Tuesday, 23 December 2014

A sunny day out at Wanås grounds

It is a December day and the sun is shining. A perfect day for a walk in Wanås park and the surrounding woodlands photographing.

The Park & Woodlands
The Pond
The Art
The Macroworld

Entrance to Wanås park.

Östra Göinge is the Green Heart of Scania and today's pictures from Wanås grounds will give evidence of that. Not only green but colorful in general - and this is middle of December. Mrs T and I had a 3,5 hour long walk on this sunny day. The night had been chilly so the pond was covered by a thin layer of ice that had trapped the green leaves of water lilies just beneath the surface. The frozen surface of the ice formed natural artistic patterns beautiful to watch. This was the first time that we have seen ice on this pond.

We moved on following the tracks and occasionally stepped into the bushes to find objects and good angles for the cameras. Walking in a beech forest is easy and enjoyable. Today the sun lit up the colors and provided for exciting and long shadows everywhere.

The forest and woodlands

Still colorful in December.

 Natures own piece of art - resting on a bed of leaves.

The Sculpture Park

This park is also a Sculpture Park, a home for international contemporary art including more than 50 permanent sculptures. Seems that everytime we come here we find some that are new to us. Some 60-80.000 visitors come to Wanås every year, but today we where almost the only ones in the woods. What can you do here? A lot - read their website at www.wanas.se

A stop by some of the art works. Mrs T and her helicopter performing.

More produce of Mrs. T

We both enjoyed this day. The apparatus that Mrs. T carries does not make up for the state of the art camera, but today this did not worry her the slightest. The result was a multitude of really great shots. Some from the forest and some from the stone walls crisscrossing the area. The wall around the park area, an art work in itself, carry plaques with thoughts of the artist like the one below. 

Humidity allow for moss to thrive on stones and trees alike.

Colors, colors, colors.....

Macro images

Using macro lenses for close up pictures is time consuming so while I do these Mrs. T has the time to wander about on her own finding different camera angles for herself and passing on hints to me for good macro objects. 

Macro features.

Chlorophyll and the color of the leaves

A glance at Wikipedia reminds us of why and how the colors change. From our biology classes we remember that chlorophyll, a pigment, exists in the cells of the leaves to capture solar rays and transform the energy into food for the plant. Therefore leaves are green in the summer. When the air gets cooler the veins that carry in and out the fluids are sealed off and the level of chlorophyll is reduced allowing for other colors to emerge. Certain cyanins are responsible tor the red-purple coloration.

Green summer colors transfer into autumn colors on the ground.

Wrapping up

Wanås Castle and its surroundings.

We are happy to live in a green-blue section of Scania with beech forests, lakes, fields and a shoreline with different seasonal aspirations and changing photogenic opportunities including a mixture of nature, culture and history. Workshops and markets add to the opportunities to experience new things and meet new people - and also to continuously write new blogposts. Hope you liked this hike into the nature. For historical and more artistic reading see our previous posts or visit the Wanås website.

Thank  you for interest in following us today. Tomorrow is the starting point of end of the year festivities. Have yourselves a Merry Christmas and A Happy New Year everyone.

All  the best!


Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Ystad and Church of St. Mary

Ystad in the south of Scania on a grey day.

A long desired first visit with pictures of:
- The harbour area
-The city centre
- Church of St. Mary
- Engelska Bryggan (the Pier of England) 

Christs Nativity Scene at Mariakyrkan (Church of St. Mary)

We have seen much of Scania's countryside and special attractions so far, but some of the larger cities have been left waiting. Ystad has been long on our visiting list so despite poor weather conditions and the fact that days are growing shorter this time of the year now was the time for a first visit to Ystad, a 90 minute drive along route 19 south.

Courtesy: Google Maps.

The Harbour Area

Ystad was a Danish city and mentioned as Ystath in the 12th century in times when the Hanseatic League started trading in Northern Europe. Apparently a trading post for fish was established at the mouth of river Vassa, Ystad (Wikipedia). When I arrived at Ystad harbour the day was not only grey but also very windy by the sea making the tripod shake. Taking a good grip of the camera made both the gear and the photographer feel more steady when resisting the fierce winds. And if it was not drizzling then the stormy waves burst in over the protective pier walls wetting things down. The harbour scene had to be dealt with swiftly! I decided to shoot in HDR to get more interesting pictures that matched the weather conditions, too.

Ystad harbour area with fishing vessels.

There was not much traffic in the harbour on a day like this, but this did not scare off a photographer and a fellow Santa Claus up in the light house. There was someone else with him up there. Looks like they where contemplating on a specific route that would offer the lowest risk for wind deviation.

Flagpoles for the fishing nets securely fastened.

This is the new harbour area where fishing boats and ferry boats load and unload today. On the other side of Ystad is the old harbour pier called Engelska Bryggan (see the last picture). There is also a separate Marina next to the new harbour where you can walk along "Wallanders foot prints". This famous, but fictive, person was created by the author Henning Mankell and describes a police detective working in Ystad. Several films have been released in this theme. In "The Joker" a woman is murdered outside Chez Moi restaurant (in reality Marina's) in front of her daughters eyes. In another, "The Cellist" someone is hiding from Russian Maffia in a boat ending in a violent showdown (wallander.ystad.se). People in Ystad live in a mixed reality with many actual places and addresses now known from the films under fictive storytelling. 


Stortorget in the city centre with a large christmas tree.

This photographer next move into the city centre among half-timbered old buildings, St Mary's Church, the Ystad Monastery and off course the shopping area that is ready for the high season. Wallander is a BIG thing for Ystad, but this Medieval city has much more to offer e.g. in history and art. Nightlife is said to be very active on summer evenings (visit www.ystad.com for details).

Ystad sights and old buildings; Church of St Mary, the monastery, handicraft and art.

A city in christmas decoration. Could a gust of wind now have landed Santa Claus on the roof?

View over the roofs towards Church of St Mary.

Church of St Mary's

Churches in Scania that we have visited are often architectonically interesting and offer photogenic opportunities that can only be appreciated. And off course the atmosphere is welcoming and sheltering. This church originates from the 12th century and is one of the oldest built in brick. St Mary was the patron of the merchants and, especially in the Hanseatic times, served them well when Ystad was one of the most important cities in the region (www.svenskakyrkan.se).

Entering the church. A crucifix of Jesus Christ from the 16th century.

Some of the inventories are medieval; the altar screen, a chandelier in Gothic style, the crucifix and a baptismal font. The pulpit is from the 17th century. 

A decorative view of the entrance.

And above the entrance - the organ pipes.

The altar with seasonal decorations.

Saint Mary's Church of Ystad is a beautiful, beautiful construction filled with this warm seasonal atmosphere on the day of visit and it is appropriate to end this tour to Ystad here with promises to return mor conveniently in the summertime allowing for a closer acquaintance.

Nevertheless I promised Mrs. T to get some pictures of the shoreline as well so on my way back home I stopped at the beaches east of Ystad at hotel Ystad Saltsjöbad. Here is the so called Pier of England where vessels landed until the 17th century. This place is just east of the southernmost point of Ystad called Världens ände or "Where-the-World-Ends". An interesting picture derived with HDR technique allowing for the clouds to come out heavily, too. 

The Pier of England / Engelska Bryggan.

Now, this is not THE season to visit Ystad but this short visit offered a very nice experience and an insight into this mediaval city and what it can offer. For anyone reading Henning Mankell this must be very interesting - to visit all the places where Kurt Wallander has successfully carried out his duties.

Enjoy the rest of the week and the week-end. And remember that Santa Claus has been spotted.


Friday, 5 December 2014

Söderåsen Wilderness

Klöva Hallar

Part of Söderåsen Nature Reserve, a more remote section of it.

A view over Klöva Hallar from the ridge on a cloudy day.

Söderåsen is a ridge, a horst, with Scanias highest point 212 meters above sea level. It appeared about 150 million years ago and has several fissure valleys covered by forest. The visitor centre is on the southern side (near Kopparhatten) and is easily accessible while Klöva Hallar is on the northern side and more difficult to access. It is a new section of the park and was earlier mainly known by the locals, climbers and scouts (Karin / Utflykt Skåne). I am probably one of the more unexpected photographing visitors and certainly thew only one this afternoon to climb down to the valley to photograph the small stream Klöva and the steep slopes.

Söderåsen, Klöva Hallar marked on the map.

To find Klöva Hallar look up the small village of Krika and then follow the signs. No point in trying to find a short cut, I tried only to find out that there is none (across the ridge for example) and ended up washing my car later. You will find a parking place where the easier part of Klöva Hallar begins and where you more easily can move down on the slopes. The beech forest is the first thing you will notice and Skåneleden crosses right through it. The fallen colourful leaves formed an even and soft "quilt" to walk on.

Next to the parking lot - a gorgeous beech tree forest in an autumn dress, leaves fallen to the ground.

I followed the ridge for a while. It offered very nice views over the valley but I soon realized that one has to climb down to capture the stream and the tree covered slopes better. So I returned back across the beech forest and found places to descend from. Mind you, this is not easy with camera gear so take your time and check for good camera angles on the way down. Mind your step, will you!

Captures from above and down by the Klöve stream.

In some places the slopes are 60-70 meters high going straight up and then again down in the valley the situation can be rather cramped with fallen trees and stones all over the place. If you find a path to follow it may only be for a short distance. Moving around here will take a considerable amount of time and effort. The result, however, may be pictures that not many have and offer a real adventure in the Scanian wilderness. There is also no need of rushing ahead as the immediate environment offer much to photograph.

Steep slopes, dense vegetation and Klöva stream. Watch out for sinking grounds!

Klöva stream - wonder how this will be in the summer time with all the leaves.

Klöva Hallar is reported to be rich in mushrooms, lava and moss varieties as well as different insects, birds and bats (soderasensnationalpark.se). The stony slopes are a result of water freezing during cold periods making the rocks on steeper partitions to crack and causing stones to fall down. Besides the creation of a simple infrastructure like parking spaces there are no big plans to develop Klöva Hallar but the intent is to preserve its present natural status.

Vegetation on a tree by the stream.

Views at the bottom of the valley.

It is not possible to get lost in this environment as the valley and the stream will guide you. At some point I felt being blocked by the nature from continuing so I decided to return the same way I had come. Half way up  the slope I was gasping for air and sat down for a rest, called Mrs. T to say hello and check how things are back home. My stomach then screamed for the sandwiches and drink waiting in the car. 

Following Klöva stream.

A bit further and then turn right up the slope.

It is better to sit down and rest for a while when climbing up. Stones are loose so mind your step!

The return back home was planned to go via Gunnarstorp Castle dating back to the 17th century but unfortunately a dangerous mold that easily spreads had hit the 400-year old boxwood hedge and entry into the area was therefore prohibited.

How did you like this excursion to the wilderness - a nice change from the present seasonal markets, is it? Nevertheless, tomorrow you will find us at Åhus Christmas market so stay tuned, will you. Have a very good weekend everyone!


Monday, 1 December 2014

Bosjö Abbey Ambient Xmas Market

A Christmas Market for the whole family included e.g. 
            • Handicrafts and delicacies
            • Music performance in the abbey
            • Christmas present-hunt and barn with animals
            • Art exhibition
            • Exclusive hand made gifts
that lay ground for an old-fashioned, atmospheric Christmas Market.

Bosjökloster seen from the lakeside.

Bosjö Abbey used to be an old Benedictine monastery dating back to 1080 AD. It was closed down in the 16th century and ended up being privately owned - today by the Bonde family. The church still exist next to the Castle itself. There is also a 1000 year old oak that comes into leafe every spring (www.bosjokloster.se). The Castle and Abbey is close to Höör by the lake Ringsjön. They organize musical events, exhibitions, conferences,weddings, parties and offer guided tours.

Bosjökloster on route 23 in the municipality of Höör. Googlemaps.

Having entered the premises we first met with Jessica (Jessie) Johansson that was promoting her CD "Amore". Her musical profile comes close to Sarah Brightman (!!!!) and she has performed with Andrea Bocelli. She is very popular in Asia. When her first CD was released there 10 years ago Jessie unfortunately fell ill suffering from cancer. She still fights for her life and does not want to give up because she values life too much (Kristianstadsbladet 6.5.2004). We are the proud owner of her CD and share her humble vision of life and the musical world. May she find the strength and courage to continue her work and her life. We regret very much having missed your performance!

Jessie greeting Mrs T. Thank you for this photo, Jessie.

Time was a bit scarce this time as we were expecting a phone call from old friends from Finland passing our way driving towards Andalucia. Our wish was to attend the choir concert in the church but before that Mrs. T had time enough to explore some of the handicraft offerings, below. The camera tried to trail her closely in the crowd.

Colourful yarn for new socks from www.butikmaglia.se 

Colorful bags made by Ateljé Quiltabritt. www.quiltabritt.blogspot.com

Wool caps and apples of wood made by Claus & Gunhild Becker, www.beckersgruva.com

Smithwork by Leif Persson, phone 0705-51 08 14, Blossehus Konstsmide.

Like in Hässleholm the quality of the work on display from these family businesses was extremely high and it is our pleasure to promote them. We exchanged a few words with the producers and Gunhild Becker was very mindful that we mention that her husband has produced the wooden apples. Leif is organizing his own christmas market 13th - 14th December and welcomes everybody to his workroom two kilometres from Osbyholm towards Fulltofta. Mrs T ! He also produces chandeliers!

The Choir "Malmö Vokalensemble" and church interior at Bosjö Abbey.

Malmö Vokalensemble was founded in 1998 and has since then performed both in Sweden and internationally conducted by Britt Nessler. Members of the choir are all either professional singers or teachers of music. Their repertoire cover sacral music, from pop and jazz to folk music. This afternoon we enjoyed e.g. a new version of Gläns över sjö och strand and at the end Stilla Natt, Heliga Natt where all had the chance to sing along. A few words was changed with the clergyman at the church that kindly recommended that we also visit the graffiti art exhibition while enjoying a cup of julglögg (or local gluhwine). 

Mrs. T admire the graffiti work.

Colourful and skilled graffiti work, www.size.se  

The producer, Jimmy "Skize", has a long experience from working with graffities. He has worked professionally on outdoor walls since 2003 and continued to develop his skills over time. It does not only take to understand colors and spraying techniques but the skills of the hand and the eye fulfilled a masterpiece. Jimmy also paint on canvas where he also uses paint brushes to finalize all minor details. We talked at some length with Jimmy before we had to head back home.

Thank you Jessie, Leif, Ing-Britt, Gunhild, Jimmy and everybody else for a memorable visit to Bosjökloster Christmas Market. For more information about Bosjökloster read our earlier blogpost or visit their website. Next weekend is reserved for Åhus. Have a great week and take care everyone.


Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Gorgeous Morning Hours in Östra Göinge

New pictures over river Helge passing Östra Göinge, Scania.

A crispy November morning with an early sun.

A November sun over river Helge, at resting place Anilla, Östra Göinge.

Close to Broby village center.

The Nature Waking Up

As described before the route for Mrs. T to get to work follows river Helge and it has become a habit to check the weather conditions before setting off for the office in the mornings because the scenery changes from day to day and can be magical as it was this particular morning. The tripod is constantly in the car but a camera, preferably with fresh batteries, must be brought along. We have not had many crispy mornings, this must have been the second, when the wind screen needed clearing from a thin layer of frost. The cool air created a strong haze that did not clear up until later but it soon, with the raising sun, got so bright that the photogenic opportunity was gone.

This islet seemed to float on river Helge.

Photo editing with Lightroom gives alternative solutions to suit anyone's mind.

Short on Östra Göinge

Östra Göinge is the Green Heart of Scania County and the ancient borderland between Sweden And Denmark but also a region where nature transforms from lovely light beech forests to typical fir-forests with lakes that exist in the south of Sweden. River Helge has been an important transport route and several villages are therefore situated along the banks of it (www.ostragoinge.se). The southernmost wilderness area of Sweden is situated in northern Scania.

Scania and Östra Göinge (Wikimedia Commons)

For a map, if interested, over how river Helge runs you can visit www.vattenriket.kristianstad.se  or use the ready link "Map over Helge Å" on the right hand side -then  choose "Vattendrag i landskapet" and then "Helge Å".

Broby, the administrative centre of Östra Göinge, is situated east of Hässleholm and Knislinge only 8 km's south of Broby. Black Diabase, or Göinge's black gold, is derived from several locations and exported. Other important employers are e.g. Tarkett but now also the new Camp for Asylum Seekers in Broby that has taken over the previously abandoned Broby Sanatorium. Their immediate plan is to receive  500 person and the centre is presently offering employment to about 30 people according to the newspaper Norra Skåne. We are very pleased that Mrs T not only has gained a vital role in the operation of this Camp but also a complete trust of both the personnel and the management. 

Sunrise over the eastern banks of the river.

Birdlife is rich in Scania and autumn scenery include massive amounts of migrating birds.

Photo editing into black and white across the river where haziness is heavy.

The Different Scanian County

It has been said (The Nature of Cultural Heritage and the Culture of Natural Heritage / Lowenthal and Olwig) that the Swedish author August Strindberg once wrote of Scania "...it is a completely foreign landscape for a stay-at-home Swede from up-country, but for a widely travelled person it is a northern French landscape". Geographically it is close to Denmark and mainland Europe and part of Öresundsregionen. Also e.g. architecture and nature differ not to mention the traditional dialect used. Of course Scania is also an agrar landscape with "OpenSkies". Being large scale it offers different challenges from the rest of Sweden. In order to safeguard the uniqueness of the county landscape preservation has become important with e.g. so many fine Nature Reserves formed. 

Breaking up shadows....

....offer a colourful daybreak.

This was another photogenic session over early hours in northern Scania landscapes where nature is rich offering moments of peace to our minds. What an idyllic way of starting a working day at daybreak and getting energized by nature before we sip our first cup of coffee at the office.

A window to the world.

We are approaching Advent Sunday and Mrs T and myself wish everyone a pleasant weekend with some warming gluhwine and other traditions of the season.