Next Years Photo Workshops

Granada, Nicaragua © Sven Creutzmann
Granada, Nicaragua © Sven Creutzmann

If you are like me, you are constantly trying to develop your photography. I read everything I can come across—well, almost… I certainly use internet for all what it’s worth. And I attend photo workshops.

Nothing is quite like a photo workshop. The experience of spending a couple of intense days or maybe a week with similar minded photographers eager to learn and develop, under guidance of a thoughtful and knowledgeable tutor is expansive and transcendent. For me, both attending and teaching is inspiring, not the least learning from different participants’ approach to their photography. This year I attended one workshop with the fabulous Swedish photographer Martin Bogren. In addition I thought two workshops, respectively in Norway and Bolivia.

Now, next year’s photo workshops that I will teach have been settled. 2020 will be a year full of possibilities for anyone seeking to develop her or his photography. As with all the photo workshops I teach, the focus is on imagery and how to create captivating photos—and less so about the technical side of photography. So maybe you will find something that could trigger you to come along:

As usual, my friend and colleague Sven Creutzmann and I will teach a one-week photo workshop in Cuba. This is our longest existing workshop that we have taught for almost every year of the last 15 years. It always gets great feedback from our participants. The workshop runs from April 25th to May 2nd 2020. You’ll find more info about the workshop here: “Street Photography in Cuba”.

Sven and I will also organize a photo tour in Nicaragua in the autumn next year. This is a complete new tour that we are proud to be able to put together. It’s a photo tour we have been working many years to create and finally it’s coming together. We will have the beautiful colonial city of Granada as a base for exploring the city and the surroundings over the one week trip. The tour runs from October 31st to November 7th 2020. You’ll find more info about the photo tour here: “Street photography in Granada”.

On my own, I will once again teach the popular and intimate weekend photo workshop in Bergen, Norway. We gather in my loft for lectures and feedback. The rest of the time, we will be out photographing in this lovely city situated on the west coast of Norway. This workshop runs from June 5th to 7th 2020. You’ll find more info about the workshop here: “The Personal Expression”.

Finally, I will organize and teach a photo workshop in northern Norway in the autumn. This is another completely new workshop that I will be teaching for the first time. We will be situated on an spectacular island just north of the famous Lofoten archipelago, with the same extraordinary landscape but much less visited by tourists. During this five day long long workshop the focus will be on the visual language and how to tell stories with photos. The workshop runs from September 9th to 13th 2020. You’ll find more info about the workshop here: “Telling Stories with Photos”.

Maybe I’ll see you on a photo workshop next year?

Granada, Nicaragua © Sven Creutzmann
Granada, Nicaragua © Sven Creutzmann

A Tribute to a Season about to Vanish

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Fra det flotte nedrennet ned fra Vassfjøra. Uppsete, Ulvik, Hordaland.

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Nysnø og perfekte forhold opp mot Kvittingen

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In my part of the world we are about to change seasons. Winter is slowly fading away while spring is already announcing its first coming. Whatever snow we have had is melting while the first flowers have already sprung out from winter’s hibernation. For me one is not better than the other, nevertheless spring brings with it both optimism and bliss. Days get longer, the temperature rises and life feels more laid-back. Still I wish we could have just a bit more winter. My winter has been disappointingly mild with a general lack of snow this season. Could we just have a couple of more really heavy snow falls – before spring takes over? Please? In the wake of more winter, I have made a little visual tribute to the season that never really came this year. At least not around me.

Norwegian Mountains

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Summer is on the wane. I have probably done my last backpacking in the Norwegian mountains this season. Last week we hiked around the mountain area called Stølsheimen in the western part of the country. We spent some delightful days in rough terrain far away from people, in the middle of nowhere, with only sunshine, some showers, rocks, meadows and an occasional dot of snow here and there for company. Recharging and gathering strength again (and at the same time becoming very fatigued – if that makes sense…). Because of the absence of any means of communication I have at the same time been away from any kind of blogging. But I am back now, and will soon start to visit all your blogs again. Thanks for the patience.

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A Different Kind of Artist

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John Christensen is an artist I photographed not long ago. He is a very special artist, collecting all kinds of used materials for his art and making happenings in his house and garden. Everything he does is related to creativity. He doesn’t care about wealth, lives from hand to mouth; many people will call his life for a mess. But despite his poverty, his social inabilities, the filth he surrounds himself with, his untidy property; John Christensen has a heart of gold, he has an amazing sense of humour and is blessed with a stinging self-irony. He lives as far south as is possible in Norway, and I took these pictures while spending some hours with him.

In Between

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Just before the weekend I returned from quite an adventurous trip to Malawi together with my friend and colleague Øystein. As some of you have already followed us along the various explorations on our common blog Øystein og Otto’s Blog – A Skewed Glimpse of the World I won’t say much about the trip itself here. We went to Malawi to do a couple of stories as well as to prepare for a workshop we are going to give in this beautiful but also very poor country in late April. Our trip was in every sense of the word very successful but even more importantly for Øystein and me; we had a great time together and just enjoyed the travel and exploration in itself.

It was quite a shock to get back to Bergen, Norway. It was freezing cold – and on Saturday I even went skiing up in the mountains close by. Quite a change from the steaming and hot Malawi. From sub-tropical rain forest to alpine winter. In light of this change I thought it would be appropriate to post a winter picture of Bergen from earlier this season when the snow was piling up all over the city. Admittedly right now the snow has pretty much gone, but the temperature is still below freezing. While posting this I am again on my way, this time to Seattle and hopefully a feeling of a bit of spring. Maybe. In other words I am only shortly dropping by before heading out again.

On a different note; I have long wanted to update you on the process of the Best Photo Blogs. As some of you know, I invited all you readers to submit your favourite photo blog for an informal competition. By the end of the deadline I received more than 400 suggestions, which of course was nothing less than fantastic. But it has taken time to go through them all and categorize them. I am still working through all the suggestions, so the silence the last month isn’t because I have abandoned the whole thing, but just me needing more time to examine and categorize the blogs. Soon – or more likely in a couple of weeks – I will get back with the result of the process.

While at it I also want to say that I will soon be back with another round of Picture Critique. I haven’t forgotten about this possibility to receive critique on pictures you would like to get feedback on. I’ll soon announce another round, so stay in tune.

The Joy of Rain











Before the weekend I returned to my hometown Bergen, Norway after a longer period away. It was nice to be back, but the pleasure was somewhat broken by heavy rain and kind of nasty weather. It met me right at the airport. Bergen is a rainy city, so I shouldn’t have expected anything else. I mean I arrived from Seattle, which is supposed to be the rainy city in the US, but literally on a yearly basis it rains twice as much in Bergen. Not surprisingly then, I always enjoy being in «sunny» Seattle whenever I am there.

It seems to be raining more in Bergen these days than I remember maybe ten or fifteen years ago, maybe because of the climate changes we apparently are in the midst of right now. The notion made me think twice, though. This summer I have been visiting Sahara and I have visited Black Rock Desert in Nevada, and I know what it’s like in areas with no rain or hardly anything at all. And with the imminent climate changes those areas as well as half-dry and less rainy places will only get drier and receive even less rain in the future. The realisation made me revoke my first thought after returning to Bergen. After all shouldn’t I enjoy the blessing of the rain we in fact get here? Because it is indeed a blessing, if you can look beyond the mere fact that rain makes you wet and cold. Rain is what makes this area so lush and green – and really a very pleasant place to live. In other places in the world water is a scarcity and a huge survival problem. But not in Bergen. Here we may swim in water till we are all soaked and beyond any worries about survival. I mean literally.

This realisation made me want to make a little pictorial tribute to my hometown. After all it’s one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen – when it’s not raining…

Photo Workshop in Gorgeous Fjords









The landscape of Norway is cut up by deep fjords encircled by jagged and high rising mountains. Snow and glaciers rest on top of mountains and supplies the fierce rivers with fresh water all year round. Along the shorelines of the fjords farms, villages and towns find rest in coves, bays and inlets. This is an almost overwhelming scenery as well as a cultural diverse garden without comparison to anywhere else in the world. It’s a photographer’s dream whether you are into nature, landscape, editorial or documentary.

That’s why my colleague, friend and photographer Sven Creutzmann and I would like to invite you to a workshop in these magnificent surroundings. Spend a week in the middle of the longest Norwegian fjord. We will focus on travel photography as well photographing people, but will take you around in this gorgeous landscape so any landscape photographer will feel at home as well. We will go deep into the fjords, we will visit glaciers, and we will take you on the local ferry that goes from town to town and even visits farms without any road connections.

The workshop will take place from September 3rd to 7th in the town of Høyanger in Sognefjorden. It’s only a couple of hours boat ride conveniently away from Bergen, the second largest city in Norway. This is a workshop for photographers at all levels, it’s not about technique, but about vision and getting the most out of any shooting possibility. We will of course help anyone who needs technical guidance, but it’s not the focus of the workshop.

And of course anyone who wants to extend the stay in Norway, for example in Bergen, I will do my outmost to help getting around and get the most out of the stay. This is an unique opportunity. Give it a chance. For more information look up the website:
www.bluehourphotoworkshops.com/workshops

When Winter Was


Last week I posted pictures of warm and sunny Utah landscapes while waiting for the winter to arrive in Norway – which is where I was at the time of writing. I was hoping for snow and soon being able to get on my skis. What then is more appropriate than showing pictures from last winter, which was quite an amazing winter at least in these parts of the world? In Bergen – on the west coast of Norway – we had more snow than in a many, many years. Exactly during this period of time last year, between Christmas and New Year’s Eve, we had so much snow that I could put on my skis right outside my apartment, and go straight up onto the mountains from there. And that is exactly what we did. And had an amazing day. The sun was hanging low over the horizon. The snow coverage was less up on the mountains surrounding Bergen, because of exposure, but nevertheless more than enough for our skis and us. It was an almost serene experience.

Back to this year: I still haven’t had my first day of skiing this season. And now it won’t happen until next year. Because, at the moment of writing now – and when you read this – I am travelling around in Honduras in Central America. Not much snow in sight, I can promise you that! Only sun, warm weather, sandy beaches, mosquitoes and other tropical characteristics. Next year I will be back with pictures from the trip.

So until then: Happy New Year to you all.

True Creativity

I have met the true spirit of creativity. A few days ago I was travelling around in Sognefjorden, the longest fjord in Norway. That’s where I came across this true spirit of creativity in a very remote farm at the end of the road. There in the middle of an island in a stream that crosses through the farmland, a tiny creative sanctuary revealed itself. Everywhere I walked I bumped into small or large, strange and beautiful objects of human creation. A sculpture in wood depicting a little man bowing and offering a bowl of food to a giant mouse, a miniature water mill, small bridges crossing the stream here and there, a little hut made of rock and turfed roof that looked like it had been taken right out of Tolkien’s Shire, another wooden sculpture of two hands grabbing a boat – and then at the far end this quite lovely miniature replica of a traditional stave church. Only 28 are left in Norway today of these churches which were mostly built between the years 1150 to 1350. These medieval wooden churches are quite extraordinary with an elaborate wooden construction and often exquisite wood carvings depicting various animals, especially dragons on the many gables. The load-bearing posts (stafr in Old Norse, stav in Norwegian) have lent their name to the building technique.

But here on this island on a remote farm, where an old farmer had formed and carved out and built all these various sculptures, small buildings, constructions and creations, a gorgeous replica of the old stave churches was the centre of creativity. It was quite an astonishing experience to come across the construction almost hidden among the small forest on the island. There it stood – a miniature stave church – dark from tar and smelling of tar, roof above roof, as a spire growing into the woods. It was a true spiritual place and a revelation of true creative spirit.

The farmer who made this little sanctuary told me he could not let go of expressing all his creative whims and ideas. For him there was no purpose, but to get it out. He wanted to have fun and be creative with his hands. The farmer was retired and had left the responsibility of the farm to his oldest son. While the son took care of the farm, the old man built a new, big house for this son and his family. That was his work now at daytime, the farmer told me, and in his spare time he went down to the little island and used his hands and skills to form all the various pieces of art there – although he would never call it art himself. He laughed at himself and said he had no idea what he wanted with all this. It was just his way of expressing whatever came to mind, like he was standing in a creative well where there seemed to be no end to all kinds of crazy ideas. He said he wanted to fill the little island in the river completely with his art, except he would have to live 150 years to be able to actually accomplish it. It didn’t bother him, though. He would keep going as long as he had the stamina and energy to use his hands. For me just his shear determination and being so immersed into the creative process, was quite an eye-opener. He had no craving for fame or money or recognition, all he wanted was to stand out there on his little island and let his imagination take form into sculptures, creations, buildings and other objects of art. I am probably a little crazy he told me with a big smile.

I was taken aback by the fact that far out there in nowhere-land this farmer and artist kept doing what he had to, by proxy of inner determination and pure inspiration. It was indeed an inspiring meeting. What can I – and all of us – learn from the farmer? That true creativity comes from within. That there is no limit to it. It expresses itself in so many wonderful ways. If only we don’t let it down by secondary intentions like fame, wealth, recognition, acceptance and self-assertion; creativity will come to us by itself. Our job is to let it out, express it in any way we can. And never stop doing it, because creativity is its own reward.