A new blog

Hello. I am Olaf Schneider, a German jazz musician, web developer and photographer having been living in Northern Sweden since April 2010.

It’s September 2014 and I just started a new blog. The main focus will be the great outdoors in Northern Scandinavia: about travelling, landscape, nature, weather and being outside afoot, with skis or kayak, but probably there’ll be many other articles, too: about swedish culture, events, photography, cute kittens and other bits and pieces. And a lot of pictures because I love outdoor photography!

I hope you’ll enjoy way up north. I’m looking forward to your numerous comments.

Have fun!

For nordwärts readers: why another blog?

Some of you might already know me in person or my German blog nordwärts, where I wrote more than 800 articles and published more than 3500 photos You’ll may ask “Why another blog?”

1. The language

nordwärts is German. There’re many Swedes that can speak a bit of German and understand more than they would admit. But only few of them can read it quite fluently. So I thought about writing nordwärts in German and Swedish. But beside of the increased time exposure writing bilingual I got more and more contact to people that neither speak Swedish or German whether they are from Finland or Dubai. Therefore I decided to write in English. (Yes, I’ll definitely make many mistakes.)

2. The topics

Four and a half years ago my new life in Northern Sweden was all amazingly new and exotic to me: The first snow in October, the Swedish language and culture, the reindeers on the inland roads. But many things got quite normal now. Still I adore my life in Northern Sweden, but it’s not new to me longer. I started writing about playing music on nordwärts or other things that are not at all Sweden-related. Should I write a public diary for the rest of my life? Probably not. Therefore I decided to shift focus away from “my (not so) new life in Sweden” to other topics as mentioned above.

3. Change

I love change. That’s all me!

About the technique

Just a short note about the technique. I have to admit that I was a bit lazy with testing the new blog. It should work quite well but there are a lot of untested combinations. If you find a bug or a glitch or have other problems with the blog please drop me a line. I’ll try to fix the problem if it’s not linked to Internet Exporer 6 or 7.

Thank you.

“Nordkalotten 2015” – The plan

I know it’s not true. But sometimes I have the impression that I travelled more in Northern Scandinavia when I lived in Germany than now where it’s right on my doorstep. I know it’s not true but at times it feels like it would be.

This year in spring I got the idea of travelling around in winter for a longer time, two month perhaps or even three. When I just talked about this idea with my employer, I directly got the answer: Great idea! Do it! That’s why you moved to Sweden! Well – that was kind of easy! And gave me another reason why I love working for Hello Future!

Then summer came and the dreams of snow and winter melted away while we had one of the hottest summers for many a long year. But now it’s September, 24 hours daylight are past and today in the morning the thermometer showed only 1.5 °C. Time to start planning my winter tour which I call “Nordkalotten 2015”. Nordkalotten is the Swedish word for “Cap of the North”, which is the European region around and north of the Arctic Circle.

You see the red ribbon on the map? That’s more or less the Arctic Circle and a bit of the Finnish-Russian border. My plan is to travel north and west of the ribbon and I already have many ideas of places to visit, for example Abisko, Gällivare, Honningsvåg, Jokkmokk, Karesuando, Kautokeino, Kebnekaise, Kirkenes, Kiruna, Lofoten, Nikkaluokta, Rovaniemi, Senja, Sodankylä, Solberget, Tromsø, Vesterålen, Værøy …

Whoa, Olaf, take it easy! The Cap of the North is huge! How many thousand kilometres of winter roads do you want to drive? You won’t see all places in only ten weeks if you want to leave your car sometimes.

So true! Well, as a matter of fact I hardly have any plans at all at present. I want to visit some friends for sure. And then I’ll try to do at least one ski tour, hopefully not alone. The rest? I’m not sure yet.

This is where you get into the game: Do you have any ideas? Know secret places? Have other tipps? Or even a place to stay? You’re more than welcome to write a comment (or if you want to keep it private to drop me a line by email).

I’m looking forward to your ideas.

More planning

I never ever travelled for more than three weeks, two weeks in the winter. Now I’m planning for two month. And beside of which places I want to visit I have a lot of questions in my mind:

  • What do I need for the car in winter?
  • Will the petrol stove work?
  • How much water and food rations shall I have with me in case that I get stuck in the middle of nowhere?
  • How can I keep the laptop warm, when I leave the car for some days?
  • Which equipment do I have to buy that I don’t already have?
  • When will the Samyang 12mm f/2.8 ED AS NCS fisheye arrive in the shops and how much will it cost?
  • Do I need snow chains or are the spiked tyres sufficient?
  • Should I buy a bigger light than my normal headlamp?

And last but not least:

  • How will it be to travel for a long time in winter, partly alone? Just great or will I be longing home to my own bed and my grand piano?

Well, I’ll see.

Two snaps in the autumn morning

Last night we had a clear and starry night above Skelleftehamn. You could even see polar light, a large bow in the northern sky, but it was quite pale and quickly faded away.

Temperature dropped down to -5 °C, the coldest night since springtime. I woke up half past six – just a few minutes too late to catch the sunrise, but I went outdoors anyway. It was still chilly this morning and sky was clear.

To my big surprise there was no ice at all on even the tiniest water puddles. I guess the ground is still too warm to let the water freeze over night. However, when I’m outside I want to take pictures. Two of the todays snapshots:

Photographers comment: Contrasts are quite extreme on these against-the-light-shots, that’s why the sky it white instead of coloured. I should have taken my gradient filters with me for better exposure.