long exposure

Did I mention this before?

Last night I was up late. I looked outside, and I stared into this absolutely breath-taking view. It was close to midnight. Overcast to some extend, very foggy at the ground. But there was an almost full moon lighting up the fog and cloudy part of the sky. That in combination with the light pollution coming off the city and some of the street lights along the path…
I stood there (on my balcony 😉 ) for quite awhile, just looking at it.

The picture below is a panorama of 5 pictures stitched together in Photoshop.

Night photography

5x D800, ISO100, 30sec @ f/8, Nikkor 70-200mm

… of the adventure.
Day one was mostly spent sleeping and recovering from the 30+-hour traveling.
Day two was also still that. I was surprisingly tired. I don’t usually take naps during the day, but I simply had to. Lot of impressions, lots to read, lot of information t process and then two dives.
Two dives, which went totally fine, but -of course- filled with excersize and no camera. Gritting teeth… Several times…
But I will get my pictures!

For now you’ll just have to do with the last remainder of the sunset. I missed it, because I was out cold for two hours.
It’s still pretty, I think. Last night I watched it completely, and it was stunning, but I was too tired to pull out the camera and the tripod. But I’ll be here for about 4 weeks, so I’m sure you’ll see a few sunsets (and/or sunrises) come by.

Camiguin sunset

D800, ISO100, 30 sec @ f/8, Nikkor 50mm

Last night there was a thunder storm.
It wasn’t really a storm, at least not near to where I live. There was no rain, just some wind and only occasionally did I hear some rumbling in the sky.
But I had a great view over the bay where the lightning came down every so often.


D800, ISO100, 30 sec @ f/8, Nikkor 50mm
Three images put together in Photoshop (CS6, and no, I have no intention on going Cloud).

Scouting, driving around the area, stopping the car, getting out of the car, getting into the car, driving, stopping the car, getting out of the car, getting into the car, driving… It’s the thing you typically do only with your fellow photographers. You do that with your spouse and inevitably you’ll get to see a lot of rolling eyes and the “*sighs* NOT AGAIN??”-looks 😉
And even then there were beautiful scenes we missed, because of possible life-threatening situations we might’ve faced had we stopped (or leaned too far over the edge).

Icicles hanging from the rocks in beautiful shapes

D800, ISO100, 1/250 sec @ f/4, Nikkor 14-24mm

Icicles hanging from a rock in Sommarøy, Norway

D800, ISO100, 1/125 sec @ f/11, Nikkor 14-24mm

Waterfall flowing down into a small downstream river

D800, ISO100, 15 sec @ f/11, Nikkor 50mm + Singh-Ray VariND

Shack on a little island in Sommarøy, Norway, with a small ligh

D800, ISO100, 1/500 sec @ f/5.6, Nikkor 70-200mm

Fishermen town of Koppangen, Norway

D800, ISO100, 1/250 sec @ f/5.6, Nikkor 50mm

Islands in the sea around Sommarøy, Norway

D800, ISO100, 1/125 sec @ f/11, Nikkor 14-24mm, 4 images stitched in Photoshop

View towards Cathedral from Sommarøy, Norway

D800, ISO100, 1/500 sec @ f/8, 8 images stitched in Photoshop





Seeing the Northern Lights isn’t a given. With the unpredictability of the weather up there there’s as much chance of seeing the Lights as there isn’t.
And considering the fact that the Lights are only visible in the evenings and/or at night, it leaves about 12 hours of daylight time to shoot other things. And besides being insanely expensive, Norway is also an insanely beautiful country. At least up in the north where we were.

Sunsets and sunrises, a part of every photographer’s portfolio wherever he/she goes (I’m privileged that I got to see the Lights in the first place, but it would be sooooo cool to catch the them at sunset…)

D800, ISO100, 1/30 sec @ f/16, Nikkor 14-24mm

D800, ISO100, 1/30 sec @ f/16, Nikkor 14-24mm

D800, ISO100, 1/125 sec @ f/22, Nikkor 14-24mm

D800, ISO100, 1/125 sec @ f/22, Nikkor 14-24mm

Sunset over Rekvik, Norway

D800, ISO100, 1/125 sec @ f/8, Nikkor 50mm

Sunset over Rekvik, Norway

D800, ISO800, 8 sec @ f/2.8, Nikkor 14-24mm


I’ve decided to stick in the cold for a bit.
Last year we went to Norway to shoot the Northern Lights. It almost turned out in one big expensive disappointing trip.
This year we went again, and it turned out in one big great expensive trip (3 Peppe Pizzas for 108,00€: chaCHING!!!!). But the photos we got were absolutely breath-taking. And no need to Photoshop anything into another picture. All these are genuine and -save for some color adjustments here and there (foreground mostly, not the Lights)- unedited.

I’ll not bore you with any superfluous words. Judge for yourself.

Northern Lights dancing over the hills in Norway

D800, ISO800, 15 sec @ f/4, Nikkor 14-24mm

Northern Lights dancing over the hills in Norway

D800, ISO800, 30 sec @ f/4, Nikkor 14-24mm

Northern Lights dancing over the hills in Norway

D800, ISO800, 30 sec @ f/4, Nikkor 14-24mm

Northern Lights dancing over the hills in Norway

D800, ISO800, 79 sec @ f/4, Nikkor 14-24mm, and a little torch to illuminate the barn to the right for about 15 secs

Northern Lights dancing over the hills in Norway

D800, ISO800, 30 sec @ f/4, Nikkor 14-24mm

Prints are available from here:
My Norway Gallery on Photoshelter (link opens in a new window).

I can write loooong pieces of text about the landscapes.
They’re gorgeous. And they’re many. And they look different every day, especially when you have a sunny day one day and snow the next, and sun again the day after that.
Have a look:

Valley with a river running in between two mountain ranges

D800, ISO100, 1/125 sec @ f/5.6, Nikkor 50mm

Yellow line dividing the road running off into the distance

D800, ISO400, 1/250 sec @ f/11, Nikkor 70-200mm, Nikkor TC2

Boulders on top of a mountain in Rocky Mountain national park

D800, ISO100, 1/30 sec @ f/8, Nikkor 14-24mm

Logs in the partly frozen water of a lake

D800, ISO200, 1/250 sec @ f/8, Nikkor 50mm

Dirt road leading into the fog and into the Rocky Mountains

D800, ISO100, 1/30 sec @ f/11, Nikkor 50mm

Waterfall in a small stream covered with fallen trees

D800, ISO400, 1/4 sec @ f/11, Nikkor 50mm

Water fall in a small canyon in Grand Lake in the Rocky Mountains

D800, ISO100, 8 sec @ f/11, Nikkor 50mm, Singh-Ray VariND

Sunset over Grand Lake

D800, ISO100, 1/1000 sec @ f/11, Nikkor 50mm

Clearly I wasn’t the only one who’d been trespassing in the times gone by. The place was riddled with old clothes, one or two helmets, and other remains of people who’d stayed there after the fire had done its work. Of course destruction of this type is often followed by additional “vandalism”, since the place is going to be taken down / renovated anyway, it apparently doesn’t matter if you don’t respect other people’s property. Graffiti and other forms of “art” were found throughout the place.
One thing that caught my eye was something I could use for  one of my little projects:

Pink shoe

D800, ISO100, 15 sec @ f/16, Nikkor 14-24mm

Last year I bought from B&H Photo Video a Singh-Ray VariND filter.
I’m the kind of guy that wants to have all the good stuff, but I don’t want to have to haul around so much stuff. And since one ND filter rarely does the job, I wanted something that WOULD do the job, but would also give me the flexibility to “change” the filter if necessary.
I had my eye on a VariND filter for awhile already, but I couldn’t really justify the costs (they come in at $340, which is quite a steep price I think). But I was extremely happy when I got it, and I’ve been using it a lot. It’s absolutely worth the investment, especially considering the fact you get ND1-ND8 in one filter and if you’d have to purchase these filters individually you’d be out of a lot more cash.

But… Recently I started experiencing some weird stuff going on. I noticed it for the first time a couple of months ago when I was shooting some images for my “Commuting” series. A weird red “blob” appeared right through the center of the image. At first I thought it might be some funky polarizing going on, but that’s not it. It now appears -only at the darkest setting- indoors, outdoors, in natural light, in bright sunlight, in tungsten light… Everywhere.

It didn’t used to be there. The images I shot and posted in this post were shot also with the VariND and at the darkest setting. They don’t have it.
This is how it looks:

VariND problem

D800, ISO100, 30 sec @ f/16, Nikkor 50mm, VariND filter at its darkest setting

I have no idea what could be the cause of this. I cleaned the filter several times, there’s no other filters on top of the VariND that could cause this. I didn’t drop it… I’m in the dark…
I sent Singh-Ray a mail about it yesterday, let’s see what they come up with (if they reply).

Of course I can fix it, that’s not the problem (there are few things that I can’t fix in Photoshop), but it’s a pain in the ass, because it’s local and not global, so you really have to be precise with the masks and everything. I wouldn’t want to do this to a series of 100 pictures…

VariND filter problem solved

D800, ISO100, 30 sec @ f/16, Nikkor 50mm, VariND filter at its darkest setting and some Photoshopping à la Arno

We came home late(r) from town last night and I couldn’t really catch sleep. Luckily, because -out of the blue?- a thunderstorm rolled over part of town. Lightning like crazy (of course exactly in a corner where I just couldn’t reach with the camera. I set up anyway, plugged in the remote shutter, set the camera on C(h) and locked the shutter with a 6 second exposure, figuring that the storm must every now and again, if not totally, move a bit out of the that wretched corner into the viewfinder. In the mean time an incredible amount of rain came down in a very short period of time, temporarily flooding the streets out front. Did some other things in the mean time and ended up with some 250 images (yay for D800 raw files, that’s about 10 gig right there 😀 ), mostly without any lightning, some with some lighted up sky, and one or two with a really nice strike. The best one is below:


D800, ISO100, 8 sec @ f/5.6, Nikkor 14-24mm

I bet I could’ve got much better pictures, but I would’ve had to go out in weather a dog wouldn’t even go out. And it was 1:30, barely dressed and not in the mood. Anyway…
I figured I could have a go with a timelapse sequence with the rest of the images and that didn’t come out too bad, either.