Posted by on Dec 16, 2014 in Projects | 66 Comments

Visiting Norway earlier this year as part of our six week trip through Europe was one of the most beautiful stops of our journey. Rebecca and I flew to Oslo and met up with our friend Atle Ronningen, who showed us around the city before treating us to a wonderful dinner in one of the most delicious tapas places in town (thank you again, Atle!).

We had planned to travel from Oslo to Bergen by train the next day, which didn’t leave much time. Looking back, it would have been good to allow at least 2-3 more days to explore the city. Oslo struck me as very modern and yet very charming and I’m already excited to visit again with a little more time.

The train ride to Bergen was a dream. Rebecca and I both hadn’t been on a train since our early teens and were seriously excited about the experience. The whole day felt like traveling through a train table and we had our noses pressed against the window for most of the six hour ride. It was almost painful to not have any opportunity to stop for pictures along the way.

After spending three days in Bergen and visiting the home of Edvard Grieg, we moved on to Haugesund and Bomlo in the southern part of the county of Hordaland. Hordaland has a coastline with the North Sea, but many islands shelter the area from the rough waters of the ocean. The mix of small islands surrounded by water is stunningly beautiful and we spent most of our time exploring the fjords on a little motorboat that came with the house we stayed in.

I think what struck me most about Norway, besides its beauty, was the happiness of people, the friendly culture and the infrastructure. The roads are some of the best you will find in Europe, houses are very well kept and you’ll get the fastest possible mobile broadband connection while scouting in the wild (which feels a bit surreal). I dearly loved the time spent in Norway and I can only applaud the Norwegian people for doing so many things right. I cannot wait to go back.

All color images below were taken with the Hasselblad 503CW and the Carl Zeiss Planar T* 2.8/80 on Kodak Portra 160, all B&W images were shot with the Leica M2 and the Nokton 50mm 1.5 ASPH VM on Kodak Tri-X 400. All images scanned and processed by Richard Photo Lab in California:
































  1. Rebecca Lily
    16. December 2014

    These are so beautiful, Johnny. I’ll never forget being there with you, seeing these breathtaking landscapes and towns and exploring the fjords in our little wooden boat. Those are wonderful memories.

    My favorite images are the rooftops, the boat, the funny little sheep and the black and white of the fjord (second to last image). But they are all amazing and tell a very cohesive and complete story, from the first to the last.

  2. Johnny
    16. December 2014

    Thank you very much, Rebecca. It makes me so happy that you like how these pictures came out. :)

    Norway was definitely one of the most beautiful places that we have visited together, and I will forever cherish the experience. Exploring the fjords together was my favorite too! I love the picture of you holding your Rolleiflex. I think that’s one of my all time favorite portraits of you.

    Thank you for the wonderful time.

  3. Ray
    16. December 2014

    So beautiful, Johnny. Especially those rooftops – I drool for those. Why oh why would you make me miss my Hasselblad with these!? :) Guess that’s payback for the puppy…

    Truly gorgeous work here – I am in so much love with this post. Adding to my bucketlist of countries now. Thanks.

  4. Johnny
    16. December 2014

    Thanks so much, Ray. Glad you enjoyed the post!

    Norway is really worth a visit. I haven’t seen very much of Scandinavia yet, but the experience made me want to go back immediately. It’s such a beautiful wild place. I’m sure you would love it there!

  5. Atle Rønningen
    16. December 2014

    Hi Johnny,

    I have been looking forward to see these and my expectations where high. You exceeded! Really beautiful – be proud! I can totally relate to the pain of not being able to shoot from the train. I drove from Oslo to Bergen a couple of years ago and our journey took 4 hours longer than expected due to my photo stops. :) My girls got a bit frustrated.

    Agree, you two should have spent some days in Oslo so I could take you to my regular places. Let’s plan for that the next time, because you two will be back here? Thanks for the mention. I had a really great time and appreciate our conversation. Say hi to Rebecca for me.

    Hugs, Atle

  6. Johnny
    16. December 2014

    Atle, thank you very much for your kind feedback.

    I was really curious to hear what you would think about these pictures, knowing how beautiful your work is always and that Norway is your home country. So thank you, that really means a lot to me.

    We will definitely be back and I would love to meet up again and spend more time in Oslo and go shooting together. Maybe we can do the drive from Oslo to Bergen together one day. :)

  7. Robert-Paul Jansen
    16. December 2014

    This is wonderful, Johnny! Every time I see a new post from you I think “This is his best work to date”! You’re a true inspiration and can’t wait to take out my Hasselblad again when the light is better.

    And Norway… I told Atle last week that we have been thinking about moving here a few years ago. Although I have never been there I love all that I have seen from this beautiful country. These photos haven’t made me think otherwise. Can’t wait to go here in the near future.

    My favorite photo? I think they are really strong as a set, but my favorite is the fifth from below.

  8. Johnny
    16. December 2014

    Thank you very much, Robert-Paul. :)

    It’s wonderful to hear that you enjoyed these pictures and find them inspirational, that really makes me happy. I can relate so well about wanting to move to Norway… that was my exact feeling from the time we got off the plane. And I still think about being there almost every day.

    I can’t wait for you to go visit there! Thank you again my friend.

  9. Glenn Charles
    16. December 2014

    Truly amazing work with just the right amount of words. The last time I visited Norway was the dark of winter, so now I am even more inspired to return in the light of day. Thanks for sharing!

  10. Johnny
    16. December 2014

    Thanks for your feedback, Glenn! I really appreciate your kind words. Glad you like the pictures. :)

  11. Jakob
    16. December 2014

    You really captured the essence of the Scandinavian country side. It takes me back and puts a big smile on my face. Nicely done, Johnny!

  12. Johnny
    16. December 2014

    Thanks very much, Jakob! That’s very kind of you.

    I can’t wait to go back and see more of Scandinavia. Now that we have visited Denmark and Norway, I’m really curious about Sweden and Finland too.

  13. Sebastian
    16. December 2014

    Hey Johnny,

    I was very excited when you announced this post in the morning and my expectations have been exceeded. What wonderful and lovely images? So excellently composed and beautifully arranged. Your film and camera choice are perfect and I enjoyed every single image. Thanks for sharing this wonderful experience with us.

    Do you mind if I ask some questions?

    First as simple technical question: How do you rate Kodak Portra 160? I never used it, but the colors in the photographs above are so beautiful, I need to give this film a try.

    Second, do you meter for the B&W film as you recommended on Twitter a couple of days ago? This means metering once for the shadows and keep this setting for the session?

    Third and last, did you use your PAC for scanning those films with RPL?

    Once again, I really enjoyed this selection. It is almost like we could travel along with you guys.

    Hope you are doing very well.

    All the best,


  14. Johnny
    16. December 2014

    Sebastian, thank you so much for your feedback. It’s wonderful to hear how much you enjoyed this post! :)

    Of course I don’t mind a few questions:

    I usually shoot Kodak Portra 160 around box speed, but I expose for the shadows (so I’m about 1-2 stops over). I really like Portra 160 in flat/dull light, but it needs to be shot carefully. I’m not crazy about the strong contrast and the overall color palette if it’s shot too bright, so I try to not overexpose it too much. Portra 400 is faster than Portra 160, but it handles overexposure much better.

    You’re right, I meter Tri-X 400 like color negative film because it has so much latitude. I usually meter for the shadows once and then don’t change my settings unless the light changes.

    All of my film is scanned by Richard Photo Lab using my Color PAC. You can reference it free of charge for your own work if you would like to.

    Thanks again for your kind words!

  15. Tom Welland
    16. December 2014

    Great set JP. Good to see some life and architecture rather than the typical albiet beautiful landscape. Atle is a lucky guy!

  16. Johnny
    16. December 2014

    Thanks very much, Tom! Much appreciated. Atle is indeed very lucky to live in a place like that! :)

  17. Jon Wilkening
    16. December 2014

    Absolutely stunning work. The only issue is now figuring out how to visit Norway for my own.

  18. Johnny
    17. December 2014

    Jon, that’s very kind of you. Thank you! I hope you’ll be able to visit Norway soon too. It’s really overwhelmingly beautiful!

  19. Cody Priebe
    17. December 2014

    Makes me want to be there.

  20. Johnny
    17. December 2014

    Thanks very much, Cody! Glad you enjoyed the post.

  21. Giovanni
    17. December 2014

    It’s always a great pleasure visiting your wonderful corner and thanks for letting us enjoy your shots!

  22. Johnny
    17. December 2014

    I’m glad you like the pictures, Giovanni! Thanks very much for your feedback.

  23. Stephanie
    17. December 2014

    It sounds like the perfect getaway, and your images are stunning – as always. I saw this first on my phone through Feedly but came to my computer so I could see them full size. Thank you for sharing them on your blog!

    I would have struggled not being able to hop on and off the train too! That said, there’s something good about not being able to take photos sometimes – it makes me appreciate the moment more when I know I can’t document it.

    I would love to visit Norway. There are lots of places I’d love to explore, but Scandinavia is at the top of my list because of the landscapes.

  24. Johnny
    17. December 2014

    Thank you for your kind works, Stephanie.

    I completely agree with you, Norway is the perfect getaway. If you need a couple of days away from it all, that would be the place to go. It’s very tranquil and peaceful.

    You’re right, sometimes it’s good to just make memories and leave the camera at home. Rebecca and I both do that a lot, even when we travel. But the train ride was difficult… ;)

    I would be happy for you to visit Scandinavia. It’s really worth exploring!

  25. David Mantripp
    17. December 2014

    Totally cool, in every sense of the word. Has me pining for the fjords… (sorry, somebody had to get that in…)

  26. Johnny
    17. December 2014

    Haha! Thank you, David!

    I don’t have a clever comeback, but I’m happy to hear you like the images. ;)

  27. Urban Hafner
    17. December 2014

    Those are really amazing shots, Johnny. They capture Norway (and the whole of Scandinavia) quite well!

  28. Johnny
    18. December 2014

    Urban, thank you for your kind words and your feedback.

  29. Jade Sheldon-Burnsed
    18. December 2014

    Norway looks so peaceful through your lens…

  30. Johnny
    19. December 2014

    Thank you very much, Jade. It is very peaceful and very pretty.

  31. Antoine
    19. December 2014

    Hi Johnny,

    A lot of (very) good shots there, as always. :)

    These ones really fit well together and make it easy and enjoyable for us to travel through your lens. 1307 is simply brilliant, so many (perfect) things in there…

    So, thank you very much to make us travel each time you release a new set.

    All the best,


  32. Johnny
    20. December 2014

    Antoine, thank you very much. It’s wonderful to hear that you enjoyed these pictures and have a favorite. Shooting in Norway was a very interesting experience.

    I hope you are good. We need to catch up in person soon! :)

  33. Riley
    20. December 2014


    These photos were a real treat to study. You have captured my day dreams of what I envision Norway to be. Definitely a place I pine to travel to.

    Excellent work, my friend.

  34. Johnny
    21. December 2014

    Thank you so much, Riley. I really appreciate your kind words.

    Norway felt in many ways how I always pictured Canada. I think there are many similarities in regards to the landscape, but still both places have their very own feel and culture.

    I’m excited for you to visit Europe next year!

  35. Justin Mullet
    31. December 2014

    This is a wonderful post! I found your blog from a mention by Robert Paul Jansen on a blog post about his Hasselblad. Very inspiring and makes me want to go ahead and invest in film equipment. Would love to learn.

  36. Johnny
    31. December 2014

    Justin, thanks very much for your kind feedback. :)

    I’m happy to hear you enjoyed these shots. I would like to encourage you to just try shooting film. You don’t need expensive camera equipment to get decent results. Depending on the digital equipment you already own, you might be able to even use your lenses on a film body.

  37. Björn
    1. January 2015

    Stunning impressive photos of a very nice country. Well done!

  38. Johnny
    1. January 2015

    Thank you for your kind words, Björn! Glad you enjoyed this post! :)

  39. Daniel Balteanu
    1. January 2015

    Stunning photographs and locations. I went to Oslo a few years back around the month of March. I visited Oslo and every corner of it by foot. Also the fjords. Loved it however I don’t have any shots on film only digital.

    Nice to see your photographs. A very nice reminder of my trip. Happy New Year to you and your loved ones and a fruitful year.

  40. Johnny
    2. January 2015

    A very Happy New Year for you too, Daniel!

    Thank you for your kind feedback. Exploring Norway by foot sounds like a great adventure! I would have loved that. I think the next time we’re back we need to go hiking for longer and spend even more time in nature.

  41. Jenni Kupelian
    6. January 2015

    I love the blades of grass bowing to the little mushroom. Gorgeous images as always, thank you for sharing!

  42. Johnny
    7. January 2015

    Jenni, thanks very much for your kind words!

  43. Virginia
    8. January 2015

    Two days ago I discovered your blog while googling the how-tos of medium format film and haven’t left. You have the most beautiful photos and helpful articles with your easy, relaxed style. Thank you for your time and wisdom… and gorgeous photos!

  44. Johnny
    8. January 2015

    Thank you very much, Virginia! I really appreciate your feedback and it’s wonderful to hear you enjoyed my work so much. :)

  45. Richard
    13. January 2015

    Absolutely amazing, so much life in these images. Great inspiration, thank you.

  46. Johnny
    14. January 2015

    Richard, thanks very much!

  47. Jennifer Morton
    23. January 2015

    I’ve popped in several times to read your articles on film. How heart-warming it was to see these photographs of a country I love so much. My mother immigrated from Norway to the US in the late 40s. She and my dad, now retired, spend every summer there on the west coast not terribly far from where you were on Halsnøy. I actually paused at the white fishing house on the water because it looks exactly like my cousin’s. I suppose there are more than one of those on the coast. ;)

    Norway is so green and wild and raw and pristine. These photos describe it perfectly. We will take our children there this summer for the first time and I am over the moon excited. Perhaps the trip will give me an excuse to get off the fence and buy a film camera. Thanks so much for sharing these lovely images. Then I can share some of my own images with you and Rebecca. :)

  48. Johnny
    23. January 2015

    Thank you so much for your kind words, Jennifer.

    I agree with how you feel about Norway. It’s so beautiful, wild and untouched – I can’t wait to go back either. I’m sure your children will love it there.

    You should buy a camera before you go and use the opportunity to shoot some film. Please share your images when you’re back! :)

  49. Robert
    7. February 2015


    Lovely to see these. I know Bergen reasonably well, and what I really enjoyed was the way your images immediately resonated with my memories. Not only those of familiar spots, but the colour and shapes.

    Interesting to see a different colour palette (particularly in the skies) from your Mediterranean work.



  50. Johnny
    9. February 2015

    Thank you very much for your kind feedback, Robert.

    You are right, the color palette and light in Norway are very different compared to Italy or France. I shot a different film there to capture the mood a little better. I’m glad to hear you’ve noticed familiarity and enjoyed it!

  51. Constantin
    22. February 2015

    Such great captures!!!

    Maybe the little sweet sheep thinks “um, I wonder why he is shooting film these days??”. Such a perfect moment! :)

  52. Johnny
    23. February 2015

    Thanks very much, Constantin!

    I’m glad that you enjoyed that shot so much. It really made me laugh too, he seemed very curious and interested. Usually sheep act a little more skittish. Or at least indifferent. ;)

  53. Liam
    23. February 2015

    Really nice shots Johnny, I have always wanted to visit the Scandinavian countries.

    I will be traveling to the Amalfi Coast this summer and along with shooting digital I will be shooting some Portra 160.

    I know you favor Portra 400 but with Portra 160, do you think I will be able to achieve the bright and airy results you talk about in “The Secrets of Richard Photo Lab” blog post? For example if I were to shoot at ISO 100, meter for shadows and get my lab to density correct “+2” stops?

    Best regards.

  54. Johnny
    23. February 2015

    Liam, thanks very much. I’m happy you enjoyed the post!

    It’s generally possible to achieve a bright and airy look with Portra 160, but I would be careful. Portra 160 gets very contrasty and saturated quickly.

    I prefer Portra 400 in bright conditions because it has significantly more latitude, slower emulsions like Portra 160 don’t handle overexposure as well. For a bright and airy look and a location with a lot of sun I would therefore shoot a different film. I’ve shot Portra 160 in Provence a while back and didn’t overly like how it came out.

    But that’s all my personal preference. If you prefer Portra 160 and love the look of it, you would approach it exactly like you’ve mentioned (rate it at 100 and meter for the shadows, then density correct accordingly).

  55. Liam
    27. February 2015

    Thanks for the advice Johnny.

    I went down my local marina in the week and spot metered for the shadows. Although I found my shots to be very inconsistent in terms of exposure (some scans came out bright and airy, others were very dark and contrasting whilst many were blowing highlights). I’m thinking of investing in an incident meter.

    However, if I persevered with TTL metering and multi-spot metered both the brightest and darkest parts of the scene would this give me an accurate mid tone and good baseline exposure (assuming the scene’s contrast is within the latitude of the film) to then compensate +1 for shadows thereafter? Also would this be a consistent approach from scene to scene?

    Best regards.

  56. Johnny
    28. February 2015

    Thanks again for your feedback, Liam.

    Your metering method would work for most scenes, but it’s a lot more complicated than necessary. If you shoot color negative film you can just use an incident meter and meter for the shadows (have a look here). Let the latitude of the film take care of the highlights.

    If you got blown out highlights in a film scan, it’s very likely the scan and not your exposure. Be careful not to judge exposure by a scan. I would recommend to review your negatives instead.

  57. Tim
    16. April 2015

    Hello – late comment, I know, but I just came across your journal and wanted to say thanks for putting your thoughts and great images out for others.

    I’m getting a Hasselblad 500 w/ 80mm, and can’t wait for it to arrive – I’ve always wanted to shoot with one, and it was your images that finally got me to go ahead and find one… thank you for the nudge! I decided to comment on this post (even though it’s not the most recent) because I love this was the set of photos that was the final push.


  58. Johnny
    17. April 2015

    Tim, thanks so much for your feedback.

    It’s wonderful to hear that, really. I always appreciate if someone takes the time to leave a comment and it makes me happy that what I share here sometimes inspires other people.

    I’m sure you’ll enjoy your new Hasselblad a lot. It’s a wonderful camera and I love shooting mine! :)

  59. Lauren
    19. June 2015

    Hello! I started following your work through Ray Larose (the internet rabbit hole strikes again!) who has become something of a friend and adviser to me. I’m a new film shooter, and I’m soaking up everything I can along this journey. I’m also new to RPL and find the prospect of picking a Color PAC quite daunting!

    I’m ALSO headed to Sweden for about two weeks next week with a pile of P160 in my B&H cart, and seeing your lovely images here has reinforced that decision. Not sure I’ll quite make photos quite this lovely during our trip, but I’m glad to know that my instincts on film stock was trending right.

    Cheers! Lauren

  60. Johnny
    19. June 2015

    Thank you for your kind comment, Lauren.

    I’m glad to hear you’re getting into film and are right away working with one of the best labs in the world. You will love the results RPL delivers! You don’t have to pick a Color PAC for your work, you will get very good results without one. If you’re interested to read more about the process at Richard Photo Lab, have a look here if you like.

    I completely agree with you about your film choice for Scandinavia. For anything sunny I would always prefer Portra 400 over Portra 160, but for Sweden Portra 160 sounds like a good choice.

    Have a great trip!

  61. Lauren
    25. June 2015

    Oh, hi! I so appreciate your taking the time to respond to comments. We leave tomorrow so the week has been hectic, at best! I have a load of Portra ready to ship to RPL before we go… maybe I’ll try your Color PAC? ;) I know the consistency helps loads.

    I’m learning so much from you and Ray, even if it’s just absorbing your work. Maybe I can make it to a workshop next. Again, thanks! :)

  62. Johnny
    26. June 2015

    Thanks for your reply, Lauren.

    Please feel free to use my Color PAC for your own work if you like. It would be great to meet you at NYCWLK down the road, I’m sure you would enjoy that.

    Thank you again for stopping by! :)

  63. Monica
    17. August 2015

    Wow, such artistic and wonderful pictures… you have incredible sensitivity in your heart and mind.

    Which kind of lens did you used to make these pictures?

    Love your style, Johnny!



  64. Johnny
    18. August 2015

    Thanks very much for your kind feedback, Monica.

    I used a Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm lens on my Hasselblad and a Nokton 50mm lens on my Leica. I’m happy to hear you liked the pictures!

  65. Krystian
    14. July 2016

    I love your work. Your work is gorgeous.

  66. Johnny
    15. July 2016

    Thank you so much, Krystian!

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