February 28, 2014

Norway Arctic - passing 1 of our 50000 Islands along the coast

Tour to North Cape. Day 03 - sailing along the coast north of the Arctic Circle

As compared to the last photo in this series this photo is taken only 1 minutes later in the very fair weather we had this morning in January.
In about an 1 - 2 hrs after this we will arrive Bodø the central town of the Nordland region.

February 27, 2014

Norway Arctic: Sailing with MS Midnatsol

Tour to Norway, North Cape. Day 03 - MS Midnatsol

We have just crossed the Arctic Circle on our journey up North - on our way to Bodø - the central town in the region of Nordland.
As you can see perfect weather this morning.
Some more info of the ship from our coastal express, Hurtigruten:
MS Midnatsol took her maiden voyage along the Norwegian coast in April 2003 and has become a favourite.
The name Midnatsol (Midnight Sun) is something to live up to, and this ship, dedicated to the Norwegian summer, does just that. The interior is bright, its colourful décor is inspired by the warm sunny climate, a motif also reflected in the many pieces of Norwegian modern art on display. MS Midnatsol was put into service on 15 April 2003 and is the fourth Hurtigruten ship to bear this name. The ship has a strong environmental profile and a modern design, with Norwegian matierals used extensively throughout its interiors. Together with her sister ship, MS Trollfjord, MS Midnatsol is among the newest in the fleet. What characterises both ships is the large, two-storey panorama lounge above the bow and the large glass expanses that allow natural light to enter as well as providing extraordinary views. There are also 23 beautifully appointed suites, some of which have a balcony.

Ship description
Year of construction: 2003
Ship yard: Fosen Mekaniske Verksteder, Norway
Passenger capacity: 1000
Car capacity:45
Gross tonnage:16151

February 26, 2014

Norway Arctic - the places we live

Tour to North Cape. Day 03 Nordland

We was just crossing the polar circle on our way North and cruising along some of the 50.000 islands we have in our coastal zone.
Looking at this mountains, shooting right up of the sea, it is quite common to find a little line of shore with some houses on - a place to live for someone.
Study the details in this photo and you will see that also this island is populated.

February 25, 2014

Norway - layered sunset in January

Tour to Norway, North Cape. Day 02 - Layered Fjord Sunset

I left the central town of mid Norway, Trondheim, at noon with the coastal express MS Midnatsol.

I am sailing out the Trondheimsfjorden on my way North. At 3.40 PM the sun is setting partly hidden by some low clouds drifting over the sea out there.

From the net:
The Trondheimsfjord an inlet of the Norwegian Sea, is Norway's third longest fjord at 130 kilometres (81 mi) long. It is located in the west central part of the country, and it stretches from Ørland in west to Steinkjer in north, passing the city of Trondheim on its way.

Its maximum depth is 617 metres (2,024 ft), just inside of Agdenes.
The largest islands in the fjord are Ytterøy and Tautra; the small Munkholmen is located near the harbor of Trondheim; and there are several islands at the entrance of the fjord.

February 24, 2014

Norway Arctic: Where is the European highway E6?

Tour to Norway Arctic. Day 07 - going South along E6 - crossing: Finnmarksvidda

After a great day up at the North Cape the time has come to start my car for the long journey south to Tromsø where a new coastal express is waiting.
I have in this photo already passed the long underwater tunnel from Magerøya (where North Cape is situated. The tunnel is 6,875 metres (22,556 ft) long and reaches a depth of 212 metres (696 ft) below the sea level).
I am cruising along the European highway E6 in the outskirt of Finnmarksvidda (Finnmark plateau) in wind of gales force.
The snow blowing over the road - almost without traffic - makes it difficult to see the road shoulder. As a Norwegian I have good winter tyres and know to adjust the speed to the existing driving conditions. Better to be a bit delayed - keeping the car on the road, sitting in a warm environment inside, than end up in a ditch sitting in a cold car waiting for assistance....
(Suggestion: Have this photo in mind next time you drive along a green marked European Highway E6 :-))
My goal this day is the small village Nordreisa some 450km South - where I will visit the farm and the valley of my great grandfather and his family that lived up here 1855-1943.
The tour continues....

From wiki about Finnmarsvidda:
Finnmarksvidda English: Finnmark plateau/highland) is Norway's largest plateau, with an area greater than 22,000 square kilometres (8,500 sq mi).
The plateau includes extensive birch woods, pine barrens, bogs and glacially formed lakes. Finnmarksvidda is situated north of the Arctic Circle and is best known as the land of the once nomadic Sami people and their reindeer herds. Their shelters in the tundra, are still in use in winter time.
Kautokeino municipality is Norway's largest by area. Within its borders is the coldest village in continental Norway, Sihcjavri.
Finnmarksvidda, located in the interior of the county has a continental climate with the coldest winter temperatures in Norway: the coldest temperature ever recorded was −51.4 °C (−60.5 °F) in Karasjok on 1 January 1886.

February 23, 2014

Norway Arctic - A Lumix GX7 photo

Tour to Norway, North Cape. Day 04 North of Harstad

As you may have noted I did this tour using my new, mirrorless system camera: Panasonic Lumix GX7.

My 4:3 lens is an Olympus M. Zuiko Digital ED 14-150mm (35mm equal= 28-300mm), F4.05.6. (Why I made a choice for the Olympus lens was purely a price question as the equal Lumix lens was considerably more expensive.

Combined with the fact that the main difference, according to some tests, was that the Panasonic had a lens stabilizer which Olympus did not have. On the other hand the new camera have a camera stabilizer build in the house so no big deal.)

After being a Nikon fan through many DSLR years (even before that with the traditional SLR cameras), and then a short period with Canons top compact camera the Canon G1X, I was very impressed reading some tests on my present Panasonic Lumix GX7 mirrorless system camera (comes even with a super electronic viewfinder) - and ended up with the gear as mentioned above.

As an example of the result you can have right out of the RAW file I present this photo taken in the incredible light in north of the Arctic Circle where the sun in January, in the middle of the dark winter, was rising (under my tour) around 9.30AM and was setting around 2.30PM. Some variations depending on how far north I was at the different days.

Today I present you with a jpg version that is totally without any PP Process from the RAW file - that is except for reformatting from 4592x3448 pixels to 1065x800 pixels (click the photo).

(My usually PP process for the photos used in this series is: Cropping, digital noise removal (ev. Classical soft focus), sharpening and adjustment of levels (or curves) (light and contrast). (But as mentioned in this photo only resizing.)

The photo is taken 9.26AM at sunrise, Jan, 22. 2014. According to my sailing plan with the coastal express we was at that time app. at 68 degrees North (a bit north of Harstad) which we departed 8.00AM).

(Are you in any need to see the full size photo - contact me.).

February 22, 2014

Winter holidays in Norway

Our small "guest house" was again in use at our mountain place this week as we had some days off for our traditional "winter holiday".

In an alt of 850m we have app 1m of snow, very nice temperature around 0C in the day and superb conditions for cross country skiing.
Have a fine weekend.

February 14, 2014

North Cape, Norway - Children of the World

On Tour to North Cape - day 06 - Finally there III

To be found at the North Cape by the tourist Center: The "Children of the world" sculpture created by Seven children from Thailand to Tanzania.

Here photographed at a visit a grey day in January.

It was strange being almost alone around this great sculpture partly covered in snow in a very low light environment - still with a fading sun in the clouded sky.

And I think this photo version of the sculpture on this day for me was a small highlight as I walked around in solitude at North Cape - outside and inside the big North Cape center.

(BTW the blue in the snow is due to the Arctic low light winter season not any idea, wish or PP from my side :-))

From the net:

The “Children of the World” sculpture was started in 1988 when author Simon Flem Devold randomly selected seven children from seven countries – Tanzania, Brazil, USA, Japan, Thailand, Italy and Russia — to visit the North Cape to dream of “Peace on Earth”.

During their seven day visit, each of the 8-to12-year-old children made a clay relief symbolizing friendship, hope, joy and working together. In 1989 the reliefs were enlarged, case in bronze and erected in a semi-circle outside the North Cape Hall. A “Mother and Child “monument by sculptor Eva Rybakken points toward the seven disks.

February 13, 2014

Tour to North Cape, Norway. Day 06 - finally there II

Almost alone at North Cape - Norway

A special photo of the North Cape cliff a grey day in January. Few visitors only the North Cape globe symbol out there by the steep cliff. This may happen the few days when there is no Northbound coastal express - only a car convoy of 4 cars led by a huge snowplow to and from the main road. Going in at 11AM and out 01.45PM.
Believe me - being almost alone at the most Northern point of the European mainland - is for sure a special event.
Nothing else to do then than make a photo of the huge 307m high cliff covered in snow with the globe of iron at the top.
After that going in to the North Cape Center and celebrate with a Pepsi Max to 5 euro in the cafeteria, and pay additional 30 euro for the visit....
It took me app. 6 days in all getting there by car and ship (1, 5 day driving and then the coastal express for 3 nights). Distance from my home some 2.100km (1.300 miles). A curiosity: 2.000km further north and we are at the North Pole....
History from the net:
The North Cape was named by the English explorer Richard Chancellor in 1553 when he rounded the cape looking for a Northeast passage to East Asia and Pacific America.
After Mr. Chancellor described the cape, some famous people climbed the steep cliff from sea level. The most famous were King Oscar II of Sweden/Norway in 1873 and Thailand's King Chulalongkorn in 1907.
In 1943, the Battle of North Cape was fought in the Arctic Ocean off this cape.

February 12, 2014

Norway: Arctic landscape - day 05

On the Coastal steamer MS MIdnatsol on tour to my final destination Honningsvaag and North Cape

In the short time between sunrise and sunset the low light present the landscape in a fine way with good details on the clouded day.

Some Norway info from the net:

Norway has a very elongated shape, one of the longest and most rugged coastlines in the world, and some 50,000 islands off the extremely indented coastline. The mainland covers 13° latitude, from 58°N to more than 71°N, (Svalbard north to 81°N), and covers the longitude from 5°E in Solund to 31°E in Vardø (Jan Mayen to 9°W, Kvitøya to 33°E).

Norway is one of the world's most northerly countries, and one of Europe's most mountainous countries with large areas dominated by the Scandinavian Mountains; average elevation is 460 m and 32% of the mainland is located above the tree line.

Virtually the entire country was covered with a thick ice sheet during the last ice age, as well as in many earlier ice ages. The movement of the ice carved out deep valleys, and when the ice melted, the sea filled many of these valleys, creating Norway's famous fjords.

February 11, 2014

Tour to Norway North Cape. Day 04 - arrival in Tromsoe

Tour to Norway, North Cape. Day 04 Arriving with the Coastal Express MS Midnatsol to Tromsø

The largest town in Norway Arctic is coming up in front of the ship as we, in the artic afternoon light, sails towards the harbour which will be at the left side of the bridge in the far distant. To the right you can see the Arctic Cathedral with the typical white walls.

From the net_
Tromsø city is the ninth-largest urban area in Norway by population, and the seventh largest city in Norway by population. It is the largest city and the largest urban area in Northern Norway, and the second largest city and urban area north of the Arctic Circle (following Murmansk).

Most of Tromsø, including the city centre, is located on the small island of Tromsøya in the county of Troms, 350 kilometres (217 mi) north of the Arctic Circle. Substantial parts of the urban area are also situated on the mainland to the east, and on parts of Kvaløya—a large island to the west. Tromsøya is connected to the mainland by the Tromsø Bridge and the Tromsøysund Tunnel

The city is warmer than most other places located on the same latitude, due to the warming effect of the Gulf Stream.
The city centre of Tromsø contains the highest number of old wooden houses in Northern Norway, the oldest house dating from 1789. The Arctic Cathedral, a modern church from 1965, is probably the most famous landmark in Tromsø.

February 9, 2014

Norway - Arctic landscape

Tour Norway Arctic. Day 10 onboard the coastal express MS Nordkapp

Landscape seen from hurtigruten, the coastal express, after leaving the town Harstad on our way South. This is a panorama made of 4 photos stitched as the sun have started to rise at app 9.20AM.

Note that there seem to be less snow here than we had further North.
To see the full panorama pls. click the photo

February 8, 2014

Norway North - Honningsvaag: Saturday in a Fishermans village

Tour to North Cape. Day 05 Honningsvaag/North Cape

A Saturday at 2 pm in January. A street in suburban Honningsvaag - a small fisherman's village only some 30km from North Cape - the most northern point on the European mainland (to be found at 71 DEG NORTH).

Some more about Honningsvaag from the net:
The area was first settled in prehistory, as much as 10,300 years ago.
The sea was probably the main food source.

Honningsvaag was declared a town in 1996 by the municipal council of Nordkapp. National legislation was passed in 1997 that states that a Norwegian city must have at least 5,000 inhabitants, but since Honningsvåg was declared a city in 1996, it was exempt from this legislation. This makes it one of the smallest cities in Norway with it's app. 2.500 inhabitants.

February 7, 2014

Norway - early afternoon Aurora Borealis?

Tour to North Cape - day 4

Tour to North Cape, day 04 - Strange arctic light

So early in the afternoon that with your eye it was almost invisible this (supposed) Northern Light - Aurora Borealis.

Sitting by the PC doing some PP on my photo software a complete transmission unfolded to this beautiful (supposed) aurora. I had to increase the contrast and use levels to alter/lower the amount of light in the photo.

Aperture at F/6.4, shutter at 1/200 and ISO 200.

The photo is shot at noon in originally the twilight time so far north this day in January.

When you look at the Northern Light with your eyes it often looks just like a green cloud - while the more significant patterns is more focused from a camera where you shoot with extended shutter times as compared to the version used here.

Anyway I can not tell if it is or not an early rendering of the Aurora Borealis - but it was for sure a strange light to be an "ordinaire" cloud.....


February 6, 2014

Norway: Arctic sunrise at 10:30

TOUR to North Cape, day 03

As I go steady North with the coastal express Hurtigruten we have passed the arctic circle and is someplace south of Bodø when the sun is to rise behind some low islands. The time is 10:30 - and just a few days ago you would not sea the sun at all.

As I left Oslo 3 days ago the days who was starting to become longer down there is up here still considerable shorter in this period of January (as opposite to the midnight sun in the summer)

February 5, 2014

Norway, Northern Light - Aurora Borealis

Day 04 on my tour to North Cape Norway

I present today another version of my Northern light - Aurora Borealis photos, shot from the upper deck of Hurtigruten - the coastal express, somewhere a bit south of Tromsø in Norway North.

Some central exif info: F4 Shutter 8sec. ISO 1600. Manual focus.

My lens is an Olympus 14-150mm mounted at my Lumix GX7 mirrorless camera. (35mm equal= 28-300mm). This a top lens for allround shooting but of course have the disadvantage in not being especially light sensitive (F4 is maximum aperture).

Shooting in a pitch dark environment as a arctic night like this, calls for a lens with an opportunity to be more light sensible. Also the mix of ISO speed and shutter time is essential to have a better result than displayed here.

Even in this smaller version from the original I find the ISO noise to be disturbing and also the lens ability to render more light i.e. from the landscape.

Finally shooting with long shuttertime from a ship moving in app. 30km/hrs (some 17 nat. miles) is neither any optimal situation.

Conclusion: Use your best lens -aperture wise-, use a wide angel lens, increase the shutter time and use lowest iso possible (under the excisting conditions) in this "mix" to have a better result. And use manual focus.

Good luck should you have the chance to photograph the Northern Light - Aurora Borealis.

February 4, 2014

NORWAY TOUR: Day 12 - Nidaros Cathedral

The last day of my travel I drove back To Oslo from the Hurtigruten quay in Trondheim.
As a token and gratitude that the whole trip went well with no problems I find it a bit symbolic to end this first phase of my daily reports from my tour to North Cape with an evening photo of Trondheim's well known Nidaros Cathedral.

From the net:
Nidaros Cathedral was built beginning in 1070 to memorialize the burial place of Olaf II of Norway, the king who was killed in 1030 in the Battle of Stiklestad. He was canonized as Saint Olaf a year later by the bishop of Nidaros (which was later confirmed by the pope). It was designated the cathedral of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Nidaros from its establishment in 1152 until its abolition in 1537 under the Reformation. It is the northernmost medieval cathedral in the world.
Since the Reformation, it has served as the cathedral of the Lutheran bishops of Trondheim (or Nidaros) in the Diocese of Nidaros. The architectural style of the cathedral is Romanesque and Gothic. Historically it has been an important destination for pilgrims coming from all of Northern Europe.

February 3, 2014

TOUR Norway Arctic - day 11 - The Seven Sisters

Today a 2 photos stitch of this well known mountain range at the coast of Helgeland, Norway. Photographed from the Hurtigruten going South from Sandnessjøen.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

De syv søstre - The seven sisters - Berge Sieben Schwestern

Country Norway

County Nordland

Range coordinates

65°57′N 12°34′ECoordinates: 65°57′N 12°34′E

De syv søstre (The Seven Sisters) is a mountain range on the island of Alsten in Norway.

The seven peaks are (northeast to southwest):

Botnkrona (1,072 m)

Grytfoten (1,019 m)

Skjæringen (1,037 m)

Tvillingene ("the twins") (945 m and 980 m)

Kvasstinden (1,010 m)

Breitinden (910 m)[2]

The range is popular with hikers and offers scenic views over the surrounding area. On clear days visitors can truly understand why the surroundings are called "The kingdom of the thousand isles" by the local populace.

All the peaks can be climbed using marked paths, and on every summit there is a notebook where visitors can write their name.[3] After visiting all peaks, hikers can contact the local tourist association which will issue a certificate as a testimonial of their achievement. There is no time-limit for climbing all the peaks. The record for the quickest visit to all peaks is under 4 hours.

A good view of the mountain range can be achieved traveling by sea in the "Hurtigruten", as it passes the full length of the range.

February 2, 2014

Tour: Norway Arctic - day 10 - Going South

I am standing in the aft of the ship with the camera on my monopod and take those 3 photos to be stitched later.

We are leaving Stomarknes in Vesterålen heading Southeast.

In the aft of the boat, with the post flag up, we can see that the sun have started its setting in the very early afternoon - almost in a tropical matter with regard to the play of warm light in the Arctic waters.

We are still North of the Polar Circle.

February 1, 2014

TOUR TO Norway Arctic - day 09 - Lyngen

Click in the photo for a larger version..

On my way South I follow the roads around a number of fjords - covered in white in this January.

Mountains shooting 600 to 1200 meters right up from the sea.

Here app 2 hrs. to go to Tromsø - the biggest city up in this part of the country. Take a look at the pano - 3 photos stitched

- using not a tripod but always (these days) a monopod.