Bergen-Gateway to the Fjords

bergen-featured

Our trip to Norway at the end of May has already acquired a dreamlike quality even if it was only two months ago. Revisiting our vacation pictures helps me remember that there are places in the world where the hottest topic of conversation is the weather. And occasionally Norway did make me feel like I was back in Minnesota, not least of all because it seemed all the young folk we met had a very Minnesotan accent in English.

Our first day’s travel included 3 different flights over 9 hours, Tel Aviv to Vienna, Vienna to Oslo, Oslo to Bergen. The last leg may have been the shortest, but thanks to a delayed flight from Vienna, we had 35 minutes to make our connection to Bergen after collecting our luggage for Customs; the boarding gate, perversely, was the furthest from the in-transit check-in counter. A mad dash ensued and, thankfully, both we and our luggage made it.

The older sections of Bergen, or more correctly Bryggen, is where the German Hanseatic League had a trading enclave for 400 years, the main product from Bryggen being dried North Sea cod or Stockfish. The wooden buildings where the fish were processed were in constant danger of burning down and the one housing the Hanseatic Museum was rebuilt after the fire in 1702.

We only had one full day in Bergen and used this guide as a starting point. Fortunately, the older part of Bergen is compact enough that we could cover it in a day.

More to come…

One Image 3 Ways

Gilboa Iris

A week ago we signed up for a free, Friday morning field trip to Mt. Gilboa with the Jewish National Fund. I’d been waiting very impatiently since our day trip several weeks ago to the same area because it was too early and there wasn’t a single Gilboa Iris to be seen. When Friday morning rolled around, we woke up to a downpour with black, thundering skies overhead. A call in to the KKL Forest Hot Line to check whether the field trip was on came back with a resounding yes, but… “it might be a good idea to bring boots and an umbrella”. The further north we drove, the more intense the rain became. It was only as we turned east and passed into the Jezreel Valley that the rains began to subside and blue skies began to poke out between the clouds. By the time we reached the meeting point at the foot of Mt. Gilboa, there were mostly blue skies overhead.

Our first stop on Mt. Gilboa was to a bluff called Mt. Shaul and the wonderful panorama above. Here, too, there were wildflowers blooming everywhere, including some I had never seen before.

But the highlight of the trip was almost a half hour away, on the other side of the mountain, the Gilboa Iris. Once numerous, blooming in stands over a wide area of the top of the Gilboa near the now almost ironically named “Iris Path”, the flowers are now mostly found in a few secluded pockets at the far east side of the Gilboa in an area near Malkishua.

Everyone on this field trip was there to see this flower. Like the majority of Israeli wildflowers, the Gilboa Iris is a protected species. So with cameras and phone cameras in hand, we spent quite some time photographing them from every angle and then walked back to our cars, about 3/4 kilometer away. Once back in our car, I flipped through the photos I’d taken and noticed that my best picture unfortunately included someone’s foot. What to do?!

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Back home and photos downloaded to my computer, I powered up PSE11 and went to work. Every attempt to surgically remove the foot from the photo left me unhappy with the outcome. Then I tried a close crop and to my eye it was the better choice.

I’d really be interested to know how you deal with your photographic near, or even far, misses. Have you taken that “almost” perfect photo that needed more than just a touch-up to salvage it?