4.7.17

Alpine Azalea

Alpine Azalea - Tiny Greenlandic Flowers
 Zoom back a good ten years and my photographic reality was very far removed from that of today.
I had a curiosity for all aspects of photography and was working slowly on how to apply them to the world around me.

The flora in subarctic Greenland, OK in all of Greenland, is diverse and amazing in so many ways.
The Alpine Azelea in particular remained a tiny wonder to me.
Incredibly tiny, but also incredibly robust, no leaves as such but stubby and tough green almost pine-cone like substitutes.

The image above remain a personal favourite among my images of Greenlandic flora and, and while I did not know it at the time, it marked the beginning of years of photography of Greenlandic flora as small side projects when working on larger projects during summer.

11.6.17

More thoughts of Paris

Notre-Dame, Paris - unnumbered
 As I sit here in the Airport Lounge, waiting for SAS to call out for my flight to Paris. my third or fourth visit in 12 month, it is hard not to be enfused with memories of wonderful time spend, love  both long lost and new found, family and a myriath of other things.
Paris seem forever entangled in my personal life.

This time is a little different though, I leave a small family behind to spend 3 and a half busy days with back to back meetings and eveninge engagements.

Perceptions of a scattered mind, Paris 2017

One might say my thoughts are scattered and seemingly confused, yet completely focused on all the things truly important in my life.

My hope is to get a least a few hours sqeezed into the early mornings to explore a few of my favourite gems and do a few morning runs along the ever wonderful Saine.

More to come soon :)
/Thomas

1.6.17

Belfast - an instant love affair

On rare occasions you a presented with a chance opportunity to visit a city you have heard of many times, but where impression and expectation has not yet fully formed.

Belfast was such a city to me and I fell in love already on the flight in.
Belfast from above

The flight in on cloudy and misty afternoon, slowly revealing the relatively small city, rolling hills behind it and the gorgeous bay areas, set the expectation high.
The old cab drivers pleasant chat on the 5 minute drive to the Europa Hotel where I was staying only reinforced the wonderful impression, as did the hotel and the attentive and friendly staff.

My time in the city being short, just shy of a day and a half, I had to prioritise.
First order of business was to sit down at desk and get my plan and thoughts sorted.
Priorities were give to the city itself and leaving the surrounding areas for another time.
Town Hall



A brief walk downtown, past the beautiful Town hall a massive but beautiful old building, I found my self circling it just to take in the details.
The Belfast Bigfish
Bigfish Square

















Paying a visit to the famous Bigfish by the water is highly recommended too. Not only is the Belfast waterfront wonderful. The Bigfish is covered in ceramic tiles with interesting tidbits of information and images from the history of Belfast.
It a very nice place to spend a while exploring the fish and the surrounding harbour area.

Tunnel View
Shhhh!
























I spend some time exploring small alleyways and other aspects of the city center, Belfast is a fairly old city and luckily most of the original buildings still stands, creating an interesting environment of low and old builds and storefronts to explore

Victoria Square
Looking Down

Victoria Square is more of a modern shopping space, a square sitting under a glass roof and with a viewing platform on top, providing a 360 degree view of Belfast from above and a in my opinion as interesting view down from above. best part is that it blends reasonably well with the rest of the city.
The Crown Bar

Just across the street from Hotel Europa is the famous Crown Bar, a stunning facade and busy and equally stunning interior. I am usually weary of tourist trap like locations, but it is worth a visit I think.
Empty morning Streets
Mixed origins

On Day two I set out very early in the morning, my destination was the Botanical Gardens and then a walk along the River back downtown.
The walk alone was a wonderful set of discoveries and cozy street scenes to walk through. not surprisingly it had a, dare I say almost British, Countryside feel to it and was  very relaxing.
The Old Greenhouse
Subtle shades of Pink

















The Botanical Gardens are fairly small, but really beautiful, From the old wood structured greenhouse to the meticulously kept garden areas.
I thoroughly enjoyed exploring the gardens and surrounding areas. Even in March and early Spring there was plenty of greens and flowers to enjoy.
A coxed eight doing morning laps on The Lagan

From here I continued to the river and the first thing striking me was the crazy amount of rowers on the water, the silence was constantly breached by the persistent directions from the Coxswains of the coxed shells.
Riverside homes

Idyllic and wonderful were the two words that I kept coming back to. Perhaps it is thanks to me being a Dane and growing up in Copenhagen, but there were just something about Belfast that stroke a chord with me. Familiar yet completely different from what I know.
St George Market from outside
Browsing the market stalls

Next stop on my list was the Old St George's Market.
A very interesting and rather cozy indoor market, I am not a big fan of random stuff when traveling, but the stalls seemed a good mix of local food and local artwork and handicraft.
Empty kegs at Bittles
Random Street
























I finalised my stay touring the small streets and other random bits of central Belfast, enjoying the language, the people and the architecture.

During my short stay in Belfast I have barely scratched the surface, but it is quite clear to me that I will be going back, both for Belfast city itself, its Titanic Museum and the surrounding areas stunning nature.

/Thomas

8.5.17

Infrared experiments

Infrared Flora

As I am about to board another flight to the US it only seems fitting that the defining image for today is from the US and marks perhaps not the beginning, but certainly my favourite from my infrared experimentations.

The image above was capturedin Shenandoah National Park on the US East Coast about 10 years ago.

Infraread photography was for me very much part of a learning experience and a wish to create a series of images with a distinct look different from my other work.
The way flora tend to explode in shades of pristine white when hit by sunlight is other worldly and extremely beautiful I think it.
It helps transform and challenge perception of what the world around us should really look like.
Its most traditional use is landscape and architectural work, but when I came across these gorgeous long stemmed It seemed an obvious way to challenge our natural representation of such a subject.

This image with it almost translucent whites and vertical lines is on the of the images from my infrared series of images from Shenandoah National Park I  truly value and an image that in retrospect have help shape how I approach all monochromatic work, even 10 years later.

Thanks for looking.
/Thomas

7.4.17

Corsica in 36 hours

Ready for take off
What do one do when faced with a tightly packed early morning to midnight programme in the city of Ajaccio and at best 36 hours to explore the Island before going home.

Well there is no single solid answer to that, but here is what I did based on my interest in nature and photography, not to mention the fact that 80-90% of the Corsica seemed shut down for winter.
Corsica certainly struggles with well know effects of a very seasonal tourism sector.

My stay in Ajaccio was fixed, in the sense that my hotel was booked well in advance, before this chance opportunity of spending about two half days on the road. Thus, I needed to return to my base in Ajaccio for the night.

A rental car is a must, I fixed myself up with an almost new Peugeot 108. Short of a Suzuki Jimmy it is a perfect match for up to two persons rocking the tiny mountain roads of Corsica. You will read plenty of warnings in plenty of travel magazines on how passionate, fast and reckless Corsicans drive.
I am happy to tell you it is over stated, Corsicans are certainly passionate drivers, but no more so than many other Europeans. The mountains roads are no worse than in Northern Norway, Sweden, France or Italy for that matter.
Not once did the tiny Peugeot come out short in terms of speed and acceleration on the narrow winding roads, sure I had to work the transmission to get the most from it, but it performed surprisingly well.


Ajaccio beach
Ajaccio itself is an almost ordinary southern European beachy tourist city.
In the sense that it is saturated with the same unimaginative tourist traps as everywhere else, but there are upsides to Ajaccio.
The Secret Gallery
A multitude of narrow and charming alleys to explore for one and a genuinely rustic and almost scenic quality to at least part of the beach-side of the city.
It happens to be the birth city of Napoleon Bonaparte too if one have such interests.
Mountain Runners
The back country from Ajaccio is hilly and generally amazing. It makes for some excellent mountain running experiences. I had a great morning run, with the guys (and gals) from Corsica Run Extrem, pure bliss :)

Knowing I would have to be very selective in terms of what to see and how far to venture.
UNESCO World Heritage listed "Calanche de Piana" was very high on my list and since "Pointe de la Parata" was on the way it seemed a very nice stop along the way and since I have a thing for waterfalls I wanted to find one of those too, "Cascade du Voile de la Mariée" sounded like a promising one given the season and distance from Ajaccio, so it went on the list too and then of course intermittent stops in between as I would pass interesting stuff. All in all a decent game plan for two half days or so.

Genoese Towers of Corsica
The short hop to Pointe de la Parata was not super remarkable, it was short though.
The view from the hilltop just before the Genoese tower is perfect for the classic view of the small isles and the towers.
I found a secluded spot and enjoyed a brief moment of silence taking in the view and a sip of water.
The image from my pitstop will hardly qualify for a price for original thinking, but it was a very nice moment and will serve great as a pleasant memory.
Rural Corsica #3
 From there I set out on my drive towards Calanche de Piana, an entertaining mountain drive in its own right and with plenty of interesting vistas and more intimate rural scenes of beauty.
The village of Piana marks the Southern entrance to this gorgeous area. Piana though, as the rest of Corsica was more or less closed thanks to my way off season visit, but it is a very scenically located village none the less.
1st floor on the left
 Calanche de Piana itself is a truly gorgeous region of deep red rock formations and a very scenic drive. I truly regretted not having packed a couple of rolls of colour film for this part of my trip. A roll of Ektar, Velvia or Provia would have been a blessing and it represent one of a handful moments in life where I have longed for a roll of colour film.
Red Rock #5
 Thanks for my limited time to explore, I stayed along the scenic drive and did not venture too far on foot, even though I would have loved to. This area is much more beautiful than my images display and I would love to go back with some colour film and much more time.

I arrived very late at the hotel that night and slipped into bed right away, after repacking for a few hours of exploring and my flight home the following day.

A very early breakfast and then off on another drive, this time heading East and towards Cascade du Voile de la Mariée. An easy and relaxed drive taking me to a tiny roadside stop. Already at the stop i could hear the muted roar of the waterfall, a promising sound. I grabbed my bag and walked through a small gate before the short walk to the waterfall.
Cacade du Voile de la Mariée
 It was stunning, Amazing actually and I thoroughly enjoyed a quiet time, a sip of water and just appreciating the gorgeous nature around me. Took the time to capture a few images and stroll for a bit along the powerful stream leading water away from the waterfall, before walking back to the car and save for a stop at a scenic rural scene I spotted on my way out, drove straight to the Airport for check in.
Rural Corsica #5
All in all, Corsica was an amazing experience and I would certainly love to come back with more time on my hands and i would probably choose to go way off season again too, simply to get to enjoy the gorgeous nature in almost complete solitude. Ohh and I would bring colour film with me.

10.3.17

A toddler in Paris


Paris is among my favourite European Cities.
Christina giving birth to our first child 14 month ago, have not change that one bit. It has changed how I perceive the city and present itself with a new set of joys and challenges.

This blogpost is an attempt to share a few helpful piece of advice to others travelling to Paris with a toddler, based on our experiences. It may be parenting 101, but hey, some may find it useful :)
family time

Parisians in general are amazing and very open towards families and kids. I know we were an involuntary nuisance on a couple of occasions, but staff, employees and locals seemed totally at ease with it and on top of us and the situation.

A cup of coffee
One of the things we like about Paris is the food, sidewalk cafes and the coffee.
Did I mention the coffee?
Unlike in Northern Europe where a good coffee is a massive jug with half a liter of milk, a bit of coffee and if possible massive amount of syrup or sugar.
Paris is like most of France and Italy a place where a normal coffee is an espresso and most places seem to be passionate about providing a quality cup of coffee.
I am not hating on people preferring coffee the Scandinavian or American or what it might actually be, way. My preferences are just different and more in sync with the French/Italian style of coffee.
What is not to love about it :)




Gotta start them early

Toddler chairs:
Now as Scandinavians we expect every restaurant and café to be armed to the teeth with toddler seats and toddler chairs. We may have to leave our stroller outside, but a seat for our toddlers are expected. Paris is the exact opposite, they almost always have room for your stroller, but toddler seats or chairs are a very rare occurrence. Probably down to cultural differences, but if you still like a chair or seat for your toddler then we found these 4 places fabulous.
I'm a straw

Le Sancerre
Toddler seat, excellent service, excellent food, the risotto with whiskey flambéed Prawns were to die for and stroller friendly to boot
Trattoria Rim Café
Toddler seat, stroller friendly, excellent pizza, Tieramisu to die for (It literally tasted like Italy) and great service
Le Paul Bert
Toddler seat, stroller friendly, decent burgers, friendly staff, and good selection of red wines
Le Voltaire
Stroller friendly, not sure about toddler seat, but coffee was amazing and the waiter a star
Morning ride

Toddler priorities:
Travelling with a Toddler also means a shift in priorities, having been to Paris a lot the Eifel Tower, Triumph Arch and other basic sightings are a little less important. Centre Georges Pompidou and to some extend Louvre are still places I aim to go whenever in Paris though.

For a toddler, being in Paris is very little about exhibitions and more about travelling in their pace and make sure they have a great time.
Chasing Pigeons

A few toddler friendly things to do:
Square Louis Michel (just below Sacre-Ceour)
Super turisty, but a really beautiful place and it has a really nice playground at the lowest level
Parvis Notre Dame – Place Jean-Paul II
Square just in front of Notre dame, heaps of tourist friendly pigeons and a heaven for our toddler to just chase pigeons for a while. Probably his best experience in Paris
Les Halles
A construction site nightmare at first sight, but a massive shopping mall below grounds and towards Rue de Viarmes is a really nice playground area, not sure when it reopens to the public though..
Marche aux Puces
Not really a toddler destination per se, but while browsing the various markets, we had nothing but stellar service and total toddler friendliness. Most importantly our little one had a ball.
Skip metro and trains and walk everywhere
It is a lot of time on your feet, toddle paced and no rush. In our case around 20K per day.
But it allow plenty of time to investigate that really interesting twig in the park, or that totally exciting fence or whatever grabs your little ones attention or just a stop at that random playground you walk by

Random playground in Montmartre

Other helpful things to know:
Public transportation is great and mostly reliable, but do not expect to see a lift and if you find one expect it to be out of order, so be prepared to negotiate a lot of stairs and escalators.

We travelled as a couple and were on our feet +12 hours a day and averaged around 20K of walking daily, so a good stroller and the fact we were two to carry it when negotiating stairs and escalators ,made it perhaps the most useful piece of kit we had with us.

France is great food country in general and the super markets carry a great organic selection, thus a good selection of toddler friendly snacks and in between meals are available, you do not need to really bring anything, most things can be bought while there.

If you travel alone with a toddler you want the smallest and lightest stroller you can find and a backpack for all your stuff, because there is a good chance you will be negotiating a massive amount of stairs with your toddler on one arm and the stroller in the other.
A stroll along the Seine

The terror threat thing:
Now there is no doubt that the terror attacks in Paris has changed Paris. Armed forces were visible in pretty much any part of the city, it does not make for an unsafe Paris at all, just a changed one.

The soldiers we met were all very friendly and tried staying out of the way as much as possible, but having your son chasing pigeons in front of Notre Dame Cathedral just does not feel as relaxed when it is under supervision of four heavily armed soldiers.

I remember Paris as a different place, at the same time it is perfectly understandable why it has changed and why precautions are being taken.

Overall Paris is an amazing destination with and without a toddler. Go see it soon!

3.3.17

Documenting family life

What?
On december 2015 I became a dad for the first time and fair to say it completely change my life, in a good way. Every parent in the world have gone through that revelation, so let us not delve too long or much with the diaper changes, lack of sleep, inexplicable joy of every tiny new thing our off-springs are doing.
One of the many gifts we as parents are able to give our children is in my opinion a set of images from birth to becoming a young adult.
I know that my own photo album holding images from my childhood is among my most cherished possessions, a sentimental value increasing as time go by

Beach life




Already during pregnancy I did as a photographer spend way too much time probably, thinking through this important aspect of growing up and on the state of our digital reality.

New life beginnings
More pictures are probably taken on a daily basis right now than ever before, many are shared instantly online, to be cherished for a short moment and instantly forgotten or worse yet slowly disappearing as internet platforms merge or disappear, memory cards, phones, computers and hard drives, and various other storage media fade or fall apart.
Todays generations are by far the most photographed, but precious few will have any photographs left 10 years from now.

Lunch time nap
One of the very conscious decisions I made was to continue shooting film and to make sure a film camera has been and will be used to document our life with our son for as long as possible.
The other has been a dedication to continue printing images from our life and cataloging these postcard sized prints.

Summer memories
It is my way of ensure that our son is a lot more likely to have a record of his childhood available and images of his life with his parents as he grow older or as we fade away.
What I cannot help to wonder is how much of this deliberate thinking and decision making is brought on by the fact that I work with photography and thus perhaps place too much emphasis and importance on it. It is worth giving some thought regardless of whom you are I think.

Wine Country
So whether you are a film photographer doing darkroom wet prints or someone just rocking a cell phone, take this as a perhaps unwanted advise to print a tiny bit of those images for your own and your children's sake.

Winter moments
Photographic family memories are not judged by technical quality, but by sentimental value and emotional connection.
And no the irony of me writing a digital post on the subject is most definitely not lost on me ;)

24.2.17

Runners High

Runners high
This morning, as I came in from a gourgeous mountain run in the hills behind Ajaccio, Corsica, I was flooded with memories from my many running adventures and experiences in Greenland. Today was a warm spring run, where as most of my favourite running experiences from Greenland are from winter time.
Artic Winter is not a place or time typically associated with running. Temperatures dropping below -15C, thick snow cover, what pavement you can find covered in thick ice.
Often it will be But in reality it is a perfect set of conditions for those magic moments that will stay with you forever.

The image above is from one of the most magic runs I have ever had and a genuine magic moment in life too.

Location is the Unesco world heritage listed Ilulissat Icefiord, it was a November afternoon, just around sunset and temperature a freezing ´-17.
It was one of those moments where silence, solitude,  light and nature stopped time and took my breath away.

My point with sharing this image? - I dont know... Perhaps to remind you to pack your running shoes when going to Greenland - Or better yet; just to go to Greenland!
Amazing and Magic Moments awaits, with or without running shoes :)

8.2.17

Winter by the fiord


Winter by the fiord

An image can be defining in so many ways, some for their inspirational qualities, some for defining a certain place in a learning cycle, either technical or artistic. Some just for the story that goes with them.

This image has a lot going for it: a low arctic winter sun casting soft shades of blue and yellow onto the scene, a serene and frozen fiord, snow covered grounds and a couple of benches inviting for a seat to take in the scenery and enjoy a quiet moment.

It is however the story and a technical lesson from that day that remain the reason why this image has been defining for me and my photographic journey.

A friend and I were heading for Nice in France from Nuuk on this beautiful morning, the first fight to Narsarsuaq had been problem free, however our connecting flight was heavily delayed, thus we borrowed a car and drove for a bit along the fiord to pass time and take in the views as the sun slowly made its way above the mountains.

This scene and quite a few others made for an amazing experience and was my first encounter with the beautiful Narsarsuaq region, it was the place where I fell in love with the Greenlandic winter.
The otherworldly dry crispness and clarity of the air, the silence and the landscape, Winter in Greenland is something everyone deserve to experience at least once I think.

I photographed handheld and while I did at the time find the relatively fast shutter speed surprising, I did not think more of it.
First upon getting the image onto my workstation and seeing it full screen during the development of the RAW file did I notice it had been shot at very high ASA (1600) blotches of digital noise made it an image only suitable for small print at the time.
Ten years later, before writing this post, I took it through development again, improved processing solutions and advancement in RAW development, combined with 10 years of additional experience has turned it into an image now printable at reasonable size.

I learned that day more than 10 years ago, to pay very close attention to all parameters of my image creation process, both artistic and the technical bit that should be second nature, but is so important when turning a scene into a two dimensional print.