All posts tagged clouds

Sometimes I complain… It’s usually about the Finnish weather. Or the Finnish people. And I think in a lot of cases I do have the right to complain *grins* But this post isn’t a complaint. It IS about the Finnish weather, and about Finnish people, though.
We spent the weekend in the summer house in the Finnish wilderness, on the border of civilization. I love that. I love to go back to basics, where all the luxuries of today’s society stay behind, and you get to relax without all the stress of the city in your head. The quietness, save for the buzzing of the insects, the chirping of the birds, “old-fashioned” wooden sauna (for which you have to chop some wood into small pieced first, because the big logs don’t catch fire out of the blue), mowing the lawn, violently letting yourself go on the man-high weed with a scythe and of course the cheers from the Olympics coming out of the TV.
Owwait… Hang on…
Right… The TV… Ok, in the time of the Olympics we’re allowed that little bit of luxury. But really, usually the tv stays off. There are better things to do 😀

But this is not really about that either. We were talking weather and Finnish people.
We were visiting the Better Half’s relatives in that area. She hadn’t seen them in many, many years, and it was my first time, I’d never met them before, and they’d never met me before. Complete strangers to each other, that’s what we were.
See, if you are that to someone down here in Helsinki you’re being avoided like the plague, basically. But up there, on the border of civilization, people are actually much more civilized than in the big city. It almost reminded me of home, where you greet people in the street, even if you don’t know them. Where you can look at each other, look each other in the eyes on the street, without getting a look back asking “What the f**k do you want from me?”
We were invited in as if we were living there. Got the grand tour around the house, were to stay for dinner AND sauna (and a swim afterwards in the lake, about 40 paces away from the sauna), but before all that we were taken out onto the lake to catch our own dinner. Now THAT’s the kind of unconditional civilization that I like. No questions asked -well, of course, a lot of questions asked, but you get my point- and you’re showered with hospitality. The kind of hospitality that has seeped away into the sewers of individuality in the big cities (plural here, because it’s not just Helsinki in which you find this kind of behavior).

And the place… Oh my dear… That little piece of paradise. And that with the weather we had during the weekend…
If I’d have a dime to spare I would be gone from here in an instant, press the pause button on time and stay in it forever…

I’ll say no more…

View over the lake

D800, ISO100, 1/125 sec @ f/8, Nikkor 14-24mm

View over the lake

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

After our first day of scouting we were sent to different bar, a place which was THE place to be on a Tuesday (!). Well… The place was positively buzzing with about 5 people. So after a few drinks we headed back to the hotel, tired from a long day of driving in the rain. We did check up on the weather forecast, never giving up hope that the trip to this godforsaken country, which was called The Paris of the North, where a drink costs you an arm and a leg, would be a total miserable loss. And guess what? Out of the 5 websites forecasting the weather for the Troms area one actually mentioned a clearing up for the next day. Of course with all our hope we fully believed that one website and with sunshine in our hearts we withdrew in our walk-in closets and called it a night.

Lo and behold… We woke up to patches of blue in the sky. We couldn’t believe our eyes!
Another day of scouting ahead, and bring out the sunglasses!
Tourist information told us we would better be heading east for the night, where the sky would be the clearest. Near Tromsø things would be clouded over come evening, so no use to stick around there. So off we went, in the direction of the Lyngs Alps, a mountain range east of Tromsø, topping just under 2000 meters. We drove all the way to the east tip of the island, to Breivikeidet, there where the ferry leaves to Svensby.
It was there were we set up “camp”.


D700, ISO200, 1/500 sec @ f/8, Nikkor 50mm. A 180-degree panorama put together from 10 images.

We had plenty of time to kill before sunset and darkness, so we got acquainted with the area a bit.

The beach in Breivikeidet

D700, ISO200, 1/180 sec @ f/8, Nikkor 50mm

There was an actual beach there. I’m not quite sure how often per year you could actually lie on the beach this far north, but pretty it was. And the water… Shockingly clear…

The beach in Breivikeidet

D700, ISO200, 1/180 sec @ f/8, Nikkor 50 mm

(I didn’t position them like that…)

Sea urchin on the beach in Breivikeidet

D700, ISO200, 1/250 sec @ f/8, Tamron 90mm macro

And some more landscapes:

Gletcher on the island of Svendby

D700, ISO200, 1/250 sec @ f/16, Nikkor 70-200mm

My buddy spotted a totally unexpected guest when he was standing here: a seal! Unfortunately he didn’t manage to get a good picture of it and it took off too soon. I managed to only get a glimpse of it from where I was standing 🙁

My buddy Alan

D700, ISO200, 1/125 sec @ f/2.8, Nikkor 70-200mm

And they had boats, too 😉


D700, ISO200, 1/250 sec @ f/11, Nikkor 50mm


D700, ISO200, 1/350 sec @ f/11, Nikkor 50mm

And while we were waiting for the darkness and the night to set in, which it finally did after us spending about six hours in the cold there, we saw happening what we were dreading already for a few hours. More and more clouds came in and what was supposed to be a clear night was about to go all wrong.

Breivikeidet / Svendby

D700, ISO200, 10 sec @ f/16, Nikkor 70-200mm

It ended up clouding over so much that we decided to get away from here and hoping we would drive towards some lighter skies.
On our way back, for just a brief moment, we thought we saw something over the mountain range, but we didn’t capture it on sensor. It might’ve just been our eagerness…

Somewhere along the way from Breivikeidet back to Tromsø

D700, ISO200, 15 sec @ f/2.8, Nikkor 14-24mm

So Norway… What a beautiful country…

The Troms area is supposed to be one of the best areas to view the Northern Lights. I’d never seen the Northern Lights in my life before, and it’s been on the top of my list for quite some time. Finally we made the decision and booked our trip. A 5-day stay in Tromsø was supposed to be opportunity enough to see the Northern Lights in an area where the chances to see the Lights are according to statistics, especially in this year and next year when the solar activity is at its highest in 7 years, close to 80%.

We kept an eye on the weather forecast and a week before departure things looked ok still. The closer we came to departure date, the bleaker things got. We checked several forecast websites and they pretty much all had a different forecast. Even the best forecast was still 5 days of overcast weather with rain, slush and snow.

We came in on Monday in the late afternoon. Needed to pick up the car and check into the hotel, so we didn’t have much time to do anything. Not that the weather would allow us much anyway, since it was raining cats and dogs.
We asked at the lobby of the hotel for a good place to go have a drink and got an address which was guaranteed buzzing on a Monday (!) night. With about 10-12 guys watching a football match, this place called Blå Rock Cafe, was absolutely thrilling *ahem* The food was good, though, gotta give ’em that.

Tuesday we went scouting. Forecast for this day (and the coming days for that matter) were dramatic, with more overcast sky, more rain, more slush and more snow. We were set to leave on Friday morning and according to the forecast Friday night was going to be the first clear night (of course!). We were silently talking about extending our visit to Saturday, but with Norwegian prices (fuel @ €2,10 per liter, €115 for a walk-in closet with a too short bed, €14 for a pint of beer), I tell you: NOT funny!
Anyway… Even if this day wasn’t the beautiful clear day, we nevertheless took beautiful pictures. Overcast sky and some foggy clouds can make for a great landscape.

We drove from Tromsø almost to Tromvik, but didn’t get out of the car much after the first 40 mins. It started raining so bad that one step out of the car would mean getting soaked. We had to make do with what we shot on the first stretch of the scouting trip.

Norway landscape

D700, ISO1600, 1/1000 sec @ f/13, Nikkor 70-200mm

Norway landscape

D700, ISO1600, 1/1000 sec @ f/13, Nikkor 70-200mm

Norway landscape

D700, ISO1600, 1/1000 @ f/13, Nikkor 70-200mm

Norway landscape

D700, ISO1600, 1/500 sec @ f/13, Nikkor 70-200mm


Just before that big mansion was a funny tree standing on the side of the road.
All by itself like that it didn’t look all that impressive. But looking at it from a different angle (it took me a handful of mosquito bites, and some nettle itch because of me running around on flip flops in a ditch 😉 ) this made a whole big difference.
From the point where I took this picture, I was probably half a meter below the base of that tree. And with the wide angle, the stormy clouds in the background and it being black and white, it all of a sudden looks a lot more dooming than it really was.

Stormy sky

D700, ISO200, 1/750 sec @ f/4, Nikkor 14-24mm

For the times you drive around and happen to DO have your camera along for a change, you might actually get rewarded with a scene worth photographing. The other day I was driving around through the country side just before a massive pour-down started. Just enough time to get the picture without getting wet.


D700, ISO200, 1/180 sec @ f/6.7, Nikkor 50mm

Part II and part I linked.

It doesn’t happen very often that the sun sets under the cloud deck like this. It’s quite an impressive sight.
This image is straight out of camera (conversion from the RAW file), no post-processing (like saturation or anything) save for resizing and the border. It really was this colorful.

Sunset over Espoo

D700, ISO800, 1/90 sec @ f/8, Nikkor 50mm

Some time ago I wrote about how our balcony’s facing west and how we enjoy frequent sunsets.
Now that the ever present snow clouds accompanying the winter on its way out, we get to see those sunsets again. Today was especially colorful and I was too busy to get out and find a decent spot to make a good composition of it. But I think this picture tells enough.

D200, ISO100, 1/45 sec @ f/5.6, Sigma 10-20mm

D200, ISO100, 1/45 sec @ f/5.6, Sigma 10-20mm

More to follow, without any doubt.

what season it is, really…
Fall’s pretty much gone. Shame, because all the colors are gone. But better, because the rain’s pretty much gone with it. There’s your occasional shower, but when it gets colder, the sky turns blue. Like… seriously blue. The kind of blue that doesn’t need any Photoshop saturation anymore. One of the pictures I have up in my show (part IV from the Four Seasons, winter, obviously) has that kind of blue sky. It’s striking in an special way.
So these days I’ve been slowly turning to the sky for color and patterns.
(and it’s a great way to see if your camera’s sensor needs cleaning 😉 )

D200, ISO100, 1/350 sec @ f/5, Sigma 10-20mm

D200, ISO100, 1/350 sec @ f/5, Sigma 10-20mm

We’re lucky enough to have our balcony face west. So every night (provided the weather’s co-operating) we are witness of a sunset. And we’ve seen quite a lot of them, in all different sorts and colors.
Tonight was a version we haven’t seen before, though. Kind of weird clouds on one side, threatening, and then on the other side a clear sky, divided by… Well… yeah… Divided by what, really?

D200, ISO100, 1/30 sec @ f/4, Sigma 10-20mm

D200, ISO100, 1/30 sec @ f/4, Sigma 10-20mm

I’ve been having this idea…
It’s been playing around in my head already for… about 10 years, I guess…
I’m not quite sure what I’m going to do with it, but it must be something, since I can’t seem to let go of it.
I have a title for it (which I’m not going to put here), but the idea involves a combination of nature, people (industries) and how they influence each other.
This could be an example…

D200, ISO100, 1/125 sec @ f/16, Tamron 28-75mm

D200, ISO100, 1/125 sec @ f/16, Tamron 28-75mm