A walk back in time: Akershus Castle and Fortress

'the fortress street'

Do you ever get the feeling  that you want travel back in time? Travel back in time and watch how it was in a certain era? I have that from time to time. Either when I watch a documentary on TV about something historical or when I visit historical places. Like I did today.

I had a phototrip with my friend Ellen to the Akershus Castle and Fortress. The fortress is one of Norway’s most important cultural monuments, with buildings and structures from the Middle Age to our own day. The history of the fortress ranges from military events of dramatic art, via occupation and prison, to where it is today; serving as military schools, home of Norway’s Resistance museum and the Defence Museum, hosting cultural activities and government entertaining.

Visiting such places, makes me wanna travel back in time. I wanna go back and see how it was used then. It would be very entertaining and educational to watch how people lived back then; to see it with my own eyes. Since that is not an option, I either have to read up on the places I’m visiting or use my imagination.

I toom a lot of photos today. I knew already before I got there that these photos would be best in black and white.

The Castle and Fortress seen from the outside and inside. There are so many awesome doors insde the fortress. Why didn’t I think about going there when I was doing my door project? I would’ve had so many special doors I could photograph! Thinking about it, it almost makes me wanna take up the door project again. Maybe I should start shoot some doors again and make a book out of it? Doors of Oslo? For the door project I took photos of 202 doors; more than 180 of them was of doors located in Oslo. This is a thought I shouldn’t let go.

But hey, back to the fortress.

The horses that belongs to the Polices has it’s home at the Fortress.  The sign says that you’re not allowed to feed the horses because fat Police horses is not nice. And they assure us that the horses happy and get whatever they need. Good to know! I’ve never thought about where the Police horses are kept; now I know.

More Christmas cards

I’ve had three days off this week. My dear friend Chantal from Alkmaar (Holland) came to visit me. She’s very fond of scrapping, but doesn’t have any scrapping equipment herself, so when she’s visiting me, we have to craft. We make cards. I was more than happy to spend time scrapping since it’s late november and I had lots of Christmas cards left to finish.

Within the six days she was staying at my place, we spent a lot of time scrapping and I made ten new cards. That is toally awesome. Now I only got eight cards left to make. Those last eight cards I will try to finish this week.

Here are some of the cards I made. I’m totally into making blue Christmas cards these days. And I’m also in love with my Cuttlebug and the shapes it can cut (like the one you see in the two bottom cards).  I keep my cards quite simple, that’s how I like them.

I can’t make just blue Christmas cards so I’ve made some brown and green ones too. Again, they are quite simple.

It’s always nice to have Chantie around when I’m scrapping. She always starts to organize my stuff and tidy up. My livingroom table is not so messy now, thanks to her.

We both had a lot of fun sitting at the table making cards. One thing was especially funny. Chantie was in need of a green color and with my 7 different kinds of green, she pointed out that I didn’t have the green color she was looking for. She is just as picky as I am with the colors and that’s why I have over 60 different ProMarker pens. As a result of her remark, I’m going to buy more pens. Not long ago I did order some pens, but that was not enough. Now I’m going to buy pens in the shades of green, red and yellow. I’m thinking I won’t stop buying pens until I got all of them.

Christmas is just around the corner; just little over a month left now! I’ve been asked by family and friends to come up with a wishlist for Christmas. So far I’ve only come up with a few things I want. I still haven’t sat down and made a list of scrapping things I want, but I know as soon as I make time for it, my list will be very long. It’s not always nice to have a hobby that cost so much money, because there is a endless list of things you can use/buy, but when the gift-exchange season comes up, it’s more than welcome.


Photo trip pt. 3: strangers on the roof of the opera

If you’re following my photo stream on flickr, you know I’m not the one to post photographs of people. If I do, it’s either of my nephew Emil or once in a while of myself. Why is it like that? It’s not one only one reason for that. Fist I don’t have that many friends who willingly put themselves in front of the camera. Another reason is that I’m a bit shy. I have trouble asking people to step up and get in front of the camera so I can take a photo or ten of them.

Lots of photographers go even further; they photograph strangers. On flickr you can even find people doing projects like ‘100 strangers’ — where you photograph 100 strangers. If taking photos of friends and family wasn’t uncomfortable enough, how uncomfortable wouldn’t it be to photograph 100 different strangers?

I admire admire the one that can take photographs of totally strangers. I wish I could find some well hidden guts, walk with my head high and not fear anything. But that guts is well hidden. I’m way too shy. Thinking about walking up to a person and ask ‘hi, can I take a photograph of you?’ is a scary thought. Even photograph someone from a distance is making me uncomfortable.

So what do I think will happen if I do photograph strangers?

I have an idea in my mind that if I photograph someone from the distance they will notice and then walk up to me and ask what I’m doing. Maybe ask me to delete the photo… Anything can happen. Most likely nothing will happen, but my mind trust that so it seems.

I walk up to someone and ask I can take their photograph, they will either say yes or no. It’s as simple as that. But I’m not very good with small talk and I would have to talk to them. And I would most likely have to take more than one photo, because the settings on my camera isn’t right and then it will take time. The person will get impatient and everything will become very awkward.

So why am I ranting about my photographing person skills?

Last saturday when I went on my photowalk, I visited the opera. I didn’t go inside, but on top of the roof. And there were lots of people there. I wanted to photograph from the roof, but it was impossible to do so without catching some people in my lens. So I had to deal with fear.

I managed to leave the roof alive; no one attacked me. I don’t think they even noticed me and my camera. It was quite a distance between me and the people I photographed.

Below you can see the result.

1) A couple in love. And a seagull watching them. I was actually nervous when I took that photo. Afraid they would see me and question what I was doing.

2) Show and tell. A man pointing on something and probably tells a story too.

I see this as a start — a start to get out there and photograph people I don’t know. I know I have missed a lot of potentially great photographs by not stop and photograph but walk on instead. Why should I allow myself to do that anymore? There is no good reason.

What are your take on photographing strangers?

Photo trip pt. 2: train station

As I told about two posts ago, I went on a photo trip last saturday. I explored Oslo and found myself photographing bikes, the central train station and the opera. It was part of the train station I had seen from the bus on my way back to Oslo two weeks ago and what I wanted to photograph. Whenever I’m visiting the train station, I’m mostly in a hurry and I have to time to photograph anything.

Now I got to see the train station from a different side. I walked around the area where the long distance trains and the airport trains goes from / arrives. When I take the train I usually take the local train and that goes from a different track than where I was.

Since it was a grey and gloomy Nowember sunday, I thought it was appropiate to present these photos in black and white. It’s been a while since I’ve done something in black and white too. Don’t think I’ve edited photos in black and white since my airport post over a year ago! Whoa! I’m long overdue black and white wise.

The train station was close to empty this saturday morning; at least these tracks.

In the last post I’ll give you the photos from the opera. Stay tuned.

the awesome bug

For a long time I’ve wanted a machine that can out different shapes. I knew that would open a lot of new door for me when it comes to making cards. On thursday I went to my favourit scrapping store Bikuben; I had finally decided to buy such a  machine. After a little help from my colleague Sigrund, I decided to buy a Cuttlebug. It was a small investment, since the machine alone costed 890 NOK and you need extra stuff and dies that costs a lot. But I knew it would pay off; in form of more fancy cards and a happy me.

In addition to the machine itself, I bought two packages of dies. The packages came with 12 and 16d dies. Both shapes of the dies is very pretty. I saw lots of cool shapes and it was hard to choose what to buy. I now know what will be on my future wishlists (like for Christmas) for the next years. *wink*

The machine is magical. There isn’t really much more to say about it.

Now that the machine is in the house, I’ve regained some inspiration to make new cards. That was really needed! I have lots of cards to make; three birthday cards (two birthday cards for friends of mine and one order for a friend), a fathers day card and 22 Christmas cards! Eeek.

So far I’ve made these cards:

What do you think?

Here a set with blue cards. The cards says Merry Christmas.

And here is a set with cards in green and red tones.

And to end it, a cute mouse. I like the other shape better than the one you get here.

I must say that the Cuttlebug is just awesome! Why didn’t I buy it earlier?!

Photo trip: bikes

Earlier this week I read a blog post from Jasmine and it made me want to explore Oslo this weekend; bring my trusted camera, some lenses and shoot whatever I found interesting. Last weekend I visted my friend Bjørg in Elverum; two hours outside Oslo. On my way home that sunday, when I came back to Oslo, I spotted a area from the bus that I wanted to explore.

So today I got up early to go downtown with my camera. The fog was quite thick when I saw outside the livingroom window. It was grey and rain in the air. But that didn’t stop me. I knew it would be grey outside, so that was no surprise. The fog was a plus, since I haven’t had many opportuneties to photograph when it’s foggy outside.

Hours later, with tired feet and back, I had 280 photos with me back home. My three main subjects was the central train station, the opera house and bikes. I got too many photos to post them all in one go, so I will devide them into two posts. This post will be dedicated to bikes.

An old and lonely bike. A bit rusty, but that doesn’t make it any less pretty.

Another bike seat from Prima Norsk. I’ve photographed many of them.

An old bike. Love the blue color and the orange/read coat thingy.

I saw this bike close to the opera house. I only managed to take two (bad) photos of it before the owner came. She smiled at me and asked if I wanted to take a photo of it. I smiled back, politely said no and put down my camera. I shyed out. Of course I wanted to capture this pretty bike. The woman told me the bike is from the 1930’s. I complemented it; said it was pretty and walked away.

Later, after I’d spent some time on the roof of the oprea house and bought a bus/tram ticket for a friend of mine who’s visiting me in a week, I spotted the bike again. It leaned against a lightning pole outside a pizza restaurant. Man I was happy; I think I let out a little scream when I saw it…

I took quite a few photos of it; both standing straight up and crouching. A lot of people stared at me, but for once I didn’t care. I’d gotten a second chance with this bike and I couldn’t let it  pass.

Another blue bike; presented by its spokes and seat.

Last, but not least a straddel not in its best shape. But the not-perfect is nice too. At least with some yummy gloomy November bokeh in the background.

Stay tuned for part two.

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