THE BACKROADS PROJECT

My first camera was an Olympus OM-2. It was my father’s, and being a curious teenager, I fiddled with it until I accidentally opened it and destroyed his irreplaceable photos. Strangely, the disaster must have fuelled my early passion for photography, and in the 35 years that have passed since, I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to live for it and from it. Starting in a local newspaper in Norway, the obvious route was documentary photography. I specialise in conflicts and humanitarian emergencies, and have spent most of my adult life living and working in some of the world’s most interesting locations.

Ironically, amazingly beautiful Norway is generally too peaceful for me to spend much time in, but I have always wanted to explore my home country properly. There are many thousands of kilometres of winding roads here, so the obvious mode of transport is a motorcycle. Many weeks on the road with a busy schedule means I’ll have to pack everything I need on the bike. That means all equipment needs to be compact and rugged, making Olympus OM-D cameras the obvious choice. 

– Morten Hvaal –

STORIES FROM THE ROAD

Back street food in Sandnes, Norway: An excellent bowl of home made pho from Loan Thi Kieu Phan at the appropriately named Pho Vietnam restaurant. And another example of how the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mk II face recognition system deals with difficult, mixed light. Here, there's overcast daylight through a window behind me, and various interesting light sources inside the room. The camera sets focus, exposure and white balance correctly anyway. 2.8/7-14mm @ 7mm, f/2.8 1/30 sec, ISO 200.

The Olympus Face and Food Recognition Systems

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The #OlympusBackRoads project has passed the 3000km mark, with many more stops to go. Riding the back roads of a sparsely populated country is fascinating, and sometimes frustrating. The search…

Some Norwegian ferry crossings are so nice that I wish they would take much longer, no matter what the destination is. The M/F Bergensfjord had plenty of space for the #OlympusBackRoads Monsterbike Kawasaki.

57,600 Friendly Ferry Crossings

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Look at a map of Norway, and you’ll quickly realise that driving the coastline in a few weeks is not possible. There are unavoidable shortcuts, even on the #OlympusBackRoads project….

The same horses, demonstrating how slowly they can walk back to a photographer who's been waiting in the rain for almost an hour since they ran away, hoping for a funny-ish "horsepower"-picture with a motorcycle and horses in it. Not very funny, is it. Olympus OM-D E-M1, M.Zuiko 2.8/12-40mm @ 12mm, f/4, 1/500sec, and yes I know that shutter speed is more than fast enough to freeze a horse that's moving slower than a snail.

Horsepower, Horses, and Rain

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After a great time with the good people of Skei i Jølster, the #OlympusBackRoads project headed for Bergen. Basically not a very long ride, with only one ferry. I asked Serena…

With Reidar Helgheim, second generation proprietor of camera store Alf Helgheim & Co in Skei i Jølster, one of the more than 50 stops on the #OlympusBackRoads roadtrip. I had an excellent evening with Randi and Reidar, only missing out on meeting Alf himself, who at 94 still comes by the store every day.

50 Shops in the Middle of Norway

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Make 50 stops on a road trip through Norway, and not every one is going to be in a major metropolis. The country is 385,252 square kilometres large, with only five…

24
Cities
50
Stores
10
Photo clubs
3000
Kilometers

@MORTENHVAAL

@OLYMPUSNORGE