Norwegian commercials: TV3 Norway

(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.)

Last time was a loudly confident goat.

This week is a quietly confident cow. The fourteen second branding spot for TV3 Norway makes me laugh every time.

TV3: Lett å like

TV3: Easy to like

A cow with a flower-and-fruit hat? Modestly self-assured, with a little personality thrown in. Good branding for a TV station!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Cover Art

For this week’s photo challenge, guest host Pete asks us “… to stimulate your creative process and imagine which of your images you would like to see gracing the cover of a book, an album, or a magazine … The cover art can be a simple image, or, if you’re looking for a more technical challenge, you can add elements like (a) title … The main points here are to dig a new creative well and to have fun while doing it.”

I played around with a couple of my images with the idea of creating a specific Norwegian composer’s album cover — Ole Bull or Edvard Grieg, anyone?! — but decided to focus on this beautiful country instead, manipulating a favorite image from my oldest daughter’s visit in 2010 and adding an appropriate title with a font based on ancient runes.

Weekly Photo Challenge -- Cover Art

Book or music album, photograph or manipulated image, it really doesn’t matter. Norway shines any way you look at her!

up close and personal with a Kjøttmeis

I’ve mentioned before that we feed the area birds, several species of which are a new type for me as they aren’t a part of the North American bird life. One group in particular that is new are “Kjøttmeis” (“Great tit” in English); small and energetic, their personalities are fun to watch.

From Wikipedia: The great tit is a distinctive bird, with a black head and neck, prominent white cheeks, olive upperparts and yellow underparts, with some variation amongst the numerous subspecies. It is predominantly insectivorous in the summer, but will consume a wider range of food items in the winter months, including small hibernating bats. Like all tits it is a cavity nester, usually nesting in a hole in a tree. The female lays around 12 eggs and incubates them alone, although both parents raise the chicks. In most years the pair will raise two broods. The nests may be raided by woodpeckers, squirrels and weasels and infested with fleas, and adults may be hunted by sparrowhawks. The great tit has adapted well to human changes in the environment and is a common and familiar bird in urban parks and gardens.

Kjøttmeis locations

Kjøttmeis locations in red

They visit our feeder several times a day, and are usually in a group of three or four — or a whole flock of ten or more. This autumn I’ve noticed one that is a little more aggressive than the others; it always lands with its wings outstretched and quivering, frightening off the others so it can get to the seeds first. One often flies towards our big window, hovering in front of it and then alighting on the gutter and, hanging upside down, peeking at its reflection or us inside.

We’ve also experienced something else this year for the first time. As I wrote to Alan, a bird photographer blogger I follow, three times in the last month one of them (perhaps the one hanging upside down seeming to peek in?) has flown into the house through the open sliders. I doubt it’s the same bird … but, the second time I caught it to release it outside, it sat on my finger for a moment before flying off — as if it recognized me and trusted. And a week ago, after I caught it and gently carried it outside in my cupped hands, it sat in my hands for about sixty seconds after I opened them. It stopped panting in fright, and seemed to be really *looking* at me as I talked to it. Maybe it was the same one as before? I finally had to say, ‘that’s it, time to go!’ and gently spread my hands apart so it would fly off.

I felt so honored!

Here’s a fuzzy, quick capture of the panicked look the first time it visited …

September 15, 2014 - kjøttmeis

I haven’t taken the time to photograph it/them the next two times; I’ve just wanted to capture it quickly and release it before it hurt itself slamming against the windows trying to get back outside.

And here are images of them from the past year in their natural environment — outside, flying to the feeder, enjoying the seeds and sunshine, fluffed up against a dreary day’s cold and snow, and being in nature as wild birds are meant to be!

2013 and 2014 - kjøttmeis

A recording of their song is here. I have heard this … but what I hear more often is their chittering and chattering at us when we’re outside — almost as if they’re demanding we go get the seeds and feed them! :)

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.)