Abandoned Quarry

When I moved back to Stockholm in 2015 I did not know any dancers here, but through Ballet akademien I got in touch with Jacqueline Sogell, which opened up a whole new world of dance here. This past week we met up again for a new dance photoshoot. This time we wanted to do some sunset photos, and after a bit of searching we found Stenhamra stenbrott which is an abandoned quarry west of the city. Jacqueline works as a freelance dancer and yoga teacher, I have linked to her instagram at the end of the blog post.

Back in January I kind of accidentally bought a second-hand lens at Hegethorns in Nässjö. The lens was incredibly heavy and specialised so I have only used it once. For this photoshoot we were driving out the the quarry so I decided it was a good time to bring the lens. It is a Nikon 200 mm f/2 VR, and because of the wide aperture and focal length it contains a lot of glas. I normally photograph mostly with a 50 mm lens, so for this photoshoot I had to step back a lot further. Because of the weight I brought a sturdy tripod along. This slowed things down, as it took some time to properly frame the photos, which was actually quite a nice feeling. Once the photo was framed on the tripod I did not have to worry about small camera movements changing the composition.

Jacqueline Sogell. The first location we set up the camera in. Here we wanted to work with the strong vertical lines of the tree trunks.
Jacqueline Sogell. One of the nice things with shooting with a telephoto lens with a wide aperture is that you can get a very shallow depth of field, which renders things in the foreground and background with a nice soft bokeh.
Jacqueline Sogell. There were two deep ponds of water, the first one had a “no swimming sign” but the second one was in use as a swimming pool. When we arrived there were a lot of people climbing the cliffs and jumping into the water. Someone had placed a plastic chair on one of the nearby rocks, so Jacqueline procured it from a resting teenager and we took this photo.
Jacqueline Sogell. To get the softest bokeh you want to focus on a close subject and have the background quite far away. Here Jacqueline did a pose, and then by adding a bit of hair movement the photo came to life.

She had the day to wander so
she strolled the forest edge, heard
the mirth of fairies long at play,
saw a rope-swing gaily swaying
on a limb, inviting
her to step into the woods
and ask, Can I come? Can I play?
They taught her fairy tales and sang
hand-clapping games down by the brook—
but morning-glory petals started
folding—day was closing, evening coming
and with heavy steps she had to
turn away. I cannot play.
I cannot play.

– Monica Sharman (Twitter)


Jacqueline Sogell. Thanks to the longer focal length it was possible to photograph across the pond. As the sun passed below the tree line the other people slowly packed up and left, which meant that the water on the pond settled down into a perfect mirror.

The sky was starting to get some beautiful colours, so for the last half hour or so we decided to head down to a nearby beach to better capture the sunset.

Jacqueline Sogell
Jacqueline Sogell. We asked one of the nearby swimmers if he could help us out by generating a bit of a splash behind Jacqueline. I forgot to ask his name, but thank you anonymous friendly bystander.

A big thank you to Jacqueline for a fun photoshoot! If you are curious about our previous photoshoot, then check out the Shake it off blogpost where we did some spectacular dance photos with flour.

Instagram: Jacqueline Sogell, Johannes Hjorth

— Johannes

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