When trying to leave Kristiansund I came across a 5km tunnel that went below the Atlantic Ocean. A tunnel that long is bad enough in itself, but this one also dove 250 meters under the sea, which of course meant a 250-meter climb back up. Even if cyclists had been allowed inside - which they weren’t - there was no way I would ever go in there.
Fortunately there was a bus connection. I sat down to wait. I missed the approach of the first one, and the driver passed by just waving her hands “nope”. Either there was no room for my bicycle, or the way I was lazily eating my sandwich suggested (correctly) that I would rather wait for another bus than hurry into this one.
One hour and several sandwiches later, the next bus arrived. There was barely enough room for a fully loaded bicycle, but with the help of the driver and a random passenger, I made it to the other side of the tunnel.
The Atlantic Road was quite unlike anything I’ve seen before. It's this 8km stretch of road over tiny rocky islands dotted in the ocean between Vevang and Kårvåg. There are eight bridges connecting the islets, and the road has been voted Norway’s "Engineering Feat of the Century”. Which is certainly no small feat in a country with so many astounding bridges and tunnels.
Although holidays are ending, and the peak season with them, there were plenty of four-wheeled tourists around. While waiting for the sunset to begin I saw an older gentleman shooting with a Hasselblad film camera, and went over to strike a conversation. He had been photographing for almost 50 years and showed me a print book of some of his work. It was impressive - he certainly had more skill than I did.
I tend to just walk or cycle around with the camera and try to make discoveries, whereas he was a proper photographer who genuinely thought about light, planned for the best times to take each photo, and came back when conditions were right. With the results to prove it.
Still, he lamented about how difficult it is to gain anyone’s interest with his work. Nowadays everyone thinks they’re a photographer. Without a publisher or an art gallery in your sleeve, it’s challenging to find an audience for printed photos. At least on the internet anyone can publish anything, even if getting noticed can be rather hit or miss. But obviously the online world isn’t for everybody. Sometimes he wondered what the point of all the traveling even was.
I reminded him we shoot largely for our own sake, as the process itself is its own reward. However, I do have to wonder whether photography had originally become this important to me without the benefit of at least a small audience. I certainly think about visibility - probably more than I should. (For example, my interest in updating Instagram dropped quite a bit some months ago when they changed their algorithms in line with Facebook’s, to make it much harder for large crowds to see your posts. With the intention of selling everyone their ads, of course.)
The clouds started to look nice, so I went to find a place for a time-lapse. Around the walkway on Eldhusøya there were a number of other people also witnessing the sunset. Almost all of them had cameras. Everyone was pointing some kind of device or lens at everything. One guy was flying a drone. A young couple tried to get their dog to do various poses for a photo, then used a remote to shoot themselves holding hands in front of the landscape. DSLRs, cell phones, tripods, selfie sticks and flying cameras - everyone’s a photographer.
Was anyone really enjoying the beautiful sunset? Was I? Closer to the water, a burly bald guy was sitting on a rock, smoking a cigar and looking at the ocean. He seemed to have the right idea. Except for the cigar, anyway. I followed suit and sat down.
Okay - be present. Inhale. Feel the soft evening air. Exhale. See the oranges and purples in the sky. Scratch your hand. Hear the waves crashing against the shore. Feel the hand itching quite a bit actually. What the hell? I looked down to see a dozen tiny midges on my fingers and a whole cloud of them homing in on me. Far too many for any kind of mindfulness. The burly guy seemed to agree, as he was walking briskly away from his rock while waving his hands in the air.
I guess you can't always have moments of stillness, beauty and perfection. I finished my time-lapse and left.