Arne Helme Photography: Blog en-us (C) Arne Helme Photography arne 'at' (Arne Helme Photography) Mon, 16 Mar 2020 07:40:00 GMT Mon, 16 Mar 2020 07:40:00 GMT Arne Helme Photography: Blog 120 80 A new beginning! For several years it has been quiet on my photography blog at I have recently started to update the entire site and my portfolio of photos.  Over the coming months I will add more of my recent work in the field, studio and on various locations. So let the following picture which I shot from our new winter garden I Oslo on last new year's even represent a new beginning to this site.

New Year's Eve, Oslo, 2019. Leica SL2 + 90-280mm.

arne 'at' (Arne Helme Photography) Sun, 19 Jan 2020 11:09:31 GMT
Solitude This blog entry is devoted to the theme of solitude, and I will seek to update it on a semi regular basis with past and new photos expressing themes related to a state of solitude.  According to Wikipedia, "solitude is a state of seclusion or isolation, i.e., lack of contact with people. It may stem from bad relationships, loss of loved ones, deliberate choice, infectious disease, mental disorders, neurological disorders or circumstances of employment or situation (see castaway). Short-term solitude is often valued as a time when one may work, think or rest without being disturbed. It may be desired for the sake of privacy. A distinction has been made between solitude and loneliness. In this sense, these two words refer, respectively, to the joy and the pain of being alone."

Blog update of April 6th, 2015.  I shot this picture of Elen during a trip to Kalvøya.  

Blog update of April 3rd, 2015.  I shot this picture of Antonio during a workshop we organised at the Klækken hotel in March, 2015.

arne 'at' (Arne Helme Photography) Fri, 03 Apr 2015 07:17:40 GMT
15 photos in 15 minutes The following sequence 15 photos were shot during a period of less than 15 minutes in Lovika (north of Norway) in early february 2014. We were just about to return from a weekend trip when I decided to go down to the sea to take a couple of last shots before departure.  It must have been the most productive quarter of an hour I have ever spent on photography.  

It was an otherwise normal day in the arctic with rather dull light except for the backlit horizon because the sun had just set. Admittedly I have spent more than 15 hours in Lightroom post-processing the pictures.  All photos prepared using HDR Efex Pro 2 and Sharpener Pro 3 to bring out the details and make them come alive.

All photos were shot handheld at about f/4.0-5.6 with a Leica M 240 and a Summilux-M 1.4/35mm ASPH. FLE lens.

Lovika, 2014. Leica M (Typ 242) with Summilux-M 1.4/35mm ASPH.Lovika, 2014. Leica M (Typ 242) with Summilux-M 1.4/35mm ASPH.

Lovika, 2014. Leica M (Typ 242) with Summilux-M 1.4/35mm ASPH.Lovika, 2014. Leica M (Typ 242) with Summilux-M 1.4/35mm ASPH. Lovika, 2014. Leica M (Typ 242) with Summilux-M 1.4/35mm ASPH.Lovika, 2014. Leica M (Typ 242) with Summilux-M 1.4/35mm ASPH. Lovika, 2014. Leica M (Typ 242) with Summilux-M 1.4/35mm ASPH.Lovika, 2014. Leica M (Typ 242) with Summilux-M 1.4/35mm ASPH. Lovika, 2014. Leica M (Typ 242) with Summilux-M 1.4/35mm ASPH.Lovika, 2014. Leica M (Typ 242) with Summilux-M 1.4/35mm ASPH. Lovika, 2014. Leica M (Typ 242) with Summilux-M 1.4/35mm ASPH.Lovika, 2014. Leica M (Typ 242) with Summilux-M 1.4/35mm ASPH. Lovika, 2014. Leica M (Typ 242) with Summilux-M 1.4/35mm ASPH.Lovika, 2014. Leica M (Typ 242) with Summilux-M 1.4/35mm ASPH. Lovika, 2014. Leica M (Typ 242) with Summilux-M 1.4/35mm ASPH.Lovika, 2014. Leica M (Typ 242) with Summilux-M 1.4/35mm ASPH. Lovika, 2014. Leica M (Typ 242) with Summilux-M 1.4/35mm ASPH.Lovika, 2014. Leica M (Typ 242) with Summilux-M 1.4/35mm ASPH. Lovika, 2014. Leica M (Typ 242) with Summilux-M 1.4/35mm ASPH.Lovika, 2014. Leica M (Typ 242) with Summilux-M 1.4/35mm ASPH. Lovika, 2014. Leica M (Typ 242) with Summilux-M 1.4/35mm ASPH.Lovika, 2014. Leica M (Typ 242) with Summilux-M 1.4/35mm ASPH. Lovika, 2014. Leica M (Typ 242) with Summilux-M 1.4/35mm ASPH.Lovika, 2014. Leica M (Typ 242) with Summilux-M 1.4/35mm ASPH. Lovika, 2014. Leica M (Typ 242) with Summilux-M 1.4/35mm ASPH.Lovika, 2014. Leica M (Typ 242) with Summilux-M 1.4/35mm ASPH. Lovika, 2014. Leica M (Typ 242) with Summilux-M 1.4/35mm ASPH.Lovika, 2014. Leica M (Typ 242) with Summilux-M 1.4/35mm ASPH. Lovika, 2014. Leica M (Typ 242) with Summilux-M 1.4/35mm ASPH.Lovika, 2014. Leica M (Typ 242) with Summilux-M 1.4/35mm ASPH.

Update 5th of april 2015:

Lovika, 2014. Leica M (Typ 242) with Summilux-M 1.4/35mm ASPH.Lovika, 2014. Leica M (Typ 242) with Summilux-M 1.4/35mm ASPH.

arne 'at' (Arne Helme Photography) Fri, 03 Apr 2015 05:05:59 GMT
Italian car day Last weekend the local Fiat and Alfa Romeo dealer in my neighbourhood arranged an Italian car day.  Many Italian car enthusiasts showed up with their classic cars.  For me, it was a great opportunity to finally see in the real some of the super cars I dreamt about when I was a kid.  It was a sunny day in late april and a great opportunity for me to use the Leica M 240 with the Noctilux 0.95 lens and ND filter to capture these fine cars.

Since childhood I have been fascinated by Italian cars.  One of my first dream cars was the Alfa Romeo GTV that was introduced in the late 70's.  In 1991 I managed to get hold of a 1984 GTV 2.0.  It was a stunning car!. On a visit to the Canary Islands in the mid eighties I saw two other cars that also fascinated me: the Alfa Romeo GT Junior, and the Honda Civic CRX.  In the nineties when I lived in the Netherlands I owned a CRX.  The GT Junior is still a car I hope to own and drive one day!  For the completeness, on my wish list are also the 1966 Jaguar E-type and the Porsche 911. Everyone should own a 911 at least once, I have been told!

Over the years I have owned several Alfa Rome cars including the:

  • 1984 GTV 2.0
  • 1998 GTV 2.0 V6 TB
  • 1999 156 2.0 TS Selespeed
  • 2003 156 V6 3.2 GTA
  • 2004 GT 1.9 JTD
  • 2006 159 JTDm Sportwagon

The beautiful Alfa Romeo GT Junior

Leica M (Typ 240) with Noctilux-M 0.95/50mm ASPH.Leica M (Typ 240) with Noctilux-M 0.95/50mm ASPH.

During the show the new Alfa Romeo 4C sport cars was shown.  How can this car NOT become a future classic?

Leica M (Typ 240) with Noctilux-M 0.95/50mm ASPH.Leica M (Typ 240) with Noctilux-M 0.95/50mm ASPH.

My friend Tage said that the 4C most likely will have a low wife acceptance factor.  I guess one of the reasons is the lack of storage space.  Another reason would probably be that the passenger seat has no adjustment possibilities. My travel kit will fit in the 4C though, as will also my day to day gear if I would commute with this car.  

Leica M (Typ 240) with Noctilux-M 0.95/50mm ASPH.Leica M (Typ 240) with Noctilux-M 0.95/50mm ASPH.

The main light layout is rather controversial.  The alloy wheels are nothing short of stunning!

Leica M (Typ 240) with Noctilux-M 0.95/50mm ASPH.Leica M (Typ 240) with Noctilux-M 0.95/50mm ASPH.

My father used to own a 1978 Fiat 128 3P.  We used to have lots of fun driving this car!

Leica M (Typ 240) with Noctilux-M 0.95/50mm ASPH.Leica M (Typ 240) with Noctilux-M 0.95/50mm ASPH.

My first Alfa Romeo was a red 1984 GTV 2.0.  Below is the V6 version of the car.  Behind it, a beautiful Alfa Romeo Spider.

Leica M (Typ 240) with Noctilux-M 0.95/50mm ASPH.Leica M (Typ 240) with Noctilux-M 0.95/50mm ASPH.

Alfa Romeo enthusiasts admiring the cars. 

Leica M (Typ 240) with Noctilux-M 0.95/50mm ASPH.Leica M (Typ 240) with Noctilux-M 0.95/50mm ASPH.

Hmm, is that an oil spot under the car?

Leica M (Typ 240) with Noctilux-M 0.95/50mm ASPH.Leica M (Typ 240) with Noctilux-M 0.95/50mm ASPH.

Alfa Romeo engine room.

Leica M (Typ 240) with Noctilux-M 0.95/50mm ASPH.Leica M (Typ 240) with Noctilux-M 0.95/50mm ASPH.

Another super sport car from the fast, the Iso Grifo 7-lifer.

Leica M (Typ 240) with Noctilux-M 0.95/50mm ASPH.Leica M (Typ 240) with Noctilux-M 0.95/50mm ASPH.

The beautiful lines of the Grifo. 

Leica M (Typ 240) with Noctilux-M 0.95/50mm ASPH.Leica M (Typ 240) with Noctilux-M 0.95/50mm ASPH.

I was never much into Lancia even though they used to make beautiful sports cars.

Leica M (Typ 240) with Noctilux-M 0.95/50mm ASPH.Leica M (Typ 240) with Noctilux-M 0.95/50mm ASPH.

Another classic, the Alfa Romeo Montreal.

Leica M (Typ 240) with Noctilux-M 0.95/50mm ASPH.Leica M (Typ 240) with Noctilux-M 0.95/50mm ASPH.

The rear of the Lamborghini Espada

Leica M (Typ 240) with Noctilux-M 0.95/50mm ASPH.Leica M (Typ 240) with Noctilux-M 0.95/50mm ASPH.

The front of the Maserati Merak.

Leica M (Typ 240) with Noctilux-M 0.95/50mm ASPH.Leica M (Typ 240) with Noctilux-M 0.95/50mm ASPH.

Classic Lancia roadster, probably from the fifties.

Leica M (Typ 240) with Noctilux-M 0.95/50mm ASPH.Leica M (Typ 240) with Noctilux-M 0.95/50mm ASPH.

The rear of the Fiat X1/9 two seats sports car designed by Bertone.

Leica M (Typ 240) with Noctilux-M 0.95/50mm ASPH.Leica M (Typ 240) with Noctilux-M 0.95/50mm ASPH.

Another Lancia roadster.

Leica M (Typ 240) with Noctilux-M 0.95/50mm ASPH.Leica M (Typ 240) with Noctilux-M 0.95/50mm ASPH.

The engine of a vintage Maserati Ghibli.  It sounds as good as it looks!

Leica M (Typ 240) with Noctilux-M 0.95/50mm ASPH.Leica M (Typ 240) with Noctilux-M 0.95/50mm ASPH.

No need for exotic sports cars.  Any of these will also draw attention!

Leica M (Typ 240) with Noctilux-M 0.95/50mm ASPH.Leica M (Typ 240) with Noctilux-M 0.95/50mm ASPH.

It was a bright and sunny day.  Perfect for Italian cars!

Leica M (Typ 240) with Noctilux-M 0.95/50mm ASPH.Leica M (Typ 240) with Noctilux-M 0.95/50mm ASPH.

Care for some good Italian ham?

No Ferraris?  Here's a beautiful 348 TB for you!

Leica M (Typ 240) with Noctilux-M 0.95/50mm ASPH.Leica M (Typ 240) with Noctilux-M 0.95/50mm ASPH.

arne 'at' (Arne Helme Photography) Sun, 27 Apr 2014 08:32:56 GMT
Commuting - Another day on my way to the office I live in Sandvika, which is a small town located about 15km from Oslo.  Here's a small documentary of my daily commute from Sandvika to the KPMG building at Majorstuen in Oslo.  All photos shot using a Leica M 240 camera with the amazing Summilux 1.4/21mm ASPH. lens.

One of the main reasons why I live in Sandvika is the availability of public transport options.  I gave up commute by car many years ago.  The local train station is located near the old town centre next to the bus station.

Two years ago the railway capacity between Sandvika and Lysaker was doubled when a new tunnel with tracks opened.  There is a lot of complaints regarding railway capacity in Norway.  However, from Sandvika to Oslo there's almost always a train coming within 10 minutes.

Unfortunately, I do not carry with me a camera to work every day.  However, each time I do I usually find new interesting subjects or topics to cover.

Yesterday's commute was carried out in the early afternoon.  This week is also Easter vacation week in Norway so there were few people on the train.

I usually leave the train at Nationaltheateret station in Oslo.  At several occasions I have used the station as backdrop for portrait photography. 

The Nationaltheateret train station is the only underground train station in Norway.  I remember when it was opened back in 1980.  At that time we lived at Skillebekk and I went to school at Ruseløkka which is only a few hundred meters away.

The tube is an easy and convenient way to travel in Oslo.  The tube system covers most of central Oslo.  At Majorstuen the tube station is located at short walking distance from my office.

The KPMG building is a landmark at Majorstuen and the only tall building in this part of Oslo.  It was built in 2001 after the previous building, Philipsbygget, was demolished by the first blow down of a building in Norway in 2000.

In front of the KPMG building lies the Cafe Condio which is run by the Norwegian Red Cross.  The cafe is a meeting place for youth of different cultural and ethnic background and based on volunteer work.

Next to the KPMG building lies the old Colosseum cinema theatre.  Like most cinemas nowadays Colosseum contains several theatre, but in the past it had only one large theatre screen.  I remember watching Star Wars The empire strikes back and Dune while there os only one large screen, and it were breathtaking experiences.

On a clear day the view from the top of the building is spectacular. 

King of the world!

arne 'at' (Arne Helme Photography) Tue, 15 Apr 2014 06:52:10 GMT
A short history on selfies According to Wikipedia: "A selfie is a type of self-portrait photograph, typically taken with a hand-held digital camera or camera phone, and is usually taken in a slightly tilted manner. Selfies are often associated with social networking. In the Korean entertainment industry the word selca (short for "self camera") means photos taken of oneself. They are often casual, are typically taken either with a camera held at arm's length or in a mirror, and typically include either only the photographer or the photographer and as many people as can be in focus."

Selfies have recently become a rage in social networks and among celebrities. However, the history of selfies is rather long with the first known selfie shot already in 1839 by Robert Cornelius, see I have been playing around with Leica selfies for quite some time now - I believe I shot the first ones back in 1997-1998.  Whenever I acquire new cameras or lenses a selfie has become a mandatory step in evaluating the new equipment. Below follows a few selfies from my own collection.

Leica M6 0.85 with Noctilux-M 1.0 selfie (1999):

Leica M6 0.85 with Summilux 35mm ASPH. selfie (1999):

Leica R9 with APO-Summicron-R 90mm ASPH. selfie (2003):

Leica M8 with Summilux 35mm ASPH. selfie (2007):

Leica M8.2 with APO-Summicron-M 75mm selfie (2009):

Leica M8.2 with Summilux 35mm ASPH. selfie (2010):

Leica M8.2 with Summilux 35mm ASPH. macho selfie (2010):

Leica M8.2 with Summilux-M 35mm ASPH. Prague late nightclub selfie (2010):

Apple iPhone 4 so in love selfie (2012):

Leica M Monochrom with Summilux-M 35mm ASPH. FLE first light selfie (2012):

Leica M Monochrom with Summilux-M 50mm ASPH. first light selfie (2012):

Leica M Monochrom with Summilux-M 35mm ASPH. FLE family on the train selfie (2013):

Leica M Monochrom with Summilux-M 50mm ASPH. Litepanel selfie (2013):

Leica M 240 with Summicron 75mm ASPH. selfie (2013):

Leica M 240 EVF with Noctilux-M 50mm 0.95 ASPH. Canary Islands selfie (2013):

arne 'at' (Arne Helme Photography) Sun, 15 Dec 2013 10:36:46 GMT
Photos of Elen in Spain During our vacation in Spain there were many good opportunities for shooting great photos.  Below you can see an initial selection of pictures from our trip to Gran Canaria. All photos were shot using the Leica M 240 with the Noctilux f/0.95 at full aperture.

arne 'at' (Arne Helme Photography) Sat, 14 Dec 2013 21:37:49 GMT
Reprocessing pictures Earlier this year I visited Tuscany, Italy, together with my son.   I documented much of the trip using a Leica M 240 camera with the fantastic Summilux 1.4/75mm lens.  Some months later I decide to pre-process pictures from this trip.  Below you can see the updated result.

The following picture was taken in Gello, Tuscany at the Ravano range in 2010:

arne 'at' (Arne Helme Photography) Thu, 28 Nov 2013 20:26:51 GMT
A portrait of my wife Below is a portrait I shot of my wife last weekend.  Isn't she cute?  

The photo was captured using a Leica M 240 with the Noctilux 0.95 lens at full aperture and at close up distance of about 1.0m.  Her face was lit by window light and from a tungsten light source in the cafe. The Noctilux is fantastic for these kinds of situations.

The picture has been subject to more post-processing than I usually do.  It took some efforts to retouch the picture and to make the colours in the picture look right. High contrast was handled well by the Noctilux, but I had to tweak the levels/curve exposure control in LR5 quite a bit to give the picture overall an appropriate lighting.

I am still not 100 % satisfied with the post-processing, but happy enough to published it here now - with approval from my wife :-)!

arne 'at' (Arne Helme Photography) Sun, 24 Nov 2013 09:11:24 GMT
Creating dreamy pictures using the Smart Photo Editor I have just tried out another photo editor: the Smart Photo Editor (  The application contains a wealth of pre-defined stylising patterns and a workflow management system to create nye pre-sets.  Personally I like the collection of border pre-sets and and special filters to produce creative effects.  I am usually very conservative when it comes to applying creative effects to photos, but some times the use of such effects can really make the difference when one wants to create "that look".  Below are a few initial samples I made earlier today.

The photo below was shot last week at the Nationaltheateret train station in Oslo.  I used the Smart Photo Editor to control the transition of colour to black and white, and to add the border to the picture.

The picture of my son, Bjarne, below was also shot at the same train station.  I felt that the original picture could need some extra fantasy look, so I used the Fantasy filter to create a Star Trek effect, and to add a ragged brother to the picture.

To create a dreamy golden ambience, as shown below.  The original swan pictures can be seen here:

A recent visit of Gardermoen Airport.  I met the CEO of KPMG Norway, Stein-Ragnar Noreng, only seconds after shooting this picture.  He's also in the picture I discovered afterwards.

Some of the filters and presets are really excellent for artistic effects. Especially I like the collection of semi black and white effects and accompanying frames.  Below are some examples from my walk in the forest this weekend.

In portrait mode:

Or maybe presented as an oil painting with a classic frame?

Or with a Gothic Tim Burtononesque frame effect to the following portrait of my father and my son:

For my previous article about the Monet bridge (see: and house i Sandvika I wanted to create my own impression of Monet's original scene.  Smart Photo Editor helped me to create the picture shown below:

Some might prefer the scene represented as an oil painting printed on an old postcard:

arne 'at' (Arne Helme Photography) Sat, 23 Nov 2013 12:51:59 GMT
Kalvøya at sunset Kalvøya is a recreational area just outside of Sandvika in Norway.  I visit Sandvika frequently because it is only 10 minutes walk from home.  Yesterday I reached Kalvøya together with my wife a few minutes before sunset.  I managed to capture the following photo using my Leica M 240 with the Noctilux 0.95 ASPH. lens at full aperture:

arne 'at' (Arne Helme Photography) Mon, 18 Nov 2013 05:52:25 GMT
Noctilux- King of the light Much has been written about the mythical Noctilux lenses for the Leica M system  Often referred to as the "King of the night" lens, it has since its very first introduction been viewed as one of the landmark lenses for available light photography.  The first Noctilux with a a maximum aperture of 1.2 was introduced in 1966 and in production until 1975.  It is sought after by collectors and therefore very hard to find second hand for anything but a very steep price.

The classic Noctilux 1.0 was introduced in 1976.  The lens was in production until it was replaced by the Noctilux 0.95 ASPH. in 2008. The special signature drawn by the classic Noctilux lens is considered by many to be the ultimate look for Leica photography.  For many years it was the reference against which all other ultra fast standard lenses were measured.

On my trip today to Oslo this morning I decided to spend some time shooting pictures near the National Theatre and the Parliament building. The photo below shows a statue of Norwegian writer Ludwig Holberg in front of the National Theathre building:

The photo below shows the statue of Norwegian actress Wenche Foss:

I have been fortunate to own several Noctilux lenses. First the classic Noctilux which I obtained back in 1998, and later I received the first Noctilux 0.95 lens to be delivered in Norway, in 2009.  Just like the Summilux 75mm les, which is also a favourite of mine, I have owned, sold and bought again these lenses, because of the regret I have experienced by not having them available.  The 3D rendering of these lenses is second to none, and illustrates the true potential that can be achieved using fast lenses.

The photo below shows a statue of Norwegian write Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson in front of the National Theatre:

I prefer to call the 0.95 Noctilux lens "The king of the light". The high contrast and extremely narrow depth go field when used wide open makes the NX 0.95 a very fine lens to isolate subjects against the background - with a beautiful rendering of the out of focus areas.

Whoever put a statue of a fool in front of the Norwegian Parliament building must have a great sense of humor:

The photos shown in this blog entry were shot in Oslo today, the 16th go november, 2013, using a Leica M 240 with the Noctilux 0.95 lens.  All photos were shot using the Noctilux at its widest aperture of f/0.95. 

The photos show what can relatively easy be achieved using this lens.

The picture below, shot at Karl Johans gate in Central Oslo, shows what can be achieved with the Noctilux 0.95 at full aperture and focus set at infinity.  Doesn't look like it was shot using an ultra fast standard lens, does it:

arne 'at' (Arne Helme Photography) Sat, 16 Nov 2013 16:43:58 GMT
The Monet bridge in Sandvika Hidden away in Sandvika, Norway, lies a old iron cast bridge serving as a landmark of past history.  I walk past the bridge every day on my way to the local train station.   Forgotten by many, this bridge once serves as inspiration for a famous painter, and its history also inspired me to write this blog entry about it, and its surroundings in Sandvika today.

The bridge was built at Bærums Verk in 1829 and was in use as part of the main road through Sandvika until the mid 1970s.  When the new main road bridge was built the old bridge was moved 200 meter further up the river. It is now serving as a bridge for pedestrians and is still part of the local infrastructure in Sandvika:

In Sandvika, the bridge is known as the Monet bridge and named after Claude Monet (1840-1926), the founder of French impressionist painting. Claude Monet painted "Sandviken Village in the Snow" while he visited the small village at the sea just outside of Christiania (now known as Oslo, the capitol of Norway) back in 1895. Monet's painting of the bridge is illustrated below (courtesy of Wikipedia Commons):

The house to the lower right in Monet's painting was recently restored, and can now be rented for special occasions, wedding ceremonies and so forth (see reference at the end of the blog entry). A few other remaining old buildings can be seen in the area, but most of Sandvika has changed in such a way that little of the atmosphere shown in Monet's painting remains:

Inspired by Monet I decided to recreate a digital age impressionist version of the original scene painted by Monet with the current bridge and the house from the original painting:

The photo below shows the old Monet bridge and its surroundings today. Recreational area with playground I have never seen in use:

Although quite some effort has gone into preserving the bridge, it is hard to overlook the modern industrial surroundings:

The bridge is still in use by many people in Sandvika.  It is now part of the local infrastructure for pedestrians and bicyclists:

A few years back DN, one of the Norwegian financial newspapers, contained an article called: "Deaths in the shadow of modern shopping malls" (see link at the bottom of the blog entry), or "Monet for nothing!", freely after the 80s song by Dire Straits. The article covered the implications of building one of Scandinavia's largest shopping malls in a small village, and the consequences for the local community. The key observation in the article is that the local environment is dying as most activities are now found inside the large shopping mall that covers a large portion of the central area in Sandvika.  The process is illustrated elegantly by the authors using the invasive Iberia slug as an example. Just like the slug eats everything in its surroundings and leaves a lifeless environment behind, the introduction of large shopping malls does the same to small villages.  

Below is a photo of a new bridge next to the railroad and across the highway that is also passing through Sandvika. The phot is shot just a few hundred meters from the Monet bridge.  According to the new national transportation plan the highway will be placed in a tunnel under Sandvika during the next 5-10 years, but the rail road will remain.

I guess my personal take on Sandvika and its Monet heritage is that the convenience of the infrastructure surrounding the village outweighs the lack of aesthetic in the local community. In Sandvika, there's always a train departing for Oslo, or it is just a few minutes away.  The beautiful Kalvøya island and the sea side attracts people from all over the Bærum county on sunny days summer and winter.  The photo below was shot on Kalvøya earlier this fall:

All photos in this essay were shot using the Leica M (240) rangefinder camera.  The first picture was shot using the Summilux 50mm ASPH. lens.  The last photo was shot using the Summilux 35mm ASPH. FLE lens.  The other photos were shot using the Noctilux 0.95 50mm ASPH. lens. All shots were made with the lenses set at their wides aperture. 

The Monet house can be seen and visited in Sandvika.  More information about the house can be found here:

The DN article (in Norwegian) with more photos from Sandvika can be found here:


arne 'at' (Arne Helme Photography) Sun, 10 Nov 2013 10:44:13 GMT
A day with the Noctilux 0.95/50mm ASPH. lens Few lenses have been surrounded with more mystique than the Leica Noctilux. Since the first version was released in the late sixties and until now it has been a lens most Leica photographers have wanted to own and use. Highly priced, difficult to find for anything other than close to new price, the Noctilux remains a true gem of the Leica lens series.  I'll not discuss the lenses or their history in this blog entry.  Instead I suggest you read Thorsten von Overgaard's excellent information about the Noctiluxes:

In the past I used to own both the original f/1.0 lens and the f/0.95 Noctilux lenses.  As interests come and go I decided to sell these lenses in order to invest in other/new lenses.  At the time I deciced to part with the original f/1.0 lens my decision was to let it go in order to get the Summilux 75mm instead.  Those of you who know me are aware of my obsession and fascination with the 75mm Summilux.  It too, renders scenes close no no other lens I know of.

Back in 2009 I was fortunate enough to pick up the first Noctilux f/0.95 to be delivered in Norway: The day I heard the first rumours about a new Noctilux I immediately pre-ordered it from the Norwegian importer.  When I got the lens it took almost 6 months before the second lens was delivered in Norway. At the time I had the Leica M8 camera, and the first year with the Noctilux f/0.95 was therefore limited to the 1.33x crop factor of this camera.  It enable me to use the Noctilus as a short tele lens until I decided to sell it because it was not aligned to the rangefiner in my M8.

The handling of the lens is excellent. The focus ring on my lens is smooth but firm. I agree with others that the lens balances quite well on the Leica M cameras.  It is, of course, heavy, and I had forgotten how large the lens actually is!

Below are some sample photos that I made this weekend using the Noctilux f/0.95 lens using the Leica M 240 camera:

And here moving in in for a close-up of the statue:

Overcast weather and rain in the air helped me capture many photos where the Noctilux could shine at f/0.95.  Below is a snapshot I took on my way to the shop while streetwalking:

A few hundred meters from my home I came across the scene illustrated in the photo below.  I shot it at f/0.95, and I am amazed by the level of detail the lens can show at its widest aperture:

Below are two sample photos that I made using the Noct wide open using my M8.2 back in 2010. The uploaded images do not by far show the potential of the lens but they hint at what you can expect. Luckily, the lens I got was a perfect match to my M8.2 - the focus was spot on:

And the "Damien" portrait of my son Bjarne on one of his very gloomy days:

Below is a photo I took of my ex wife, Cindy, with the original Noctilux f/1.0 lens using the Leica M6 camera back in 1997:

Looking back, and seeing what can now be achieved using the  Leica M 240 and the new Noctilux f/0.95 lens one cannot but admire the amount of progress that has taken place.   


arne 'at' (Arne Helme Photography) Sat, 09 Nov 2013 21:57:12 GMT
A day with the Summilux 50mm ASPH. lens Due to my obsession with the Summilux 75mm, using the Summilux 50mm ASPH. was never a priority to me. However, inspired by Fredrik Lübbe's work with the Summilux 50mm ASPH., yesterday was a practice day with this lens. I've already posted some pictures, but here are some of the other pictures from yesterday's trip to Oslo, Norway. My 10 year old son, Bjarne, was with me and posed willingly on his own terms - I guess that's most 10 year old boys do. 

Previously I have owned the Noct 0.95, and seeing Thorsten von Overgaard's photos and artistic with this lens it is hard to not want one again. I will not say that I have all elements of directing, composition, and black/white processing under control, but I post these shots for you to see the potential of what can be achieved under normal conditions using the Summilux 50mm ASPH. All shots at f1.4. Due to the light conditions I did not have to use an ND filter.

​All pictures except for the picture below were shot at Nationaltheateret train station in Oslo, Norway.  The architecture / lighting conditions at the station is very nice to use for portraits and poses.

Directing Bjarne is usually done on his terms and conditions:

In Oslo, me teamed up with my sister's family.  Here's a portrait of her son, Aksel.  I am very please with this picture and the way the Summilux renderes sharpness and out of focus area.

Below, a portrait of my sister, Line:

Alex and Marion:

At the bowling centre I took the following picture.  For me this picture works best in colour:

My wife challenged me to post a colour version with a bit of cropping of the first posting in this blog entry, so here it is. I forgot to say that this is ISO 2500 on the M 240, not bad:

arne 'at' (Arne Helme Photography) Sun, 27 Oct 2013 11:11:44 GMT
Leica M-E My new Leica M together with all of my M lenses are currently at the Leica factory to be calibrated. I noticed a backfocus issue when using the camera with several of the lenses, and the advice was to send everything back to the factory for adjustment.  The Norwegian Leica importer was kind enough to lend me a Leica M-E with a Summarit 50mm lens until my own gear is back from service.  

The Leica M-E is derived from the M9 camera.  It has fewer options but the sensor system is the same as the M9.  I cannot get used to the finish on this camera, though.  It feels strange - very different from the M8 and M8.2 I had before I got the new M.

The M-E reminds me much of the M8.2.  The same shutter sound and feel to the shutter release - which is the reason why I decided to skip the M9. The M-E is by all standards a very decent camera.  However, when compared to the new M it is apparent that it represents the previous generation of Leica rangefinder cameras.  

Last weekend I picked up my new car: a 2014 Porsche Panamera Diesel "face lifted" edition.  I took the picture with the M-E and Summarit 50mm while visiting Gaustadblikk on my first drive with the car.  

arne 'at' (Arne Helme Photography) Sun, 25 Aug 2013 16:06:39 GMT
To crop or not to crop Over the years I have practiced the principle to not crop a photo after capture, but instead strive as much as possible to capture a composition that would also be one in the final photo.  Most of the photos on this site are not cropped, and this usually works for me.  However, some times I capture a photo only to discover later a new composition in the original capture that I think is better than the one I initially envisioned.  An example follows below.

The whole photo as I originally envisioned and captured it with my Leica M 240 with Summilux 35mm FLE lens:

The cropped photo the way I decided to finalise it after spending quite some time figuring out why I didn't like the original composition:

These are now two radically different photos.  The first one is to me a nice landscape photo.  The second photo is an abstract / architecture photo.  I like them both, but eventually the second photo is the one I decided to print and put on the wall. Let me know what you think! Enother Example follows below:

Original photo:
Final crop:

arne 'at' (Arne Helme Photography) Sun, 11 Aug 2013 18:48:45 GMT
First studio light This summer I have had the opportunity (and finally time!) to start working on better understanding of available light photography, light modification using various kinds of scrims, diffusors and reflectors, and the use of multiple radio controlled electronic flashes.  I did also upgrade my primary post processing toolchain to Adobe Lightroom 5, and that I must say has been a great improvement.  Needless to say, but I have spent many hours shooting new photos, and re-processing older images using LR5 in order to practice and improve my skills using these tools.  

Understanding flash photography takes time and is about much more than automatic light control by the camera. The picture below was made using a Leica M-E with Summarit 50mm lens at f8.0 and lit by two Canon speed lights. The subject is my son, Bjarne. Each of the lights were attached to a Westcott Rapidbox softbox, measured individually using a light meter, and triggered remotely by a set of Pocket Wizard radios. The third spot flashlight I intended to give some backlighting to Bjarne's hair did not fire.  I would have given some more separation, but with Bjarne's messy hair I guess it was OK after all.  For a setup that took less than 10 minutes I guess this is a pretty acceptable result.

So, I now have a basic setup and will add a set off backdrop curtains I can use to get better control of the overall background content of the photos. Some time over the next couple of weeks I will post updates on my progress with the backdrops.

The Pocket Wizard radios are pretty good.  Using a Sekonic L-478DR lightmeter I can remotely measure and control each of the flashlights one at the time.  It works like a charm.  The only challenge I am facing with this setup is that Pocket Wizard currently do not support full integration with Leica cameras.  For this reason I cannot go faster than 1/90s X sync speed.  When I work indoors this is not a problem.  However, outdoor shooting in bright sunlight does.  I'll do an experiment with ND filters on the lenses in order to see if that would give me acceptable setup.  If not, I'll stick to available light photography outdoors on bright sunny days and use reflectors and diffusors instead.

Regarding post processing.  With the enhanced Develop module in LR5 I now try to do as much non-destructive editing natively in the Develop module.  In this picture of Bjarne most basic editing post removal (including a lamp in the background!) was done using the Develop module.  The final picture was afterwards processed by Portrait Professional 11, Google/NIK Color Efex Pro II, and finally Google/NIK Sharpener Pro III.

arne 'at' (Arne Helme Photography) Sun, 11 Aug 2013 12:57:39 GMT
M 240 and a long over due web site overhaul My photography web site has been due for overhaul for quite some time now.  Photography has always been a hobby of mine. However, I always found other more important activities to do than to refresh the website.  As a result the site was for a long time not updated with recent photos or blog entries.  I addition, many photos already present on the site were in need of an update and a refreshing touch. My FB timeline was filling up, but the web site remained unchanged.

I guess the main reason for an overhaul is a personal one: an urge to constantly improve techniques and apply new tools.  Of course, new subjects, new tools (cameras, lenses, software, etc) and hopefully newly acquired skills and experience in digital post-processing made this urge unbearable over time. Over the last year I have upgraded entire tool chain now using Lightroom 5 as my primary RAW converter.  I have added the entire NIK (now Google) photo processing suite, upgraded to Leica M 240 (after a fantastic year only using the Monochrom), developing Flash based galleries, started experimenting with studio flash systems, and available light portrait photography only using reflectors, scrims etc.  I've been so busy having fun experimenting and learning that there was almost no time for publishing. 

So, here it is, an updated site:, please enjoy and give feedback if you see something you enjoy! The site will continue to be a work-in-progress project as this overhaul only got me 30% through the site.  However, I feel that with this recent overhaul there's much for quality content available. I have also reestablished an incentive and passion for keeping this project going, and that does it for me!

This year, the shift to M 240 was a major one for me.  The camera feels like a quantum lead forwards for M style photography. The new smooth and low noise shutter alone justifies this shift for me.  Of course, there are not only positive things.  As we speak my whole M system is on its way back to the factory for recalibration of the rangefinder.  Unfortunately, the camera I got is backfousing.  While the system is at the factory I have borrowed an M-E.  A fine camera, but after having used the M 240 for a while it is very difficult to look back.

I usually do black & white photography, but I really like the colours of the M 240.  During my recent trip to Italy I had the chance to practice landscape shooting in beautiful surrounding (Montemagno, Tuscany).  The following three photos were shote using Leica M 240 with Summilux 35mm FLE:

2013, Montemagno Or converting the M 240 images into black and white using Silver Efex Pro:

As I mentioned initially the M 240 that I got is back ocusing.  Especially using the lenses such as the 1.4/50mm ASPH, the Summilux 75mm, and the 3.4/135mm it became apparent to me that a recalibration of the system was required.  It was a bit tricky to track this down, but statistically I had significantly more shots with a back focus using the new camera than I had with a demo M 240 I used earlier this year.  The Electronic Viewfinder came to good use and showed convincingly that the rangefinder was back focusing.  

The following portrait of my sister was shot after I had identified the back focus issues.  I used the EV2 external electronic viewfinder on the M 240 to obtain good focus of the Summilux 75mm at f1.4.  There's quite a lot post-processing in this picture, but it is apparent that the focus of the Summilux 75mm is spot on.

Vacation time is now over in Norway so I expect slowing down again now as speed is rapidly catching up at work.  However, I'll post/update more regularly this fall and thereby, hopefully, reducing the need of new big overhauls down the road.



arne 'at' (Arne Helme Photography) Sun, 04 Aug 2013 13:12:32 GMT
Hot soup night! Ingenting er vel som et godt lag med gode venner, god mat, med god drikke til. Da jeg ble oppfordret av Kim Saxvik til å bidra til gjennomføring av en "hot soup night" var jeg ikke sen om å takke ja til invitasjonen.  Et godt lag i denne sammenhengen er kollegaene Kim Saxvik, David Lewis, Carl Jacob Rustad, samt Stian Danenbarger i fra IT-selskapet Bouvet. God mat er naturligvis suppe, og de må være "hotte" - jeg valgte en grønnsakssuppe til forrett og en kyllingsuppe til hovedrett.  God drikke for en slik kveld er selvsagt øl; Kim kjøpte Coronas mens de øvrige dukket opp med et betydelig antall øltyper i fra norske mikrobryggerier som jeg aldri hør har hørt navnet på.  So far so good!

En slik kveld er også en god anledning til å praktisere bruk av Leica Monochrom. Bildene i dette inlegget er samtlige tatt med fantastiske Summilux-M 1.4/35mm ASPH. FLE objektivet ved full blenderåpning.  ISO verdien varierte mellom 640 og 1600, jeg lar kameraet kontrollere dette automatisk helt opp til ISO 6400.  Leica Monochrom har reviatlisert mitt forhold til fotografi - det er en sann glede og privilegie å kunne bruke et slikt fint instrument.

Jeg får en del spørsmål om hvorvidt Monochrom bildene som jeg publiserer er blitt manipulerte i Photoshop, og svaret er at det er de i ganske stort omfang.  RAW-format (DNG) filene som Monochrom produserer omfatter en betydelig mengde informasjon som må behandles av fotografen i etterkant for å kunne uttrykke fotografens beste intensjon med innholdet.  Selv bruker jeg Adobe Lightroom, Nik Silver Efex II og Nik Sharpener II Pro til dette formålet.  Fotografens privilegie er å fortolke den digitale informasjonen i fra kameraet på best mulig måte, og en annen fotograf vil naturligvis kunne gi en helt annen fortolkning av innholdet enn den jeg har gjort her.

Til forrett laget jeg en variant av "Grønn var vår barndoms suppe", en hot brokkoli- og hvitløkssuppe.  Brokkolisuppe både smaker godt og har en spennende farge/konsistens.  Med en halv habanero i blir det det også en hot soup.  Nedenfor er oppskriften gjengitt med referanse til den originale oppskriften:

Ingredienser (for 3-4) personer:

  • 6 fedd hvitløk
  • 2 ss smør
  • 1 løk
  • 1,2 liter kyllingkraft (eller buljong)
  • 1 bunt brokkoli
  • 2 mandelpoteter
  • 1/2 habanero


Jeg fulgte fremgangsmåten gitt her, men finhakket en halv habanero sammen med hvitløken.

Til hovedrett laget jeg en Indonesisk peanøttsuppe. Dette er en oppskrift jeg fanget opp mens jeg bodde i Nederland (1992-2005). Som kjent var Indonesia tidligere en av mange Nederlandske kolonier.  Av den grunn finnes det i dag i Nederland et stort mangfold av matkulturer, og det var altså slik jeg kom over denne lille perlen.  Suppen har jeg servert til venner og bekjente over lengre tid. Det har alltid vært en suksess.  Nedenfor er oppskriften på peanøttsuppen gjengitt etter beste evne:

Ingredienser (for 3-4 personer):

  • 1 purreløk
  • 4 mellomstore poteter
  • 1 pk vårløk
  • smør
  • 1x habanera Chili eller annen sterk chili frukt (avhengig av hvor
  • sterkt du vil ha suppen)
  • 1l hønsebuljong (f.eks, 3 terninger hønsebuljong oppløst i 1l vann)
  • 2-4 hardkokte egg (2 per person)
  • pita brød (2 per person)
  • ca 1/2 boks peanøttsmør
  • 4 kyllingfileter
  • 2-4 ss Ketjap Manis (Kecap Manis) søt soyasaus
  • salt, pepper


Skrell og kutt potenene i terningstore biter.  Skjær og hakk den hvite og lysegrønne delen av purreløk og vårløk i små biter.  Skjær habanera/chili  i små biter (eller eventuelt bruk Habaneraen hel).  Ha smør i en stor gryte.  Stek potetbitene, purreløk, vårløk og chili på mellomhøy varme i 5-10 minutter til det er blitt gjennommykt og fruktig.  Skjær kyllingfieltene i terningstore biter og tilsett disse. Rør jevnlig og stek til kylligbitene ser gjennomstekte ut.  Tilsett hønsebuljongen og la det hele koke lett i 5-10 minutter.  Tilsett så Ketjap Manis og peanøttsmøret.  Sistnevnte er klebrig - så du må røre godt slik at alt peanøttsmøret løses opp i suppen.  Smak det hele til med salt og pepper.  Suppen skal være sterk og med en tydelig høns/peanøtt smak. Føy eventuelt til litt mer hønsebuljong om suppoen blir for tykk.  (Fjern den hele habaneraen).

Suppen serveres med hardkokte egg og pitabrød som er blitt varmet i ovnen.  Måten jeg pleier å servere på er at jeg tar et egg, deler det i skiver med en eggedeler, vender de 90 grader og deler en gang til slik at egget blir delt i små biter.  Disse legger jeg midt på suppetallerkenen slik at jeg kan heller suppen over.

Takk for en hyggelig kveld og mange flotte diskusjoner!

arne 'at' (Arne Helme Photography) Sun, 04 Nov 2012 10:01:17 GMT
Dreamy landscapes revisited The following two pictures were captured in Lommedalen, Norway, back in 2007-2008, but I did not process them before last week.  It has taken some learning and practice to get them right.  The first photo shows is a view of the Oslo fjord just after sunset.

Lommedalen, Norway, 2007. Leica M8 with Summilux-M 1.4/75mm. This photo was captured early in the morning through the window and shows a beautiful sunrise over Lommedalen. It was still rather dark outside so I decided to reflect that in the photo by not increasing the highlights in the lower part of the photo too much.

Lommedalen, Norway, 2007


arne 'at' (Arne Helme Photography) Sun, 29 Jul 2012 12:05:07 GMT
Door knob in Montemagno On one of my previous visits to my friend Tage in Montemagno, Italy, I discovered this old door knob.  The image was shot with a Leica M8 using a 2/75mm lens and processed using Topaz Adjust.  

Montemagno, Italy, 2007

arne 'at' (Arne Helme Photography) Sun, 29 Jul 2012 11:32:35 GMT
Childhood memories I grew up in the north of Norway.  In 1992 I moved to the Netherlands only to return back to Norway again in 2005.  One of the things I really missed while living in the Netherlands was the beautiful and wild landscapes I grew up with in Kvæfjord.  In 2003 while visiting Kvæfjord I took the picture below using a Hasselblad XPan II and a f/5.6 35mm wide angle lens.  The wide field capability of this camera enabled me to capture the beautiful landscape in Kværfjord as seen from Elde, where I grew up.  In the distance one can see the Gapøy island, the mountains at Finnseter and Kinn, and the Andøy island to the far right.  Many photos shown on my site are taken at our cottage which is located on the other side of the Kinn mountains.  Since childhood this imagery has been etched into my memories.  Whenever I have the opportunity I return back to Kvæfjord to view this scene again.

Kvæfjord, Norway, 2003

arne 'at' (Arne Helme Photography) Fri, 20 Jul 2012 17:45:14 GMT
Solitaire One of the last photos I took of my grandmother Elsie Helme.  It must have been around 1998, at our cottage in northern Norway. She's playing solitaire with, as always, a firm grip on her hand purse. The photo was shot using a Leica M6 with a f1.4/35mm lens on Fuji Velvia color slide film. 

Portrait of my grandmother, Elsie, 1998. Leica M6 + Summilux-M 1.4/35mm ASPH.

arne 'at' (Arne Helme Photography) Fri, 20 Jul 2012 16:06:10 GMT
What's going on here? I have received many questions regarding this photo.  Where is this?  What is he doing up there? The photo shows Vardø fyr on Hornøya in northern Norway, and it was taken during one of our trips to dark and desolated places which we still do annually.  I believe this was from the 2006 trip.  The person in the picture is my friend Rolf Holmboe.  He just figured it was a good idea climbing up there!

arne 'at' (Arne Helme Photography) Fri, 20 Jul 2012 15:54:18 GMT
Monster vs Alien? Well, I guess the title of this photo does not need an explanation!  At the very least the photo illustrates the beautiful rendering of the Leica 180mm f/3.5 APO Elmar-S lens when used wide open.  This was a hand held shot.  

Monster vs Alien, 2012. Leica S2 + Summarit-S 2.5/70mm.

arne 'at' (Arne Helme Photography) Fri, 20 Jul 2012 12:20:53 GMT
A hot day! The following photo of Bjarne and Sina was taken on Maihaugen, Lillehammer in 2009.  It was a hot day, especially for Bjarne.  The scene is not posed.  I envisioned the photo and took the shot.

arne 'at' (Arne Helme Photography) Thu, 19 Jul 2012 16:21:23 GMT
Evening sunlight Nothing is like the crystal clear air and brilliant evening sunlight found in northern Norway on a good day.  I took the following picture from our cottage near Andøya using a 35mm wide angle lens.  Though the composition could have been much better I am quite happy with how the light is adding brilliance to the scene.

arne 'at' (Arne Helme Photography) Thu, 19 Jul 2012 16:04:23 GMT
Dramatic, but no HDR! The photo below was taken during my recent visit to the north of Norway.  I underexposed by about 1/2 stop and used Silver Efex Pro to extract detail both in the highlight and shadow areas of the image.  It looks almost as if it is an HDR photo:

arne 'at' (Arne Helme Photography) Thu, 19 Jul 2012 15:15:33 GMT
To crop or not to crop? Most of the photos on my site are published uncropped for you to see the whole image as it was taken by the camera.  Some times even I see the need for some cropping or post-processing.  The photo below of my father and his friend Bernt was taken with a 180mm lens:

Here's what I ended up with after cropping the image:

arne 'at' (Arne Helme Photography) Thu, 19 Jul 2012 14:54:56 GMT
Videolights to the rescue! I have never been really fond of flash photography.  However, reading Neil van Niekerk's blog on the use of video lights for still photography convinced me to try this out for myself.  Here's a low key portrait of my son which was lit by a VidPro Z-96K video light.  The output level of the video light cannot be compared to a flash unit, but it gave me sufficient light to pre-visualize and to shoot the picture handheld.


arne 'at' (Arne Helme Photography) Thu, 19 Jul 2012 14:29:06 GMT
Rjukan, Vemork plant revisited Back in 2007 I visited the Vemork hydroelectric power plant located Rjukan, Norway.  For Norwegians the plant is best known for the heavy water sabotage against it during world war 2.  My attention was drawn to one of the side walls of the old building.  It was nicely textured with a beautiful old door.  I recently re-processed the picture of the door using Silver Efex Pro.  Here's the resulting image:

Vemork / Rjukan, Norway, 2007


arne 'at' (Arne Helme Photography) Thu, 19 Jul 2012 13:51:12 GMT
Welcome! Wow, I never intended to start a blog on my photo site!  Here it is anyway!  What I will try to do here is to post informative short articles related to the photos I publish on my site.  I am a hobbyist so this is really a best effort initiative to share some of my work with others!  Feel welcome to contact me and to post your comments on my site.


arne 'at' (Arne Helme Photography) Thu, 19 Jul 2012 13:32:32 GMT