Görvälns nature reserv
There are plenty of nature reserves in and around Stockholm that are well worth a visit. There is also a national park in Vendelsö located just southeast of Stockholm. The nature in these areas is very varied with everything from archipelago landscapes to magnificent oak forests. So if you are planning to visit the Stockholm area for a photography trip then you have a great chance of finding an area you will like. In this article I will focus on Görväln nature reserve located in Järfälla municipality just north of Stockholm.
The nature reserve is a reserve that extends along the shores of Lake Mälaren from Hässelby to Kallhäll. The area has an approximately 8 km long coastline along Lake Mälaren and covers an area of about 9 km2. The nature consists of a mixture of cultivated farm land and aged conifer as well as deciduous forest. The area is very pleasant and invites to quiet walks along side Lake Mälaren. In the summer there is the opportunity to swim in the area and bathing jets are located in a number of different places. Along the coast you can see how beavers have gnawed at the trees and over time have also managed to fell a number of trees. In essence, the beach is lined with trees, which means that traditional seascape pictures with sweeping cliffs are not as common. However, there are other possibilities where water can be a big part of your composition.
On the occasions I have visited the area I have been able to photograph felled trees that have drifted ashore as well as interesting stones and small rocky shorelines that have been near the water's boundary. I have mainly photographed the area at sunset but I would think that there are similar opportunities to photograph at sunrise. The difference, however, is that the sun rises behind you so you need to take that into account for your compositions.
On one occasion when I visited the area, I found a couple of moss-covered stones in the water that I thought would be interesting objects to photograph. I also composed my composition so the viewer would get a feeling of framing with the help of the reeds and the branches that hung down in the upper part of the picture. While I was working on my composition, a swan appeared. Swans are very beautiful animals but can be very aggressive on occasions so I kept an eye on the Swan to see what he would do.
The Swan was getting closer and closer and I then realized that I probably needed to back from the shoreline to give him some space. However, I wanted to incorporate the swan in the picture so I adjusted the camera to a faster shutterspeed so I could get a sharp image of the swan if it were to swim in between the stones. Unfortunately, I had forgotten to turn off my two second timer which I always use for long exposures so when the Swan came in perfect position between the first two stones my capture got delayed and the swan had moved slightly further ahead.
As the swan gets closer I hear how it is milling and I realize then that it has come very close so I back a few steps from the seafront. The Swan then loses interest and swims away. I once again go down to the seafront to expose a long exposure. The swan then sees me and turns around and swims hissing back towards me. Again I back of and the swan finally turns and swims away.
The final composed image on the right is done by blending three images. One for the foreground, one for the sky and one for the Swan.
In winter, Lake Mälaren freezes to ice and you have new and fresh opportunities to photograph the area. In some conditions, the ice is clear and the locals often like to go for long-distance skating. At one point when I visited the area, Mälaren had not frozen but the air was so cold that a previous storm the day before had formed icicles on the trees that the beavers had dropped into the water. This provided me the opportunity for a very interesting composition.
In Landscape Photography it pays to visit an area several times at different times a day and year. This is of course also true for Görväln's nature reserve. As of now I have only visited the area at daylight or sunset so for me it will be interesting to explore the nature further in connection to sunrise. If you have any questions or just want to leave a note please feel free to send me a message in the comment section below.