4. januar 2013

The apple trees of Hardanger

Early in June I went for a weekend in Hardanger to follow Rio Yamase, a classically schooled and very experienced violinist, with a large focus on the Norwegian Harding-fiddle.

Rio Yamase with the Hardingfele in Hardanger

  - She is the foremost person on that particular instrument in Japan and her school and her performances generate a lot of interest over there (and here as well).

The above photo was taken during shifting light conditions (fast moving clouds) and I used a Canon 580 EX II speedlight to balance the exposure between the landskape and Mrs. Yamase.

The group consisted of Japanese dancers, musicians and students of Hardanger seam, who were visiting Hardanger for cultural exchange and studying. The program is called Japan Hardanger club .

My task was to follow the group and Mrs. Yamase and document the event. My task was also to create some more formal portraits of her in the wonderful Hardanger Apple-farm fjord-scape, as seen above.

One of the main events, was a concert in the local church, where Mrs. Yamase and her students performed a variety of musical pieces on violin and also on the Hardanger-fiddle.

Mrs. Yamase in concert with students of the Hardanger-fiddle

Attending this event were most of the mayors from the local municipalities, as well as representatives from the business and tourist-trade. 

Mr. Knut Hamre and Mr. Frank Rolland performing

From left to right:
Mika Oga, Masumi Mizusama, Morten J Vatn, Frank Rolland, Knut Hamre, Rio Yamase, Yuka Shiraishi, Atsuko Kumazawa

The low-light conditions of the church was a real challenge, as the max usable ISO on my camera is 1600 (usable....the camera goes to 3200, but that isn't usable).
Though, coupled with the Canon 70-200 f2.8 IS, I was able to get good exposures and sharp photos.

- I really do need to upgrade soon to a camera that have nice/usable photos at 3200 or 6400. I see that the lowest light conditions I normally encounter, demands a minimum of ISO 1600 with a good 2.8-lens, it would be nice to not be on the limit in these situations.

- Flash is never an option for me in low light, even though I know how to balance things, using natural ambiance really creates a nicer atmosphere.

Anyway, later the same day, there was a nice tea ceremony, excellently preformed and explained to the guests (who got to taste as well) and later, Japanese dancers performed in front of Hotel Ullensvang, followed by traditional Norwegian folk-dance groups and fiddle-players.

Miss K. Kuramata performing a traditional tea ceremony for the guests.

From left to right:
Keiko Suzuki, Yoko Wada, Akiko Shirokisawa

Keiko Suzuki performing

Norwegian folk dancers performing
 The main-evening was rounded off with a formal dinner and speeches and a little mini-concert by Mrs. Yamase herself on violin, as a bonfire was lit in the bright, early summer evening.

Rio Yamase performing on violin

All of the outside shots, were shot using my Canon 70-200 F2.8L IS, it just sings in these conditions.

For me, it's always a lot of fun hanging out with Mrs. Yamase and her students and company. I don't speak or understand much Japanese, but it's fun none the less. =)

Here's a video of Mrs. Rio Yamase and her niece, Miss Kristina Yamase, performing on the Harding-fiddle.


And here is some background

Lovely memories it was anyway, fun all the way. =)

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