Archive for May, 2012

Vannøya

Two weeks ago we decided to take a daytrip to Vannøya, an island north of Tromsø. It had been snowing during the night and driving conditions on some stretches were really tough – luckily we hadn’t changed to summer tires yet! The weather improved during the day so the view on the drive back was completely different…

Driving to Vannøya, taken at approximately the same place on the way out and on the way back... crazy! Vannøya from the ferry... hidden in a snow shower

After arriving on the island, our first stop was Torsvåg. I really wanted to visit Torsvåg as the lighthouse there is one of our measurement stations as well as a dividing place for our wind warnings, and I had never been there before. The lighthouse is quite special, it’s integrated into a house. Nobody seemed to live there though… I would have liked to visit, but there was nobody there.

Fish heads - yum ;) The lighthouse at Torsvåg

Nearby we found this small pier with a railroad on it…

A little railroad for (un)loading ships The railroad seen from the other side of the pier

There were also lots of snow buntings around. You can read a nice article about them here.

A snow bunting

Torsvåg seen from the pier – lots of fishing boats and a few fish farms. It was Sunday so all the boats were in port, and only some keen people were out in rented boats (one of them carrying a huge Russian flag :D).

The harbour of Torsvåg The harbour of Torsvåg

After visiting Torsvåg, we drove to the settlement of Burøysund, on the other side of the island. Quite a sleepy place…

Burøysund Old houses on the island of Burøya

Back on the western side of the island, we visited the enormous beach at Sandbukta – really pretty!

The beach at Sandbukta The sand was moving so quickly in the stream that it looked blurred even without a long exposure

Nice bend in one of the streams Sandbukta beach

There were some old boathouses near the beach…

Nice old boathouse near Sandbukta beach The same boathouse seen from the other side

We continued exploring the island and drove to the “capital” Vannvåg. A fishing boat had just come in and there were LOTS of seagulls around.

LOTS of seagulls - near the fish processing place of course ;) There are also lots of reindeer on Vannøya. This one has lost one of its antlers

Finally we reached the end of the road at Kristoffervalen. We had a nice lunchbreak in this little harbour :).

The end of the road: the little harbour at Kristoffervalen At Kristoffervalen

Nearby they were storing parts of windturbines that are about to be built. They’re building a wind farm with 18 turbines at Fakken. The turbines come from Italy and were stored on the quay – impressive to see how big the blades are!!

The MASSIVE blades of a windturbine ready to be built - they are 50 m long! Quite an impressive lorry arrangement to transport the turbines

Here are the first 3 turbines, and in the foreground the container houses that I assume are used for housing employees. Nobody seemed to be around now though.

Three windmills are standing so far, they are building 18 in total. There were lots of these container houses - I guess the employees live there at times?

We decided to go for a little walk along the coast. It was warm enough to walk without a coat, and with the lack of snow in this area, it almost felt like summer :) Strange when you think that we were driving through snow showers in the morning!

The weather really cleared up and we went for a little walk - so beautiful! Paul trying to be Lars Monsen in his high waterproof boots ;)

We walked to a small settlement – what an idyllic place. If you keep walking, you get to an (at least partly) abandoned fishing village, but we didn’t have time to walk that far. Next time!

After a few kilometres we came to a little settlement What a beautiful place to have a house!

There were lots of birds around, I wish I had a better lens to capture them :) I think this is a redshank (rødstilk in Norwegian, tureluur in Dutch) – but please correct me if I’m wrong!

I think this is a Redshank/Rødstilk - wish I had a better lens for bird photography! Another photo of the redshank

Nice reflections in the evening light… and later on, back in the car and on the way to the ferry, we had a nice view of Nord Fugløya, a bird island that Paul hopes to visit :)

Nice reflections View towards Nord Fugløya - a bird island

Waiting for the ferry back…

Waiting for the ferry home

It was a fantastic day and I really liked Vannøya – would really like to come back in summer and explore more :)

We haven’t been on many trips since then, the weather has been really miserable. And when it wasn’t, I was at work. Paul did go on a really nice trip on the 17th of May, to Nord Kvaløya – see his photos here. It will be June very soon, but this was the view from our living room today… (and for the optimists who think we do have green grass – nope, it’s artificial :D). Waiting for better times…

Almost June...

A Cup of Tea

And now for something completely different between all the landscape/nature photos on this blog :) Last week there was a “fotomesse” in Tromsø, a kind of trade fair organised by a shop in Oslo (we don’t even have a decent photography shop in Tromsø!). Apart from selling all kinds of equipment, there were also talks by photographers and several workshops. All for free :) I was lucky with my work schedule, and I was able to join 3 workshops and a talk. The talk was by Audun Rikardsen, a professor in biology who takes truly spectacular images around Tromsø – have a look at his website!

The workshops were by Roger Brendhagen, a nature photographer and ambassador for Nikon. The workshops were all really interesting and I’ve learnt a lot. One of them was called “Walk of Feature” and was about documentary photography and publishing in magazines etc. At the end of the workshop he gave us an assignment: to document an event in 8 photos, and to really plan which photos to take beforehand.

After his workshops, and the talk by Audun Rikardsen, I came to realise that many great photos are not taken “by accident”. They are planned very carefully and basically staged. I still have this romantic idea that good photos just come to you if you happen to be at the right place at the right time ;) though of course I do sometimes have a photo in mind before I set out. So it was a new experience for me to sit down and kind of draw out which 8 photos I wanted to take – it’s like drawing a cartoon story. I had big ideas, but struggled with the practicality of them, and when I was running out of time, I decided to keep things simple and chose the making of a cup of tea as my subject :D

A simple subject, but surprisingly challenging to carry out… I was alone when I took these photos, it definitely would have been easier with an assistent ;) but it was quite fun to try and get these photos perfect. Of course they aren’t, and I still have a lot to learn, but I found this exercise very helpful. So here it comes…

A Cup of Tea

A Cup of Tea A Cup of Tea

A Cup of Tea A Cup of Tea

A Cup of Tea A Cup of Tea

A Cup of Tea

Spring??

Spring is slowly making its way to Tromsø, but this weekend we seem to have turned back to winter: snow showers! We were craving some fresh air though, so we decided to go for a walk anyway. We walked along the coast of the mainland, sometimes battered by snow and hail showers, other times enjoying bright sunshine :) a great walk!

Walk along the coast in snowy weather... Snow and a boat house

Here you can see that spring is actually here: buds on the trees and oystercatchers. We even saw little lambs! I didn’t get a photo of them though, as they hurried inside the shed when it started snowing.

There are signs of springs though: buds on the trees Oystercatchers, another sign of spring

The sky was changing so quickly and the clouds were really impressive…

Between showers, the sun came out Threatening skies!

We came across many boathouses which are great subjects for photos :)

Very pretty views when the sun was out Another shower on its way in

Large parts of the beach consisted of big rocks grown over with grass – quite difficult to walk on!

Nearly there... In the middle of a snow shower, the mountains around us have disappeared

We came across this boat-repair-project (looked quite hopeless to me ;) ), and from here we walked back to the car along the road.

This boat looked impossible to repair, but looks like they were trying to... Pretty clouds :)

May is a difficult month in Tromsø, at some point there is not enough snow for skiing but too much snow for hiking… beaches are the best destination then, as they are free of snow. It was great to get some fresh air, and we both really enjoyed our walk on the beach :)

Ice in Ramfjorden

Yesterday evening the water around Tromsø was mirror calm and I (Paul) decided it was time for the first boat trip of the year! I had heard that the sea ice in Ramfjorden had recently broken up and thought it would be interesting to make a trip in the channels between the ice floes.

Ramfjorden Ramfjorden

When I got to Ramfjorden, I found that all the broken-off pieces of ice had been blown out of the fjord so the maze of channels I was hoping for was gone. Nonetheless, it was a beautiful evening in the fjord.

Ramfjorden Ramfjorden

The remaining ice was very thin (5-10 cm), too thin for a person to walk on, but plenty thick enough for sea gulls.

Ramfjorden Ramfjorden

After taking some photos, I met up with a friend who lives by the side of the fjord, who invited me in for coffee. After the sun had gone down it was time to return to Tromsø. On the way back I found that the surface of the fjord had begun to freeze over, and I could hear it cracking under the boat. I was surprised how quickly the thin ice had formed. It was perhaps good that I did not stay longer ;)

Ramfjorden Ramfjorden