.
When we arrived at our last location, we struggled again with bad weather. One day and night got lost to another snowstorm, but we also got two crisp clear nights, but she didn’t pop up. While we got at least a short and weak Aurora in one of these two nights, the other one was completely Aurora-free. At least we got some wonderful sunny winter days.
Overall, this year’s trip for seeing the Aurora was quite disappointing although the conditions are extremely good this year. Solar activity is at or near its maximum. Surprisingly, a green Aurora was visible even in the middle of Germany but not in northern Norway. I guess, because of the high level of solar activity, the center moved south so that we couldn’t see Auroras north of the polar circle in Norway as expected.
The green lights are at about 40km high, while the reds are up to 100km high. Thus, middle Europe usually sees the red lights of an aurora, when a strong Aurora happens. But green lights are extremely rare at these latitudes.
On the other hand, this was again a nice winter trip with nice company and quite well-prepared (although it seemed a bit chaotic sometimes).
Surprisingly, I have more the half of my images already developed and even started creating an ebook with some of my monochrome images taken during this trip. So, even the days with bad weather delivered. During the last third of the trip, I definitely had the best weather. So, be prepared to see some of the images in the future.
For today I have one Aurora image for you (how could it be otherwise). You might have already seen it on Instagram.
Second, an image taken while coping with the bad conditions on the pass. Coincidentally at that time, the shuffle function of my audio collection decided to play „May it be“ by Enya from the first Lord of the Rings movie where it is underscoring how the fellows hiked upwards the Caradhras pass.
The third image is one of the last images, taken near sunset on our last day.
One of the other highlights of the trip was our visit to the Ice Hotel in Kiruna. You can rent a room for a night made of ice. Sleep in a sleeping bag on a bed made of ice covered with reindeer furs set up in a room made completely of ice. They offer three different kinds of such rooms. First, they have the standard rooms, where you feel like standing in a room of the gigantic crystalline fortress made by the green crystal thrown by Clark Kent (the later Men of Steel) in the Canadian Arctic. Other rooms were more individually decorated, like the one in the image below. All of these are supposed to melt as soon as spring starts and return their water to the lake beside the hotel. In a separate huge hall, there are individually designed rooms by some ice artists. I suppose those rooms are not for rent. According to the website, “the room holds a temperature of -5 to -8 degrees Celsius. The bed is covered with reindeer hides and you sleep in a thermal sleeping bag. Instead of doors, the hotel rooms have curtains that you draw to give you and your company privacy.“ So, I wish you a good night and sleep well 😁
The entrance fee for seeing these rooms is quite high but definitely worth the money. While I was expecting only a bar made of ice set up in a room made of ice and equipped with chairs and tables made of ice, I was visiting an art gallery where not only the rooms were made of ice, but also the pieces of art itself. Btw. they also have the bar 😁.
The final image for today is one of the monochrome images taken at a beach in the greater Tromsø area.
Here, the different layers work best in monochrome. The foreground is made of gray rocks, the middle ground is made of dark rocks and the background is formed by the mountains. All of them are well parted by the moving water of the fjord and the white splashes stand out well from the dark rocks while the shoreline leads the eye from the lower left right to the splashes and thus makes them the main subject. The color version is on Instagram for comparison.
So, my advice for photographing on a trip. Don’t stick to the ideas you have on your bucket list. Instead, try always to get the best from the situation you’re in. There is always something for you to take. Use your time well and the location will pay back. When sticking to the ideas from your bucket list, remember that you will never be in the same situation, in the same conditions, and probably in the same place as the photographer whose picture you saw. But, it will limit your ability to see the scene with your own eyes and capture the beauty laying in front of you. Be a creator and not a copycat.
Back in February 2016, I traveled far north to meet the Green Lady and see her dance.
For a couple of months, I work to reduce my backlog of undeveloped images whenever I have some spare time. Over the years, some (many) folders of undeveloped images found their way only to my external disk The oldest folder is dated from 2009 😲. In general, these folders contain quite often only images of flowers, birds, cats or so and nothing from more important trips. But, also a couple of trips are among these, just like the one, I’m talking about today.
Back in October 2014, I was in Flandern at the Belgium coast. A few images were already developed, but the majority were still waiting.
When looking at the image files, I remembered at once, why they were still waiting for development. Especially in the upper parts of the images, the sensor captured a lot of dust spots. I haven’t counted them, but I guess, each image had more than a hundred of these spots to be removed. Fortunately, I took those images raw, so that the removal didn’t cause any quality problems and the raw development software is so well developed to remove these spots in general without any glitches.
Although having dust spots is not that uncommon, the enormous number of them, I was faced with, is. You have to clean your sensor when photographing with a camera with interchangeable lenses regularly. Back in film days, you did this each time when putting a new film in. Now, having a digital sensor, the sensor has to be cleaned regularly. In case, you’re not familiar with this, drop me a comment below.
As I said, having dust spots is annoying but not uncommon. But, the camera I was using at that time, had a huge problem. Those spots were not only dust. In addition, each shutter release distributed a tiny amount of machine oil being used for the mechanical part of the shutter over the sensor. Fortunately, this issue was accepted by the manufacturer and a portion of this camera model based on a certain range of serial numbers was called back for repair. Also, I would have been glad, if the call back was much earlier.