Last month was very special for me, for two reasons. Firstly I made my first trip (North of the Wall) to Svalbard, probably the most northern place in the world I will ever visit. The result – astounding. We arrived only a few days after the return of the sun from the long northern winter so we did only see the sun (through cloud unfortunately) for a few hours. It’s a crazy light here. As Svalbard moves towards the longest day the sunrise and sunset times increase by over 40 minutes per day in each direction. The sun might have been absent but the light (twilight lasts for over four hours) creates a hue and vision that is unlike any other place I have ever been to. The main reason for this visit was to deposit some of my images that I have taken for Hidden into the PIQL Digital Library (refer to this post). It was an amazing experience and I must say, very humbling, to be in the company of The Vatican Library and ESA. A part of me is now forever Norway. In thousands of years these images will still be there, stored in the mine under […]
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Next week I depart the warm summer of Western Australia for my eighteenth (wow, is it really) visit to Norway. Mesna is my first stop and here I’ll be photographing the annual outdoor play and extravaganza that is Birkebeinerspelet. For those of you that are unaware of this magical event, have a look at my previous posts here. My time at Mesna this year is going to be interspersed with a new adventure to an exciting place with a very proud moment taking place whilst I am there. After time with all of my friends at Birkebeinerspelet I will be making a two day trip to Svalbard. For those that are geographically embarrassed about this part of the world, Svalbard is north, way north of Norway and is half way between the mainland of Norway and the North Pole. I knew it was a long way north but it wasn’t until I looked at my flights that I realised how long way north it was – as in a three hour flight from Oslo to Svalbard. Svalbard is 1300km above the Arctic Circle and has polar bears, the northern lights and the Global Seed Vault. It’s another vault here that […]
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Birkebeinerspelet 2018 was performed over three February evenings against the stunning backdrop of Sør-Mesna at Mesna Activities and Accommodation. A resounding success, over 2000 people attended and they were both entertained by the markets and stalls and wowed by the spectacle of a mid winter night time outdoor play. Plans are now well underway for an even bigger event in February 2019. Mark your diaries now – this is one Norwegian event not to be missed. This year I was able to use my new Nikon D850 as the camera of choice and the high pixel count, low noise and superb focussing all combined to help me take some images I am very proud of.    
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Next week I return to Mesna in Norway, to take part in Birkebeinerspelet 2018. The following is an interview I undertook for the programme. Photographer and author Ian Brodie has many years’ experience in the film industry. He has specialised in film location tourism, and has published a number of location guidebooks that showcase the beautiful places in his native New Zealand where both the the Lord of the Rings and the The Hobbit film trilogies were shot. In 2012 he was invited to speak at a film tourism conference in Lillehammer, having never been to Norway before. At the conference he met representatives from the Norwegian film industry including Paradox Film. In 2014 they asked him to be unit stills photographer on Birkebeinerne. The rest, as they say, is history. Ian now spends many months every year in Norway working on a number of varied projects. – I fell in love with Norway immediately, says Brodie. – To me, it was a lot like home, like New Zealand, another Middle-earth, but with a long history and a broad mythology that actually inspired Tolkien. – The people, too, are similar: sensible, practical, reserved till you get to know them, but […]
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During June and July I returned to my second home and families in Norway. What a joy it was to be amongst mountains and lakes in the warmth and beauty of a Norwegian summer. Two weeks in the Mesna area saw adventures with Icelandic horses at the home of Birkebeinerspelet before working with two clients, Eurostop and Hunderfossen. It was also my first opportunity to use my drone in the country, and it was a marvel. The Hidden project is continuing well with some exciting announcements (and a new trailer) coming very soon. The video above is my homage to summer in Norway, along with my love for the vocals of Peter Gabriel. I hope you enjoy it.
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On Saturday I return to Norway. Mesna, Lillehammer, Oslo and Hemsedal are all on the itinerary and I am looking forward to working again with my great friends in this beautiful country. I will be creating more images and for the first time in this country, capturing aerial images and video with my DJI Mavic Pro.
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Being a unit stills photographer on set is one of the most exciting aspects of my work. I love the process of film making and how so many people with just extraordinarily varied talents work together cohesively as a team to create movie magic. Watching a film being created is an aspect few people can experience. I consider myself very fortunate.
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So another wonderful trip to Norway ends. Once again, this country and its people never fails to impress me. It's been three weeks of fun with highlights aplenty.
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Robert Follan
Working with some wonderful people as we practice for the opening of Birkebeinerspelet 2017 on Friday 17 February. Robert Follin is a professional stunt man educated in the United States. He has choreographed fighting for film and theatre, in addition to working as a stuntman and actor in film, television and theatrical productions in Scandinavia. He has featured in Arn, Vikings, Mammon, Bridge, Eyewitness, Fair Game and the movie Birkebeinerne.    
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On Wednesday I return to Norway for the tenth time in five years. It's my second home. Ever since I was a child I dreamed of visiting this country, the landscape and the mythology always played in the back of my mind. It just seemed to be a place I needed to go.
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I am delighted that one of my images has been chosen to be used as a background on the cover of a new novel by Andrew Gross, the New York Times bestselling author of The Best Man.
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A year in nine from my Instagram feed. Looking forward to creating more to share with you this time next year!  
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