This summer my wife and I participated in the mountain horseback riding expedition arranged by Kvistli Icelandic Horses. We rode in the mountains around Folldal and had a clear view towards Rondane National Park. In total we rode around 140 km (88 miles) and spent hours each day in the saddle.
One of the great things about such treks are that the pace gives me lots of time to take in the scenery.
And of course, to spend time with all the magnificent horses was great.
Such a trip offered plenty of photographic opportunities
Meeting in the Kvistli Chapter of the Icelandic Horse Union
I can really recommend a slow trip in the mountains, and thank my new friend for carrying me and my camera gear safely throughout the trek.
While I was photographing squirrels in Flatanger, we also got visited by a group of small forest birds. One of them was the Eurasian Jay. Just as with the squirrels, it was hard to capture them in the darkness, so it was only when they were sitting still I had any chance of getting of a shot…
I also saw a lot of sparrows (I think) perching on a nearby branch. It was difficult to get them all pin sharp, as they were moving around a lot. Additionally, the forest darkness meant that I had to use a large aperture, leading to a small depth of field…
Also, check out my friend Jon’s photos from the same trip
Last fall I was on a trip to Flatanger to photograph sea gulls and white tail eagles. We also spent some time in the forest to photograph small animals such as squirrels.
It was very dark, and difficult to get focus and exposure right. It was especially difficult to capture them when they where jumping, but I managed to get one or two decent shots.
It was a continuous test of reflexes and trigger skills…
As you can see, it was difficult to get the moving squirrels pin sharp, since they were moving so fast and the forest was very dark… Sometimes I managed to follow the squirrel and get a blurry background, but mostly it was a miss. The photos are mostly taken at ISO 3200 (it does say something of ISO improvements over the past years. Remember the ISO 3200 films of the old days?)
It was easier to follow them on the ground as they were digging to hide their catch.
I also shot some forest bird life, but that is a topic for another post…
My photo bag is getting pretty full… But there is always room for more! Just before the summer I bought myself a nice holiday present, the Sigma 300mm f/2.8. I have a 70-200mm from earlier, and headed out to test the new lens at a local horse jumping competition.
It took some time to get acquainted with the new lens, but after a while I started to get the hang of it.
I used it on my 7D body, which made it a 480 mm f/2.8 lens… I noticed that I got very close to my subjects… When I have used a 70-200 mm before, I have also gotten close, but tended to zoom out as the riders got closer, but on a fixed 300mm I just followed them through the jump and hoped for the best.
After taking a lot of shots, I see that I get about the same hit rate with my 300 as my 70-200. But since I had to position myself carefully along the fence, I could not use multiple jumps to get at least one good shot of each rider. So, if I have to be certain that I get at least one good shot, I will probably stay with my 70-200 for a while. At the same time, the shots I got were really good, so I hope that with some more training maybe I can improve my hit rate…
As mentioned in my previous post I headed out to an abandoned farm just outside Trondheim with the goal of using all the lenses in my bag. I had worked my way through some of the more infrequently used (at least for me) and was ready for my workhorse lenses.
The workshop instructors had shown us some interesting photos around repeating patterns, and as I looked up on the barn wall, I saw that there were a lot of triangles to be seen.
I also found an owl in the wall…
And as usual (at least for this workshop) I found that some of the photos could be combined into new and interesting photos during post processing…
As I look through the photos, I see that none of the photos taken with my 24-105 workhorse lens survived the cut… Maybe I didn’t fully explore its creative potential? Maybe I have used it so much that I cannot see through it in new ways?
Just outside Trondheim lies a small farm called Holstvollen. It has been abandoned for some time, and although it is sad to see the farm in its current conditions, the dereliction gives a lot of photographic opportunities.
One of my sad photographic habits is to put a lens on the camera and stay with it, so when I headed to Holstvollen as part of a workshop (same workshop as my unexpected cricket and mud walking posts are from) I set myself the goal of using all the lenses I had in my bag.
First I started out using my 24mm f/1.4. I really like this lens for its shallow depth of field, something that is hard to get on a normal wide angle (such as a 17-40 f/4 or a 16-35 f/2.8). The contrast between the flowers in the foreground and the decaying bench and wall in the background piqued my interest, and after some work I managed to find a satisfying composition.
The next lens I picked out from my bag was the Canon 8-15 mm fish eye. Here I found a part of an old wall that looked exactly like a snake eye or alternately two windows giving birth to a wall section…
Note how you can see the entire wall in the photo (both ground and sky as well as both corners…)
Another fascinating wall was found in a portal, where the abandoned dirt made for intriguing patterns…
As with the previous photos from the workshop, some of the photos didn’t really come through until in post-production. I was able to combine two photos taken with a 17-40 f/4 and a 100mm f/2.8 macro into a rough photo of an abandoned stove.
I was now half-way through my bag, and it was time to pick up some of my more frequently used lenses. More on that in a later post.
A few months back I attended a photo workshop. We had some classroom training, and then were sent out into the forest with tasks to complete. The first assignment was “Mud”. After a few “safe shots” just to have something to show for my efforts, I started working on what I had visualized in my mind: A dirty, gritty photo of a boot walking in the mud.
The first couple of tries didn’t go to well:
I was not happy with the look nor the composition of these two (and all the others), so I decided to try something else.
Here, I was more happy with the composition, and decided to work on something else until we started post-production.
After some more photography in the nearby stream we went back and started working with the post production. My first action was to convert it to black and white:
I still wasn’t really happy with it, so I left it alone for a while and worked on some other photos. As I was working on my unexpected cricket, I came across this multi-exposure I had taken down by the river:
And this is where I have difficulty explaining my thought process. From somewhere deep in the back of my mind, I recognized that if I converted this to black and white and rotated it, it could make a nice enhancement to my mud-photo above.
I opened them in Photoshop and merged them, and voila!! Just the gritty, rough photo I had in mind when I started…
The process took quite a few unexpected turns along the way, and had I not kept an open mind, I doubt that I would have found the final result… Especially since this was not a preplanned process, but more of a experimentation.
And in case you were wondering what my “safe shot” was, I took some photos of a “valley” in the mud, knowing that if I converted to black and white and gave it some depth of field, it would look somewhat similar to a fjord with a beach…