Why I'm inactive during summer

Over the past couple of months I have been very inactive at my social outlets. It is kind of becoming a trend, being away for some time each summer. But it is not because I want to enjoy summer without working as is the norm here in Sweden.

At Blefjell

Actually I am not really enjoying summer. For the very same reason most love summer I dislike it. It is to hot. The days are to long. And nature is to green. 

My body and mind really slows down when it gets warmer. Everything kind of becomes a chore, the will to be doing anything disappears. That effect really comes into play when the sun is out and it is above 20°c. Which isn't every day but it happens often enough for it to be a problem for me during summer. 

Misty morning

The issue with the days being to long is that when it is time for sunset or sunrise I am guaranteed to be tired. If I don't have a alarm clock set I usually wake up at between 7-8 in the morning and I if I don't push it I get sleepy at 22-23 in the evening. So sunrise is really going to be a pain seeing as the sunrise is happening at 03-04 in the morning. And sunset is happening just as I want to jump into bed. The obvious solution would be to sleep during the day. But that is easier said than done. I have never been able to sleep during the day and I do not think that I is going to be easier as I get older. 

Perfect reflection (almost)

My complaint about summer being to green is really just about the color tonality that occurs naturally. When most everything is one color I think that a scene easily can turn flat. As with light, color needs differences in order to create interest. 

All this being said I hope that all of you have had a great summer. I am going to return with more content in the beginning of August. First in line is a trip that I took to Norway in the beginning of the summer. Subscribe to my YouTube channel to get noticed when the video is released.

New content, right here

I have updated a lot of the information that I have on this site for 2017. New information can be found under the following tabs:

  • Home
    • I tried to put more emphasis on information that might be key for new visitors.
  • Gallery
    • I have split my gallery into two different categories: Art and Documentary.
  • About
    • There is a lot of new information about me, my artistic vision and my area of operation.

During the spring I am also going to launch a print store where I plan to sell my Art-work.
As times go on I really want to be more active here and plan to keep you updates as new ideas start to form.

The future can only get better.
/Felix

 

Hjorthagen Mariefred

My guide Hjorthagen

In this post I will quickly go through this park and give my thoughts on how to best photograph it.

The park

A park owned by the Swedish king and inhabited by deer. It isn't really to big, but it offers quite a lot of animals in a small area which means that you have a bigger chance of seeing the animals. The animals are not the only thing to see in the park however. The park is full of big old oak trees including some that are dead. All this gives combines into some amazing photography opportunities.

The park is open to the public and is a popular place for walks and jogs. Almost all visitors stick to the paths so going of trail will give the illusion of being in a much deeper in nature than you actually are. Since there are a lot of deer in the park the areas around the trees are mostly kept open so it is easy to walk off track. The only thing that is annoying is the amount of deer poo that will get stuck under your shoos. A small price to pay for the beauty you can see there however.

So the deer's, most definitely plural. It's actually harder to see one deer alone in the park than it is to see the whole herd. They are usually standing around the small entrance to the park. On an open field which makes the photos look a bit more cultivated than what I would actually have preferred. Therefor I would be patient and wait for them to go into the forest and try to photograph them in the forest environment instead, as to give the illusion of them being in the wild.

The gear

Keep in mind that the focal length is for a full frame sensor on a crop sensor you'll have to multiply the crop factor for a similar focal length, especially on the wider end.

I would recommend a longer lens 200-500mm would be preferable for photographing the deer if you want close ups or a more normal lens between 50-100mm if you want to capture a more environmental picture of the deer.

When capturing the nature scenes I would recommend wider lenses 14-50mm would be my recommendation. Since you can get so close to the everything with ease and the trees are so big I would say that it would actually be harder to use a telephoto lens even when you want to capture detail. But if you really prefer detail shots over environmental shots then I think that a 70-200mm would be great.

I had three lenses with me during my visit, a 16-35mm f/4 VR Nikkor, 50mm f/1.8 Nikkor, 70-200mm f/2.8 OS Sigma. 200mm wasn't really enough for capturing the deer inside the forest, where they appear to be more shy. I would have loved to have had a 200-500mm f/5.6 VR Nikkor with me instead of the 70-200mm. When I was walking around and photographing the nature then I was very satisfied with the 16-35mm. The flexibility of wider angles really works well in this park since the trees are so big.

Conclusion

If you ever have the opportunity I would definitely recommend that you take a walk in the park, you can go through the whole park in under 30 minutes so it really isn't that big of an undertaking. It's an experience that I'm confident that you will not regret. The park offers a old kind of nature that is almost non existent in the wild anymore. The only places that I have seen that have the same kind of nature are other natural reserves where that kind of nature is enforced. Hjorthagen is a prime example of this unique old type of forest and receives a huge recommendation form me.

What's up

Hi!

Wow, I haven't posted anything here for quite a while.. I've been meaning to but I guess I just didn't really know what I would post. I mean the things I've posted earlier have been completely moved over to the YouTube channel and the channel is growing steadily. The channel have reached its first 100 subscribers last month and gained 40+ more this month, which is great!

But all my focus has really been on YouTube lately which has led to neglect on my blog, blogging is certainly also fun and I just need to figure out what I want to write. It really isn't always that easy. But I think there are a few things that are better said on "paper" rather than in a video. If nothing else I really want to write more, it is quite relaxing and gives me more time to think things through.

For now I want to leave you with a little update on what I've been doing for the last couple of months.

After I posted the last post I kinda went on vacation. I felt burned out and I needed some rest, so I took the summer of and basically did nothing. I'm not proud of it. But what is done is done. In August I got back into business and started making pictures again. You can see a small selection below.

Now we kinda transition over into autumn and the lovely fall colors. During fall I tried to photograph as much as possible but I would have liked to capture even more of it. What I really think I missed out on this year were the grander scenes. I managed to get a lot of detail shots but not that many grander views. Again see the images below.

So that leaves us right about now. I have to say that I am both pleased with the pictures I've taken since my vacation but I am also a little disappointed. I think that I've gotten caught in constant production and kinda lost track of the why, why I love creating images. It's been more taking than making during this time.

I was starting to feel that same kind of overload that I did before summer, the constant nagging question of why. So what I did was to sit down and write down the reason why, stake it out for myself as to remind myself why I actually want to do this. I am not going to write my reasons here, right now. I want to do it properly later. I'm planning to make a whole section about my philosophy of photography here a bit later on. But in order to tease you a little bit I can say that I thrive in reality and reason and fall in emotional what if's. 

For now I just want to say that I'm keeping my shit together and that I have grand plans for the future, I'm just not sure when the future might be here.

Pictures from Episode 24

I am testing a new format here on the blog, instead of just writing down what happened in the episode I thought I would talk a bit more about the pictures.

1. The panorama turned out to be quite uninteresting

Lets start with picture number 1 the panorama.  What I thought to do was to bring the horizon and the clouds closer. Since they were both quite far away I decided to use a telephoto lens when capturing this picture. More specific the Tamron 70-300 mm VC at 240 mm. It worked out quite well and I think the composition is actually rather good. However seeing as I do not have any filter for this lens (yet) I could not make the water smoother. I think this is the main reason for this picture not being better. I really do not like to increase the contrast when there are harsh edges in the water. So I had to make it flatter than I initially wanted. Making the image a lot more uninteresting than I had first hoped it would be.


Picture number 2 & 3 are both using the same concept. The las sunlight was coming out just above the tree-line. Picture 2 is getting side light and picture 3 is back lit. In essence I was trying to capture the tree-line contrasting with the sunlight. 

2. Sunlight upon the treetops

3. The evergreen tree-line

3. The evergreen tree-line


4. Hero image of the evening

Picture number 4 is the hero image of this session. Here I ditched the 70-300 mm in favor for my favorite, Nikon's 16-35 mm VR at 35 mm. I think that it worked in my favor as I got a bit more of the foreground in the picture. Giving the whole picture more depth and a better anchor point with relation to the background. I must confess that I really do prefer the perspective of a wide angle lens compared to the compression of a telephoto lens.


5. Making it vertical didn't help, just as I thought

Picture number 5 was a try to go even wider, but as I said in the video the clouds are just getting to small at 16 mm. Even though the foreground is actually looking better at 16 mm. Which is in agreement with what I have found. Wide angles rule when the foreground is awesome. If there is no foreground or the background is more interesting, use a telephoto lens.

Landscape Photography Episode 23

In this episode of landscape photography I go out into the rain clouds searching for that special moody light.

Going out when it rains is a bit of a gamble. You never really know how the clouds are going to look. They might be changing faster than you can change position. But if you can manage to get that special rain cloud light it is totally worth it.

I went out with quite high hopes even if the expectations were not as high. When I started driving I quite quickly noticed that the clouds were moving faster than me. So I knew that I had to move fast as well if I wanted to capture any good pictures. But I arrived at my first location a bit to late. The clouds had already past the vantage point were I thought they would look good. But I managed to salvage a picture from that place anyway.

I jumped back into the car and drove on to a place I thought would look good with this kind of light. The clouds were not really looking as good there as they were on location number one. But I had to try something so I put on a ND-filter and made a black and white conversion and it looked ok. But it was not what I was looking for. So I jumped back into the car and drove on.

On my way to location number three I saw a nice picture of the road going into the forest. I had to stop and capture it. 

Arriving at location number three it was raining, heavily. But there was some color in the sky so I had to capture a picture. I had to hurry a bit as I did not have any rain protection for my camera. So I went out, aligned everything, captured the picture and ran back to the car. The picture had a nice color contrast in the sky that I really liked.

After the third location the sun had already set so it started to get really dark. But I thought that with the water now laying on the road the city would look very good with all the artificial light there. So I drove there and was presently surprised that the clouds had came back to life again. I managed to get a few shots during blue hour before the sky turned to deep blue. The contrasty blue clouds really looks nice when combined with artificial light.

Landscape Photography Episode 22

In this episode I to there and then back again:

It is almost impossible to know how the sky is going to look at sunset. I set out with quite high hopes but when I kinda got to where I thought that I would stay to photograph the sunset the clouds kept moving away from me. The light was really nice though. So I took a few pictures at the field where I first planned to shoot. 

But I knew that it would not work for sunset so I packed up again and had to make a decision on were to go. East or west. The east was were I came from, it had some good cloud formations dwelling on the horizon. The west also had some nice clouds but I could not really see beyond the trees so I thought that there might actually be to much clouds there. 

When I arrived

I made the decision to go east, backtracking to a place called Ösan. When I got to Ösan I had to hurry a bit to the location because the sun was setting quite soon. Arriving at the location the clouds were really pretty. I managed to set up the camera take a few test shots. Knowing that I had to use a long exposure I screwed that on quickly and managed to take two long exposures as well before the color had vanished from the clouds.

My last picture of the evening

When the color was gone I hoped for a second wave to come after the sun had set. But unfortunately it did not come. It just became bluer and bluer. Not what I was hoping. Even though the second wave never came I was still satisfied knowing I had gotten at least one and maybe two good pictures this evening. One good picture is good, more than that is really good.

Final picture

Landscape Photography Episode 21

In this episode I go to photograph a canon with my Nikon. The light is good and it surprises me at the end.

Summer meadow.

Now that summer is here there are a few bad things that is coming with it. For me that is:

  1. Insects, I really hate insects!
  2. The heat, I do not function to well when it gets to hot.

I filmed this episode in the evening of the hottest day so far this year. 30 degrees Celsius in the shade and it was almost swarming with insects. Luckely the insect stick that I had fixed most of the insect issue.

The boat house.

Moving on! When I arrived at the place I was going to shot it was bathed in golden light and it would last for at least 15 more minutes. So I quickly took out my Nikon D600 and grabbed a quick shot of a boat house with some trees. The light was superb. I really liked what I got from that shot. 

A canon shot with a Nikon.

As soon as I got a satisfactory picture from the boat house I changed my focus to the task at hand. How to capture the sunset. I decided to go to this place knowing that it was a old canon there. I started looking for a way to incorporate it into the shot. The issue was that the canon was pointing in the wrong direction. The sun was setting in the west and the canon was pointing north. I made my choice of composition, breaking many "rules" of composition in doing so. But I think it worked out quite well.

I had hoped that later in the evening more color would appear in the sky. But I was initially disappointed when the sun simply disappear. I thought that I might as well go home because nothing more was going to happen. However I have been wrong before, so I waited for a bit longer.

The clouds after sunset.

Just as I was about to pack up and head home I saw it. The color came creeping in over the clouds. Little by little and soon I realized that I had to completely change my composition in order to give the clouds justice. Said and done. After I captured that picture the color soon started to vanish and I could pack up and go home extremely satisfied.

Landscape Photography Episode 20

In this episode I fight against the clouds which makes me fight against the foreground, meaning lots of work.

I left home with an idea. I would explore the fact that it had not rained for quite some time. No rain means lower water levels and I know this one place that is only possible to get to when the water is low. So I drove to said location. What was the first thing I noticed when I arrived? The water was not as low as I had hoped of course!

Because of that I had to hurry back to the car and try to find something else really fast. Luckily I saw a place after just 100 meters. I went out there and saw immediately that the location had possibilities. 

Breaking the leading lines.

When I took out the camera and started looking for a good foreground I noticed that the lines in the rock foundation was leading the wrong way. The action was a bit further west than were the lines were pointing. So I put my mind to it and started looking for a way to break the lines so that they would lead more in the direction that I wanted. I actually managed to figure out a good way to break the lines and frame a good composition.

Before the light hit the clouds in the right way the clouds had moved to far to the west however. So I had to change the composition again. The second composition was actually a bit simpler, more traditional for what I usually capture. But the same thing actually happened there. The clouds were moving to fast. I managed to get one good picture though, as you can see below.

The second composition and my favorite of the evening.

Landscape Photography Episode 19

In this weeks episode I make a decision to go out and photograph quite late, not much planning. But I manage to find something interesting but the color vanishes just as I am to take the picture.

How the sky looked when I arrived.

It is not always easy to decide upon when to go and take photos. Sometimes the weather forecast says it is going to be flat grey skies but when it gets closer to sunset you notice that the clouds in fact are looking amazing. This day was such a day. I had not actually planed to go out. But seeing how the sky looked I just had to out. 

My first decision was whether to go south or north. In the south it looked more open, less cloudy. In the north there were more clouds. I decided to go north, as the clouds was what I wanted.

So I started to drive north, not really knowing were I would end up. I drove past a few lakes but they all lacked anything good in the foreground (the all important anchor-point). Then I saw this little island in this one lake and thought it looked interesting. My decision where made. I parked the car and quickly walked to a favorable position to photograph this island with the amazing clouds.

Longer shutter-speed.

I managed to take exactly 5 pictures before the color vanished from the clouds, never to return again. My thought before the color vanished was that this scene would look cool with a longer shutter-speed so I screwed on a 10-stop ND-filter, pushing the shutter-speed to 15 seconds. 

The longer shutter-speed gave the picture smoother water and it showed the movement of the clouds. They where moving really fast.

Now that the color was gone I had to work with the cloud positions. I decided were I wanted the brighter parts and I wanted lots of contrast in the clouds. With these criteria I managed to capture the image below. It is my favorite from this session. I would not classify it as a portfolio picture though.

Final picture.

Landscape Photography Episode 18

In this episode I find an amazing foreground immediately and with the light fading quickly I work fast and manage to capture an amazing image.

I am not exactly sure why. But often I tell my self to get out in good time. But even though I was at the location one hour before sunset I was still rushed in order to capture the right light in time. The biggest point to take away is that light is unpredictable. You cannot trust it to behave the way you want it to behave.

Anyway! I got to the location in time and I managed to capture the light while it peaked. 

The foreground

When I arrived at the location I could immediately see the perfect foreground. After trying a few different compositions I decided that it was best to capture it from a higher angle. The higher angle ensured that I could get the most out of the foregrounds lines that where leading into the sunset. 

The water was not moving to much but I decided to put on a 4-stop ND-filter so that I could remove more movement from the water. It worked splendidly in the foreground creating a really good reflection from the sky, which looked amazing at this point. 

So I just had to wait for a few more minutes before the light came to its peak. 

This session actually lasted a lot shorter than what I am used to. As a reference I usually take about 100 pictures in one sunset (depending on the style) but this time I only took 60 pictures.

In post I did not have to do much to the sky, it was already looking amazing. But I had to do quite some work with the foreground in order to bring back some contrast into it. The foreground can often turn flat while doing exposure blending. By dodging and burning the foreground I could chisel out some more contrast and depth in the foreground. Something that I think adds quite a lot to the image.

The final image

Landscape photography episode 17

In this episode I get defeated by the sky which only shows a solid flat gray color. 

First and foremost I must plug my trip to Norway 12-16 May. If you would like to see what is hopefully going to be 5 awesome episodes make sure to subscribe at youtube.jorgenfelt.com 

The house

I didn't really have to high hopes when I got out this time. The sky was looking bland and it had been looking bland for the whole day. But I had to go out and shoot at this very day so I took it as a challenge and really tried to make some thing of it.

The location I went to had quite a lot of running water, so my first thought was to capture that. So I started to look for a suitable way to photograph it. Going downstream in order to find something I actually found a small house instead. But with the way the sky looked it didn't work out to good. Neither did I find any good locations to photograph the water downstream. 

Flowing water

I decided to go back upstream again so that I could get a better overview of what was there. On my way back I found a way to capture the water pretty good. But the sky was still holding me back. 

Back at the beginning I saw a bridge and the possibility of getting under it. I got a bit excited when I saw this. I love bridges you see, man conquering water, valleys and other dangers. From underneath I was able to capture a few shots that also was held back by the sky, but with quite a lot of post-processing it turned out pretty good. 

From there I could also capture a more traditional picture of bridge. 

The "traditional-ish" view

Landscape Photography Episode 16

In this episode I jump in the car, drive for 40 min, one direction and arrive at a surprisingly good location.

The lines I thought I would use at first.

When I arrived at the location I first found some nice leading lines in the rock foundation. The lines where leading straight to the horizon and the sunset. But while I was trying to frame the perfect composition I came to the realisation that I would have to put the camera to low and it would be an issue to get everything in focus without focus stacking.

The new leading line. Works a lot better and is more interesting.

So I took another look at what I could use as a foreground. To my left I found another leading line that was a lot stronger and did not require the same extreme focus range. So I set up the tripod and took a test shot, when I saw the picture I knew that I had found the perfect spot for this evening.

Now I just waited until the sun came a bit lower. When it did the sun cast some lovely color on the clouds and it became one of the better sunsets in a long time.

I decided to put on a 4-stop ND-filter to smooth out water which simplified the scene a bit more. You can see the final result below with a comparison between the unedited and the edited versions. This session was quite refreshing actually. Going to a new place without really planing made it more of an adventure to me. I would love to do more of thees kinds of adventures in the future. Next week I am going to Södermanland (closer to Stockholm) to visit some family and friends. The week after that I am going to Norway to visit some family as well. So hopefully I will have some interesting footage to show in the coming weeks.

Landscape Photography Episode 15

In this episode I go to the very end of Baldersnäs Natural Reserve, it is called World's End (ironically it is no more than 100 meters to the other shoreline.) 

As usual it starts with the journey. This time I took the short way, straight through the Reserve. It is so beautiful to walk through it. Seeing as it is spring now, I encountered some company half way through the Reserve. Some sheep. But the most beautiful thing about spring is definitively the flowers. So I had to take a few shots of them as well. But I was on a journey cannot stay and linger on the wonders of spring for to long. So I walked the last bit and found that it was very windy. More than I had noticed whilst I was sheltered by the trees. 

At first I struggled really hard to find a foreground. The location simply did not have any that I found satisfactory to my style. So I walked a bit further and I found the scene you can see below. Seeing as the wind made the water very choppy I knew I had to use a ND-filter so that I could drag out the exposure, it ended up being around 2-4 minutes depending on how much light was showing through. You can see the difference below.

The sky actually surprised me a bit and turned way more colorful than I thought it would. But I had one other thought I wanted to explore as well. If you look closely at the hills there is actually a town there. I wanted the electric light to be turned on so that I could bring in some more interest into the hillside. So I had to wait an extra 30 min or so for that to happen, but it was definitely worth it. So I blended the images together. Three shots in total, one exposed for the foreground, one exposed for the sky and one exposure for the lights when they was on. You can see the final result below. 

The lights from the town.

Final image

Felix JorgenfeltComment
New design

As you might have seen the site have gotten a face-lift. The new design has a much better landing page than the last one. Which is important seeing as many only ever see the first page. Anyway I don't want to drag this out and it is not to much to say about it. You can see the before and after picture below. 

The old design.

Felix JorgenfeltComment
Landscape Photography Episode 14

In this episode I am confronted with a lot of rain, but as it clears a bit it the weather shows some amazing light.

The foreground.

So, I was at home. Looking out of the window and I saw some amazing looking clouds. I decided that something had to be done, so I hoped into the car. Only packing light knowing exactly where I wanted to go. Where I thought these clouds would look amazing. On may way to said location it started to rain quite heavy and it continued to rain when I arrived. So I had to wait for some time in the car until it lightened up enough for me to go outside without getting soaked.

When I got to the shore line I immediately found an amazing foreground. It was leading straight towards the furthest point of the lake and where the light was best. Simply amazing to find such a foreground at once. 

Anyway, it was still raining quite a bit so I had to take the camera in and out of the bag so that it did not get to wet. 

After a while it the rain died down a bit and I could set the camera on the tripod. As I did I tried to capture a few panoramas. But they did not really work out as I had hoped.

One of the panoramas.

I think the biggest issue with the panoramas was that the shoreline was turning the wrong way at the right side. So it spoiled the symmetry of the shot. Instead I decided to go with a single shot incorporating the foreground I had found at the start. You can see the final image below. 

Final Image.

Photographing Landscape Episode 13

In this episode I go to Tresticklan National Park in Ed, Dalsland, Sweden. 

This episode is a bit different than how the other have been in that there is much more of a journey in this episode and also a lot more nature to film. But I think that it gives more to the video than it detracts even though the photography part came quite late and ended quickly. But that was my fault seeing as I miss calculated the time it would take to make the hike and also the amount of good places to photograph.   

 

But I managed to get myself to the top, the highest point in the region, only to be seriously disappointed. I had read that it was supposed to be great views at said point. But, NAY! There weren't any views just an abundance of trees. 

So I had to backtrack to one of the earlier locations I had seen. When I got there I managed to capture a huge panorama before the little light that was left had vanished. I learned that the most beautiful places in Tresticklan is around the lakes and I will come back and make better use of my time that time.

Final image

Photographing Landscape Ep. #12

Episode 12 is now live:

In this weeks episode I go to a new location where I haven't photographed before and I walk away with a nice long exposure. When I first arrived at the location I saw that there where several different possibilities in choice of composition. More than what could be captured in one evening at least.

My first thought of what to use.

One of my first thoughts was to use two of the rock formations going out into the water as borders and leading elements. But after messing about trying to find a good way to incorporate it I came to the decision that it was not working out for me.

After making that decision I walked a bit further along the lake and came to discover a much stronger compositional element that would complement my vision of the scene much better. Also I made the decision to make it a really long exposure with help from my trusty 10-stop filter. Mainly because I needed to take away some of the ruggedness from the water. You can see the difference below and below the comparison you can see the final edited image.

Final image.

Photographing Landscape Ep. #11

Episode 11 is now live:

In this episode I make a last minute call of which location to go to. But it worked out quite well actually. 

At first I tried to zoom in a bit because what I wanted from the scene was the sky formation and just a little bit of rocks in the foreground.

at 28mm.

But the clouds was stretching much longer than what I got from shooting the scene at 28mm so I tried changing around with different focal lengths to get what would work best as a panorama without making post-processing to much of a hassle. What I found was that 16mm worked best (no surprise really, I love ultra wide). Then I only needed two shots for the panorama, after that I cropped out some of the foreground.

How it looked with only one side of the sky.

With the other shot I finally got the look I was looking for. You can see the arc along the whole sky in the final image bellow. I wanted that "sky arc" in the image, because of that the final image is not really what I usually aim for. But I think it worked out quite well.

Final shot

Felix JorgenfeltComment
Photographing Landscape Ep. #10

Episode 10 is now live:

In this episode I mostly fail at everything I was trying to do.

The sun was lighting up the tree trunk just before I took this picture.

When I got to the first place to shoot the sun vanished just as I arrived (bummer). So I moved on only to find the same thing happening at the my other location.

But in the end i managed to find a good foreground but unfortunately there was no interesting light left to capture. So even though the foreground was interesting the shot never captured anything special. 

The final image.