Tag Archives norway

Being here on a Wednesday is a change of scenery for me. I’m Dave Williams, and I usually write the #TravelTuesday column here on ScottKelby.com, but today I’m joining you all on a Wednesday for a guest blog post, and I’m pretty excited about it.

I’ve updated my Northern Lights book for the season, which begins now. It’s available right now, but I wanted to give some insight into my relationship with lady Aurora, so here goes.


It begins during a strange part of my life. It was a kind of ‘in-between’ time when I wasn’t sure what my path was. I knew I was progressing with my photography, but I was mindful of it becoming an income generator because it was a passion – it was my ‘happy place’ and I didn’t want that to become labour. What I’ve managed to do is find a ‘happy place’ within my ‘happy place’ – that being the northern lights.

It all started more or less the same time I began to travel. I was in a strange place in my life, and with my photography passion, I had always been interested in unfamiliar landscapes. I began to try and explore them and started with Iceland, with which I immediately felt great affection.

I was in Iceland some years ago, in January, and I woke up early in the morning to drive a few hours from Reykjavik to Solheimasandur. On a pristine, wild black sand beach, there’s a wreckage of a Douglas DC-3 Dakota belonging to the United States Navy. I travelled in darkness to reach it both by car and on foot, trekking several kilometres through slushy black sand, and arrived just in time for sunrise – my first light in Iceland. I was pleased with my achievement and had an excellent time shooting that plane, which set me up for a great day ahead.

The thing is, it was an Icelandic winters day, so it was a concise one. I had just a few hours of daylight to explore and spent much of it exploring as much of the south coast as I was able to before I ran out of time. By the evening, I had reached Thingvellir. I was on the Thingvallavegur, the main road through the park, and began to turn my search skywards for the elusive northern lights.

I was standing in a flowing, pristinely snow-covered landscape with my head turned toward the stars, straining my eyes and wondering whether I was seeing things or whether it was my imagination as I listened to the howling gale or the polar wind. Snowflakes drifted just above the ground at break-neck speeds, and the light of a new moon played tricks on my eyes, showing me reasons why Icelanders may believe in elvenfolk, or elves.

Above me, in the star flooded sky, I was watching what I thought were clouds forming. The dull greyness moved slowly, pulsating in the air, though I struggled to see it through focused, squinted eyes. The clouds seemed to move in a way I’d never noticed clouds move before. They almost swirled and danced slowly, pulsing and changing in opacity as I looked up confused.

I was beside my idling rental car which was toasty-warm, and the stereo happened to be playing Pray by Take That (my musical taste is impeccable) which contains the line, “I’m so cold and all alone.” The feeling, the atmosphere, and the lyrics connected perfectly to me at that moment in time and that moment in my life.

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Welcome, welcome, welcome! It’s #TravelTuesday and here at Scott Kelby’s Photoshop Insider that means, like every Tuesday, I’m here to share some love! This week I want to kick off a little series of Bucket List Photography destinations and tell you all about why Norway is on the list.

 

 

Norway is certainly one of the most photogenic countries in the world, offering the entire range from modern cities through to barren wilderness. With clearly defined seasons it’s not what I’m used to in the UK where everything tends to merge together in a wet cloud of grey, where the day can have glorious sunshine followed immediately by sub-pro temperatures and sideways rain. In Norway at least you know that if it’s cold, it will be consistently cold!

 

 

The magnificent fjords of Norway mean that going from A to B can take a while as you meander the contours of the landscape, however it also gives Norway 62,706 miles (100,915 km) of coastline! The only country that beats this coastline length is Canada. If you’re a fan of the coast then Norway is for you!

 

 

Sticking to fjords, the sheer cliff faces and gushing waterfalls sitting below glacier caps offer what I think is up there with the worlds most beautiful of views. Beautiful arctic light cast on lush green fed by melt water from those glaciers must be on your bucket list too, surely?

 

 

The northern cape, crossing the arctic circle at 66 degrees north, takes you into a whole new world. The cold is cold, the aurora shine bright across a star filled sky, and fishing villages sit on a rugged coast. Killer Whales, Arctic Tern, Reindeer, a wildlife photographer with a little patience will have nothing but rich pickings up here.

 

 

Norway is designed for photographers. Literally, I heard that from a good source, a photographer listed all the amazing things they want to see and one day Norway just appeared. There was also an angry man with a great big beard and an axe there. True story.

 

 

I’ll keep the bucket list destinations trickling through here on ScottKelby.com – have you been to Norway? What was your favourite sight?

 

 

Get in touch right here in the comments, or find me anywhere by searching @CaptureWithDave, I’d love to see your Norway shots! I’m heading back to Norway in just a couple of weeks and you can follow my mission on my Instagram Stories as I ride from London, through France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Denmark, and into Norway, I’d love you to see it!

Much love

Dave

Good Tuesday, one and all! This week for #HybridDaveTuesdays, on #TravelTuesday here at ScottKelby.com, I’ll share a little bolt on to a previous post about shooting in the cold from a couple of weeks ago. It’s something particularly useful if you’re planning a shoot in the high Arctic areas of Norway, Finland, Sweden, Russia, Alaska, Canada, Greenland, or Iceland, so if any of these places are on your list during the winter, make sure to pay attention and tell all your friends!

There is a lot said about golden hour and blue hour in our world. You’ll struggle, in fact, to get through a photography tutorial without hearing one of those phrases. The reason for this post is to share with you my experiences in losing the ‘hour’ from these terms during the Arctic winters I’ve experienced and arming those of you who are planning to visit the far north (or south) with the knowledge you’ll need for planning your time.

The Arctic winter is a funny thing. Right now, everything from 66 degrees north and up has no sunrise – they said goodbye to the sun a short time ago and look forward to seeing it again sometime in January.

 

Jökulsárlon, Iceland at 1pm and zero degrees

 

The absence of a sunriseliterally changes everything we know of blue hour and golden hour, and that means, we have to change the way we think. Daylight hours are much shorter, affording us drastically less time to get any bright daylight shots. Everything is darker, but that’s just the start of it!

What happens to the sun during an arctic summer is pretty strange – it just bobs up and down in the sky, never setting for weeks. Arctic winters are the polar opposite – the sun bobs up and down BELOW the horizon, never really rising, but still providing some light depending on how far into the cycle you are. At the beginning and end of winter, the sun pokes above the horizon, and as you get toward the middle of winter, it gets further and further below the horizon.

What this makes us notice is that twilight sort of period – the bit right between golden hour and blue hour – hangs around for longer. A lot longer, in fact. The whole day, at times, can be akin to a sunrise or sunset, casting an ambient glow across the landscape for hours with virtually no direct light.

Solheimasandur, Iceland at 11:30am and -4 degrees

 

It really is important as a photographer to be aware of the sunrise and sunset times when visiting the Arctic, particularly the high Arctic, and plan properly around it – especially when you consider that you could potentially lose light earlier during snowstorms!

The bonus, on top of having this tranquil sunset-esque light all day, is having awesome colours and tones alongside noticeably less harsh shadows. Of course, I couldn’t give you a bonus without bringing you back down with a thud, so I’ll also tell you about it being a lot darker. Our eyes, the wonderful things that they are, adjust appropriately to the lack of light, but trust me – when you start sorting your camera settings, you’ll notice from the ISO and shutter speeds that you’ll have to select that it’s a lot darker than you think!

When the sky looks blue, but you can see all the stars, is just when you realise this, and it’s great that blue hour hangs on in there for longer!

 

3pm and -12 degrees in Finnish Lapland

 

My advice to consider, if you’re travelling to the higher or lower latitudes on a photography mission, is to pay very close attention to sunrise and sunset times and plan your days carefully around them. Make back up plans, scout locations, and take advantage of anything that presents itself to you…here’s why:-

I’d visited Strokkur before and captured a sequence of shots showing its aquatic eruption. I’d made the shot some time ago, so I wanted to get back and improve on it. Here’s the shot I’m talking about:-

Problem is that when I got there, I was fighting through a blizzard, unable to feel my nose, and was struggling to get a clean shot. Here’s me with my buddy John Parry to give you a feel:-

The situation had ruined my plan, but making the most of the change in conditions and lessening daylight hours, I caught a scene which has become one of my favourite shots ever:-

 

The extreme north can be so beautiful, but simultaneously so harsh and unexpected. Be forearmed and expect the unexpected – you can really maximise on it and capture its awesomeness!

Much love

Dave

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