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  • Forfatterens bildeThorvald Stolsmo Bøe

Sunset at Karihola

When the night sets in, and the sky suddenly divides into a janus face of dark gray on one side and divine yellow-pink on the other, the trigger finger of an aspiring photographer may start twitching. At such times it is nice to live in Karihola, just a stone's throw away from a recreation area full of beautiful, brutal nature at the far end of the sea. With the prospect of a potentially colorful sunset, I take my photo bag with me and starts walking towards the sea.

It's less than an hour to sunset, and as usual I think I've got more time than I actually have. I have made a quick plan in two parts:

  • I'm going to test a smart tip for how to find good compositions

  • I'm going to make an attempt on a slightly longer exposure in order to blur the water for a soft, dreamy effect

Karihola is like a national park in miniature. Here are fjords, mountains, forests and lakes. Admittedly very small ones, but certainly beautiful still.

I'm trudging around in order to find a good location. Sunset is approaching mercilessly. I decide to just go out on the rocks and try to find a simple composition with wide angle, sunset and something nice in the foreground.

The composition trick I will test is quite simple: Instead of slamming the tripod in the first and best place, I turn on live view and walk around with the camera handheld to find the height, angles and positions that work. This proves to be very effective. The position and height I first intended to use turned out not to work at all, but I quickly find a good position and height that gets a suitable amount of foreground. Much easier when you actually see it on the screen, than trying to imagine in your head. Why have I not thought about this before?

I set up the tripod and stress out a little, because now the sun has disappeared behind some clouds on the horizon, the camera has completely wrong settings, and gee whiskers isn't the battery about to die as well!

I switch to the spare battery at express speed, and can finally start clicking. The plan is to focus stack 3-4 images, so that both foreground and background are sharp, and that the sea is blurry with longer exposure.

Focus stacking is a great technique for getting good depth of field in the whole picture, and I am gradually starting to get a grip on this, so I am soon done taking some pictures of the foreground and background.

Then comes the challenge, sea with long exposure. I put on the ND filter, which is a variable filter with up to 10 stops. I have no idea what shutter speed will be good, so I set the camera to shutter priority, and take some pictures at 1, 4 and 6 seconds to have a few to choose from, while I adjust the filter density to keep the aperture within fairly normal levels . Finally the photos are taken, the sun has gone down and I can take a breath and enjoy the view and fresh air.

On the way home I suddenly hear a roar, and I jump so fast my heart skips three beats and I think a bear has come to Karihola, and my last hour has come.

It turns out to be not a bear, but instead a deer, which comes running and roaring across the plain, while it stops and looks at me skeptically, before it rushes off again, roaring some more. I try to look back with an evenly sinister gaze, but I believe the deer won that staring competition. I did not know that deer could roar like that. Maybe a mutated variant specific to Karihola? Constantly new experiences to be found here.

Well at home, and a reasonably complicated edit later, the photo is finally complete. If the trip was short, it was educational anyway, and I must say I am relatively happy with the end result. The sea is blurry as intended, and the image is composed of three images, for foreground, background and sea. And even though the sun disappeared, there were plenty of nice colors and dramatic elements left.

4 sec, f/11

ISO 100


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