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.


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 intermitted 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.


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!


Documenting family life

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 ;)


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 :)


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.


Paris - City of emotions

A most famous tower
Tomorrow it is time to return to Paris.
A city I have visited so many times I have lost count, yet also a city tied to so many memories good, bad and in between.
A proposal in moonlight by The Seine, the first travel destination with our son, countless business trips, museum and gallery visits and countless hours spend taking in the vibe of the city and photographing, landmarks, streets and its people.
Under the bridge

It is a truly photographic city but also one of the most photographed ones.
Thus anyone travelling to Paris with the dream of coming home with that one unique image, will need to look hard.
Personally Paris is not and never has been about price winning images.
It is about culture, emotion and vibe.

Sacré-Coeur, Montmartre

Weekend kit
 The list of places to see is surprisingly short, Montmartre is always a stop on our list as is the Bastille area and Latin quarter.
We will of course stroll by a few of the top landmarks, such as Notre Dame, The Eiffel Tower, Louvre and the like, but core focus of the weekend will be family time.
spending time doing nothing and watch Paris float by, while enjoying a lazy glass of red wine.
As any photographer I will naturally be bringing a camera.
Well 3 of them actually and a few rolls of film.
A Clack for a few carefully selected frames, hopefully playing to its strengths, the A SLR for documentation and a Pentax auto 110, just because I have some ASA 100 110 format black and white film and it is such a cute and tiny SLR.
It is liberating to know that the photographic results are not really important, we are going to spend family time, but two photographers living together cannot really travel without photography playing a role :)

Thanks for reading :)


Thoughts on London

Right now I am at a bustling Airport Cafe at Lodon Gatwick Airport.
I am just gonna be here for a couple of hours meeting a potential customer and then 6 hours of waiting, leaving plenty of time for reflections and a travel down memory lane.

Do mind the gap

London is packed with memories for me and have provided me with locations for some gorgeous images over the years.
It remain one of my favourite cities in Europe.
Multicultural, impeccable language and a perfect blend of Polished English culture, heritage ad metropolitan grime.

One can in a matter of a few steps go from Royal history, past stunning city vistas, through gorgeous open parks, to shady narrow alleyways in litterally minutes or spend hours in one of the many museums and galleries.What is not to like?

I am already looking forward to a longer stay.
London at sunset


An Autumn Reflection

My original thinking around my Defining Images series was it would be easy and at time of writing I had a clear mental image of how I wanted the posts to be lined up and all.

Writing this post has been a good week under way and more difficult than anticipated.
My original outline about post should be chronological in time and images that somehow has been a central part in my photographic journey, either as a turning point or a significant learning experience or represent a shift in my approach or interest.
The Chronological part though may turn out to be very difficult if not impossible to adhere to.

That out of the way let us get to the image itself.

An Autumn reflection
The image above was made in November 2006 and as such part of my earliest photos in Greenland.
I had moved to the country a year before and spend it furiously exploring my immediate surrounding with a camera whenever I had the opportunity.
I was at the time both technically and in particularly artistically speaking in my early stage.

I came across the opportunity after a rainy day, the sky still lined with heavy clouds producing a subdued contrast and pleasing colour palette. Being essentially calm, as the norm after heavy rainfall the water puddles were like perfect mirrors.

 The reflection of the two storied red wooden buildings appearing upside down in my frame caught my eye, I had found vantage point from where the supporting pillars from the balcony would lend support to the true orientation of the frame without revealing what rested on them.
The final decision was to include the yellow post in the top right corner. It seemed to somehow create the right balance between tension between colours in the image.

I had at the time not fully formed an opinion or an interest in abstractions in my photographic work and what I did subconsciously would only years later form a conscious tool.

It was my first abstract landscape and while I over the year have produced several such images, where parts of the working elements in the image above have been used, I have never produced one quite like it.

Thanks for reading.