Meet the Traveler Volume Three

 Photo: Ellen Svela      Location: Sikvelandsheia, Norway

Photo: Ellen Svela      Location: Sikvelandsheia, Norway

I love the idea of sharing your travel stories and pictures. That is one of the many reasons why I love social media and why I started this blog. I think it is a great way to educate and inspire others but also to be inspired and learn from other people from different parts of the world.

Have you ever seen the northern lights? My third Meet the Traveler  is capturing her northern light experiences on camera and sharing it with the world through her Instagram account. Showing all of us the beautiful Norwegian nature and landscape.

 

First, tell us a little bit about yourself

My name is Ellen. I grew up on the south west coast of Norway. My closest neighbors were my grandparents. They had a farm and when I was little I always used to help them out. Growing up in the countryside I had animals and nature right out side of my doorstep. This has had a huge impact on me and is probably one of the reasons I appreciate and love nature so much today.

I got my first camera when I was 10 years old, and I have taken a LOT of photos through the years. A few years back, I discovered something new and exciting called Instagram. It became a source of inspiration for me, looking at all the talented photographers and their work. So I decided to take my own photography to the next level.

 Photo: Ellen Svela      Location: Høle, Norway

Photo: Ellen Svela      Location: Høle, Norway


 What type of equipment are you using?

About three years ago I bought my first DSLR camera. A Nikon D3200. At that time the camera was affordable, but good for a beginner. I have been very happy with it. I love the standard kit lens;18-55mmm. I also have a 70-300mm zoom and a 40mm lens. I am looking into buying a Samyang 14mm wide angle lens in the future.
 Photo: Ellen Svela     Location: Seldalsheia, Norway

Photo: Ellen Svela     Location: Seldalsheia, Norway


What part of your home country do you love the most, and where would you recommend other travelers to visit?

I would recommend a trip to the west coast of Norway. In Rogaland, where I live, there is beautiful place called Jæren. A vast area with an amazing coastline. You can stand on the shore and look straight out to the north sea. This area has some of the best beaches in Norway. It is a great place for surfing and watching sunsets. This region also has fjords and high, steep mountains. With famous places like Pulpitrock, Kjerag and Månafossen. So if you decide to visit my region remember to bring your hiking shoes!
After spending some time in Rogaland you can drive further up the west coast towards Bergen. I can guarantee you will have the most beautiful, scenic views along the way.
 Photo: Ellen Svela     Location: Sola Beach, Jæren, Rogaland

Photo: Ellen Svela     Location: Sola Beach, Jæren, Rogaland


A lot of people say traveling changes their lives. Has traveling changed yours?

Traveling has changed my life in the way that I get a better understanding of other people, their cultures and way of life. And photography has made me appreciate nature and my surroundings more than I used to.
 Photo: Ellen Svela     Location: Seldalsheia, Norway

Photo: Ellen Svela     Location: Seldalsheia, Norway

 

Where would you like to travel to in 2016 and why?

Everywhere! Hard to choose one place, but it has been a dream of mine to go to China for a while now. This huge country has some amazing rock and mountain formations. Also I would love to see the rice terraces and of course a panda :) 
Right now I'm looking forward to having a couple of weeks in the Seychelles. Fantastic nature, like a paradise!
 Photo: Ellen Svela       Location: Høle, Norway

Photo: Ellen Svela       Location: Høle, Norway



It has been said that by the year 2030 1,7 billion people will be traveling in one way or another. This will affect a lot of places around the world in many ways. How do you think an increase of this amount will affect certain countries as well as your own?

 

My hope is that we as travelers can help the nature and wildlife around the world by supporting the "right" kind of companies/businesses. Being careful and conscious about where we leave our money. Making sure we support people who work for animals rights and taking care of the environment. I really think we have a big responsibility as travelers, to support locals and volunteers. What fun would it be to travel in a world without beautiful nature and interesting animals?

I really wish by all my heart that this will be the trend for the future!

 Photo: Ellen Svela     Location: Gjesdal, Norway

Photo: Ellen Svela     Location: Gjesdal, Norway

 

A lot of people are wondering what is the best way to capture the northern lights. And do you have any favorite spots, or places you would recommend people to travel to, to capture it?

 

A couple of years ago I got this strange, green light on a photo when I was out at night doing a photo shoot. I realized that I could actually photograph the northern lights close to where I live. What a joy!
To capture it you need to have an open view to the north. I usually get in my car and drive towards the sea. Or I head for the mountains to get as high up as possible where I can get a clear view to the north. It is also important to avoid light-pollution from nearby cities as much as possible to get the best pictures.
For your camera use your widest lens and widest aperture. Then set your Iso at 800 and start experimenting with the shutter speed. 5-8 seconds is good to capture the movement of the light, but in certain places you might need to use 15-20 seconds.
Today you can find great apps for your phone that will help you to figure out the strength of the light, and when and where you have the best shot at capturing it.
P:S You always need to bring a bit of luck with you.

My dream is to go to the Lofoten islands and capture the aurora borealis. Hopefully I will be able to one day.

 Photo: Ellen Svela       Location: Bore Beach, Jæren, Rogaland

Photo: Ellen Svela       Location: Bore Beach, Jæren, Rogaland



Any advice to give to people out there who want to become great nature photographers?

I became a better photographer by reading a lot on the internet and looking at peoples camera settings on Instagram. But what has taught me the most is just trying out every single setting on my camera. I never read the manual, and I never went to a photo class. I am self taught and I am constantly learning by doing, and learning by failing. This might not be the right way for you to learn but that is what worked for me. I do most landscape, and it is very important for me to look at the way I compose a photograph. Try to remember to place something in the foreground to kind of drag the viewer into the picture. Like I said earlier, learning by doing and the more you try the more you learn. You will also find photo groups on Facebook where you can ask questions and learn from others. 

To see more of Ellen´s amazing photos visit her Instagram account: https://www.instagram.com/2ellen2/