Den store kroppen

Earlier this week I was contacted by performance artist Sidsel Christensen. Last year I did a job photographing her performance called “Christine Schriber utenfor rammen”. This time she had another performance called “Den store kroppen” and wondered if I could take some photos.

Being a little short notice I didn’t get the time to scout the location before hand. It turned out it was a dark room lit only by a projection. Low light and harsh lighting was hardly the best conditions, but it’s all about making the best of it.

The performance, named “Den store kroppen” or “The Big Body”, was a performance art piece that brought the viewers on a journey from a cellular to a cosmic level.

This was also the first time I tried my new Fujifilm X-T10 with Fujifilm 23mm 1:1.4 lens for a job. It was actually a great kit for the job because the 23mm is very sharp at f/1.4 making it a great combo in low light. The X-T10 is also a lot smaller and discreet and more silent than the my Nikon D800. Unfortunately 23mm (or 35 full frame equivalent) was not the best focal length for this job. Most of my shots was either wider, like 24mm, or closer to 70mm.

Despite the low light challenge, it was a fun shoot and a good performance. Check out some of the images below!

Wild Beasts in Norway

A lone musk-ox in the mountains. Shot with Nikon D4s and Nikon AF-S 200-500mm F/5.6E ED VR @ 500mm, 1/1000sec, f/5.6, ISO 1600.

A lone musk-ox in the mountains.
Shot with Nikon D4s and Nikon AF-S 200-500mm F/5.6E ED VR @ 500mm, 1/1000sec, f/5.6, ISO 1600.

It’s only about a month since I got back from my trip photographing bears and wolves in Finland, but chance would have it that last weekend I got the opportunity to go on a second photo trip. A little closer to home this time. The destination was Dovrefjell, a mountain range and national park, in Norway and this time I was hunting musk-ox!

The musk-ox is a big mammal and is typically about 2 meters long and weighs about 200kg. They are herbivore and live in arctic climate hence their wool is about 40% warmer than sheep’s wool! The musk-ox was extinct in Norway, but after some railroad workers discovered a fossil at Dovrefjell in 1913 some people started to play with the idea of bringing the musk-ox back to the Norwegian fauna. After a few failed attempts elsewhere, they released the first animals at Dovrefjell in 1932. During the second world war however, the population died out. They released a new population in 1947, and this population still survives till this day at Dovre.

Photographing musk-ox is somewhat easier than a lot of other animals. We did not need any hides or bait, nor did we have to sit and wait for the animals to come by. Quite the opposite, we had some great professional guides who did research and kept track of where the animals were. It was just a matter for us to load up our gear and start hiking.

There’s a general warning to stay at least 200 meters away from the animals. However, the aforementioned guides knew how we could safely maneuver closer without upsetting the animals. It was all about taking your time. Our group would stay close together and slowly move closer to the animals a few meters at a time, then stop for a while. This way we were letting the musk-ox get used to our presence. We did spend a couple of hours with two animals and they got so used us being there, and realizing we did no harm, they would just ignore us and let us wander about with our cameras. The result was that we would get quite close to these impressive animals!

Photo tip! Get low. It can create a more interesting angle as well as a nice out of focus foreground.