The skies cleared as the plane lifted off, leaving Edinburgh behind and heading for Bergen where we would board the Hurtigruten and begin our travels up the coast of Norway.
We arrived in Bergen with lots of luggage on tow (mostly camera equipment) and a bus to catch. It was a mad dash to the bus departure stance. If we missed this bus we would need to wait for another hour for the next pick-up. On stepping out of the airport terminal with a coach pulling away in front of us I spotted a paper sign on the window of a bus reading 'Hurtigruten'. I jumped out on to the street, waving frantically and looking very much like a man being attacked by a swarm of wasps, stopping the bus in its tracts. The bus doors flew open and a woman glared down at us. I managed to blurt out Hurtigruten and a shoulder shrug, the well known universal gesture of 'it's ok, we're foreign so jumping out in front of a coach is perfectly acceptable and forgivable'. It worked, the driver gave us a beeming smile, hopped out of the driver's seat and proceeded to scoop up all our luggage in a oner (the Norwegians seem to be a strong lot) and stored them in the luggage area. "You were lucky" she said, "the next bus isn't for another hour"!
With the check-in at the terminal done and the ship's safety briefing conducted we were ready for the off. Within moments of leaving the dock we were thrown into a world of stunning colourful houses scattered from the shore line up the hillsides which stood out from the green foliage that blanket the hills and fairytale islands that hide beautiful balconied heavens.
We hugged the coastline as we travelled north venturing into fjords with cliff faces that shot up from the turquoise waters and stretched up like menacing dark forces broken only by white lines of melted water that came crashing back to the sea.
Taking photographs from a boat
There were challenges faced when photographing from a moving / bobbing boat. I didn't have the luxury of setting up the tripod, lowering the ISO to 50 and composing, reflecting, taking a step back and waiting on the light. I needed to be busy on deck and ready for the composition to present itself as the boat turned. I admit there were probably hundreds of missed opportunities throughout the journey where the elements didn't work or I was on the wrong side of he boat waiting on what I thought would be a nice shot when infect behind me the scenery was even more stunning.
There were times when we stopped at little coastal villages for only minutes to allow the Hurtigruten to drop off deliveries and vital supplies. With such short windows for photography I realised that I couldn't risk carrying all my equipment, find a perfect location, set up and take the shot without running the risk of the Hurtigruten leaving without out me. If it did I'd need to fork out a hefty taxi fare to meet the boat at its next stop. So i opted for a more candid, street photography approach. Leaving my Canon DSLR behind, I grabbed the Fujifilm x100s and went in search of photos that would capture Norway life without the typical mountainous backdrops.
I really liked this way of shooting and the Norway streets lent themselves well to this style of photography. So I continued with this whenever the stop was brief and didn't allow time for composition scouting and equipment set up.
Canon 5D MKII