Made-Up Bits

a personal blog, by Sven Seebeck -

Diary of a Shooting #1 - Hailouto-January 2009

After almost two months of an annoying mixture of snow/rain/ice the weather finally changed to the better and something blue showed up above us. Yesterdays shooting feels still fresh, and at least one strong image came out of it. As the forecast for today was promising me and a buddy of mine decided to head out again.

Last night was clear, which usually means that it get’s cold and the wind is adding some extra chill to the real minus 17 degrees. The plan is to head out to the island of Hailuoto, which is not too far away. But since island also means ferry, the naturally slow transfer on the boat adds another 30min to the tight schedule with the sun disappearing already around 14.30.

The ferry is scheduled for 12 o’clock and from there to our planned destination on the other side of the island it’s roughly another 20min. We should be at location around 13 o’clock, leaving us enough time to explore the scenery. I have been there last time during summer and have a rough idea what to expect there now. In winter things are of course a lot different, but I have a few shots in mind, which with any luck, might work out in this weather.

But plans are made to fail it seems. Usually there should be two ferries going to the island, but for some reason today it’s only one. The other one just lies in front of us in the harbour. Maybe it’s damaged, or the schedule just wasn’t right. Either way, we’re waiting.

In the distance we can see the other boat arriving and we are now already behind our schedule and with a delay of 40min we finally arrive on the ferry to our destination. The sky is blue and the permanently low sun at this time of the year lights the scene with a warm light. What worries me a little is that layer of clouds on the horizon, and I’m fearing that they might end our shooting earlier than expected.

The ferry docks at the island and after another half an hour ride in the car, we arrive at our location. At first sight it seems that all comes together nicely: the sun is coming from the right direction for the image that I have in mind, the baltic sea is frozen as I hoped, but there’s still the layer of clouds slowly creeping around the horizon and directly into the wrong direction….straight into the sun. Now I’m sure that these clouds are going to finish our shooting earlier than expected. Trying to make the most of it, we head out of the car and off to the beach.

The heavy storm on New Years eve seems to have pushed a lot of the ice from the sea straight onto the beach and has formed a rather bizarre wall of ice. Some parts of this wall are man high and make it a little difficult to get past them. The sun is luckily not yet behind the clouds and throws a nice warm light on this wall, turning the ice in a slightly orangy tone.

Behind this wall, the sea has frozen again and since there was no snow afterwards, the surface is plain, perfect for skating, and on some other place it’s visible how plates of ice have been thrown together and frozen to each other. The whole scenery feels surreal.

But the time is ticking. The sun is getting slowly nearer to the clouds, and we have not much time to explore the scene. Attaching and adjusting the filters in these conditions is a rather painful experience, but after a some practicing I get better doing that with gloves. The remote shutter release starts to behave a little odd right now, and get’s stuck. Maybe it’s frozen and after warming it up a little in my pocket it starts to work again.

I get some interesting frames of the structures on the ice, but then sun disappears behind the clouds, and with it, the nice warm evening light. The ice which was bathed a few minutes ago in the warm sunlight turned now to a boring, dirty looking grey.

With the feeling that there would have more to explore out there we return to the car and a warm cup of coffee. But I already know that there are at least a few nice images waiting on the memory card the winter will last a few more months here, so there will be other possibilities.

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