Seems that all animals like to take naps. They might have something going in that department. Who doesn’t like a nap? My cats and dog as nap specialists. Seems that Polar Bears are pretty good at napping, too. This napping Polar Bear was found in Svalbard on one of my many trips there. I was in a zodiac (rubber boat) and was safe. These guys are big though and as always when tracking any kind of wildlife, being quiet is so very important. Shot with a 400mm lens with a Nikon D810. I have a ton of Polar Bear images from numerous trips there. I have a sold out trip in September to do this trip again.
Ice and more Ice. why do I like ice so much? This little ice formation I gound three years ago while photographing in Svalbard, Norway. We were cruising in our Zodiacs shooting glaciers when we came upon this piece of ice which was most likely from the glacier itself. I used a wide-angle lens and lower the camera close to the water to capture this image. I was supposed to go back to Svalbard this August for a workshop but that has now been canceled due to COVID.
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I had the opportunity this past winter to visit Lofoten, Norway. It’s an amazing place. Almost like a fairy tale. Tall mountains, big skies, and gorgeous coastlines. I won’t lie to you, but it was crowded with photographers. Plus it was hard to photograph there. There aren’t pull offs on the roads and there is no shoulder, just gullies. We saw a lot of people who slid off the road into these gullies.However, if you didn’t mind walking and parking a bit of a hike away you could find locations like the one in the picture above. I did a 35-second exposure for this shot. It blurred the sky and smoothed out the water. While I really loved the location I probably won’t visit there again as the crowds of photographers makes it hard to enjoy.
On our last day we took a walk through this fishing village. The sky was gray and it was dusk. But, there was so much to see. I let the camera handle the higher ISO and just shot what I saw. This was so classic with the fishing hut and boat.
Ok, I’m not one for the iconic image of a place but I must confess I shot it. It was crazy when taking this photo. It was made from a bridge just a short walk from the hotel – cabins we were staying in. The bridge must have had 50 photographers on it all shooting the same things. I absolutely hate that. i don’t like being where there are other photographers. It disturbs to no end. Seems everyone wants the same shot and here I was just as bad as them. So, enjoy the photo but know I feel bad about putting up an image so many other have done.
As you can probably tell I really enjoyed Lofoten except for the fact that there were too many other photographers there. Everyone that I encountered were trying to make iconic images as they must have seen on websites. except for a few instances, I wanted to see things differently. Thus I tried a lot of long exposure and I looked for patterns and things in the landscape. This image was made to show depth of field in the foreground with small details and to then allow the rocks and surf to become part of the image too. I used a new filter system by Wine Country to handle the ND filters I used. I’ll be doing a review on this system in the next few weeks. Hope you enjoy this image.
One of the things every photographer hopes for when visiting the northern latitudes is the opportunity to see the Northern Lights. I was fortunate enough to have a few great opportunities on my recent Lofoten Norway trip. These lights are tricky to shoot. If you are a photographer you’ll find that first, you need to set your lens to infinity. This is not easy with most of today’s lenses. I use a 14mm Rokinon lens that has an infinity stop. I know just how far to back off the infinity mark to get a sharp image. If you are using a lens that doesn’t have an infinity stop you’ll need to manually focus it on infinity then tape the lens down so the focus ring doesn’t move. You’ll set the camera’s ISO to 3200 and the widest f-stop. No depth of field needed when shooting something at infinity. I start my first exposure at 8 seconds and I turn on noise reduction. This adds an additional 8 seconds after the exposure is made but assures a cleaner image. You can’t use a histogram so you’ll have to make a judgment call from the screen on the back of the camera to determine if you need more or less exposure. If is too dark raise your ISO. Don’t shoot over 8 seconds if you can help it. I find an exposure of 4-8 seconds to be great for most lights. You’ll get the hang of it pretty quickly. Then all you do do is shoot away as the sky puts on a show that will amaze you.
I just returned from nearly two weeks in Lofoten, Norway. It was an interesting trip. I was an instructor along with Art Wolfe and Ignacio Palacios with 18 photographers. The weather was challenging and even more challenging were all the other photographers. I am really re-thinking how I do my workshops in the future as there are so many photographers offering workshops these days and all of them are going to the same places. I am asking myself why. I used to have a spot to myself and now there can literally be 50 plus photographers all trying to get to one position. Add on to that the boom in Asian tourists who have no clue and walk right into the shots and it’s not getting to be any fun anymore. In any case, I walked away with a series of images that are different than most and then again like the image above iconic like everyone else. So over the coming days look for more Lofoten images.
While exploring Svalbard Norway this past August our expedition landed on a beach that had a beached wooden boat on it. The skies were grey and there was kind of an erie feel. I spent a while shooting this boat and this is one of my favorite images. Kind of tells its own story.
My first trip to the Northern Polar region was a lot better than I expected. In addition to some great wildlife images I was able to capture, I managed to shoot some really nice landscapes. This is shot was made from our ship of a very large glacier in Svalbard.