27 May 2008

An Ally for nature experiences

On Sunday morning I woke up to see lake Aklangen like this. No sounds of human activity, not even a distant roar of a jet plane. Notice the absence of vapour trails in the sky, btw.

Lake Aklangen is part of a long watershed in Nordmarka, a large forested area North of Oslo. It is continuous with my "local" wilderness Lillomarka, just separated by a railroad track. However this is quite far from home.

I was there to test out my recent acquisition, an Ally canoe. It is a collapsible, stored in a backpack in my garage when not in use. The backpack is waterproof, and will hold all my luggage when the canoe is mounted. I have always wanted one of these. Ever since one of my best friends bought one more than 20 years ago.

It is an ingenious little thing. Easy to paddle even solo, and lightweight enough to carry for one person as well. The pun about an Ally becoming an ally is pretty lame, but it feels right. I think I'll get many more great experiences with this canoe.

One advantage of canoeing is getting to places otherwise unreachable. While resting on a small island in lake Katnosa, two fishing birds came closer. A closer look through the FA* 400mm f/5.6 revealed a pair of Black-Throated Divers. It is the first time in my life I've been close enough to this kind of bird to get a picture.

Photographing birds with white plumage is a real challenge in the middle of the day because of the high contrast, and this pic isn't exactly world class, but it's at least a small personal trophy.

All the bright specs on the water surface are blobs of birch pollen. It had been raining for a couple of days before this beautiful Sunday, and in many places the pollen lay in thick layers along the lake edges, like here at Finntjern:

The birch (Betula pubescens) spreads its pollen before popping the leaves in spring, so its abundance tells you a great deal of how far spring has advanced. As it was last Sunday, I think the birch pollen season is coming to an end now, as the hills were putting on a light green in the sun. Here's from Pershusvatnet, late in the day:

The whole day was so nice that the previous day is almost forgotten. Saturday saw just rain. I didn't even exercise the camera. However it was a nice way to test the rest of my equipment and clothing for waterproofing. I now have a list of things to improve for the next trip. High up on that list is a waterproof camera bag. For good measure it should probably be a floating one.

All shots made with Pentax K10D, and one of three lenses; Pentax DA*16-50/2.8, Sigma EX 70-200/2.8 or Pentax FA* 400/5.6. I used a tripod for the first three shots.


Boris said...

Excellent stuff... Memories pop in my mind like bubbles on the soft and calm waters of the lake...

Most enjoyable photographs indeed!

Alunfoto said...

Thanks Boris!

Canoeing gives a different perspective on the surroundings. Very different from just walking the forests.


Speedie said...

If you want to get closer to the black throated diver just come to Tromsø, we have them on the top of the island, well within reach of your 600/4....

Alunfoto said...

Thanks Speedie,

So far, me and my cameras have not been further North than Svartisen. So I know I have loads of great ops waiting for me. :-)

I'll keep your tip in mind! :-)