Archive for April, 2012

Krokvatnet and Tomasjordnes

Right now the snow (sigh) is falling outside the window, and I long back to the long stretch of sunny days we had for a while. Oh well, at least I have time to catch up with my blog 😉 Here are some photos from an evening trip to Krokvatnet, which is one of the Ti på Topp winter turs this year. We went on ski’s and we were racing against the growing shadows all the way up… eventually we lost 😀

On the way to Krokvatnet, with the top of Tromsdaltinden in the background Reaching our goal: the ti-på-topp turboks

The way up had been quite tiring, but the way down was lots of fun! Nice soft snow, and enough space to make turns. In the “forest” (the trees are tiny) we found a lot of ryper (ptarmigan/grouse). They don’t seem very keen on flying, they run around a lot. Some of them would stand underneath a bush and jump up repeatedly to reach a branch – it was hilarious to watch! I tried to come close to get some photos, but some ninja decided he wanted to be in the photo too and of course scared the bird away…

Paul decided he wanted a photo of him and the rype (ptarmigan/grouse) so he sneaked up like a ninja... which of course made the bird fly away A ptarmigan (or grouse, rype in Norwegian) in a small bush - so well camouflaged!

The sunset was beautiful!

Sunset, this photo was taken at 20:30 Spectacular colours on our way down from Krokvatnet

On our way back we stopped at the supermarket at Tomasjordnes, an area on the mainland with very new apartment blocks. It’s really modern, with houses on poles standing in the water. I’d recently seen someone who live there post photos from his balcony and I was really impressed by the view. So out of curiosity, we decided to walk around and look at the neighborhood. It’s surprisingly nice 🙂

This wreck is quite famous in tromsø :) I have seen many great photos of it, often with lots of cormorants sitting on it. No cormorants today, but a pretty sunset! Living out in the fjord... I envy their views!

And look at the view some people have from their flats… I’m jealous!!

The view from Tomasjordnes towards the bridge and the cathedral, what a view!

It’s really nice that the days are long enough now for after-work trips 🙂 although it does mean that the northern lights season is over for now. But that evening it JUST about got dark enough for the northern lights to be visible… a last farewell 🙂 I took this photo behind our flat, it was nearly 1 in the morning and I should have been in bed as I had a shift starting at 06:30 the next morning… oops 😉

A last farewell to the northern lights season...

Sommarøy Sunset

Last week we drove to Sommarøy to take pictures of the sunset. Sommarøy is ideal for this, as it’s located on the outer side of Kvaløya with only open ocean to the west 🙂 We had a really nice evening walking on the beaches…

View towards Håja Paul on the beach at Sommarøy

The beaches at Sommarøy are really pretty, with yellow/white sand Streams on the beach at low tide

I had fun taking photos of the sunset with my neutral gradient filters, and Paul flew his kite for a while – there was just about enough wind. Sunset that day was at 21:18, but it rises again less than 6 hours later (at 4 in the morning). Although it doesn’t really get dark anymore, the sky turns this intense orange near the horizon – so beautiful!

Such a beautiful sky... Paul and his kite, he got some nice photos!

We climbed Ørnfløya just after sunset to get photos of Sommarøy from above. There was a large flock of reindeer on the mountain too.

Sunset at Sommarøy A reindeer silhouetted against the sunset

Reindeer & Håja Sommarøy at sunset... so beautiful!

Panorama of the view from Ørnfløya

I could have stayed there all night, I was hoping the northern lights might make another appearance, but Paul was going on a skiing trip the next day and he was keen to get some sleep 😉 We made it back to Tromsø by midnight, I was tired but very happy 🙂

Inari

Just after Easter, we went on a trip to Inari in Finland. Paul had been skiing from Alta to Karasjok during Easter (while I was at work), so on Sunday I drove to Karasjok to pick him up. Only an 8 hour drive 😉 I was very happy I’d thought of buying an audio book to listen to while driving, this made a huge difference! From Karasjok it’s a 1.5 hour drive to Inari. We found this wonderful hotel called Kultahovi where we rented a room with views over the river, and our very own sauna 🙂 wonderful! We also got half-board, so we had dinner in the hotel’s restaurant every evening. A very relaxing trip 🙂

Our beautiful room! With our very own sauna :) The view from our room towards the river

Our first day in Inari was very sunny, and we enjoyed a leisurely ski tour along the partly frozen river. For most of the way, you could ski on the ice of the river, but sometimes the river narrowed and there were rapids, so you’d have to get on the shore to pass. It was really pretty 🙂 And one of the first creatures we met was this cute little bird that I remembered from our trip to Kiruna. It’s a white-throated dipper, and apparently Norway’s national bird – but I’ve only seen it in Sweden and Finland 😀 They can sing very prettily, a welcome sound after Tromsø where you mostly hear seagulls, crows and magpies who don’t exactly sing 😉 If you want to see some really good photos of this bird: check here and here.

The ski/scooter track along the river A white-throated dipper - cute little bird!

We had a nice long break in the sunshine looking over the river. We met only a handful of other people all day, either skiing or ice fishing.

The river had open stretches and rapids Clear ice

The river was a paradise for macro photography, I had lots of fun capturing these icicles. In the afternoon, it got more cloudy and the temperatures dropped. We headed back to the hotel – sauna time!

The river flowing underneath the ice creates some pretty sort of icicles Paul on the river. After 4 days of skiing from Alta to Karasjok, he wanted a break and he used my snowshoes for the day

Ice sheet from below Impressive icicles underneath the ice sheet

Icicle :) Some rapids along the river

It cleared up again in the evening, and I was keen to try and see the aurora. Inari is at about the same latitude as Tromsø, and the days are getting very long now. At midnight, the sky had this incredible deep blue colour that silhouetted the trees on the other side of the river. Magical! And to add to the magic, even the aurora showed up 🙂 very briefly though, so unfortunately I didn’t get any good photos. Still, I love the colour of the sky in these photos.

Aurora! But the lights from the hotel are spoiling the photo a bit So I moved to a darker spot, by then of course the aurora had (almost) gone. Still, this deep blue colour of the sky behind the trees was so beautiful

I was really hoping for stronger aurora to turn up, as there were so many good photo opportunities here. We don't have trees like this in Tromsø! The view towards the hotel

The next day started very sunny, and we went for a ski tour on lake Inari. This is the third-largest lake in Finland, and that means it’s BIG! But first I found some small bushes with branches covered in ice crystals…

Ice crystals on a branch Icicles on a branch

When we left, I could see a front of clouds on the horizon. Unfortunately, it moved really fast and within about an hour it had become overcast. Without the sunshine, it was quite chilly.

The day started sunny, but this front was moving in with a surprising speed Paul flew his kite for a bit. This is on lake Inari, a really large lake. The crater next to Paul is where the ice is pushed up on a boulder

We didn’t stay out for very long once it got cold and cloudy, but I did take some more photos of the different shapes of ice… wonderful 🙂

Ice abstract, this was part of the crater in the previous photo I was really fascinated by all the structures and different forms of ice

Ice flowers... ...and snow flowers :)

The next day was our last full day in Inari, and we went for another ski trip. It was a cloudy, snowy day, and we kept getting lost in the forest (guess we are spoilt in Tromsø where you hardly ever have to use a map :D). Soon the sauna was calling 😉 We visited the museum (Siida) shop in the afternoon, though not the museum itself. I think it’s one of the best museums in the world (seriously) but we had already visited 2 years ago on our way to Murmansk. I started to regret that decision when browsing around the shop, as they had a temporary exhibition of paintings by a Swiss artist called Séverine Cuénod. I only got to see her work through the postcards they were selling (it was almost closing time), but I LOVED it. I can’t find much information about her, but here you can see a few more works. We also visited the local supermarket, where I was amazed to find that they sold rolls of film and FLOPPY DISKS. Wow – this place is frozen in time 😀

The next day it was time to leave… It’s a 650 km drive back to Tromsø, so it was great to stop in Kautokeino for a bit. I had been looking forward to visiting Juhls Silver gallery for quite some time 🙂 On our last visit (2 years ago), we were really short on time. Of course I didn’t leave empty handed 🙂 I bought some really pretty glass birds to hang in front of the window.

Juhls silver gallery in Kautokeino, an amazing place! Juhls silver gallery, don't think I could ever leave this place empty handed ;)

Lots of sami knives Juhls really is like Aladin's cave of wonders :)

The rest of the drive home was long but uneventful. As real Norwegians, we made sure to stock up on wine in Finland 🙂 Finland is a lot cheaper than Norway. It was a great little trip, and we’re thinking of coming back to Inari in summer to explore the lake by boat 🙂

Drop Photography

In March I joined a really fun workshop on drop photography, which took place over 2 (long) evenings. On the first evening, we got an introduction to the basics of this type of photography, and then it was time to try for ourselves! Taking photos of droplets works quite different from what I imagined. I thought you’d have to use bright light and fast shutter speeds, but in reality we used exposure times of 2 seconds in darkness that was only lit up by an external flash. So instead of using a fast shutter speed on your camera, you let the flash determine the shutter speed. The tricky bit is to get the flash to fire at exactly the right moment… It didn’t take long to realise that the most important thing for drop photography is PATIENCE and perseverance 🙂

Drop photography workshop: a first attempt

That first evening, our goal was to get a picture of the so-called “crown”, the splash when the drop has hit the water. After a lot of trial and error, we managed 🙂

Almost a crown And yes, here is our first proper crown image!

We also played around with dripping milk into our red liquid (water with food colouring), which gives quite neat results! As a sneak preview of what we were going to do on the second evening, they showed us the drop machine. The really impressive drop photos are the result of 1 drop hitting the water, bouncing back, and then being hit by a second drop, creating a sort of umbrella. This is very hard to do by yourself, so you can buy a drop machine (controlled by a computer), which enables you to set the size of each drop, the time between firing the drops, how many drops you want, etc… In the photo below we used milk dripping into a cup of coffee 🙂

Dropping milk into a red liquid A milky umbrella on a cup of coffee

The next evening we got to play with the drop machine ourselves. Turns out it’s still very tricky to get it set right. We struggled for quite a while to get the famous “umbrella” photo, similar to the one above.

After much fiddling, we managed to get our own umbrella Once the machine is set correctly, it will keep creating umbrella's

But it’s all good fun, even when the timing goes wrong…

Here you see the impact of the second drop on the (bounced-back) first one, this is just before the umbrella forms A failed attempt, but I thought this one was quite cool - it almost looks like a human shape stuck inside the drop

At some point we created a soap bubble over our glass. We tried to get an umbrella image within the bubble, which took some attempts before we got it right. But again, the failed attempts are just as impressive – and I thought it was really cool to see how drops can pass through a soap bubble!

A drop falling through a soap bubble! Here you can see that the drop is caught in its own mini soap bubble - how cool! And finally we managed the umbrella within the soap bubble :)

It was a really fun workshop! I’d love to do more, but I am a bit overwhelmed by the equipment you need (though they showed us how to build our own with cheap materials) and maybe most of all: how much patience is required. Patience has never been my strongest virtue 😉 But just take a look at Corrie White‘s to see where patience and perseverance can take you 🙂 amazing!