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.

Photographing Landscape Episode #9

The latest episode is now live:

In this episode I was short on time but I managed to get a really good photo in the end. It was the best sunset I have had in over two weeks. 

When I arrived at the location the sky was already looking really good.  

 How it looked when I arrived.

How it looked when I arrived.

But waiting a few more minutes made the sky just right. The biggest issue I had was the foreground. I had to be really close to the rocks so it got hard to get everything in focus. But I managed it with a closed aperture which in turn revealed the amount of dirt on the sensor, lend and filter. A bit of extra work in Photoshop but I handled it quite good I think. You can see the result below.

Felix JorgenfeltComment
Vlog #8 is here!
 

In this episode I go back to the same location where I was in Vlog #4. But this time the scene is totally different. With the ice breaking and getting pushed toward the shoreline I saw an awesome foreground. With the use of bracketing and a polarizing-filter I managed to get a cool picture.

 Lightroom edit of the "neutral" exposure.

Lightroom edit of the "neutral" exposure.

After the initial edit in Lightroom I blended three exposures in Photoshop with luminosity masks. I already liked the colors so I did not change much there, but I did some dodge and burning (my favorite process in post). Then I had to remove some of the foliage in the top left corner of the picture. Never got it quite where I would have liked it. You can see the before and after below. Final image can be viewed at 500px.

Work, lots of it!

Trying to start a business is not something that is undertaken easily. Even though I am only in a startup phase I can already feel the work load ramping up considerably. I am tempted to use the word "BUSY", a word Chase Jarvis recently tore to pieces in a excellent blog/video. Listening to what he had to say made me think about how I could try to take control over my recent increase in workload. He said to make priorities in those things being on the to do list. This is something that I really took to heart and I am going to start incorporate into my daily work schedule. I thought it best to make a list of what is most important and thought it might be helpful to someone else if I shared how I constructed my priority list. The list follows:

  1. Survive!
    It might sound extremely dramatic, but in essence it means to bring in enough money for rent and food.
  2. Make surviving easier!
    Not as dramatic as the first one. The essence of this point is to expand the business to a point where I will not have to worry about money in a everyday sense.
  3. Pursuit of happiness!
    This is what it is all about. What is the point in doing something if it does not make you happy? Except striving for survival.

All of my points are extracted by existential needs. I need food to live, seeing as I am not a farmer I have to provide a service or product to someone else to get the money I need to buy my food and get a roof over my head. Thus making survival top on my list and putting my happiness in a strong third place. The reason for pursuing happiness is kind of self explanatory, but let me just say why I priorities it. I do not want to live a miserable life, I want to be happy. It is that simply really. 

What does the priority list means? Well to put it shortly, it means: Clients, Clients and have fun!

 Looking at your life, make a rational decision about what is important, do that! 

Looking at your life, make a rational decision about what is important, do that! 

Felix JorgenfeltComment
Just a small update

I just wanted to do a little update on how things are progressing. The Youtube-channel is up and running, the Vlog-project growing and getting better by every episode. It is quite the learning curve to start editing video even though I am used to editing photos. I do think Adobe lacks continuity in their software. Having knowledge in a few of them does not help when you decide to learn a new piece of software from Adobe. But my editing is improving at a steady pace.

This blog have not been updated as often as I had hoped. The issue for me is that the direction I had hoped to pursue with the blog takes more time than I want to put into the blog. Putting closer to 6 hours on one post is not feasible in my current state. So I have to re develop the blog again. But I thought that I might still do a inspirational series, but it wont be scheduled. I will be working on returning the blog to a weekly schedule.

My studio is gradually being built, new paint is coming to the walls soon. But I still need to decide on what lights to invest in (I am thinking about a Elinchrom kit). For video I have bought some cheaper lights from IKEA which are sufficient for what I have planned. I am hoping that the studio will be functional for portraits within two weeks. 

Even if it seems quiet at the site now I still do quite a lot of work and hope that the seeds of said work will eventually grow to be seen by everyone.

Felix JorgenfeltComment
#11 Looking forward, the year 2016

2015 was a interesting year for me. Lots of things happened. I moved twice, finished my university studies and had to make a decision about what the future would hold for me. One of the things to come out of all that is this site. I started this blog on my portfolio site and I think it is improving and getting better for every post I post. But I only write one post every week, which is not that much content. So my plan for this year is to ramp up the content production and release more of the content to the public. I have done a few trials before with some content but have not been satisfied with how it turned out. Let me explain my plans.

  • Youtube

First I am starting a new form of follow me out shooting series, a vlog series. This series is not going to be scheduled but rather released when I have some material to share. I have already released the first episode that you can see here: Vlog #1

Second I am planing to start a critique series where I critique the top popular pictures on 500px.

Thirdly I have a plan to record a few guides on finding locations to shoot that are close to home. I will share my technique on finding, scouting and determining if a location is good enough.

  • The blog

Regarding this blog, seeing as a lot of what I have been writing about on this blog is going to be covered in my new Vlog series, I have decided to reform my concept a bit for this blog series. I now want to focus more on inspiration. Each post at this blog is going to cover an inspirational topic. Maybe I have found something inspirational that I want to share. Or maybe I will write something as to try to inspire you. At least that is the plan going forward.

  • Business

I have two projects regarding turning my photography interest more to a business. One being portraits the other being fine art prints. Both are in a early state of development and I will share more on these when I have more info to share.

  • Storytelling

And finally I am actually planing to expand the blog or the Youtube channel with a more personal experience. I was thinking more about telling my story, the progress of my projects and all that. The format is going to be unnumbered where I just write or record what I have to tell when I have something to tell. Not according to any scheduled.

  • A few shots since last post

#10 Inspiration

The year is coming to a close, next weeks blog is going to be a review of my photographic year 2015. But for now, lets talk about inspiration!

The past week have been horrible. A constant cloud cover have been looming over this place for more than 10 days, barley letting any light through. Combine that with the warmth the clouds brings and the result is damp, wet everywhere. So no light, no color (as explained in blog #7) and a weather that is on a constant verge of rain. It is not what you might call inspiring times.

How can inspiration be found in the darker times. I will tell you what I do, how I try to stay motivated and find inspiration to go rush outside when the light finally comes back again.

First I check the weather. Maybe the cloud coverage is finally breaking up and the sun can come through. Usually the forecast will hold some light at the horizon. But it might still be a few days off, or it have been so long since last time that you simply do not have any motivation to go outside and shoot.

Finding motivation inside is to me a matter of beholding the beautiful. I usually do that through 500px, there are so many stunning pictures posted on 500px that you are to find a plethora of images to inspire your specific preference. What I do every time that I scout 500px is that I save the inspiring pictures to as favorites. After the latest update on 500px I made a gallery called "Inspiring Landscapes" where I save what is inspiring me in that specific field. I do not just watch the pictures though, I also study them. Looking at the composition, the light, what is used as foreground, how are different elements used to enhance the picture. By studying what I find inspiring I get even more inspired to use what I have learned the next time I get the chance. 

Another inspirational tool for me is Youtube. Specifically vlogs of people shooting landscapes. I would like to recommend 3 channels that I think are phenomenal:

 

They are all great, maybe a bit different but still quite motivational in their presentation. What is so great about watching others is that they are out in the field, they tackle problems and talk about their experience while being in beautiful places. You can watch all this while the weather at your place is dismal. Therefore it is extremely giving to watch vlogs as these at times of low inspiration.

Last but not least I would recommend reading photography blogs, they are inspirational in the same way as the vlogs are except they do not have video showing the environment. There are many blogs out there but I do not have any single that standout more to me. But I would like to recommend mine and tease you in saying that I have big plans for expanding and improving this blog in 2016.

These are my main motivational tips for dismal weather periods as a landscape photographer and want to leave you with a thought. Even in dismal times light is only a cloud away. With this I want to wish you all a Merry Christmas and remember next weeks blog where I will review the year 2015.

Felix JorgenfeltComment
#9 Expectations part II

This is a continuation from last weeks blog post.

I determined that I do a lot of planing but most of the planing never actually makes it to the final picture. Meaning that the expectations that I have for a shoot mostly are not achieved, even though I get results that satisfies me. But I still do the planning, I do think that the planing part is important and I think it gives something that will be resembled in the final picture even if the expected situation tuns out to be completely different. 

My example might not be the perfect analogy but I do think that it will at least show some of the importance of planing and having expectations before a shoot.

My location research on The Photographer's Ephemeris.

Before this shoot I checked the weather forecast in the morning, it said that it would be good conditions at sunset, I looked outside before deciding to go to confirm that the weather was in accordance with the forecast (it was). The location that I had picked for this shoot was in a small nature reserve called Ösan. A location I had been to before, and using The Photographer's Ephemeris I found that the sun would set in a opening between the land. Something I thought would be awesome. So of I went to the location only to meet my first obstacle. I had forgot about the storm the weekend before, so there was a lot of fallen trees, but luckily the trees had not made it impossible to reach my location and even better, the storm had not brought destruction to where I was going to shoot. It had everywhere else except at that location.

At said location I met something unexpected, there was quite a few choicese to be made about what was going to be the foreground element. There was this really cool rock that was sticking out, like a mini cliff. When I saw that I really thought that the rock must be a awesome foreground. So I got to work trying to frame it as to take advantage of that rock to lead it into the clearing where the sun was setting. But no matter what I did the rock never really added any more beauty to the picture, it got to be more of a distraction to me. The rock was simply to dominant. Therefore I had to rethink and remind myself what I had planed in the beginning.

 

 What was happening behind me.

What was happening behind me.

So I took a step back, looking around me to see what else there was to be used to enhance the picture. So far I was not really satisfied with the light. But when I looked behind me and saw the skies and color starting to show I knew that if I only had patience I would be rewarded with similar color towards the sun.

So now that I knew there was going to be good color in the sky and I knew that the "cliff rock" was a distraction. I could focus more on what I had initially planed with the background and simply trying to find a good leading point for the foreground to lead into the picture. I secluded most of the "cliff rock" only using a small part of it, and relied more on the rocky ground that had a few lines, so I used that instead, simplifying the picture to what you can see below. 

So what use did I have of my planing and my expectations? The planing I hope was obvious, with out which I would not even have found that location nor knowing what was going to be the main focus of the image. But what I got out of my expectations is resilience. I knew what I was looking for. Without expectations I might have been satisfied with the picture I took looking behind me. Given that the sky is actually better looking in that picture than the final image. But it was not what I was expecting of the shoot, so my expectations gave me resilience to stay a bit longer and wait for a shot that I really wanted. 

 Final Image: Attesting beauty

Final Image: Attesting beauty

Felix JorgenfeltComment
#8 Expectations part I

At times it can be quite hard to imagine how a sunrise or sunset might turn out. Experience helps, it gives you a good indicator of what to look for in the sky when you are planing for a shoot. But even then you can be taken aback by how it turns out. Every twilight is in a sense unique even if it they do have similarities where by you can recognize patterns which will help in determining how the specific days twilight-time will be. Sunrise complicates things just a bit though. The thing being that for one, you are probably sleeping and thus not looking at the cloud formation. Secondly if you where to go outside it would be hard to see the clouds seeing as it is dark outside.

 My weather forecast application, this forecast means good expectations but risk for to much clouds coming in and blocking the light.

My weather forecast application, this forecast means good expectations but risk for to much clouds coming in and blocking the light.

You are then left to rely upon what the weather forecast tells you and from my experience the forecast does quite a good job of presenting correct conditions for the next 12-24 hours. Meaning that I can look at the weather forecast before I go to sleep and make a decision at that time if I am even going to bother going up early.  If the conditions are looking good, then I set the alarm for when I need to wake up. When the clock rings I check the weather forecast again to confirm that it is still looking good. If it is so, then I go up and make my way to the location.

On the way to the location, depending on how early I am, I start to get a sense of what kind of sunrise it is going to be and start to form a concept of what to expect. Arriving at the location means starting to look for a composition that will incorporate the plans I have for the shoot. 

After all this planing I often find that when the action actually starts happening. Usually it does not follow my expectations at all. Seeing as I cannot control the light I am gonna have to adapt to the situation. So reassessing the situation, where is the light coming from, what kind of light is it, what color is it, are there any reflections, what do I want to show in this picture. Then I recompose for the situation and forget about my earlier expectations, now it is constant shooting for about 30-60 minutes depending on how fast the sunrise is on this particular morning.

After that hour of astonishing beauty or disappointment (if the the light never came) I pack up my things and head pack home. 

As usual I shoot bracketed so that I get three exposures 0, +2 and -2. Then I have shots with no out-blown parts and shots with detail in the dark without noise. Then I blend them using Photoshop CC, after an initial edit in Lightroom where I fix the exposures to the right point. You can see the final result below. 

Next week I will continue this blog and explain why all the planing and expectations before a shoot is not in vain.

 Final image: Breakthrough

Final image: Breakthrough

Felix JorgenfeltComment
#7 Winter is coming

Well, the expression that winter is coming is somewhat annoying in the Game of Thrones series. But in reality winter is actually soon upon us, at least here in Sweden. But it also depends on how one would choose to define winter. Now that we are in December (which is a winter month) one could say that winter is already here. But I tend to disagree to some extent with that analogy seeing as it does not yet differ to any significant part from "late fall". Sure all the color is gone from nature, it is gray and it is dismal. But that is not how I would define winter. Winter is white, it is snow outside, it is cold, the waters are freezing. So I would not say that winter is here yet. But I do hope that winter comes soon. 

I would say that the period between high fall and real winter is one of two horrible periods of the year to be a landscape photographer. The other being early spring, when the snow is turning gray but no other colors has started coming forth. What that actually means is that the only form of color that is going to be available is what comes from the sun at sunset or sunrise. 

The winter months brings out this special kind of light at sunrise, a pinkish glow in the sky that (at least to me) resembles the start of a beautiful day. 

 

Sunsets are not not given the same characteristics in my experience and more than that it gets to dark to quickly. That is one of the other reasons for my dislike of the late fall period. As soon as snow, or at least frost starts laying itself on the ground it is going to let the light reflect a lot more and keep the darkness at hold for a few more minutes. Giving the sunsets more time to shine, more time to show how beautiful it actually can be.

 Winters pretense

Winters pretense

Felix JorgenfeltComment
#6 The coast of Bohuslän
The road

Me and my girlfriend drove out to the coastal region Bohuslän one weekend, more specific to a small town called Fjällbacka. We had quite the trouble actually getting there seeing as my GPS did not have the new highway programed so we had no clue when to exit the highway so we had to try something. That try meant that we ended up on a really small road to Fjällbacka. Not ideal but we made it there.

We spent most of the day there before getting out to a location we found on the map. It was almost sunset when we arrived but my experience is that the best light is a bit after sunset so I had no worries about that. 

It was a small hike getting there, but we were prepared for that. This coastal region is mostly formed by rounded rock formations going all the way out into the sea. Which is one of the main reasons I like to go here. Something I hope to do more of in the future, it is just so beautiful.

But now that winter is closing in some of the charm is disappearing from the coastal regions. The warmth is all but gone except for those rare days and are replaced by icy wind. Therefore I think further visits will have to wait until spring arrives. With that said I might still go there before that if I get bored.


Felix JorgenfeltComment
#5 Period of clouds

So, these past weeks have been quite cloudy to the point where there have not been any good sunsets or sunrises for at least two weeks. Maybe not that long, but when you really want to shot some sunsets or sunrises I promise you that it feels like forever.

Sure there have been days when there was not cloudy at sunset or sunrise but at sunset it have then been completely clear. Meaning no colors and at sunrise it have been an incredibly thick layer of fog every morning.

So yesterday my weather app said that there might be good conditions for a sunset. Therefore I packed my gear and went to a location where I have been before. The weather conditions were not perfect, but the clouds where moving really fast and the water was moving quite a lot. 

Since the wind was so strong I was worried that it might interfere with my camera standing on the tripod. Not that I needed to be, seeing as my setup handled the wind really good. Better then expected. 

But the wind was actually making it hard to find a good composition. I think it was a combination of the wind really making me cold and the water blowing upon my lens (see image above) and me bing worried for my camera.

But the fun thing about me not finding a composition at first is that I actually got a few interesting pictures instead of just one good picture.

So I guess the lesson i learned this evening is that moving around, trying different things is actually important. Even if I did not find the composition it first. I did manage to get a few interesting pictures, including the hero shot of the evening (see the image below.) 

 Final image: Blow Away

Final image: Blow Away

Felix JorgenfeltComment
#4 New companion

The Nikon 1 J5

So my new companion is the from Nikons 1 system. The one inch sensor system designed to be a smaller alternative to the bigger DSLR's. I decided to buy this system and camera because I wanted something to be able to shoot while I walk to locations, while my DSLR is set up to take landscapes. In short a camera to use while the bigger one would be cumbersome to use. 

When I go on trips in daylight when photography is not the main priority a DSLR is just to big and heavy to carry around all the time. But this little camera is just about right and the pictures coming out of the J5 are amazing.

I have been really focus on landscape photography lately and a consequence of that is that other types of photography have been left out. But with this little camera the more detailed, close-up shots are once again being taken. It is also a great tool when I am scouting locations for landscape shots. 

The shots below are taken with Nikons J5 camera with the kit-lens (10-30) and I really like the results. The quality of the pictures coming out of something this small and compact is amazing. I am sure that I will mention this camera many more times in this blog, but for now I want to recommend this camera for anyone wanting a smaller camera as a companion for their DSLR. Note that this is in no way a replacement for a DSLR, but an excellent complement to the big beast.

Felix JorgenfeltComment
#3 New lens

The Nikkor 16-35

Learning the new

I have received a new lens, the Nikkor 16-35. From the first test shots I must say that the lens is a substantial upgrade from the all around lens I used earlier (Nikkor 18-200). This is not a review tho, but rather a first impression of receiving a new lens.

This is my first new lens in over a year. So it is a big thing moving over to a new lens. I was so used to my old way of doing a shoot that I at first was thrown aback at the unfamiliarity of using something new. I actually had to tell me-self that the principle is exactly the same so just continue doing what you are used to doing and it will work out fine. 

But the one thing that was messing up my usual flow, and what for that matter was the real big difference is the focus aspect. The additional 2mm of wide angle was not that big a difference, only a step forward and it was about the same angle of view. But the focusing on this lens is completely different from my trusty 18-200. 

To illustrate, the 16-35 goes from 0.28m to 0.5m before the next one is infinity. The 18-200 goes from 0.5m to 3m before the next one is infinity. So when trying to put the lens at the hyper-focal distance I had not thought about that difference. So that did take a bit of trial and error to figure out.

Time

Well, at least the shoot was not stressful as you can see in the image above.

I guess that the most important thing when getting something new is, using it. That is at least what I am going to do, the following days are going to be full of photography and hopefully a few good shots will come out of it.

Todays lesson will therefore be: give yourself time.

You need to give yourself time to work with your gear.

You need to give yourself time to work with your composition.

You need to give yourself time to work with your editing.

If you don't invest time in yourself you cannot expect yourself to improve. You can see the result of todays test shooting below.

 Final image: Sunset at Ärtemark

Final image: Sunset at Ärtemark

Felix JorgenfeltComment