“Trollstigen”, the Trolls’ ladder, in western Norway, is high on the list of must-ride roads for motorcyclists and photographers. 11 narrow hairpin bends on a 10% incline up a mountain complete with waterfall and old bridges sounds brilliant. It’s also bonkers. During the tourist season it’s basically a very scenic traffic jam, but when the #OlympusBackRoads road trip arrived, it looked quiet, perfect for hunting trolls with cameras.
I stopped for several minutes at the foot of the mountain to rig three Olympus E-M5IIs on the Kawasaki, each programmed to shoot every few seconds. The OM-Ds don’t have a T mode, for trolls, so Shutter Priority and 1/2000sec was the obvious choice, given the combination of bumpy road and motorcycle acceleration. I should have noticed that it was a bit too quiet, even for October. I also should have noticed that I had left the screen on a backwards-facing E-M5II flipped out. That camera, with a 1.8/8mm fisheye, was mounted on the front wheel axle – very close to the ground..
There were no trolls on the mountain; the sound of a boisterous Balkan Akrapovic exhaust attached to a 1000cc engine from Kawasaki Heavy Industries must have warned them, and any other pedestrians in the area. But the temperature dropped as the altitude increased, and about half way up the trolls’ ladder I ran into something rather more unpleasant than mythical monsters. The spray from the waterfall was freezing on the shady parts of the road. Those bits tend to be in corners. In this case, the ice made a sharp right-hand bend a lot sharper, with a lean-angle that resulted in OM-D touchdown. Amazingly, only the hinge broke, leaving the still functioning screen dangling from the cable. The trolls must have been laughing.