Henne Strand 2023
Father & Son trip
What a special vacation that was. It took 13 years to have the first vacation just with my son and now that the vacation is over I can say that it was worth the waiting. As a father of two you always had to take both of their request into consideration. especially if you have a boy and a girl different hobbies and interest can be expected. And although it is exciting to witness what they experience on their way growing up it can also be very challenging and sometimes you'll be left with the feeling that you haven't met their expecations by 100%.
So this year my daughter went on a training camp which I can absolutely understand as I've done the same at her age. That presented the opportunity for me and my son to spend some quality time together. Somewhat surprisingly he quickly agreed on the vacation plans for Denmark. I was a bit concerened if it is the right thing for a boy in his age but it turned out that we hit the spot. Right from the start the vacation was a complete success. Even the long drive up to the north was a pleasure. We arrived late in the afternoon on what should be the most calm day we would have in Denmark. Right away we moved into our house only to be right back outside 10 minutes later to go to the beach. What has been a highlight of our last visits to Henne Strand was still something we were looking forward to this year. We brought 3 different kites with us and we were ready to let them fly. But not on this day. As mentioned before it was absolutely calm and there was no wind whatsoever. We waited for 10-15 minutes but as nothing seemed to happen we changed our plans accordingly. It was time for a portrait session. Maybe because it was the first evening, maybe because he knows his dad and definitely because he's just a great kid he agreed on doing some photos with me. And the conditions were just beautiful. The water was like a mirror and there was no wind at all. The sun set between some clouds and the horizon and the colors in the sky were changing constanly while also refelecting on the glass like surface of the water. I'm sure I've produced some of the most memorable pictures for me ever. Of course those pictures are not very spontanous but even though they will remember me of that perfect moment I shared with my son.
It is something I constantly think about when experiencing those kind of amazing consitions in nature while hiking or shooting pictures. I know myself quite well and I know I can find comfort in being on my own. But this feeling of greatfullness is almost always accompanied by the feeling of wanting to share this moment with somebody else. I would bet many others and at least some of the readers here on the blog can relate to this. Maybe we delude ourselfes. Our partners, friends and relatives actually don't want to spend the time with us waiting for something to happen in the sky or to walk up a steep hill before sunrise. Most of the time landscape photography is supposed to be a lonely experience and honestly most of the time I'm fine with that. But I was also as happy as I can be to be able to share this moment with my son and that I have some pictures that will always be there to be seen.
What a great start into the vacation. Over the next days we really got into our groove and everthing just worked out perfectly. We spend time together outside on our several tours along the west coast and Fjords. We've let the kite fly every day and had the most fun ride on a waterslide ever. We've seen lots of lighthouses (as you do when in DK), eaten lots of fish, went shopping and breathed in this vitalizing sea breeze.
Photography wise there were 2 other opportunities that stood out. The first one happend one morning early into the vacation. My son was still asleep and I took the chance to get up before sunrise to revisit a nearby location. 4 years ago I had one of the best shootings there and I was pretty sure that I will never produce better pictures from that location than I did on that particular morning. Actually that is still the case, but I came damn close and I love the pictures I was able to produce this time. Revisiting a location is key to make the best out of the given conditions. Over time you figure out which are the best spots, the best angle sand compositions and sometimes you even learn to predict the light you will get. Although it wasn't windless, the Filso lake was very calm. When I arrived it was still blue hour but within the next 30 minutes the sun would rise. There is a point when you arrive at a location and you see that there are some high clouds and a gap between them and the horizon. When that is the case you know that you are up for something spectacular. The rising sun lights up the clouds above and the calm water will reflect all of that. By then you can relax and enjoy the show that reveals in front of you. It is such a satisfiying feeling to realize that it's only 7 a.m., you've witnessed a beautiful sunrise, have some excellent photos on your SD card and breakfast time is right ahead. Needless to say that everything tasted better this morning. It's that satisfaction when you've been productive and creative even before the day starts.
The second opportunity was on the evening before the last on the vacation. The weather looked very promising and I had to decide between two different photography approaches.
-Plan A was the simple one: I had one location and one motive in mind that I wanted to reshoot. The motive was quite far away and a decision for that subject would have meant that I wouldn't be able to photograph anything else.
-Plan B however was the risky one: But if this one would work out I would end up shooting 3 different locations after one another. I went for Option B as it would be so much more rewarding if it turned out the way I was hoping for.
The shooting would take about 1 1/2 hours and take place between the start of the golden hour and went along into the blue hour. I drove my car to the location that is the farthest away and I worked my way back along with the setting sun. At the first location there was quite a huge amount of cloud cover which was fine as we were still at the beginning of the golden hour and the light would have been to harsh without the clouds. The light peaked through some gaps in the clouds which is always welcome. I really got the pictures that I wanted and after about 20 minutes I packed up and went for the next location. For this one I would need a little less cloud coverage and what can I say, it happened exactly as I needed it to be.
The third and final one was a tricky one. Little cloud coverage would really benefit the composition I had in mind as I needed the sun and the light at a very certain point in the composition. Here is where not everythinig went as I planned it. Of course this was to be expected as I definitely was rushing things a little bit. Normally I would embrace the slowness of landcsape photography. Not running around like a headless chicken, trying to capture as many compositions as possible. But this time really was about using the conditions for as many pictures as possible (or at least 3). But on the third subject I had to use a very wide lens (12mm). I only have a manual ultrawide lens so relying on autofocus wasn't an option. Later in post I saw that I did not nail the focus on a big amount of pictures. This was definitely due to me being in a hurry and not taking the time and checking the focus. It wasn't a complete failure as some pictures are sharp and in focus but I consider myself rather lucky then professional in this situation. As a result of this I will take the other approach on future shootings and I bought myself an autofocus wideangle lens.The third party lens from Viltrox. Surprisingly Fujifilm still has some gaps in their lens lineup. Especially on the wideangle prime side of things is still room for improvement. Viltrox offers a fast 13mm prime lens that might be able to replace my trusty 12mm Samyang in the long run. With many shots from 3 different location on my SD card I called it a day and went back to our house. On the very few attempts to take photographs on this vacation I was very lucky with the conditions. I wonder if would feel the same amount of satisfaction about the whole vacation and the outcome of my photography sessions in particular if the conditions weren't as good. Probably not but this is something I want to work on to make myself more indepenedent and not relying on epic sunrises and sunsets to enjoy photography. Regardless of what happened or did not happen on the photography part of the vacation, the trip itself has been a memorable thing to do and that's primarily because of how enjoyable the time wih my son was.