paintings and photographs – Lysekloster in the 19th century

For this “paintings and photographs” comparison I’m sharing my favorite Norwegian painter, Johan Christian Dahl, again. With today’s painting, he shows a perspective of my exact part of the world.

The name of this painting, View of Lysekloster near Bergen, is a bit misleading. It doesn’t show the cloisters (see my post here for that); rather, it’s of the farmland next to the ruins, and its perspective of this area as seen from the farm looking down towards Lysefjorden.

The landscape depicted in this 19th century painting between the inlet and fjord is now full of houses, and the trees have grown and block much of the view where the contemplative woman is sitting. Lysøen is visible in the fjord, although Ole Bull’s Villa hasn’t been built there yet. Beyond Lysøen is the area we see when looking out our windows, beyond THAT is where we took an “unexpected discoveries” walk, and even further out are the islands that dot this part of the world leading out to the North/Norwegian Sea.

Lysekloster and Dahl

Johan Christian Dahl
Visning av Lysekloster nær Bergen
(View of Lysekloster near Bergen)


My walk last week was to try and get to this area and capture a 21st century perspective of this view, but once on the journey I realized that the hiking path turned to the right of the scene in the painting, and with the trees that have grown (and not wanting to walk on someone’s property) I can’t get this specific angle. But I do have several images to share, and — bonus! — it’s the right time of the year; I’m pleased with how the colors of the landscape and the cloudy/hazy sunshine of Dahl’s painting and my camera’s views are similar. What was frustrating, though, is the position of the sun; the reality at this time of year is it was in my viewfinder as I looked towards Lysefjorden. Dahl could work around that a bit better with his paintbrush and talent!

Looking up towards the tree-covered pasture area where Dahl’s woman was sitting two centuries ago

Lysekloster and Dahl


Looking down towards the fjord from the perspective of the right of the painting

Lysekloster and Dahl


Looking at more of the farm buildings from the perspective of the left of the painting

Lysekloster and Dahl


Looking down at the inlet and out towards Lysøen

Lysekloster and Dahl


Missing in the painting are the swans in the inlet. Do the contented goats in the field make up for them … even if they’re not singing?

(Here is where the perspective of Dahl’s painting is located on the map.)

Weekly Photo Challenge: Refraction

For this week’s photo challenge, Kevin asks us to show what refraction means to us.

One of the definitions of refraction in Merriam-Webster states that it could be a “deflection from a straight path …” Do the distorted shadows from these content ducks, taking an early-morning swim in the pool during our Wisconsin Dells vacation back in 2008, fit that description?

June 17, 2008 - refraction


Another Merriam-Webster definition is “… the action of distorting an image by viewing through a medium.” How about a window seen through a delicious liquid medium, pictured here on the enclosed porch of the Kafè Ole B during last year’s Julebord celebration?

November 9, 2013 - refraction


Or the distortion of the trees as seen through one of my glass window ornaments hanging in my home office window?

June 13, 2014 - refraction


Another of my glass ornaments seems to have an internal glow created by the sunlight passing through it, and the refracted combination of that light and the trees; it creates a warmth very appropriate for the heart shape!

June 13, 2014 - refraction


My last image is one I’ve shared before from a Viking and Medieval festival; it represents an example that Kevin gives in his challenge: “… an image taken in a reflective surface.”

June 2, 2012 - refraction


The physics of “refraction” fascinate me. It can change an ordinary, common object to something unique and artistic.

What refractions do you see in your environment right now?

Swans and the Pøyla inlet in Lysekloster

Twice this past week I explored a part of Lysekloster that I hadn’t been to yet. I discovered something peaceful and colorful that we’ve driven by often but hadn’t really stopped to savor other than one quick visit back in February to capture images of the local swan family. You saw a sneak peek of last week’s first visit a couple days ago, and on Thursday I went back to explore the trail that begins just past this Pøyla inlet further in anticipation of a future “paintings and photographs” post. But the vividness of the just-past-peak Fall Colors, and especially the swan family and ducks seeming to pose for their photo ops, almost demands its own post.

So here it is. (Click on an image to open the carousel gallery.)

October 13, 2014


October 15, 2014


I sat for quite a while watching the swan family; their grace is something I can’t get tired of, and the cygnets have grown so much they look like small gray adults. But if you listen at 0:33 in this video, you’ll hear a very tiny “peep” — these large children sound just like a tiny chick! And later I was focusing to take a photo of the ducks as they lazily swam in the colorful reflection and heard a loud noise — and looked over to see Papa Swan taking off for a brief flight, his heavy wings beating the water. I didn’t get much of it, but it’s at 1:23.


I’ll leave you with my favorite image from the set. It was going to be my next Wordless Wednesday photo … but I can’t wait that long to share it!

October 15, 2014 - swan in the Pøyla inlet

I’m glad I got out there when I did. We’re getting slammed with wind and rain over the next few days, and I’m sure all the leaves will be blown away and the color will be gone!

(Here is where Pøyla inlet is located on the map.)

Norwegian commercials: Tine goat cheese

(Commercials on TV can be considered a necessary evil. So many are annoying, but every now and then one comes along that is the perfect combination of product, marketing, humor, and local culture. In my seven years here in Norway there have been several that have captured my attention. I thought it would be fun to occasionally share some of my favorites.)

Today’s commercial, another one from Tine, combines the scenery and jubilation of Julie Andrews’ “The Hills are Alive” (from The Sound of Music), Tina Turner’s “Simply the Best” (including her video’s close-ups of stamping hooves and flowing tails), and a little Goat Attitude (the voice over translation is “It’s easy to think highly of yourself when you make such good cheese”) … and you have a perfectly humorous thirty seconds.

TINE Ekte Hvit Geitost

TINE Extra White Goat Cheese

Time for lunch; I think cheese will be on the menu! :)

Weekly Photo Challenge: Dreamy

When I think of the word dreamy I mentally picture a haze over a specific object. Since one of the definitions of dreamy is “pleasant, peaceful, and relaxing,” I thought I’d respond to this week’s photo challenge by sharing images with different aspects of that haze … and where I’ve also found peaceful relaxation.

In Modalen in 2007, watching the small clouds drift between the mountains and me as I was out throwing the ball for MacKenzie …

Weekly Photo Challenge: Dreamy


In the southern Bergen valley in 2009, when the low-lying clouds filled the valley and I watched the setting sun from my perspective above them …

Weekly Photo Challenge: Dreamy


Here in Lysekloster this past year, with the air and water temperatures creating interesting fog shapes that advanced and receded on the fjord …

Weekly Photo Challenge: Dreamy

… or the late spring or early fall temperatures and sun creating a haze in the sky.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Dreamy


And probably my favorite “dreamy” time, when the rising moon and setting sun mixed with the clouds and created something almost magical, captured both in Bergen and in Lysekloster …

Weekly Photo Challenge: Dreamy

Life is busy. It’s nice to stop and be dreamy for a while, isn’t it?

Bente Haarstad’s “Endangered cows and a mountain dairy”

I recently shared a commercial showing the farms of Norway. Yes, it was marketing and therefor a little suspect, but it was a fairly accurate overall representation of the dairy farming in this country — and wasn’t the scenery divine?!

But how about a real-life view? A Norwegian photographer I follow, Bente Haarstad, recently posted about a specific small dairy farm in the middle of Norway. One of the buildings is from 1765! Her photographs are always amazing and show facets of her part of this huge country that I can’t experience. Her words offer an insight that I understand but can’t intuitively express — I haven’t lived it.

Visit her post. You’ll see an important aspect of Norway through her lens and words: history, yet also present day reality. (While you’re there, explore her other posts to see many other views of Norway!)

Endangered cows and a mountain dairy
October 7, 2014
Bente Haarstad Photography

In the old days, that is untill 1950 or so, the Norwegian farmers were dependent on their summer mountain farms. In a country with so little land suitable for farming, every farmer had to send the livestock to the woods or the mountains during summer. All the grass near home had to be harvested to winter feed. Then came fertilizers, pesticides and modern remedies. The small farmhouses in the mountains were not needed anymore. Some of them just vanished, some are made into holiday cabins, and a few are still used in the old way. Some weeks ago I went to visit a milkmaid who really loves the old traditions: animals eating healthy grass and herbs, and processing by hand the milk into cheese, butter and sour cream.

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