Væleren (lake) · Tyristrand · Ringerike Municipality · Norway
My Norway adventure got off to a beautiful start as I took advantage of a planned first night in Oslo to arrange a meetup with Aussie Ryan Ennis in the figurative backyard of Norwegian native Ole Henrik Skjelstad. Both gentleman are immensely talented photographers whom I knew to be stand-up guys, having spent a couple of days shooting with Ryan when he visited the Pacific Northwest in November of 2014, and having exchanged numerous messages with Ole through Facebook on topics ranging well beyond photography.
Ole was kind enough to offer to pick Ryan and me up from the posh Radisson Blu Airport Hotel at Oslo Gardermoen shortly after I landed and take us to the lake cabin he’s made famous through his numerous beautiful photographs of it in a myriad of seasons and conditions. It seems to be a place where atmospheric magic happens far more often than the norm; I know this to be true having struck out more times than I can remember at places like Trout Lake and Trillium Lake in the PNW. Perhaps it was with the cumulative weight of so many null experiences that I tempered my expectations of what we’d eventually find at the lake, and in any case this opportunity to me was much more about the miracles of modern technology that would allow for a meeting of far-flung friends that triangulate the globe to come together so readily.
The hour-plus drive through the impressively verdant Norwegian countryside alone would have sufficed for a day’s worth of great scenery, even if the camera had never actually made it out of the bag. But as it were, it appeared Ole was able to conjure up just enough magic to bring the experience full circle. Although the skies looked discouragingly clear on the approach, some faint cirrus clouds (the correct technical term for which, as we learned from Ryan, is in fact “high clouds”) began to congregate and multiply above Væleren towards sunset, and we were treated to mostly calm waters and nice kaleidoscopic reflections for much of the evening.
Ole went above and beyond as the night’s chauffeur, host, and tour guide, not only bringing both me and Ryan each (each!!) bags of snacks and goodies, but repeatedly offering us his favored shooting spot along the lakeshore. With no pretentions of trying to come remotely close to capturing an ‘Ole classic’, I assured him I was perfectly happy shooting wherever I happened to be, as really there weren’t many bad vantage points to be assumed in such a serenely scenic place. As it were, I’d found myself in a location where I saw the sun peeking out at me between the evergreen trees, and I took it as an opportunity to test out the sunstar capabilities of my new Sony Zeiss wide-angle lens. Not too shabby, I don’t think.
But even beyond all this, the good schoolteacher Ole didn’t even try to correct my repeated atrocious mispronunciations of his given name until I was belatedly thoughtful enough to ask him halfway through the evening whether I was getting it right. How terribly ashamed I was, then, to learn that his name in fact rhymes with my own, rather than what might be suggested by the silly and incongruously Spanish-themed title of this image! Had there been enough daylight remaining, he’d have surely seen my face turn redder than the clouds did that evening.
So my bad, Ole :/ ...and thank you again for an awesome day!