Photographic stories: "Hans Gunnar Aslaksen - Bokeskogen-fog
I admit, I have a weakness for Nordic civilizations and Scandinavian landscapes. Part of the territory of southern Italy where I live was colonized between the 10th and 12th by the Normans, Norse people originally from Norway and Denmark, who arrived in Calabria from that strip of French land to which they gave the name Normandy.
So my land Calabria has many cultural references (with its ruined Norman castles), and landscape (large forests of beech trees and evergreen shrubs), which is why I notice many similarities in the naturalistic field between the images of my fellow photographers of the northern Europe and the places I visit.
Today I have the great pleasure of welcoming in my blog the talented photographer Hans Gunnar Aslaksen, who like me and all the guests of "Photographic stories" does a purely territorial work of the landscapes in which he lives. I love his elegant and compositionally perfect images, his portfolio is very rich in different images and ranges from great landscapes and great views to the most intimate photography, from the sea to the mountains. In the images of him you can breathe Scandinavia.
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Thank you Antonio, for the opportunity to share some thoughts on my work with your readers. I shoot mostly close to home and I thought a recent image from my local beech forest could be a good choice for your blog. I live in a small town called Larvik, in the south of Norway. We actually got Norway’s largest beech forest here. In norwegian the name simply is Bøkeskogen, or The Beech Tree Forest in english. Despite being Norway’s largest beech forest it is not a big area, only 74 acres. It is an archeological area which is home to around 100 burial mounds. Bøkeskogen is considered one of Norway's most accessible remains from the Viking Age, and it is the world's northernmost beech tree forest. So this forest really got a unique atmosphere in foggy conditions. It is very rare we have thick fog in this forest, so when fog appears it is a “drop everything” moment. And that is exactly what I did this day I took my favourite image from Bøkeskogen. I have visited this forest a lot over the years. It is a popular forest for trail running and evening strolls. I must admit I have struggled a lot to find a decent composition here, as I have found it chaotic and and hard to make sense of. The trunks are very tall and a lot of the branches with leaves are high up in the trees. The trees stand quite close together and it can be hard to get proper separation between the trees. So the key element to make a composition in this forest work is fog. We also had snow that day, so that really helped to make the scene look less busy. So snow and fog is a personal favourite combination in my book. A forest really change personality in foggy conditions. It gets very quiet and reveals an atmospheric fairytale mood. I love to walk around in the forest in dreamy conditions like these. It’s almost like the trees change into fairytale characters. A very meditative experience. After some time walking slowly through the forest I spotted at tree with a low hanging branch with leaves on. I got a decent separation from the trees in the back thanks to the thick fog, and I started to hone in on my composition. I thought that the blue coolness of the fog could work nicely with the orange leaves. It’s no secret that I am a big fan of complementary colours. The ground also had some nice sloping lines, and I felt a bit excited to finally get a composition that made sense to me. Getting an image I am proud of from my local forest I have struggled so much with photographing over the years, feels really good. I guess perseverance finally paid off, and of course it helped that I had the opportunity to be at the right place at the right time. That is the great thing with photographing locally. Meet up when the conditions are good.
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