A walk in the forests

These pictures go along paths and over bridges, through forests and beside rivers. This isn’t so much a walk as a hop, skip and jump. So we’ll start with the short hop beside the Faluån. It’s not exactly a forest but it’s well wooded with a lovely range of colours and the hint of a bridge in the background.

Autumn colours beside the Faluån

Autumn colours beside the Faluån

Then we skip along to Värmland and the beautiful pathways at Alsters herrgård. They swing along through the gardens, down to the river and then along to Lake Vänern.

Lastly let’s jump into the misty and mythological woodlands, pathways and forests of Bohuslän. All of these pictures are taken around Äsperöd in Uddevalla, within 15 minutes walk of our apartment, so I count myself as extremely fortunate to have such wonderful nature all around me.

 

There really was a lamp hanging in the forest in the last picture, I didn’t put it there …

Autumn Currents

It’s hard not to be drawn to the sublime autumn colours here in Sweden. Then there’s the rivers tumbling downstream full of waterfall foam and loaded with leaves. This set of pictures tries to capture the tranquillity of the waters as they twist and turn, curve and weave on their way through the forests and over the falls.

I used the Live Composite mode again so the foam and leaves make streaks, curves and circles that  show the currents in the rivers.

Riverscape Impressions, Live Composite Photography

Ever since I was a teenager I’ve admired the Impressionists and lately I’ve taken photographs of riverscapes that look very impressionistic. Here’s an example.

A curve in the Bäveån

A curve in the Bäveån

The rushes in the foreground are blurred in motion whilst the river, full of autumn leaves, flows smoothly around the curve behind. The sky overhead is reflected in it and the bank of trees behind completes the composition. I’ll describe at the end just how I used the Live Composite mode on my Olympus to do this. But first some more riverscape impressions.

The second picture’s got similar elements in it. It was taken in windy conditions again so there was the opportunity to capture the grasses and reeds waving in front of the brown flood water. The composition’s different as I was much closer to the grasses and lower down which meant I could get the feel of the river, highlighted by the streaks of the autumn leaves, flowing quickly towards you.

Alstersälven, impression of grasses

Alstersälven, impression of grasses

The third picture is more abstract. The yellow leaves in the river loop and swirl towards you but the top of the picture blurs upwards and away. I moved the camera whilst taking the image to distort the leaf covered river banks and skyline. I think it highlights the rushing flow the river – which was in flood – and gives the impression of the rain and light snow that was falling when I took the picture.

Faluån Impressions

Faluån Impressions

In the next one a strong wind was blowing from right to left. A small promontory of reeds and grasses was bending with the gusts and that separates the picture. The foreground leaves were more or less stationary in the water but the ones in the current proper were going past at speed.

A windy day on the Bäveån

A windy day on the Bäveån

The last picture is the most abstract. It’s taken looking down into the water and it would be difficult to work out what you were looking at if you hadn’t seen the other pictures already. I think it looks like it’s been painted with oils and then the grasses added in with a palette knife.

Bäveån abstract impressions

Bäveån abstract impressions

The pictures were taken with my Olympus camera’s Live Composite mode. It’s usually used to take long exposure shots of astrophotography subjects like star trails or street pictures of car headlights sweeping past you. It works by setting a base exposure (half a second in the case of the pictures here) which is then repeated as often as you wish. The camera adds the changes in each subsequent exposure on to the original image and you can see it happening on the screen. After around two minutes I stopped each picture as it began to spoil the composition.

I’ll be showing more of these in another post. They have really stretched my creativity and it would be great to hear what you think of them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hiking along Vistasvaggi in the Arctic Summer of 2006 – a photobook

In August 2006 Andy and I had a memorable trip hiking and camping in the Swedish arctic. We flew to Kiruna and then got the bus to Nikkaluokta and hiked up and along Vistasvaggi. We had plenty of sunshine!

I’ve made a photo-book of the trip that you can access with this link.

Source: Arctic Summer 2006 @RapidStudio

These four images are a small sample of the 30+ that are in the photobook.

Reflections on the Culture Trail, Sundborn

These are my best set of pictures from our autumn visit to Sweden. It was a day of clear blue skies and cold weather but beautiful colours. Sundborn is only 20 minutes from Falun and a location full of photographic opportunities – especially reflections in the river. After taking the tour of the beautiful and iconic Carl Larsson-gården we had a picnic in the sunshine on the lawns of Stora Hyttnäs and then took the Culture Trail north to Sundborn Kyrka and Toftan.

http://sundborn.com/ks/en/karta/

Sundborn’s Culture Trail

The first picture shows the vivid autumn colours in the trees and vegetation along the river bank south of the Carl Larsson-gården. It’s pretty much the view you get of the river from the gardens themselves. They’re really nice to stroll around whilst you wait for your guided tour of the house.

Sundborn Autumn Höst Dalarna Sweden Fujifilm

Autumn Colours, Sundborn

The culture trail takes you along the river: stopping either at interesting locations where Larsson painted or the other historical sites of Sundborn. The hydro-power station is one of those sites, it was built just after 1900 and is located on the rapids a short walk from Larsson’s house – he provided the sketches for the design of the building and got his electric power from there. This is the view of the power station from downstream.

Sundborn Autumn Höst Dalarna Sweden Fujifilm

The Power Station, Sundborn

On the upstream side are these impressive sluices that control the flow of water into the turbines. There’s a walkway over the river so you pass right next to them. Their reflections are pictured here.

Sundborn Autumn Höst Dalarna Sweden Fujifilm

Power Station Sluices, Sundborn

Across the water you’ll see the tiled roofs of the old farm buildings that feature in some of Larsson’s paintings. They give you a nice taste of the picturesque nature of the old town that the trail takes you through.

Sundborn Autumn Höst Dalarna Sweden Fujifilm

Roof reflections, Sundborn

The next picture shows the buildings along Kyrkvägen that front on to the river. It’s taken from the opposite bank on the pathway along to the old wash house. It’s a very picturesque setting.

Sundborn Autumn Höst Dalarna Sweden Fujifilm

Looking across the Sundbornsån, Sundborn

When you reach the old wash house – it’s now a sauna – you can look back along the river. There’s a lovely composition where the trees frame the river that recedes away from the viewer. I was lucky because a scattering of light cumulus clouds also provided a top and bottom frame to complete the picture.

Sundborn Autumn Höst Dalarna Sweden Fujifilm

Looking down the Sundbornsån, Sundborn

Once you’ve walked through the old town to the church you get lovely views of the lake – Toftan – that opens up before you.

Sundborn Autumn Höst Dalarna Sweden Fujifilm

Toftan, Sundborn

I took this last picture when we got back to Larsson’s house. It’s called Summer’s End because it has a real end-of-season feel to it. The boats and canoe belong to the relatives of Larsson who still have summer houses on the property. Soon their river craft will be stored away for the winter.

Sundborn Autumn Höst Dalarna Sweden Fujifilm

Summer’s End, Sundborn

The pictures were all taken using the Velvia Vivid setting on my Fujifilm X100F. It gives a great depth of colour – especially the blues. I used my two converter lenses – wide angle and tele converter – for the pictures.

The many shades of Falu Red – Falu Rödfärg – Sweden’s favourite colour.

Think of rural Sweden and forests, lakes, fields and fells spring to mind – wonderfully green in summer and white in winter. The houses, farms and barns will almost all be painted in Sweden’s favourite colour – Falu Red or Falu Rödfärg – that comes from the 1000 year old copper mine in Falun, Dalarna.

Falu Rödfärg Falun Red Sundborn Dalarna Sweden

Riverside houses in Falu Rödfärg, Sundborn

I’ve always found the red to be very attractive – not least because it changes shades depending on the light and the season. When it’s cloudy in summer then it is matte and has a clay-like texture and appearance. I’ve chosen this picture of the doorway to Sundborn church steeple because it shows this – there’s also beautiful wood work in the overlapping tiles of wood. The colour is very similar to the red-brown laterite soils where we lived in Ruiri, Kenya. I’m sure that’s one of the reasons that I like it so much.

Falu Rödfärg Falun Red Sundborn Dalarna Sweden

Sundborn steeple doorway in Falu Rödfärg

In dappled summer light it’s still soft but with brighter and darker red patches where there’s light and shade. You can see this on the main church building at Sunburn that has a large oak tree spreading shade across the roof and walls. Sundborn church is a beautiful village just outside Falun with a lovely heritage walk that features the locales of Carl Larsson’s famous paintings. The church is part way round the walk.

Falu Rödfärg Falun Red Sundborn Dalarna Sweden

Sundborn church in Falu Rödfärg

You also go past this lovely old barn on the riverbank.

Falu Rödfärg Falun Red Sundborn Dalarna Sweden

Old riverside barn in Falu Rödfärg, Sundborn

The real richness of Falu Red comes out in this next picture. It’s almost orange-red on the main wall of the church in the foreground. Falu Red, white and green are a really common summer colour mix.

Falu Rödfärg Falun Red Sundborn Dalarna Sweden

Sundborn church tower in Falu Rödfärg, Sundborn

Winter is a different story. All of the green will be gone and replaced with white when there’s been snow. Falu Red is particularly striking when there are cold blue skies behind bare tree branches.

Falu Rödfärg Falun Red Falun Dalarna Sweden Elsborg

Falu Rödfärg in winter, Elsborg, Falun

These two pictures were taken in Elsborg – the beautifully preserved historic quarter of Falun – during the particularly long, cold winter this year.

Falu Rödfärg Falun Red Elsborg Dalarna

Winter street scene of Falu Rödfärg, Elsborg, Falun

I had to use a very wide angle lens to capture the sky and clouds in these scenes. Even with the sun at a low angle the Falu Red is vibrant. If you are lucky and there are no clouds then you can get red reflections in the snow.

Falu Rödfärg Falun Red Dalarna Sweden Stångtjärn, Falun

Reflection of Falu Rödfärg on snow, Stångtjärn, Falun

The wall in this picture shows the yellow-orange colour that you can get when the clear winter light hits the paint horizontally. It’s almost mirror-like. This last picture was taken at Romme Alpin, it’s mostly blue and white, with just a little Falu Red to hint at summer’s warmth.

Falu Rödfärg Falun Red Dalarna Sweden Romme Alpin

Falu Rödfärg on the ski slopes, Romme Alpin, Falun