Memorable Experiences – Ice Caves at Spitsbergen

Recently I got the opportunity to visit two ice caves at Spitsbergen/ Norway, the Scott Turner cave and the Longyear Glacier cave. Really, that isn’t an everyday experience! The approach can be done either with skiing, a dog-sled or snow scooter. The outside temperature was about minus 10 degree, but when entering the caves I felt a comfortable temperature of only a few minus degree and no wind. Here it was possible to stay for hours without freezing. The silence was aweful! And the light very special for a photographer. While the Scott Turner cave has some low light at some places, coming from some openings, the Longyear Glacier cave is totally dark. First through the light of my headlight the incredible ice formations appeared. I felt a never ending AWE and WOW as I discovered new amazing structures and shapes with every new step into the cave. I learned from my guide how the different shapes and layers has emerged during many years. Every year the cave lookes totally different as the water in summer is washing out new shapes. This are some of the most exciting facts about ice: it seems to be solid and strong, but at the same time changes quickly and can disappear. A fragile and fading beauty.

To be at this place and feel it with all my senses was a great experience. It is challanging to create photographs that express this powerful experience.

I used my headlight and sometimes an additional light, both with options for different brightness. Sometimes the guide lighted up an ice structure from the backside. To could decide about the lightning, I needed to observe a motive properly. Which part should be light, how much, which part should be darker? Many decisions to make. By using a tripod it was easy to vary the lightconditions, but to let the composition unchanged. Photographing in a cave, whether of stone or ice, is challanging, but really exciting.

I hope my pictures will express a bit of these memorable experiences!

Manual focus

Today I went to a small river where I noticed both the reflections of trees in the water and the structure of water at the surface. When shooting in automatic focus the camera actually did not know where to focus. So I used the manual focus and looked for different expressions while turning the focus just a tiny amount.

The first image shows the focus on the water surface. As I used an aperture of f 5.0 the reflections of the trees are visible, but unclear. In the second image I focused on the reflections of the trees. The moving water creates nice curves. Here the water surface and stone appears unclear. However, this adds some color and texture. In the last image I tried to focus only on the reflection in the middle. The dark shapes give a contrast to the yellow stone and the allover movement. The unclear motive and motion might add a kind of mystic.

Just one thing I am wondering about. Should I turn the third picture 180 degrees?

Looking back

When looking back at this year 2020 I cannot agree with the majority of people. Maybe I was lucky not to become ill, nobody of my family or friends either. Maybe this year was easier to handle for those who don’t love to join crowds, but who love to go out in nature, alone or with a close friend. As I could not travel much it was easier to calm down and explore my closer area more thoroughly.

When Covid 19 started to spread, the main theme in media and almost anywhere else were on the pandemy. That had a huge impact on my thoughts and feelings, and I guess not only on mine.

I have experienced the healthy influence of photography as a kind of tool or therapy for mental health before. Through a new photography group at facebook I invited others to join me in photographing and thinking other thoughts than the fearfully pandemic thoughts.
When starting the group I hoped about thirty people might join. After a short period of time we reached 100 and it grew more and more. Now, in the end of the year we reachedd 324 participants, some as observers, but many are sharing pictures, thoughts and are inspiring each other week after week. The goal with this group is not competition with high quality photos, but to gather old and new people around a weekly theme, to inspire each other with pictures, thoughts and discussions.

If you wish to join the group, search for “Fotoglede – Møtepunkt” at facebook.

Now we are starting a new year with new options, wishes and hopes. Nobody knows what will happen in the world. However, we can change, create and modulate our own lives with our thoughts and opinions.

Hermann Hesse wrote in his poetry “Stufen”: In the core of every beginning lives magic. Magic that protects us and helps us live.

A happy and healthy new year to you!

Fotografers still fotograf sunsets

Despite that the Corona time is still going on, fotografers continue to fotograf. And they fotograf sunsets. The conditions to fotograf are not the same, there are so many restrictions to follow. However, the vaccine is expected soon and will help oss living a normal life and travelling again.

When travelling still was allowed, though with ten days of quarantine afterwards, I visited my family in Germany. On my way back I dropped into the Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg to enjoy a lovely sunsut. A lot of people were gathered on the outdoors platform, most with a face mask and many with a camera. It is always fun to fotograf other fotografers shooting. I can imagine their joy of shooting and wonder how their pictures look like. I will never know. But to see and work on my pictures from this evening shooting from the inside of the platform, through different layers of colored glasses, makes me pleased. I will show five pictures here. Hope you enjoy!

Some personal US thoughts

Today at the American election day my thoughts are wandering towards my experiences and relations connected to the US. When I am entering my house this huge photograph of a winterstrom at the St. Catalina Island close to Los Angeles meets my eyes. It tells about amazing nature power at this nearly paradisian island. Storms, in different senses, are blowing around in these days too. However, my good memories are connected, both to the many strong impressions from a varied nature and my personal meetings with American photographers.

I met Bruce Barnbaum (click on) on a workshop at his home close to Seattle and got a deeper understanding of his fineart photography and thoughts about photography and life. I will never forget his wonderful history about entering the Antelope Canyon as maybe the first photographer (and physician) at all. My entering into this amazing canyon many years later was surrounded by too many people and not likewise spectacular. There were and are other very important and good photographers in the US. Just think of the great Anselm Adams, Brett and Edward Weston, Sally Man, Vivian Maier, Minor White etc.

Recently I got known to Connie Imboden (click on) through an online workshop about illusion in photography. She creates all her images in the camera and I can learn a lot from her. Thanks to the technical opportunities there can be meetings from my and other homes in Norway to others in the US and all other countries of the world. That is really great!

Nevertheless all our opportunities to connect to the world, I am looking forward to explore more of this exciting country in reality. Hopefully both the worlds health and political situation will allow me to do.

The images below are taken in the Antelope Canyon, handhold (a tripod was not allowed).

Photographing a Choir in this Corona situation

Recently I worked with an assignment for the local “Damekoret LYST”. In this Corona situation it was a really challenge. How could I photograph the whole group while keeping a safe distance? The solution was to use one meter long bars, “Corona meters”, both as a tool to keep distance and as a decorating element. Luckily we could photograph outdoors. After many days with rain it stopped for this afternoon and we had a fun time, with and without the red painted Corona meters.

Nature Art at it’s best

On my mountain trip over Knutshøe i Jotunheimen the river- and deltaformations of Leirungsåe really impressed me. The water from the river and lake mixing together and mixing with the ground material created curves, figures, lines. Furthermore, the clouds too created additional scapes. Nature Art at it’s best, for my eyes!

Cuttings from the city of Ålesund

The city of Ålesund is much photographed from the viewpoint Aksla and the stairs down to the city centre. There is a huge amount of tourist photos with and without people smiling into the camera. Local photographers have created wonderful images from this perspective as well. However, I have not seen a lot of artistic photographs and wished to create some. I used the 24-105 lens on my Canon 5dIII, a tripodand and filters which allowed a longer exposuretime at daylight. Here are some results and hopefully I will be back soon for doing more creative photography from this beautiful city viewpoint.

Heldags fotosafari på Nigardsbreen

Vi planlegger en ny heldags fototur på Nigardsbreen (Jostedalen) med Ola Einang som erfaren brefører.
Dato er lørdag, 08.08.20.
Se mer utfyllende informasjon her.
Turen går i et sakte tempo, passer for alle med alminnelig god fysisk form og gir mye rom og tid til fotografering.

Se noen flere bilder fra tidligere breturer her.
Ta gjerne kontakt om du lurer på om det kan passe for deg.

Kontakt: antje.meier@volda.frisurf.no