Creative vacatons

Creative vacatons

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Panoramas: Lightroom Trouble and Solution

Last post I talked about Lightroom giving me warped images and how to fix it.

Here are photos that shows the whole process.
See last post for how to create panoramas in Lightroom.

First try: Lightroom gives me a panorama that is completely warped. It looks like it's beyond repair.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Panorama - one hack at the time

In frustration over not having a wide enough lens to capture the Aurora, I started doing panorama photography. 

The 14mm lens was not wide enough and, the fish-eye lens was too distorted. So in an attempt to solve this problem, I started doing panorama stitching. The newest version of Adobe Lightroom had made it possible to do panorama stitching and, still be working on RAW images. (There will be more on stitching in Lightroom later in this post)
How to do it in Lightroom is explained here:

Panoramas are photos that are wide. The hight/width ratio is often 1/3. There are no rules. They just have to have a hight/width ratio that is wider than a standard photo frame. The angle of view is often wider than most images. 120 to 140 or, even 180 degrees or more are common. 

Although I was very much intrigued by the panorama format when I was a young photographer I haven’t done very much panorama work. I did a project where I collaborated with dancers and made a sort of panorama. (This was done when we used film in the camera and, printed in the darkroom. I haven’t digitalized these images.) I used to dream about owning a Linhof or a Fuji 6X17 roll film camera, or even a Horizon 35mm camera. However my budget never allowed me to get them so I just forgot about it. Until last year. 

The panorama is a very nice format. It resembles the way we humans see with our eyes. It is also a great problem solver. A photo-technical hack. 

Friday, January 29, 2016

34 things you need to know about dressing for the cold (or 8 if you're in a hurry)

Short Version

  1. Dress in layers - many layers - 3 or more.
  2. Wool closest to your body.
  3. All the layers have to be loose.
  4. Change your woolen socks frequently. 
  5. Warm hat and warm boots.
  6. Mittens, not gloves.
  7. Use hand and feet warmers if you need. 
  8. Be nice to the planet and the animals on it. 

Full version

Three layers is the basic for dressing in the cold.
The three layers are:

  1. a thin layer next to your skin, called underwear. 
  2. an insulating layer, thicker than the first layer.
  3. an outside layer that protects against wind, rain and snow.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Creativity on a Cloudy Night

Tonight was very very cloudy. Luckily for me it was my night off. My good colleagues drove far far away and found the Aurora behind the clouds. We did a little Christmas shopping, and a little Christmas cleaning and it was when I was outside doing a little Christmas snow shovelling that I saw the motiv of tonight.

 The wind had stopped, the rain had stopped. Everything was quiet. And monochrome.
I could not resist being a little creative. Aurora is not the only motiv that exist at night. Beauty is everywhere.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

One Night, Four Photographs, Four Settings: White Balance and Aurora Borealis Photography

What is the correct white balance for Aurora photography?

Like almost all answers to questions about photography it starts with "It depends."
First of all there is hardly any such thing as "correct white balance" in any photograph. It is an esthetic choice. What do you want to communicate? What kind of mood do you want? and, what feels right to you? Two photographers may very well interpret the same situation and scene differently. To learn more about white balance visit this article on how to get it right.

2 things I go for 

1 - I want the photograph to look close to what I saw in the nature.
2 - I want the photograph to feel as how I felt it. In the winter that mostly means "cold."

The night it got complicated

Saturday March 7, things got more complicated than usual. 
My normal standards are  4000 Kelvin in moonlight, and 3200 Kelvin on nights without moonlight. Or tungsten/incandescent setting for no moon, and fluorescent setting for moonlight.  

Now that we have reached March the days are much longer than January and February. That means that in the beginning of the night there is still a lot of daylight. The sun sat at 17:08 that night. But, here in the north the sun sets at such an angle that it takes a long time from it sets until it gets really dark. Astro twilight lasted until 20:37 that night. So when we got out of the studio at 19:00 it was still twilight. There was also another type of light: Northern Light. The photo below is shot from the field across the road from the studio on Håkøya.
Aurora showing up early at night, late in the season. Photo taken at 19:05.
The white balance settings are very different from twilight to night. The twilight is also called "The blue hour."

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Full moon or no moon. What is best?

One of the most common questions that I get is about the moon.

Normally it goes like this:

"It's best to avoid the moon to se the Aurora. Right?"
"I read on the Internet that it's best to avoid the full moon."
"We booked our plane tickets so that we avoided the moon. At least we got that right. Right?"

Not right! To ask what is best, no moon or full moon is like asking what is best, coffee or tea. 

Full moon and Aurora.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

The Lighthouse

There is a lighthouse just south of the island of Tromsø.
I've been thinking of it and wanting to take a picture of it for a long time. I've driven by it, seen it, imagined it , for a year. The problem is that most of the time when I go out to take Aurora photos, I'm not alone, I'm with a group of people. The places I choose are chosen because there can be a bunch of us together and we can take photos without us actually being in each other's photos.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Update! two new versions. New Music! Epic night and timelapse video

Sometimes it is nice to be flexible. Actually most of the time it's nice to be flexible. The weather turned out pretty bad on Monday and on top of that the newspaper called me to shoot video of the prime minister of Norway who was meeting local heroes from World War 2. After e-mailing the clients we decided to go on Tuesday instead. I got my time with the prime minister.

Tuesday night turned out to be the best night so far this season, one of the best shows that I've ever seen.

I'm first and foremost a photographer. I'm definitely not a musician. After having the video out there for a few days I've gotten some feedback about the music. Some like it others don't, and I've had some suggestions about what to put instead. Please tell me what you think.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

The season has started!!!!!!

Finally the Aurora season is here! I'm stoked! 
Just outside our door, in our garden we witnessed the first Aurora show this season. I believe this season is going to be a great one. 
All the photos were taken between 22:45 and 23:00 the night of August 28, 2014. The nights are not completely dark yet, but dark enough to see the Aurora for a few hours.
  I was wearing T-shirt when I shot these photos. A bit strange, and a lot of fun.

Please share the good news!

Friday, April 25, 2014

Searching Mr Kreutz – The end of the season

The season is over. The last tour on the night  of the year turned into an epic adventure that made me feel like I was in some Joseph Conrad novel searching Mr Kreutz. If you haven't read "Heart of Darkness" yet, I suggest you use the time before the next Aurora season to do so. For me it's there on the list of "must read." Together with "Catcher in the Rye" and "Crime and Punishment."

March 24 the weather was horrible in Tromso so we drove inland. It was horrible in Skibotn and the Skibotn valley too. At the border to Finland it was so much wind and snow that I could only see two meters in front of the car. Things were looking bad and I think that everyone in the car was expecting to see nothing but snow and clouds. I was worrying that the road may close. So that we would be stuck in No Man's Land (aka Finland). A few kilometers passed Kilpisjärvi I stopped the car to have a look outside. To my surprise I saw a completely clear sky. Lots of stars, and some clouds by the horizon to the west, were we came from.

We found a quiet place with good photo possibilities, and waited... and waited. Then as if it came out of nothing it was snowing. Snowing!! We had to go further in. We repeated this several times. We drove east, the snow caught up with us. We went further... Maybe Mr Kreutz and Mdm Aurora was waiting around the corner? Waiting to tell us that IF is the middle word of LIFE.

Aurora came and told us we were worthy of her presence.

A few nights later, March 27, we were celebrating the end of the season with another guide. Looking out the window we saw someone waiving us good bye. 

Good bye! see you soon!

After being used to go to bed at 6 am and waking up at 2 pm for the whole Aurora season, it was quite a shock for me when Silvia woke me up at 10 am the next morning. "you have to get used to it" she said. I did. And I had to start post production on her photos that she was going to exhibit. Ain't no rest for the wicked!

Could this be Mr Kreutz' daughter?

The photos took me back to the summer and the work Silvia had done with a very talented and expressive young dancer in Ersfjordbotn. Ersfjordbotn is one of my favorite places for Aurora pictures, but it turns out that it's also a very good location for dance pictures. 
Silvia had an exhibition in a gallery called Small Projects. She did it together with another cosmopolitan South American artist: Maria Eugenia Poblete Beas.
The exhibition was a success! There were lots of people on the vernissage.