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Icecream under the Norwegian Mountains

After our first night in Norway, the morning called for one thing after we had fresh eggs from the chooks in the backyard, a icecream picnic whilst mum and dad packed the car for the next leg of the trip.
ya can't get more cliche than this for a typical scene from norway, electric green grass fields dotted with 'icecubes' (haybales wrapped in white plastic, interestingly the Scots use black plastic whilst the Norwegians white…) and a mountain peak drizzled in snow in the background.
btw, here is tickles getting the hang of the thumbs up, almost there

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Vestnes

Big hills and big skies

so i bought this drone…. ;)

The second day in Norway had us saying 'wow' at just about every corner of the road and by this stage the kids were pretty much over mountains, luckily in Norway there are plenty of other things to captivate their attention, like cool ferries and huge fjords and when all else fails, it's.. 'hey look is that Elsa's (Frozen Movie for those under a rock :) ) castle on that mountain?'
The scale of the mountains in Norway is just something I could not get my head around, it makes our snowny mountains look like peanuts.. the boat in the middle is a bit smaller than one of the many car ferries that operate over there..

ya gotta zoom in on this one, the detail is pretty crazy…all 14000 pixels across..

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Briksdal Glacier

Norway deserves to be viewed large so zoom on in :)

Need directions ? well its not the one in the image here, you need to head down the valley and take a left after the second mountain on the left :)
So, its advertised as the largest Glacier in mainland Europe, one which you can (correction) used to be able to walk up onto. Irrespective of what you think of climate change, clearly there is something going on here, if you look at images of this glacier from 2002 and compare it to now, its pretty well all but disappeared, not to mention the 45 minute walk up to the glacier is somewhat less rewarding when all you can see is a chunk of ice 1/3rd the way up the hill :(
This image is from the drive into where the glacier is, still a very popular spot with all the tourists, mainly held up by the fact that the cruise ships bus their pax up so you get a complete flood of people at certain times of the day, the highlight of the walk up to the glacier pond was seeing a few ponies in a field, which the kids loved :)
‪#‎norway‬
‪#‎briksdalglacier‬

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Romsdalshornet

So I send a message off to my good mate (well he is now ;) ) Havard saying we are looking forward to staying in your airbnb (have you figured out that I am a fan of airbnb yet ? ;) ) and seeing some more cool mountain views. Noting that we had never been to this area or seen any imagery of it.. so Havard messages me back and says, 'yeah we have some nice mountain views', excellent, that sounds promising I thought… well if they reckon this is nice I can only image what a Norwegian thinks awesome views are :)

I took a drive up the valley to a dead end where the was some cool looking blocked off tunnel that resembled something out of a James Bond movie, then hiked 3 hours in the driving wind and snow to get to this spot (.. well ok.. maybe it was not that long ;) but it was cold and apparently its summer).

The peak here is Romsdalshornet and it stands about 1500 metres above SL, i passed a couple coming down from the rock face on the right who had ropes and stuff that looked like they were out for more than a late night stroll, note it was past 11pm at this stage :) There was also a bunch of teenagers setting up a tent for the night (if you can call it that ;) ) back a few hundred metres, awfully civilised too. The other cool thing, I had the whole place to myself :)

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Neist Lighthouse

This is one very cool lighthouse, with a darkside :)
From a distance, the lighthouse and buildings seem in good condition and well maintained, however closer inspection reveals that only the main lighthouse is being maintained, ie painted. Looking in the windows of the other buildings reveals quite a strange sight, guest rooms with beds still made, fake flowers in vases, a kitchen with food containers and cutlery still there – but, in in a state of derelict, paint peeling, some vandalism, plaster coming away, and in teh kitchen / dining room a eerie condensation on the windows…

So a little google search revels that when the lighthouse was automated the cottage and buildings were sold to a private buyer and turned into a B&B guest house. Something then must have gone strangely amiss 'cause it looks like they all just got up and left. Very odd.

Anyway, when I walked around there it was just me, a few startled cliff-hanging sheep and a few birds and those freakin eerie windows with condensation :(

This place gets 500 tourists a day in summer, surely you could get a B&B to work here, or at the very least a coffee joint – man you make a killing with a decent aussie barista and some good coffee (I gave up coffee when in scotland it was that bad :) no offense scotland, ya whiskey is much better :) )

From a distance, the lighthouse and buildings seem in good condition and well maintained, however closer inspection reveals that only the main lighthouse is being maintained, ie painted. Looking in the windows of the other buildings reveals quite a strange sight, guest rooms with beds still made, fake flowers in vases, a kitchen with food containers and cutlery still there – but, in in a state of derelict, paint peeling, some vandalism, plaster coming away, and in the kitchen / dining room a eerie condensation on the windows…

Onto the imagery :) I did hang out for sunset, which was not very forthcoming, not in the place I wanted it anyway, however waiting around until stupid o'clock and the light house turns on and hence this was one of the last shots from the evening..

I spent alot time on this picture, 3 shots stitched into a pano, but am still not overly happy with it, anyone wanna shout me a PS course :)

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Old Man Storr

I was keen to see this spot – but not keen for the walk up to the tower, we did have a crack at it though, just call me packhorse since I piggy-backed tickles just about all the way :)
This perspective is actually from the north side as you drive down towards Portree – I met a local Scottish photographer Christopher McLeod (http://www.christopherpmcleodphotography.com/) at Neist Lighthouse and he gave me some good tips on shooting this spot, however we did not have time to come back for sunset – i'll leave that on the list for next time :)
Anyway this one will have to do, the light was much nicer here than on the other side where we hiked up to the base of the tower steps.

‪#‎scotland‬
‪#‎oldmanstorr‬

4 shot panorama, each shot in the landscape orientation
D750 coupled with Nikkor 70-200 mm f2.8 (with a 1.4x converter) @ 120mm Aperture: f7.1 and Shutter Speed: 1/200s
EV: -0.3 (Needed to maintain those dappled highlights)
ISO: 100
out front: phallic rock and the remnants of a old volcanic crater

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Death Defying Sheep

Apparently the Scots reintroduced the native huge Sea Eagle to the Isle of Skye, the same species as is found in Norway apparently, however they now occasionally grab a lamp of two each season – if this occurs, apparently the farmers are re-reimbursed for the cost of the lamb ?!!

They are worried about a few lambs missing from an endangered eagle, but not concerned with them falling off cliffs ? :) and they gotta fall off these cliffs, this sheep and its lamb were right on the edge, basically if that lamb stepped backwards it was off the cliff and seal food – this was the closest (to the edge not the sheep :) ) that i was game to get to :)

All those little white specks up there on the da grass… they are sheep too – thats Neist Lighthouse over there too btw :) very cool one at that.

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Bjärred

Jetty fantastico

Our last night staying in southern Sweden we decided to head out and try and capture another swedish sunset. I can't be passing up a good jetty now and these did not disappoint, the beach, or what the Swedes call a beach was .. lets say interesting. Bjärred is only a 20 minute drive from where we were and with the ingenious idea of the swedes to actual make smart traffic lights (ie ones that sense your coming and turn green) we were there in no time. Plenty of jetties and cool boats which make cool photographic subjects and easy ones too.

After leaving the beach on the way back to the car we did spot a Hedgehog, pretty neat little creatures, with very little fear, we chased him into the bush to grab a few photos :) another animal checked off the list.

3 shot panorama, each shot in the landscape orientation
D750 coupled with Nikkor 16-35 mm f4 @ 16mm Aperture: f18 and Shutter Speed: 2s
ISO: 100
out front: jLee Graduated Filter (0.6x)

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Herbusta, Isle of Skye

We stopped at the Museum of Skye which is a collection of original style buildings each set out as it would have been back in the day, it was actually a very cool place and the entry fee to get in very very reasonable – this is important when travelling with kids, since you may only stay for a very short time, we ditched a few castles since its not worth shelling out 50 bucks just to get in and only spend 20 minutes chasing kids around :)

Anyway, another neat feature of this place, is that it sits up on hill off the A855 overlooking some very very cool rocks out in the ocean, there are plenty of these kinda of rocks around the isle of Skye and I really wanted get a shot of one of them, a long exposure image was what I was after, but time and kids would not permit that, hence a few long shots at 280mm stitched into a pano would do. (thanks to +Cameron Fong for the loan of the lens too, much appreciated – i whacked the 1.4x on it for this one).

Its pretty easy to see why traversing these waters by ship would be dangerous – the number of rocks like this and moreso ones which are just above/below the surface would have surely brought many a ship unsuck..

ya gotta see this full res too.

3 shot panorama, each shot in the landscape orientation
D750 coupled with Nikkor 70-200 mm f2.8 (with a 1.4x converter) @ 280mm Aperture: f8 and Shutter Speed: 1/500s
ISO: 100
out front: epic rocks in da ocean :)

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Veitastrond

Norway, where the sunsets last for ever :) I drove 10 kms between spots and the sunset colours where still going :)

Exif love:
D750 coupled with Nikkor 16-35 mm f4 @ 16mm Aperture: f13 and Shutter Speed: 2s
ISO 100
Out front – Hoya CPL, Lee graduated filter 0.6x

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House by the Lake

Holmane, Norway

After checking into one of our less than optimal accommodation choices (there was only two for the whole trip :) so our strike rate was pretty good ). I had some time to check out google maps to see what was around, interestingly we had visited a few Glaciers on the way down to this point, all which come off the Jostedalsbreen National park area and I noticed a little back road up to a southern access point to this place, never seen any images of this place, but it was only 30 kms away so a little drive was in order.

Now, I really bang on about these Norwegians and their darn tunnels, well this little drive really galvanised it for me. This road up to Veitastrond, which is a village of less than a thousand people has 3 tunnels with a 4th being constructed, now these are not tunnels to punch thru mountains but simply to avoid having a bit of windy road on the lake :) ie just cut thru the edge of the hill. We here in Oz struggle to get a freakin tunnel in our largest city to service…hundreds of thousands of people, yet here I was driving thru tunnels (each a few kms long), albeit single lane ones, to a village that has only a few hundred people… mind blowing. What was also really cool was that the tunnels had no lights and were full of fog.. very very cool :)

This was just one a few really nice houses sitting bit the edge of the Veitastrondavatnet .. yeah try and pronounce that :)

3 shot panorama, each shot in the landscape orientation
D750 coupled with Nikkor 70-200 mm f2.8 @ 82mm Aperture: f8 and Shutter Speed: 5s
ISO: 100
out front: epic house location

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Climber

good help is hard to find :) – what is with kids when they get tired, rather winding down they (well ours) wind up, after a full day of walking around and smashing some castles, museums and crown jewels she still has the energy for some climbing before dinner

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Scott Monument

sweaty palms

I must really be getting old – i paid 5 quid to walk up this bunch of sandstone bricks built in 1840 with gale force wind.. ok maybe not gale force, but when your on a staircase that is 2 foot wide in the fresh air it feels like a gale force ;)

I would have done this in a heartbeat when I was a kid – and that is what Chaos did, she had no problems, just successfully scaring the crap outta dad by hanging off the bars :) I really considered turning around and going back down :) now before ya'all judge me, the stairs on the last platform are really small in height, width and depth, mjusta been designed for midgets, me, being slightly larger (height) then the average dude with size 14 shoes it was abundantly clear that they did not think of me when making this spiral staircase, i had to squeeze out the top of this stair case (like a cork coming out of a fine scottish whiskey bottle) to get to the top viewing platform.. did i mention those gale force winds…? and the fact that this thing is over 150 years old…;)

The tower is a 200 ft and 6 inches tall, the fact they include that 6 inches is kinda funny :)

The walk down is not much chop either. I lost another 1000 brain cells as I hit me head on each spiral staircase … really they could have just added another foot to the height of the staircase :)

What would be cool tho is to get a sheet of mdf and sit on that and go down the stair case.. that would also sort out the traffic issues and right of way problems ;)

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Swedish Turbine

So, in Sweden they have a mix of energy production with the majority being hydro, kind helps when you have all that water handy :) they also have a few nuclear plants one of which is pretty large, the other source, which i think is about 5% of their power, is wind turbine, in southern Sweden around Lund where we stayed the countryside was completely dotted with these turbines. I would have to recommend that certain Australian politicians (and ex pollies) not to visit here since they are so significantly offended by the sight of wind farms ;)

I quite liked the sight, these tall slow turning towers to me simply represent a low impact renewable energy source, it was really cool that all you could see is a tower and a slow turning prop, all the electrical cables are buried under ground. The noise is well.. almost non existent.

I do like my lone trees in a paddock or on a beach, so it was cool to spot this lone tower on a late night drive on the first night in Sweden. The sun had just gone down (11pm ish) and the pascals had come out.

3 shot panorama
D750 coupled with Nikkor 24-70 mm f2.8 @ 50mm Aperture: f7.1 and Shutter Speed: 1/2.5s
ISO: 250
out front: Lee 0.6 Graduated Filter