Photographing at Råbjerg Mile

Just returned from a week long vacation and photo trip to Skagen in the northern part of Denmark. I have always been fascinated and inspired by extreme landscapes and the coastal dune Råbjerg Mile is such a place. It's not the Namibian desert, but just as beautiful and difficult to photograph! I am sure that most Danes know of Europe's largest dune, located close to Skagen in the northern part of Jutland - a huge playground for kids of all ages!. Råbjerg Mile is in the middle of a magnificent and varied landscape that is constantly changing along with the dune, that is pounding down everything in its path. The place is full of magic, the light is fantastic and you feel small, in this inhospitable environment.

Today the great dune of Råbjerg Mile is left as a monument for future generations to understand the problem of sand dune drift. The sand at Råbjerg Mile is sprinkled with "stardust" or rather heavy sand, which gives a varied patterns and in some places a beautiful surface that resembles marble. I think I've got a great and diverse collection of images with beautiful light, strong compositions in this extraordinary landscape, just a 3 hour drive from my home. The area is an internationally important staging site for migrating birds. In early May the sky is full of birds, on their migration to Northern Scandinavia. I saw cranes every day, hundreds of buzzards, falcons, owls and an White-tailed eagle, and many other exciting birds, I usually don't see back home!

Råbjerg Mile is the largest moving parabolic dune in Northern Europe with an area of around 1 km² and a height of 40 meters. The dune contains a total of 4 million m³ of sand and the wind moves it in a north-easterly direction. The dune leaves a low, moist layer of sand behind it, trailing back westwards towards the sea of Skagerrak, where the Mile originally formed more than 300 years ago. Sand drift may have occurred for several reasons: First, there was a transition to cooler climate (called "the little ice age") and it meant that the sea pulled back, adding more sand beach, and its partly man-made with a more intensive use of livestock and peat cutting.

The central area of the Mile was purchased by the State in 1900, and after the Conservation of Nature Act in 1917 further surrounding areas were purchased. While the majority of dunes were stabilised by planting, the Råbjerg Mile was left for future generations to understand the problem of sand dune drift. (Wikipedia)

Selfies, Råbjerg Mile, Great Sand Dunes of the North Sea Coast, Denmark, May 2016

Spring is Here - Maybe!

The weather at the moment is quite miserable!. Rain, hail and snow are terrorizing us, combined with low temperatures and a strong wind, it seems that spring is far away. Last Friday, I photographed these images of fresh green beech leafs. That day was really beautiful, with almost clear skies and pleasant weather; in contrast to the weather, we encounter at the moment.   

(Nikon D750, Zeiss T* 25/2 Distagon and Zeiss T* 135/2 APO Sonnar, iso 100, handheld)

Spring in Black and White

Fresh from my camera, this afternoon I photographed these impressions of spring, in black and white. The white Wood Anemone flowers are perfect in monochrome, they give great contrast to the landscape in the forest at the moment!.

(Nikon D750, Zeiss T* 25/2 Distagon and Zeiss T* 135/2 APO Sonnar, iso 100, handheld)

Sand and Stones

Explore the beach and you'll find lots of stuff to photograph, just keep your eyes open and you'll find patterns and exciting details - like the images in this collection!. These images are photographed on the island of Anholt, which has some of the cleanest beaches in Denmark. Stones forms random patterns on the beach, a wonderful assortment of sand and stones with different sizes, shapes, colours and patterns. The variety is easily discovered, when the stones are wet; I saw the colours of the stones on the sandy beach and I just had to stop, to photograph the beautiful simple compositions.

 (Nikon D750, Zeiss T* 50/2 Makro-Planar, Zeiss T* 21/2,8 Distagon, iso 100, handheld)

The first Wood Anemone

When I started taking photography seriously, more than twenty years ago, closeup and macro photography, were my main interests and I invested all my time in making images of plants. The past years, I have not done much macro work, to my regret!. It is an exciting universe, getting close to nature, and you don't have to travel far to get interesting images. These Wood Anemones and mosses with sporophytes, are all photographed in one square metre on the forest floor, not far from my home. For this kind of work, I truly love the flip-screen on my camera; it's so easy, to focus and compose, comfortably, without getting your face in the mud.

(Nikon D750, Zeiss T* 100/2 Makro-Planar, iso 100, handheld)

Like a Drawing

The weather yesterday, was rather nice, almost to good to make interesting images. The sound of spring was strong, at least five Skylarks, delivered their extravagant songs, in hovering flight; these melodious sounds are a sure indicator of spring!. On the fields near the fjord, many hundreds of Whooper swans and Barnacle geese, were making their own distinctive sounds. I could hear them, long before I saw them, they saw me - and many flew away. I decided to make some panning shots, unfortunately the flew in the wrong direction, but luckily I got a few images, that I'm satisfied with.

(Nikon D750, Nikkor PF 300/4 VR, Nikon TC-14EIII, auto iso, handheld)

Ice Crystals

I photographed these ice crystals, on a snow-bank in the hills of Rebild, five weeks ago. In mid January we had some very cold nights, with temperatures hitting minus 15°C. The sparkles you see, coming from a field of snow, are often reflections off the facets of surface hoar crystals. Surface hoar typically forms, when a snow-bank warms up during the day and is then cooled again overnight. The night air cools the surface of the snow-bank more than the inside, so that water can evaporate from inside the snow-bank and crystallize on the surface. By morning, the snow-bank is covered with a layer of ice crystals, and they can be quite large. These usually melt again once the sun comes up, so the best time to find surface hoar is early in the morning. (Snowcrystals

COPYRIGHT © 2016 Jesper Tønning Photography

COPYRIGHT © 2016 Jesper Tønning Photography

COPYRIGHT © 2016 Jesper Tønning Photography

(Nikon D750, Nikkor PF 300/4 VR, Zeiss T* 50/2 Makro-Planar, iso 100, handheld)

Winter Light

Photographing during the winter-time, gives some great experiences and images. The light is special, the ice gives nice patterns and the birds are much easier to photograph in great light and beautiful landscapes.  

(Nikon D750, Nikkor PF 300/4 VR, auto iso, handheld)

Seagull's Flight

A month ago, I was at the fjord, photographing seagulls in the twilight. I arrived late and the magic winter sun, had set. I was in pastel colour territory, something I don't mind at all!. My original plan was to photograph Whooper swans, but there were non, but I could hear them on the other side of the fjord. I found a group of Seagulls, that were sitting on the ice, near the beach, I decided to stick with them and concentrated my efforts, in making "motion-artsy" bird shots. Here are my favourites from that afternoon. 

(Nikon D750, Nikkor PF 300/4 VR, iso 100, handheld)

Icy Reflection

Photographed exactly a month ago today, I really like the feel of this image. Panning in dim light, can be very tricky and often, you'll never know, if the image is something special, or just something to be buried in the archive. This shot, has got it!, I think; the body of the bird is sharp and the wings are in motion, combined with an artsy background and magic light.     

(Nikon D750, Nikkor PF 300/4 VR, iso 500, handheld)

A Silent Year on the Blog

Well, after a lengthy silence and period of apparent inactivity, it seems appropriate to post a collection of images, letting the world know, that I've actually been out doing some photography in 2016.

I have been thinking a lot, about what to do with my photography, blog and website, and I've been very close to deleting this blog, but decided to keep it, after all. I have simplified my social sites and now I will concentrate my spare time, on photography, like in the old times. 

This set of Whooper Swan images, are photographed, during a 14 second sequence, last Thursday. (The last image, is made twelve minutes later!.) I decided to make the collection in black and white, to make the images more graphic - the white, majestic birds, in their environment near Mariager Fjord.

I will update my blog, frequently in the future, and show images from the past year... so stay tuned!!! 

(Nikon D750, Nikkor PF 300/4 VR, Nikon TC-14EIII, auto iso, handheld)

A Mild Winter

A few days ago, we entered the month of March and the winter has ended here in Denmark. We might still get frost and light snow, but the sun is already very strong and winter weather won't last long now. The winter of 2014/15 was very mild and wet, and it only had 27 days with frost; In fact it was the the 7 wettest and the 13 warmest winter measured since 1874 (DMI).

(Nikon D610, Zeiss T* 21/2,8 Distagon, iso 100, handheld)

Water Lily Frozen in Time

Plant pictures don’t have to be photographed in exotic locations to be interesting, I found this motif in our garden pond. Fine crystals of snow on the ice and a water lily frozen in time. I think this image is appealing, despite that I only photographed it in the garden.

(Nikon D610, Zeiss T* 135/2 APO Sonnar, iso 160, handheld)

Ice Sphere

When you're photographing, sometimes you can explore new worlds in nature, like an astronomer finding a new planet in space - a photographer can find new worlds through the camera lens; in this case a large air bubble trapped in the ice, creates an interesting sphere with a nice pattern.  

(Nikon D610, Zeiss T* 135/2 APO Sonnar, iso 100, handheld)