Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Into Sweden

Left Dombas bright and early, well early at any rate. Headed NW towards Dovrefjell area. Light not brilliant but decided to get closer to the highest peak Snohetta (4th highest peak in Norway).

We didn't get too far when 2 men in uniform stepped in front of the car, stopping further progress. We exchanged pleasantries and then they explained that the road went through a live firing range and traffic was only allowed through for 45 minutes early morning (ending an hour before we arrived), 45 minutes at lunchtime and then after 6pm. We decided that there were other peaks to photograph, thanked the nice men and drove away the way we had come.

We headed east into Sweden to where the forecast said the better weather was. Our Swedish friend Ingrid suggested that we try and visit the Funasdalen valley so we headed there. As it turned out the light rain turned into light snow so little chance of appreciating the scenery.

Headed further east and a bit north to Ostersund. Our Garmin sat nav showed 14 hotels in the town so it never entered our heads that there would be a problem finding a room. In fact the whole town was booked solid with a conference and there were no rooms anywhere.

Jan managed to get the Best Western to ring around and find us a room but in a town 50km south east. Our day ended at 6.45pm, an hour or so later than expected. We had a very nice meal and a bottle of wine in the Hotel Jamtkrogen in Brecke.

Not a lot of photos (just 6 in fact), dull light as well as rain and snow showers saw to that.

Tomorrow off to the coast and keeping fingers crossed for bright lighting for a change. The weather forecast says we should be all right.

Checked the weather for Trondheim again in case we were missing anything. It still shows heavy rain to end of the week so felt a bit better at having deserted it.
Dave Butcher

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Lillehammer to Jotunheim

Woke to clear skies so decided to see how far towards Jotunheim we could get before hit rain.

There was still some sun breaking through as we approached Jotunheim so found some high ground to east to take photos looking across. Then made way to Lom and beyond.

The highest mountains in Norway are in Jotunheim. Galdhoppigen is the highest at 2469m and the top was just in the clouds.

Made way down valley towards Leirvassbu. Snow flurries now and road white with settled snow and ice. Turned back taking photos all the way. Some very striking mountains around here.

Called in at Elveseter on way east. Good views to top of Galdhoppigen from here. Then continued on to Dombas, our halt for the night. Bit of a one horse town so will try and move on early tomorrow. Aiming for Sweden now. Forecast is still for bad weather in most of Norway (all except south).
Dave Butcher

Monday, 28 September 2009

Snow and Trolls in the Mountains

We changed our plans once more. We woke to heavy rain and this continued through the day. No point in taking ferry for waterfall photos; weather too bad to even take camera out of case.

Decided to drive over to Andalsnes to see Troll Wall. We were almost at the top of the descent when we were stopped in our tracks by a barrier across the road. Jan acosted the driver of the council truck parked up by it. Turned out they had only just closed the road but still wouldn't let us through. Had to turn back and retrace steps. Wasted over an hour then went around the long way. Heavy rain continued.

Ended up at foot of road we should have come down if had been open. The visitor centre was shut but there were lots of Troll wood carvings. Took one for posterity with the Troll Wall shrouded in clouds behind.

At this stage we were still heading for Trondheim. As we followed up through mountains the rain turned to snow. Checked the BBC weather forecast for the area and it looked like the rain and snow was set for the week in this area. Further south and east though looked sunny. We decided to go south to Lillehammer.

Heading north to Sundsvall tomorrow.

Took just 2 rolls again today, At the Troll Wall and the Ringebu Stavkirche (wooden church).

Clear sky and cold in Lillehammer tonight. Feels like winter has arrived.
Dave Butcher

Sunday, 27 September 2009

Wet Day in the Fjords

The weather took a dive today. Heavy rain from opening the curtains before 7am until after 4pm. Changed plans to drive further north, effectively jumping 3 days ahead on our itinerary..Forecast for high mountain areas was not good.

Passed some spectacular waterfalls today. So much water, there are waterfalls everywhere.

Staying in Geiranger at the east end of the Geiranger Fjord. From our hotel room I can see about a dozen waterfalls of a few hundred feet each and that is one of the reasons we are here.

We have just caught the end of the tourist season; the Hotel Geiranger, where we are staying, closes tomorrow and doesn't reopen until May. In fact this resulted in a room upgrade as they had stripped all the cheap rooms ready for end of season cleaning so we ended up in a large room with a balcony overlooking the fjord for the price of a cheap room.

If weather dry tomorrow we will take the ferry to the far end of the fjord, takes about an hour. It passes several large waterfalls, the most impressive of which is called 7 Sisters. This can be seen from the road north from here but it's a long way away. The ferry will be within a hundred metres or so. May be a 2 camera job to avoid changing film as we pass!

It did brighten slightly at the end of the day so I ran off a couple of rolls of film (10 photos per roll) of the fjord and the 7 Sisters from road above Geiranger.

Dinner time now at just after 7pm. Clouds breaking up so may be lucky tomorrow.
Dave Butcher

Saturday, 26 September 2009

Waterfalls and Fjords

Staying in very nice hotel in Flam.

Weather mostly dull with a few hours of light rain from mid-morning to early afternoon.

Started the day with a steep slippery climb up to Flam waterfall. Large drop and huge volume of water. Used slow shutter to give streaky water. Lots of water spray so lined up shots with lens cap on (one of the advantages of rangefinder cameras over slr's) then removed lens cap just before pressed shutter. Had to wipe moisture off lens after every shot.

Back to car then west and north to Sognefjord at Vik. Raining here so carried on to Fresvik. Dry now so out for some fjord photos around the little village. Used jetties and boat sheds for foreground interest.

Returned to Vik to look for Stavkirk (wooden church). This one was larger and completely black. Long exposures needed, 4 seconds, or there will not be any detail in the woodwork.

Now heading across hills with lots of lakes and waterfalls everywhere.

Spotted another waterfall, this time with a huge waterspout as water hits a rock and is sent skywards. Next to no light so long exposures. So much water and it's not snowmelt; nust be lots of heavy rain on the the tops.

Gps has us arriving back at hotel after 7pm assuming no more stops.

Tomorrow we move on again, east and a little bit north.
Dave Butcher

Friday, 25 September 2009

Oslo Night and Day

Trouble accessing the web through my Blackberry earlier today delayed doing this.

Yesterday was a 2 new country day. I had not previously visited Sweden or Norway.

Reached Oslo just after 7pm yesterday, so lots of time for night shots. Wandered around taking photos of the fortress, harbour, palace and parliament.Tried different lenses here and there to pick out or include important areas.

One area on the harbour has been regenerated with lots of new buildings and interesting architecture. Keep an eye out for a shot of one with the front like the prow of a ship.

This morning wandered around taking photos at the same locations as last night, not necessarily the same tripod holes though as different viewpoints work in daylight.

Left Oslo late morning and drove west then north heading for Geilo then Flam. Stopped at Uvdal to see the Stavkirche (wooden church dating back to 12th century). Broken clouds and sunshine made for some good shots. Lots of photos of the church and the silver birches that surround it. Leaves well on the turn here and lots of different colours across the hillsides. Used a dark yellow filter to lighten all the turning leaves. If you are digital you can do this in Photoshop instead, just make sure that you take you photos in colour not grey scale.

Scenery in this area is similar to Scottish Highlands and Alps, perhaps more trees than Scotland.

Just passing through Geilo, quite a large ski area, but quiet at this time of year.
Dave Butcher.

Thursday, 24 September 2009

Copenhagen to Oslo

Started the day in Copenhagen with a little bit of brightness. It quickly closed in with a few spots of rain as I was taking shots around the very picturesque Nyhavn area. Lots of tall ships and cafes.The brightly painted houses reminded us of Tobermory on Mull.

Then on for a few shots of the Marmorkirchen and fountains. Finally a dash back to the hotel and car, grabbing a few shots on the way.

Now on our way through Sweden, currently between Malmo and Goteborg. Then on to Oslo. A long day in the car for us, with stops it may be 8pm before we arrive.

Looks like another late night taking photos!
Dave Butcher

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Danish Bridges and Copenhagen at Night

Touch damp at times today but no real rain. Lots of bridge shots either side of Odense in Denmark, quite breezy so sea choppy.
Tonight was out taking photos around Copenhagen until 11.30pm, This included Tivoli, Nyhavn and Little Mermaid. Back to do some of them tomorow. Morning in daylight.

Late morning cross into Sweden then up to Oslo for tomorrow night.
Dave Butcher

Denmark - a New Country

This morning started grey but brightened to broken clouds mid morning. Spent an hour or two around Hamburg harbour area and St Michelis Kirche.

Now driving up through Denmark, a new country for me so looking forward to some shots en route to Copenhagen. Night shots of Copenhagen tonight, weather permitting.

Brief shower of rain few minutes ago but sun breaking through now. Just south of Kolding then east to Odense and Copenhagen by about 7pm. Have a few possible stops pencilled in if the light looks good.
Dave Butcher

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Hamburg by Night

We reached Hamburg about 6.30 pm and went straight to the Hotel Bellevue. Unfortunately they are as unscrupulous as airlines and had considerably overbooked so we were moved to the Holiday Inn 3 miles away, which is very nice but in the wrong place for photos.

After all the to-ing and fro-ing we eventually started taking photos after 8 pm (having lost well over an hour) and carried on until after 10 pm. Mainly around the Rathaus and the inner lake. The Rathaus is enormous and even with my 43 mm lens on my Mamiya (like a 21 mm on a 35 mm camera) I still couldn't fit it all in. I used exposure times between 2 and 30 seconds at f5.6 depending on how bright the subject.

Moral of the story: avoid the Relaxa Hotel Bellevue in Hamburg like the plague if you want to be sure the room you book will actually be available when you turn up.
Dave Butcher

Kinderdijk Windmills

Visited the Kinderdijk windmills this morning, straight after getting off the's a world heritage site and includes 19 mills in pristine condition. For information, they are between Rotterdam and Dordrecht and were mostly built in the 1700's. .

A bit dull when we arrived but clouds broke up to give sunny spells. Spent about 2 hours wandering around taken pictures. High reeds blocked the view in many places but fishing platforms and viewing areas gave good views here and there.

All of the mills had thatched roofs and almost half were thatched from the door upwards. Quite spectacular.

Left just as 2 coachloads of people arrived, a close shave!

Now en route to Hamburg for tonight. Hope to be there by 6pm. Maybe do some night shots around streets and canals.
Dave Butcher

Monday, 21 September 2009

Scandinavia Photo Trip

Bit of a busy day finishing odd jobs before leaving on photo trip.

Now heading for ferry from Harwich to Hook of Holland. Tomorrow need some good weather in the morning for our first stop - Kinderdijk windmills. More on this tomorrow. Hamburg tomorrow night.

Hope the North Sea is like a mill pond for the crossing!

If you want to contact me while away use email first. I will be picking these up on my Blackberry through every day.
Dave Butcher

Sunday, 20 September 2009

Artist and Designer's Fair, Buxton Pavilion Gardens

We are in Buxton Pavilion Gardens this weekend for an Artist & Designer's Fair. There's quite a buzz around (and nice weather) with a continental market on the promenade just outside. It makes a good combination of different food and drink as well as local crafts plus new exhibitors inside with the Artist Fair. I have some new pictures, including Edinburgh. There is also a shot of Misty Trees taken at Breckenridge in January but only printed on Thursday. This is one of my favourites at the moment. Supposed to be good weather until Monday so looking forward to second day.

Lots of trees are on the turn. Autumn has well and truly arrived in the Peak District.
Dave Butcher

Friday, 18 September 2009

New Peak District Images on Web Site

There are a few more new images on the web site. They were taken on 16th July during the course that I ran as a competition with Harman Technology in Black and White Photography magazine. Some of them will be included in a feature in B and W Photo magazine in the November or December issue.
All were taken with a Mamiya 7 camera. The middle photograph is actually 4 images taken on the same frame of film. The times were 1/2, 1/8, 1/30 and 1/125 sec. The top image was taken with a 150 mm lens (short telephoto) from the middle of the river.

Dave Butcher

Artist and Designer's Fair, Buxton Pavilion Gardens

We will be setting up for the Artist and Designer's Fair in Buxton Pavilion Gardens Friday (later today). It will be open Saturday and Sunday 10 am to 4.30 pm, free entry. You can expect to see up to 40 exhibitors. As an added attraction there will also be a Continental Farmers Market outside on the promenade.

Jan and I will both be there the whole weekend. Drop by if you are in the area.
Dave Butcher

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Paul Francis Images from 14th August Course

Here are a few images from the black and landscape photography course that I ran on 14th August 2009.
They are all by Paul Francis.

We visited several locations to give variety and practice at taking different types of photograph.

Hope you like them.
Still places on the landscape photography courses in October, see
Dave Butcher

A Day in the Gallery

I walked the 6 miles in to the Gallery in the Gardens in Buxton today, where I spent the day. Quite bright this morning but overcast and chilly this afternoon.

Started thinking about another idea for the book after Lake Light; due out in March. If I can find a publisher it will be on mountain treks as well as ski and snowshoe trips with lots of stunning photos and stories around the photos and the trips. Watch this space!
Dave Butcher

Saturday, 12 September 2009

Good Weather in the Peak District

We are having great weather in the Peak District right now. From Wednesday onwards it haas been warm and sunny with nice clouds to add interest to the skies. The forecast is for it to continue right through the weekend possibly changing on Monday to more normal changeable (as in wet!) weather. Good picture taking weather if you can get away. Leaves are changing already on Oak, Sycamore and Beech trees as well as bracken. This means if you are a film user that you can use coloured filters on the lens to modify the shade of grey that yellows and browns otherwise produce. A yellow or dark yellow filter will brighten turning leaves to light grey but the trunks and branches will stay dark. If printed with high contrast this will give an almost infra-red effect. Worth a try. Also lots of water in the rivers, streams and waterfalls from rain earlier in the week.
Dave Butcher

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Meet the Artist - Buxton Gallery in the Gardens

I'm in the Gallery in the Gardens, in Buxton Pavilion Gardens, all day Wednesday 9th September, 9.30 am to 5 pm. Come by for a chat and have a look at several dozen of my photographs on display. Both Peak Light and High Light books are on sale too, as signed copies. Sounds like it could be nice day for a walk so am walking the 6 miles in. Dave Butcher

Thursday, 3 September 2009

Munro Log on Web Site

The Munro log for Jan and I is now on the web site. It will allow you to see the details of all the individual walks that collectively added up to us completing the 277 Munro's in Munro's Tables. When we started in 1984 there were 276 but the Ordnance Survey added one more when they resurveyed the mountains around Laggan a couple of years later. Then, although we formally finished in 1996 the official table was updated again by the SMC (on a whim?) the following year giving a new total of 284 (1 deleted and 8 added). Some we had already walked, leaving just 5 for us to go back and complete.

It actually gave us one of my favourite walks. Angels Peak (Sgor an Lochain Uaine) in the Cairngorms was a new Munro and it's miles from anywhere. Our friend Kay from Inverness dropped us off, with her husband Mike Whittall, in Glen Feshie. Then we walked over the Moine Mor high plateau on a bright, dry day in June. We went across to Angel's Peak first and around the enormous corrie north to Braeriach, on to the Lairig Ghru which we followed down to the Rothiemurchas Forest where we cut across to the road at Loch Morlich and Kay was patiently waiting for the 3 of us. A fantastic day on some of biggest mountains in the UK!
The image above was taken from Braeriach looking back to Cairn Toul, Angel's Peak is on the right just out of shot above the small lochan in the image.

To see the Munro page on my web site click here:
It is reached through the Trip Logs link in the Info Box.
Dave Butcher

New article on Using Digital Cameras for Black and White Landscape Photography

The article I wrote on Using Digital Cameras for black and white landscape photography can be read as a new web page. The link to go straight there is:
To find it at a later date click on Technical Notes in the Info Box. Links to the articles (four at present) on technique and equipment are at the top of the page.
Hope it is of use.
Dave Butcher

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Films Processed from Yorkshire Dales and Norfolk

Just finished processing the films from Bolton Priory in the Yorkshire Dales and Norfolk. I will do the contact prints later this week so that I can see what they look like before scanning a few to put on web. Watch this space!