It’s funny how things work out. On my recent trip to Norway, I stayed in a little town called Flåm. It was this picturesque town right along the water. You could walk through it in about 5-10 minutes. In fact, here’s a photo of Flåm while I was looking back at it from an early morning sunrise shoot.

(click to see the photo larger)
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The Photo That Almost Didn’t Happen
What’s interesting about this photo story is that it probably wouldn’t have happened if things worked out the way I planned. See, I rented a car for a day while in town. I went out one evening and photographed an absolutely spectacular sunset. I was psyched. BUt I didn’t know the area that well, so I figured I’d sleep for a couple of hours (the sun set at 11pm and rose around 4am) and then head back to the general area since I already knew what to expect. When I got back to the hotel, I parked the car and never looked at the sign that was in the parking lot that said the lot would be gated closed until 7am. Ooops.

So I woke up around 2:30am, grabbed my gear and walked to the car. Got in and drove toward the front of the lot only to find a gate there was closed and locked. So plan B needed to come in to effect. I wasn’t quite sure what plan B was at the time, but I was pretty sure at 2:30am the only thing it could involve was me walking.

Luckily, as you can see from the photo above, I happened to be staying in an extremely small town, located in an extremely beautiful location. Since the town was right on the edge of the water, I decided to walk down there to see what I could find.

My main goal as I walked around was to find something to put in the foreground. I knew that there were large mountains and lots of water that would look great in the distance. But I wanted something up close to give the viewer an idea of what it looked like from my viewpoint. I got pretty lucky and found some nice rocks and even a dock to put in the foreground.

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Finding A Different Photo And A Tip To Help You Do It
I was just about to pack up my gear and looked to my right. I saw these small red houses right along the water in the distance. I tried to see what it would look like with my wide lens on but I wasn’t feelin’ it. So before I switched to my zoom lens, I used a great little tip I learned years back. I zoomed in on the photo in Playback view on the back of my camera to see if I liked the composition. I did! So I decided to walk a little closer. As soon as I got there I was like “Wow!!!”. The wind died down. The water was perfectly still and the contrast of the red houses and dark green trees behind them was perfect. I framed the photo a few different ways, zooming in on the houses, moving them around in the frame but this photo was the one I was happiest with.

(click to see the photo larger)
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Photo Details
Camera: Nikon D800
Lens: Nikon 70-200mm
Aperture: f/8 (I had nothing in the foreground so I knew everything would be in focus at f/8)
Shutter Speed: 2 seconds
ISO: 100
Tripod: Really Right Stuff TVC-33 with BH-55 Ballhead

Thank God For A Closed Gate
Who knew? I cursed the fact that the gate was closed a couple of hours earlier, and it ended up being the best thing that happened to me. When it was all said and done, I walked 3 miles outside of town (which meant 3 miles back) to photograph the constantly changing scenery and light at every turn. I probably shot at least 10 photos from that morning that I was extremely happy with. Had the gate been open, I would have probably driven back to the place I was at the night before, and photographed pretty much the same thing I did the night before – just because it was familiar. But as fate would have it, I was forced to set out and foot and it turned out to be one of the most memorable and peaceful times I had while in Norway – just me and the quiet town at 2:30am.

Thanks for stopping by today. Have a good one!