One of the nice things about staying in Valla Folkhögskola is that it’s right next to lovely walks through Valla Gård – with all of its historic treasures of rural life in Sweden – and into the forest beyond. Of course, it’s also handy for going to conferences on the Valla campus of Linköping University which is why I was there last week.
I’ve been taking lots of pictures lately using the body cap fish eye lens for my Olympus. I find that taking just one lens with me means I get used to what it will, or will not, do and here’s a range of the pictures I took with it. The students were doing a group project and I bumped into them one lunchtime and asked if they minded me taking their picture. As you can see, some of them had to be dressed as fictional characters. The rest of the pictures were taken one evening and I experimented with different foregrounds beneath the interesting cloud formations.
A couple of weeks ago I posted this picture on Facebook. It’s one of my favourite trees catching the warm sunshine: full of twisty arching shapes. At the time my good friend Harry Owen said he could see an artwork coming on …. he was right.
I’ve managed to find some time to work with it and I’m pretty happy with these two images. They’re full of mirroring and overlay and to me they’re fantasy works. This first one overlays an image of the forest floor to give a warm rich texture.
Äsperöd Mushroom Fantasy
The second one rotates the trees and the cross processing of the overlaid images gives some amazing blue and red tints. There’s a completely different feel to it.
This is still a work in progress and hopefully I’ll be putting up more pictures as my ideas develop.
Last night Äsperöd had clear skies with a distant Aurora forecast so I headed up the hill after it eventually got dark. I was looking for a band of green on the northern horizon that merges into pinks and purples before the black of the night sky above. Uddevalla city lights put paid to seeing anything low on the horizon but I did manage to capture the soft pinks and purples.
I stayed in a delightful, and tiny, cottage at Lindesnäs on a steep hillside above Byfjorden for a number of autumns. It was a long way from my work in Uddevalla, Sweden, but the tranquility and beautiful landscapes made it a great place for photography.
Cottage at Lindesnäs
September mornings often brought a thick mist before sunrise and as the sun burnt through there were ethereal views of the trees and shoreline. When it was very still the reflections and the mist made the trees and islands below the cottage appear to be floating.
Byfjorden in the mist
In this picture from the Portals exhibition you are almost pulled along into the waterway between the headlands. It is one of the earliest of the images I’m showing at this years’s National Arts Festival.
As well as the northern lights I was able to take some lovely pictures of the stars wheeling across the night skies when I was in Sweden. Hundby is a good place to do this as it is right out in the countryside with very few city lights anywhere near. The first picture is a 45 minute exposure using my Olympus’s live composition feature. It was helped enormously by a car driving past during the shoot that lit up the whole of the foreground. The rising moon behind the trees also casts a lovely glow in the thin clouds.
Hundby 29/09/2015 20:34:34
The second picture is a slightly longer exposure of 50 minutes taken from the viewpoint up above our apartment at Äsperöd. It’s looking due north with the lights of Uddevalla to the west and the row of trees masking the bright lights of Äsperöd. A flask of hot coffee kept me warm whilst taking this shot as it was a cold frosty night.
I have just time enough to visit the three elderly ladies when travelling to work on public transport. There’s a short bus connection at Uddevalla Kampenhoff from getting off the No 5 from Äsperöd and changing to the mainline 860 for Trollhättan. I can walk across to the river where it runs past the Bohuslän museum and greet the ladies.
Sometimes it’s been cloudy and raining, other times there’s been sun, but I always value the tranquility of my short walk. You go past the fruit and flower seller (usually making a purchase if going home) and then along past the avenue of horse chestnuts masking the facade of the bus station before you get to the river.
I rarely take a camera to work and so it’s out with my phone and a quick panoramic shot from the riverbank – being careful not to slip into the river from the wet wooden quay. I’ve got the free app Snapseed on my phone and so I usually edit the picture on the bus. I run the picture through the drama filter and add tonal contrast to get the punchy, vivid and sometimes unreal effects in the pictures.
I think adding a little drama is the least I can do for them. They are currently resting from a summer taking visitors and townspeople to the resorts like Gustafberg down the fjord.