Stavanger, Norway – Round 2

Last weekend a colleague and I spent the day walking around Stavanger.  Not being on my own, I couldn’t really spend the time I wanted to shoot more photos.  I more or less run-and-gunned the best I could.  I can sympathize with anyone who gets stuck with a photographer who loses all sense of time trying to get in “one more shot”.  I’m trying to get better about this by being more engaged with whoever I’m with…  ok, ‘getting better’ is a very subjective term and I may be using it a bit liberally here.  For me, I either have to shoot or leave the camera at home; I don’t split my attention very well at all.

This weekend I’m all by me onesies, making it the perfect opportunity to go back to Stavanger to spend some quality time shooting.  I brought with me an A7RmkII camera with the following lenses:

Minolta MC Rokkor-PG 58mm f/1.2

Minolta MD W.Rokkor 20mm f/2.8

Minolta MD 135mm f/3.5

Upon arriving in the city, I walked down to the harbor where a few boats and ships were tied up.  This old wooden boat and the wooden sailboat behind it really caught my eye.

Sony A7RmkII w/ Minolta MD 135mm f/3.5
Sony A7RmkII w/ Minolta MD 135mm f/3.5

The bow anchors on this ship were lit by the brilliant morning sun.

Sony A7RmkII w/ Minolta Rokkor-PG 58mm f/1.2
Sony A7RmkII w/ Minolta Rokkor-PG 58mm f/1.2

Here’s a color version of the starboard bow anchor.

Sony A7RmkII w/ Minolta Rokkor-PG 58mm f/1.2
Sony A7RmkII w/ Minolta Rokkor-PG 58mm f/1.2

Rogaland is a county in Norway.  Stavanger is the administrative center for the county.  Rogaland county is the center for the Petroleum Industry in Norway.

Sony A7RmkII w/ Minolta Rokkor-PG 58mm f/1.2
Sony A7RmkII w/ Minolta Rokkor-PG 58mm f/1.2

After the harbor, I payed another visit to the Stavanger Cathedral.  Last weekend, it was packed with people which made it difficult to shoot much of the interior.  This morning, however, it was practically empty.

Sony A7RmkII w/ Minolta MD W.Rokkor 20mm f/2.8
Sony A7RmkII w/ Minolta MD W.Rokkor 20mm f/2.8

The side windows bathed the nave in a warm glow of light.  In this image you can really get a sense of the size of those buttresses.

Sony A7RmkII w/ Minolta MD W.Rokkor 20mm f/2.8
Sony A7RmkII w/ Minolta MD W.Rokkor 20mm f/2.8

Forward into the choir, you can see the vaulted ceiling and all of the design work that went into making them.  On the right is a beautiful Mander Organ that was installed in 1992.

Sony A7RmkII w/ Minolta MD W.Rokkor 20mm f/2.8
Sony A7RmkII w/ Minolta MD W.Rokkor 20mm f/2.8

I read about the history of this organ and the challenges the Reil brothers had in designing it and installing it.  If you’re interested in reading it yourself, you can see the story here.

Sony A7RmkII w/ Minolta Rokkor-PG 58mm f/1.2
Sony A7RmkII w/ Minolta Rokkor-PG 58mm f/1.2

I can’t imagine the amount of time and skill required to make such a fine instrument.

Sony A7RmkII w/ Minolta MD 135mm f/3.5
Sony A7RmkII w/ Minolta MD 135mm f/3.5

At the back of the nave is a second, more massive pipe organ.  This serves as the main organ while the smaller organ, seen above in the choir, is meant to accompany singing.

Sony A7RmkII w/ Minolta MD 135mm f/3.5
Sony A7RmkII w/ Minolta MD 135mm f/3.5

A view from the choir, shooting back toward the entrance of the cathedral.

Sony A7RmkII w/ Minolta MD W.Rokkor 20mm f/2.8
Sony A7RmkII w/ Minolta MD W.Rokkor 20mm f/2.8

The white paint of the choir really shows off the structure of the vaulted ceiling.  These supports have held their massive load for 891 years, a testament to their design and the craftsman who built them.

Sony A7RmkII w/ Minolta MD W.Rokkor 20mm f/2.8
Sony A7RmkII w/ Minolta MD W.Rokkor 20mm f/2.8

Tucked away in a glass case is the study Bible of Andrew Smith, a Scottish-born artist who contributed most of the wood carvings found throughout the cathedral.  His ornate carvings were part of a refresh period of the church during the 1600’s.  The Rokkor 20mm lens does exceptionally well with close-ups, allowing you to get as close as 8 inches without an extension tube.

Sony A7RmkII w/ Minolta MD W.Rokkor 20mm f/2.8
Sony A7RmkII w/ Minolta MD W.Rokkor 20mm f/2.8

I liked the way the light through this window got caught up in a spiderweb.  This is one of the uppermost windows in the cathedral – a testament to the resolving power of the tiny Minolta MD 135mm lens.  I paid about $15 for that lens and it remains one of the best investments.  I used it extensively in Malaysia and found it to be wonderfully easy to carry and the results from it are always so pleasing.

Sony A7RmkII w/ Minolta MD 135mm f/3.5
Sony A7RmkII w/ Minolta MD 135mm f/3.5

Another shot made with that lens.  This small shelf hanging from a wall toward the back of the nave held some hymnals.  They had other, bigger shelves full of hymnals so I’m not sure the purpose of the extra stash.  Perhaps for the late-comers 🙂

Sony A7RmkII w/ Minolta MD 135mm f/3.5
Sony A7RmkII w/ Minolta MD 135mm f/3.5

After leaving the cathedral, I had no plan for what else I wanted to do or see.  Aimlessly roaming, I came across the following few scenes.

Sony A7RmkII w/ Minolta MD W.Rokkor 20mm f/2.8
Sony A7RmkII w/ Minolta MD W.Rokkor 20mm f/2.8

 

Sony A7RmkII w/ Minolta Rokkor-PG 58mm f/1.2
Sony A7RmkII w/ Minolta Rokkor-PG 58mm f/1.2

Valberg Tower was an observation point for the city watchmen.  Originally built in 1853, it now serves as a landmark and museum for the city of Stavanger.

Sony A7RmkII w/ Minolta MD W.Rokkor 20mm f/2.8
Sony A7RmkII w/ Minolta MD W.Rokkor 20mm f/2.8

I’ll end the post tonight with this sweeping view of the Stavanger City Bridge.  This cable-stayed, 3,500′ (1,067m) long bridge was built in 1978 and connects the city center to Grasholmen on the other side of the waterway.

The diminutive Rokkor 20mm handled this shot beautifully!  I stopped it down to f/11 in order to get the pier in the foreground in focus along with the background.  I wish I could post the full-size image here so you could see how sharp and clear it rendered the details of distant objects.  Look closely at the base of the main support structure of the bridge.  To the right of it, you’ll see a tiny channel marker sign sticking up out of the water.  It reads, “46”.  You can even clearly see each and everyone one of the vertical posts of the guardrail that runs along the bridge’s roadway.  Excellent resolving power!  I paid $275 for mine.  It has a tiny scratch on the rear element that obviously has no affect on image quality.

Sony A7RmkII w/ Minolta MD W.Rokkor 20mm f/2.8
Sony A7RmkII w/ Minolta MD W.Rokkor 20mm f/2.8

 

I hope you enjoyed the photos and the little bit of information that went along with them.  If you ever have any questions about the images, the lenses, or places, I talk about on this website, please feel free to leave me a comment.  I read every one of them.

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9 thoughts on “Stavanger, Norway – Round 2

  1. Gorgeous shots!!! I love the boat/ship/anchor. The rust, metal, age… Something about all that really appeals to me. These photos are beautiful, what a beautiful place!

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  2. Amazing pictures, Tom- as usual. Did I ever mention how much I love old churches- and in particular, old pipe organs??? 🙂

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  3. Hi Wes,

    You’d be surprised to know how often I think of you when I shoot places and things like this. While I was standing in that big cathedral admiring the craftsmanship, I thought to myself, Wes would enjoy and appreciate this! The quality of craftsmanship that went in to making the components of that organ were just staggering. Perfect joints in the woodwork and masterfully hand-formed pipes. Made me think of the flutes you make and the exquisite finishes you’re able to achieve. Sometime, I’d love to photograph a few of the instruments you’ve made. I still tell people about your work. You and I certainly share an appreciation for mastery of craft.

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  4. I’m honored you still think of me occasionally! I value your continuing friendship more than you’ll ever know, Tom. Thanks for your kind comments!! Yes, the work of master craftsmen is rare- and should be appreciated. Not that I am anywhere near that level of work!! But it gives me a benchmark to try to strive for in whatever I’m doing.

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  5. Keep both 🙂 It’s fun to have a large collection of these lenses. Get yourself a well-lit display case to show them in, and you’ve always got something to choose from when you hit a creative rut. For me, just grabbing a lens I haven’t used much will trigger a period of fresh perspective and interest in my photography. Besides, if we don’t preserve these pieces of history, who will. Some of my favorite lenses I’ve pulled from out of busted up cardboard boxes sitting on the floor in the back of a camera shop. Few people pay them any attention thinking that newer is always better. That’s good for us though because of the low value now associated with them. 🙂

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  6. Hi! Thanks for the photos.
    I’m thinking about Minolta MD W.Rokkor 20mm f/2.8 to buy…
    What do you think about this lens?
    Actually, I can not find more shots taken by Rokkor 20mm f/2.8 in the Web.

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  7. Hi there. To answer your question on the 20mm Minolta, I created a new post with images shot exclusively with that lens. I hope you find it helpful in assessing whether or not the lens is worth pursuing for your own collection.

    Cheers,

    Tom

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