Monday, 30 June 2008

Norway 2008 - Tromsø

3 years ago, when I was returning from a photography trip in Svalbard, my plane stopped at Tromsø for a customs check. On the approach to Tromsø, I was struck by the beauty of the area - green hills and numerous islands, and promised myself that I would return someday.

Finally that time has come, and after a rather lengthy flight, which took me through Copenhagen and Stockholm, I met up with friends Fiona and Ivo for a week's camping trip starting in Tromsø, driving through Lofoten and ending up in Bodø.

In the event we didn't stay too long in Tromsø itself, just the one night. It did, however, give us time for a tour of the local brewery - Mack, which boasts of being the northernmost brewery in the world. (In fact, since 2000, this honour has been taken by another brewery, but this fact doesn't seem to be acknowledged by Mack). Perhaps the most surprising part of the tour (apart from the clothes we had to dress up in) was not the brewery itself, but the fact that the brewery is a producer of coca cola, amongst other soft drinks, and that this is their main source of revenue.

Before leaving Tromsø we had hoped to do a whale watching trip, however arriving at the jetty first thing on Tuesday morning, we were greeted with a sign announcing that the day's trip was cancelled. We decided instead to start our journey south and travel via the Vesterålen islands, taking a ferry from Gryllfjorden over to Andenes.

By the time we reached Gryllfjorden, the good weather had turned to rain, so we sat out the wait for the ferry in the car with our sandwiches. Two frenchmen in the car ahead were rather more adventurous - they took out their camping stove - a tin of carrots, and a tin of Bog stew and set to making their lunch, clad in raincoats. From where we were sitting, the result looked rather like cat vomit, but they seemed to enjoy it!

The ferry ride took a rather rough hour and a half, and everyone was pleased to reach the other side. On arrival, we drove straight up to the local whale watching company to try and book a tour for the following day. Again, it looked like we were to be disappointed - the trip was already fully booked. Slightly disheartened, we put our names on the waiting list and went to find a camp ground.

Sunday, 29 June 2008

Swimming in the sun

Have just spent a very relaxing 3 days in the south of France at Dave and Kit's. Although it was pouring with rain when I arrived on Thursday night, we've had nothing but sunshine for the last 3 days. Am now sporting a rather sore sunburn as a result of midday swimming and snoozing on sun loungers (typically English, I tend to forget what the effect of sun is, I see it so rarely). Dave and Kit hosted a great party last night, and we've all met up again at lunch today for a summer BBQ. Off to the airport now, and tomorrow morning, onto Norway, where the forecast is for rain for the next few days .... guess the good weather couldn't last.

Wednesday, 25 June 2008

Finally, a house!

After a couple years thinking about it, half a year actively (or semi-actively!) searching, I've finally done it. Yep, I'm buying a house in Delft.

The last week has been a crazy rush of appointments and mortgage calculations, all somehow squeezed in between work, Open University exams and travels to Scotland, France and Norway.

Got my Gannets back

I've spent the last couple evenings trying to retrieve my gannet photos from the corrupted disk. The first piece of software I tried was a failure - ran for 12 hours, and didn't manage to find anything. Thankfully, the second, C-Data Recovery, did the trick, and I now have the complete set of photographs back from the dead - a great relief!

Now that I'm back in full possession of my photographs, I can happily say that the experience was well worth the stink of fish guts and bird poo that attached themselves to me for the rest of the weekend!

Off to France/Norway now, but more gannet photos to follow on my return.

Monday, 23 June 2008

Ultimate Antartica

So, after years of dreaming, I've finally signed up for a photo safari to the Falklands, South Georgia and Antartica! Unfortunately, the trip isn't until November 2009, so I guess I have to do a little more dreaming between now and then.

Sunday, 22 June 2008

Gutted about Gannets

So, I went to Bass Rock (near North Berwick, Scotland) this weekend to photograph gannets. Despite bad weather cancelling my original booking for Sunday, I managed to join the workshop being held on the Saturday, and we were blessed with a few hours of clear skies whilst we were on the rock.

The experience was fantastic. On route to the rock we had a "chumming" session, where the skipper of the boat threw pieces of fish in to the water to attract the gannets. Before we knew what was happening, the boat was surrounded by a maelstrom of gulls and gannets, the gannets diving into the water to grab the fish - really spectacular.

We then spent a few hours on the Rock photographing the gannets. They're beautiful birds, wonderful to photograph close up, especially when the pairs interact with each other. All in all, I was pretty pleased with the photos I came away with, especially as I had some reasonable flight shots.

But...... got home, tried to download them. The second card of the shoot (only 87 photos) downloaded fine, but the first card seems to be corrupted. 300+ gannet photos (including all my flight shots) vanished into dust.