Hello from Bergen

Another week in lockdown mode has passed here in Bergen. This is the new normal. No big changes over the last week. The positive is that new numbers of people affected by corona have stabilized here in Norway. We still get new cases, but it’s not longer by an exponential growth by rather a straight curve.

Like last week, I have been able to maintain work. However, this might be my last full week of work as I would like it to be. I have only gotten one new assignment during this time. Of course, it worries me, but I know I will get through the crises. Actually, I look forward to start those projects I otherwise never have time to work on, as I mentioned last week.

This week I have mostly been working on a big story about life behind the scene at a theatre here in Bergen. All the photos were taken before the lockdown, as most of the interviews. Only days later, the theatre had to close down. It’s been strange to write about it. When I visited the theatre, it was full of life, and actors and stage workers, and other employees were given their best. Now it’s all dead and quite. All employees temporarily laid off. The contrast between now and then is particularly evident when I edit and process the photos.

Winter has suddenly decided to show up in Bergen again. It’s the kind of winter we have over here. Suddenly lots of snow and as suddenly it’s all melted again, only moments later to start snowing again. And in between there is a feeling or spring in the air. I have enjoyed the snow and try to spend time out when I can—if nothing else, by running and exercising. Hopefully, it will snow again tomorrow, the first day of the weekend. If so, I will get my butt out and have fun in the snow. Maybe working on one of my photo projects, for which I have long wanted to get some winter photos.

The theatre story was sent to the editor today. Now that I slowly will free up time for my own projects, one of the plans are to develop new online photo workshops. I already have a couple of ideas. But maybe you want to help me? Tell me what kind of photo workshops would be valuable to you. You can do so in a comment below, or if you wish to have me send my eBook 10 Great Tips for better photography, send me an email (to ottovon@online.no). You will receive the book for free.

In these dire times, posts from fellow bloggers from around the world, provides hope and inspiration. Blogger Nicole with her blog Thirdeyemom, has started to collect and link to bloggers who share what they are going through during the pandemic. The unifying title is “Hello from…”. I think it’s an excellent idea, and this post here is my tribute. Maybe you want to be part of it? Go to Hello from Minnesota and post the link on Nicole’s blog.

57 thoughts on “Hello from Bergen

  1. Hello, Otto. It’s a strange new world, isn’t it? I’m glad to hear Norway has managed to flatten the curve. I think it will be a while before that happens here. Enjoy your personal projects. That’s one of the positive sides to all of this — we now have plenty of time to do the things we put off. 🙂

  2. The cases in my county alone keep rising every day. Florida became a stay-at-home state today, so maybe that will help to flatten the curve? Not sure, but we are trying. Stay safe, Otto. So good to hear from you. Checking in with my blog buddies keeps me calm.

  3. It’s a very strange world we live in now. And scary too. Sometimes I think this is what it was to live during WWII but I know in my heart that was much worse. Still…waiting in line for toilet paper is a surreal experience. I would love to see what you come up with for an online photo class! I’m working with my new(ish) Nikon Z6 and struggling because it has so many more capabilities than my old Cannon. It ISO goes up so high and I don’t know when I’d use that, and I worry that I won’t like things with ISO so high, but I’ve taken some with 1000 ISO and they’ve been good, so I need to know when to use different and higher ISOs. Also determining the fstops…I generally stay about 6.8 or so…but sometimes I take it all the way out to 20 just to see what happens and I’ve accidentally gotten a few cool things in the evening (on a tripod of course) like that…taillight trails and such…what else can I do at the outer edges of my camera’s capability?

    1. You are doing some good things with your new camera, by experimenting and trying out its capabilities. The result might be unpredictable at this stage, but eventually you will learn and the results will improve. But I already see it in many of my “physical” workshops that some participants struggle with technology. So that’s definitely one thing I have thought about for an online workshop.

  4. Such a lovely photo, Otto, with the family on a beautiful sunlit day. Apparently we are approaching a peak period in the Corona virus, for who knows how high or how long. Staying safe, though there are still deniers. I love hearing all the innovative ways that people are helping one another.

  5. Such a beautiful and happy photo! Your idea of online workshops sounds perfect for you. I wish you the best with it and for a safe and healthy time to explore it.

  6. After the initial shock to many workers who are now laid off, I see lots of inspiring and uplifting posts and many random acts of kindness and genuine sensitivity to those in need. I hope it continues.

    As to workshops, perhaps looking out your window and finding ordinary scenes or subjects to photograph using light and shadows at either end of the day (which make an ordinary photo become extraordinary) would be the immediate thing that comes to mind. Now is a good time in learning how to see (without using photo editing to change the contrast or tweak the colour or tone).

    From all the photography blogs I follow, I notice some bloggers/amateurs don’t get close enough to their subject. Others make landscape photos with nothing standing out to draw the viewer’s eye into the scene. Their images lack depth or contrast.

    Unfortunately, most of us can’t go out to do landscape photography at the moment, well, not if we live in an urban area where the Government’s new laws or rulings are quite restrictive.

    Personally, I’m a visual person and need lots of examples or images to illustrate points (in a tutorial or workshop). But that’s just me. If I see long typed paragraphs and no images in a tutorial on DPS (Digital Photography School), I immediately switch off and never end up reading the whole article. Others might like lengthy descriptions or technical details. I suppose one has to find a balance of both.

    1. You are right about the latter, it’s necessary to find a balance, but workshops will also have to cater to different people. No workshop will be able to target a universal audience. Thanks for the input. I have been thinking along the same lines, that in these times, people will have to practice and thus learn about how to photograph in their near vicinity.

  7. Hello from Wisconsin, Otto. I’m living at the same latitude as my hometown in NY, but spring seems to come a bit later, here in Milwaukee. The Norwegians who immigrated to the US must’ve found it too tropical, however, and most of them settled more north, as far north as they could, in Minnesota and North Dakota. But I don’t think they managed to get as far north as Bergen.
    I’ve been working from home, on applications from all the people around the world, who are still planning (hoping) to come here fir grad school, and that feeling of hopefulness, and looking ahead to normalcy, and travel, and planning for the future is very welcome and reassuring. I wish you good health, it’s good to learn of your news.

  8. I am glad to hear Norway cases of infected people are now stabilized. A good news to hear and I am looking forward to hear many more locations start to see the same trend.

  9. Conflicts here between public health experts and politicians have contributed to a lack of preparation, and some very curious ‘kinks’ in the supply chain when it comes to getting supplies to hospitals and clinics. As the states have moved into the breech, and people have taken some things into their own hands (such as a commitment to social distancing) there have been a few signs of improvement. I hope they continue.

    I think something online would be wonderful, but designing a workshop or course takes a lot of time and commitment. You wouldn’t want to get in the middle of something that might make taking on new paying projects difficult. I was thinking about your previous photo evaluations, where we could send a photo for critique. Perhaps you could ask readers to submit photos that just didn’t work, and then select a dozen or so that are good illustrations of particular problems. You could focus on each “problem” in turn, using the photo as an illustration, and ask, for example, “Have you had this issue? How have you approached it?” while discussing ways you would deal with it.

    Most important, of course, is staying safe and healthy. Then comes maintaining economic security — a small charge for a workshop could help with that.

    1. Yes, I have read about the conflict between health experts and politicians, which is very unfortunate, but maybe not surprising when you know who sits in the chair, so to speak. However, I see individual states that do a tremendous job to fight the corona outbreak.

      Thanks for the thoughts about workshops, Linda. I don’t mind using time and put in a lot of commitment producing an online workshop. For me that is meaningful time and something I always like to do. I like your thought about picking up the “old” photo evaluation again, but maybe then with a little different approach. I will definitely think more about it.

  10. Hello Otto! From Minnesota! Thanks so much for sharing this post with us. It is good to hear that your cases are not as bad. It is scary what is happening here in the US and really only the tip of the iceberg. I wish so bad that I had medical skills so I could help out. There is such a feeling of helplessness.
    Our cases continue to grow in Minnesota but as I said I am fearful of the other states especially ones that haven’t done enough isolation or are just too congested. It is going to be a long haul.
    As for weather, we have had an unseasonably early spring which has been delightful given everything else going on. Sad news is that we just hear all public beaches, parks, lakes and programs are canceled for the entire summer in our state which is hard to stomach as we have such long winters, we live for our summers. But we are still healthy here.

    1. Staying healthy is what is most important, but I certainly understand the disappointment not being able to enjoy summer’s delights. Unfortunately, it seems like the States are getting deeper into the crises. The death tolls increases every day. As sad as it is, it’s important to keep the spirit up, knowing it will eventually come to and end.

  11. First of all I want to tell you how great that photo is. I love silhouettes and this one is perfect and tells a story. I will have to think about Online Photo Workshop ideas. Perhaps something that helps people understand how to think of the art rather than technical aspects. I would like to have your book and will send an email … thanks Otto!

    1. I am usually more into teaching the art than technique in my regular workshops, and think that’s were I am heading with the online workshops, too. Thank you for the feedback. Please send me your email for the eBook, although I am sure there isn’t much new in it for you. 🙂

  12. Hi Otto. It’s good to hear things are stabilizing in Bergen, maybe Norwegians are more sensible than some of my countrymen. As for topics, maybe explore backyard macro. It’s easy, very accessible and most folks could get decent results with a cell phone.

  13. For a number of years now my movements have been significantly restricted by health problems and further aggravated by macular degeneration. Because of my reluctance to give up my photography I have adopted a number of strategies. These include:
    Using subjects close at hand eg., in the garden and indoor still lifr;
    Exploring the use of the zoom;
    Pursuing a passion for abstract images and patterns;
    Re-visiting old files and experimenting with alternative processing and cropping.
    Maybe these might trigger other ideas?

  14. The photo speaks to me about he preciousness of loved ones and family and the yearning for the “normal” good old days just a couple of months ago. I hope your article and photos go well. Good luck.

  15. Sue Slaught is doing a feature on the virus situation in different places tomorrow, Otto. It’s good to know how everyone is doing, but I try not to dwell too much on it, as I find you can get wholely absorbed by it and that’s not a good feeling. Glad you’re keeping busy! I love your snowy Instagram photo (next one up)- so atmospheric! If I remember, I must email for your e-book. Have a good Easter! 🙂 🙂

  16. Hello sir, i read your blog. Its too much informative.
    Actually sir i have just started my blog . I request you to please read mine one and give some suggestions about it. I am looking for your answer.

  17. I’m sure that was a surreal assignment to put together, the theatre live and then dark. I’m glad to hear that your curve is flattening. I think the curve in Idaho may be about to flatten too, IF people continue to follow the recommended distance regulations. It will be interesting to see what happens with Sweden. I was surprised to learn of their resistance to WHO recommendations.

      1. Thank you. Our real explosion arrived via Sun Valley, host to thousands of out-of-staters and foreign travelers. I think it’s slowing down. We are so lucky here because distancing is sort of built into the rural way of life of so much of our state.

  18. It’s interesting to read about what’s going on in your life, Otto. It must have been a little strange, working on the theatre project after it went quiet. Though your weather is radically different from ours, you described in a way that I could imagine it easily. Maybe it helps that I lived on the east coast, where the weather changes quickly. As for workshops, I don’t often see workshops that appeal to me. So many are very technique-driven, or if they’re not, they emphasize a particular way of seeing, when I’d rather get deeper into my own way of seeing. I guess an ideal workshop might be held in an exciting place and include some technical information, some group review/discussion, and also be open-minded and inspiring.

  19. Skönt att höra att du tänker positivt i allt elände, att du tänker framåt och även i nya banor, att du ser nya möjligheter inom andra områden. Det är väl det som är utmärkande för en kreatör…det finns inga begränsningar och visst hittar vi nya vägar, vilket vi även måste om vi skall överleva. Vinterbilderna känns igen! Här hade vi börjar känna lite av vårens tjusning…men den begravdes abrupt i 20 cm snö…puh!
    Jag griper efter halmstrån hela tiden, tror att du gör detsamma…och snart måste det vända om vi inte ska få krig igen…hemska tanke, men definitivt inte ett orimligt framtidsscenario.

  20. Well, will see, I am afraid this situation may take longer than most people hope, but whatever may be, best wishes for you, and take care Otto. 🙂

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