Arena Exhibition at the Festival Gallery: Stendörren Dreamscape

The National Arts Festival sets up the Arena Exhibition as an opportunity to showcase your artwork.  My problem was which piece to decide on.  I settled on this dreamy looking landscape taken late last September at Stendörren Nature Reserve in Sweden.  It’s looking west into the sun (which all camera makers tell you never to do) reflecting over the sea.

Stendörren Dreamscape

I like the tranquility, the curling clouds and the range of blues which make you wonder is it night or day?

The Arena Exhibition opens on Monday 20th June and will end on the last day of Festival, Sunday 10th July 2016.  It’s held at the Festival Gallery on Somerset Street, Grahamstown.

Portals Exhibition: fjord landscapes

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

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

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.

Byfjorden mirror

Byfjorden mirror



New directions

This past six weeks I’ve been exploring new ideas and finding some new directions in my nature photography.  Since finishing Symmetry in Nature in January I have been full of the urge to create but I was only able to follow this once I got to Sweden and Finland in April and May.  The places I have stayed have been exceptionally beautiful and because I’ve been released from the usual routines then I have let myself go.

You can see from these three pictures that I’ve spent plenty of times in the forests with the trees searching for, and finding, their hidden imagery.

Six of the best: Sweden September 2013

A new compact camera was waiting for me at Willy’s post office in Uddevalla last month. It’s the Pentax WG-3 GPS that I took around with me.  Here are six of my better efforts with the new technology:

  • A sunset from the cliffs above Äsperöd where our apartment is;
  • Black and white leaves and a petal dripping in mist from the Botanic Gardens in Göteborg;
  • The harbour at Strömstad;
  • A snail at Trädgårdsföreningen in Göteborg;
  • A toadstool rising through the earth on the footpath from Dalgången to Tureborg.

One real bonus is that I don’t have to cart around my big heavy Pentax K-5 and so I managed (just) a business trip for four weeks carrying only hand luggage.

My Sweden: Uddevalla

Uddevalla is where I live when I stay in Sweden, a former industrial town set in lovely natural surroundings. That is the mix I am trying to show in these two pictures.  The mid-October sunset is taken from above Skalbanksmuseet – the Shell Bed Museum – on the eastern side of town looking west over the city to the fjord and the silhouette of Uddevallabron.  It was a cold grey afternoon when I walked over there from Äsperöd but just towards sunset the sun dipped out of the clouds.  I had to run to get up the hill to catch the light.  My hands were shaking so much I had to lie down in the cold grass to get this shot.  By the time I got home I was in need of  a quick malt whisky which soon put me right. The second sunset was taken in early May looking north-west across Byfjord.  It was spectacular and a much easier picture.  I had  walked up to the viewpoint above Gustafberg and spent a happy half hour leaning against the tall rocks watching the light change.  I will post some more of the same sunset some time as it was one of the most beautiful I have ever seen.

Open Access Teaching: the ‘Roddy’s Courses’ blog

Now my three week introductory module at Högskolan Väst in Sweden is over it is time to have a brief look at using an open access blog (Roddy’s Courses) as the main supporting device for presenting course material.  This was the first time I have used a blog that is open to anyone and it is interesting to see what response it gained from the students taking the course and from those who also visited.

Here’s the table of visitors (from the Clustrmaps widget) and you can see they are overwhelmingly from Sweden – naturally.  Then there are visits from myself (South Africa) and probably from my students here as well.  After that is a tail of 14 other country visitors.  Two of them became followers of the course so it must have been interesting but I haven’t been in touch with them at all, maybe that’s a breach of netiquette?

My Swedish students were a pleasure to teach and interact with in class.  They were very responsive and gave positive feedback about using the course. You can read what they said here.  Perhaps the course went well because the material was easily accessible via the blog and also attractively presented?  In my opinion the course looks inviting in the blog. If you use a conventional web based learning platform, such as Moodle, you tend to end up with something like this screen shot.

It is a similar course that I teach at Rhodes.  Furthermore it is behind a fire wall so no-one else can gain access.