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Normal is boring

All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make, the better.”

— Ralph Waldo Emerson



When I was writing my goals for my last Norway trip, I was conscious of the fact that I might not be visiting these places again. Or at least, definitely not in the near future.


And, so I deliberately wrote before the trip , admonishing myself – get the safe shots first. Nothing flashy. Experiment only after the safe shots are in.


By safe shots, I meant the clear, sharp, well lit images.


But the lure of the New is irresistible. As that famous guy had piped up while selling aerated water - Normal is boring !


There were three areas that have fascinated me of late and I was quite keen to give those a shot ( ah, that was totally unintentional ! ).


One was compositional and two were technique related and I confess...I could not wait to try these shots. Fortunately, we had no shortage of either subjects or time in any of the places we went to ( Hattip to Rahul Sachdev for brilliant planning ! ) so I think I might not have lost out on opportunities to get the 'safe' shots.


Or so I believe. Anyway....


The compositional goal was to get minimalistic.


We were going to encounter a lot of snow and that would give us opportunities galore to try a few of these shots. I had a gaping hole in my portfolio and this possibly was the best opportunity to plug that.


Minimalistic images are commonly defined as those with simple compositions, a lot of empty space and lack of clutter.


I must say that, taking these images were a lot easier than I imagined, especially in Hornoya. There were birds galore all around us and the only thing one had to do was to wait and try to isolate the bird and then wait for something different to happen, which will make for an interesting image. And…they will always be upto something sooner or later.


Here are a few examples, some of the images I really liked – let me know what works most for you, would love to hear from you.

The elegant design on the razor bill, along with a snowy background screamed for interesting compositions.

How much empty ( negative ) space is right was one of the discussions we had

These birds foraging in the snow...impossible to avoid such shots

Is this subject size a more appropriate one ?


The second area was getting unfocused images.


Yeah, that sounds weird, but stay with me, since I am really in love with this :).


By slowing down the shutter speed instead of a razor sharp image you can get a sense of the motion. This was especially possible while photographing the Black Grouse when they start fighting with each other or sometimes even when they were zooming in one direction all on their own.


And, you can really go wild here with shutter speed and try to get some seriously abstract images. This might not work for everyone, but I do find this process extremely exciting and satisfying if I like the results. Do you like them ?

Its useful to have something distinctive that is visible - here it is that bright red wattle that the Black Grouse has

A really slow shutter speed...giving an almost abstract feel


A duck gathering momentum before a take off

A sea gull flying over the rocks...and other sitting gulls


You can get a fuzzy image even if it is of a relatively stationary subject. I tried that mostly with the water as a background as the setting sun set off some nice shimmer on it, which I felt sort of added to the overall feel.


Do these work for you ? Which one ?

The blurry yet distinctive shape of a Black Grouse hurrying to a fight - the focus is on the snow in the foreground

A similar image with the all too familiar shape of a cormorant or the European shag

Guillemots on the rock. Setting sun throwing off glares on the water


Do let me know which of these experiments work for you and why ? It will be an interesting conversation.

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