One of the very best things, maybe the best thing in doing what I do, is meeting new people.
Over the past two years i’ve met clients from Switzerland (a lot!), Norway, Sweden, Denmark, USA, Canada, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Australia, Portugal, Poland and even India. Many become friends.
But I also meet others on the periphery of what I do. My friend Vlad Donkov is no exception to this. A Bulgarian photographer with a passion for the snow (he should have been born in the north I think!), Vlad ventures to Greenland and the Arctic Circle each year.
Camilla's view, Lofoten , March 2010
Last year, he got in touch with me and after a few emails, he suggested I come out to Lofoten with him this winter time. He wanted me to come for longer than the 8 days I was free. It was an amazing experience. Not just the landscapes, but the people that I met there – kind, open, warm. I now feel I have some friends to go back and see. Surely this is one of the best things that something like a passion for photography can bring you?
So tonight I was speaking to one of my new Norwegian friends about Mørketid – the ‘dark time’ they have in the far north. Checking the Photographer’s Ephemeris tonight I see that Mørketid commences on December the 11th and continues until January the 4th. It is the time when the sun does not rise above the horizon and is considered a special time. My Norwegian friend says she does not miss the light during this time as there are lots of celebrations and something ‘timeless’ about the experience of being there.
So I’ve been invited, and I’ve decided I should go (it doesn’t take much to twist my arm). Maybe the elusive Aurora will make an appearance, but there is much to shoot, even in perpetual darkness. Long exposures turn darkness to day.
I think this is worth exploring. I’ve been told there are faint colours on the horizon, plus, the chance to shoot long exposures of the region should prove interesting. When the light does arrive back, twilight starts at 9am and finishes at 11am, sunset at 11 and sunset at 1pm, when twilight commences until 3pm. That’s the most perfect day for a photographer who loves to shoot the golden hours and its periphery light.
Now, I’ve been thinking of suitable music for a podcast on Norway, and since I’m a fan of Maria Kalaniemi, who plays very emotive Scandinavian accordion music, I thought I’d ask her for permission to use a track of hers titled ‘Nautilus’, but I wasn’t aware that she is Finnish. I thought she was Norweigan. So back to the drawing board on that one!
Still, it gives me a nice introduction to her music for you. I know, Accordion music isn’t everyone’s taste, but I feel there’s a deep soul in what she plays…. particularly the last piece in this video. And as I keep saying, inspiration comes in many forms. Just because we’re photographers, doesn’t just mean we should draw our inspiration from other photographers work. There is a whole world out there and I get inspired by beautiful music as much as I do from the visual world.
I’m just back from Skye where I conducted a workshop with a group of 4.
Certainly, one of the highlights of visiting Staffin for me, is staying with Kirsty and Simon at the Glen View hotel. Which I know for sure that everyone who came with me on the previous workshops will testify has the most incredible food.
Simon is a great chef (without doubt the best I’ve experienced on my workshops) and along with his partner Kirsty’s taste in decor, the cozy hotel in Staffin is a great place to hang out. So I’d just like to say a big warm thank you to Kirsty and Simon for once again making us feel very much at home.
Back to the workshop. We had a terrific time and Sina, on the course sent me a lovely email today which said:
“Just wanted to say thank you again for a very rewarding workshop. I have learned a lot in terms of composition, landscape photography, post-editing techniques, and most importantly – what photography is really all about as an art form. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience in spite of my unfortunate tooth issue during the trip (which, again, I really appreciate your kindness in taking me to the dentist)! Also really appreciate your patience in dealing with a very amateur photographer. :) I have put my order in for the 0.9ND filter and can’t wait to get out there and practice all the skills I picked up from the course. Thank you again for everything. I can’t wait to tell all my friends about the beauty of Scotland, the kindness of the Scottish people I met, the Michelin star chef, and this amazing workshop that opens my eyes to see the world in a different dimension!”
It doesn’t get much better than that, and it’s often what makes the whole trip worthwhile for me. To know that I’ve had some impact on someone’s creativity and given them some new thoughts on where to go with their photography.
So today also got a lovely email from Lilian, a dutch girl I met on Lofoten who own’s a nice hotel in the middle of Reine. I feel I have a few friends there now, and I guess it should come as no surprise to you that I’m returning there late July / early August to photograph the Lofoten with my trusty film cameras.
View from Reine
If you are thinking of going to Norway sometime, and the Lofotens in particular, then please do consider Lilian’s hotel in Reine. It has to be said that Reine was voted the most beautiful place in Norway for a while and it is stunning.
I’m away to Skye this week for a workshop, so I thought I’d post you all a wee ‘wish you were here’ postcard, and at the same time, take advantage of my blog space by leaving an advert for my new eBooks while I’m away. I will be back in a weeks time, until then…. Bruce.
Dear Visitor to my blog,
Wishing you were here, on the isle of Skye. (soon to be) having a great time on my workshop.
All the best, Bruce.
Wishing you were here!
And of corse, some shameless advertising of my latest e-Books…….
I bought a lumix pancake lens from www.camerabox.co.uk over two weeks ago.
I still haven’t seen it.
My correspondence with this company has been awful. I finally got an email a week later saying my item had shipped, with no tracking number, and when I arrived back from my trip to Norway, still no sign of the lens. I asked them for the tracking number and was told they would have to check records as they use several couriers. No further replies from them.
So I asked again yesterday for the courier number and they told ‘lens will be with you tomorrow’, which you can probably guess, it wasn’t.
Please, please, please – avoid this camera shop. I wish I’d done more research on the web – I would have seen so many people saying they didn’t receive their order.
Playing around tonight. Just thought I’d post these GF1 images. I will get my Velvia films processed tomorrow, and posted up on the site in a month or two once I have time to scan them. I’m away to Skye next week on a workshop, so I hope you enjoy looking at these for the time being.
(click on image to enlarge)
I love that little Lumix GF1. It’s a complete bargain – small, compact, great images and it’s dirt cheap too. I can’t figure out why I never thought about this little system before.
I’m pleased to announce the release of the following e-Books.
Simplifying Composition – Aspect Ratios, in which I discuss the many aspect ratios and how they influence and affect your compositions.
There is now a ‘beginner’ tab to the store and in there, I have the three ‘understanding series’ of e-Books about Exposure, Depth of Field and also Histograms and Bit Depth. You may know all this stuff already…. but then again, you might not. I put these books together to cover the basics because I’ve been very surprised at how many participants on my workshops for instance, didn’t know how to focus their cameras.
I hope you find them of use to you. I tried my best to distill into a very easy to digest format, what I think we should all know.
I’m just home from the Lofoten islands. It’s a special place.
Many thanks to Camilla and Vlad for their company this past week and for opening the door to me and letting me meet their friends. I now have a reason, rather than just photography, to go back to Lofoten.
These images were taken with my Lumix GF1. I have to say I’m a little smitten with the system. But I did shoot with my Mamiya 7 and so needless to say, I will be keen to get the films back to work on the images. Film, for me, provides an organic look that is not possible with digital. They are, in my opinion, quite different mediums, both valid, but different.
Anyway, the weather while I was on Lofoten was crazy. It reminded me very much of Patagonia with the winds coming from nowhere. One moment everything is calm and the next, you’re being taken off your feet by a passing storm.
I seem to have a preference for winter. There is something magical about the light at this time of year, how it plays on the landscape and how it is constantly changing. But I feel I’m not too far away from booking a flight back there for this summer. It is a special place.