Runestones

I wrote a post not too long ago with some ideas i had about approaching the area where you live like a travel photographer from somewhere else. Well, where i live, we have something pretty unique. This is where the vikings lived a thousand years ago. There are lots of relics from that age: grave mounds and stone circles and stuff. We also have runestones. Lots of them. I’ve made it a little private project to locate and photograph these stones, but not as simple documentation, but almost like portraits. I want to show them in the best possible light with a minimum of distractions and in different weather conditions. They’ve been standing here for a thousand years. Just imagine all the history they’ve seen in 365.000 days. It’s pretty amazing.

Törnbystenen. Rune stone in Färingsö, SwedenRunestione from the viking ages, Stenhamra, Sweden

So far, i’ve just been locating the stones and taken some reference photos to test lighting and different angles. There are 19 stones that i know about and they’re well documented and mostly well kept. A few cannot be reached in the summertime because they’re on farmland. One of them is seemingly just dumped among other large stones and not well kept at all. I will not visit it again because it made me a little sad to see the condition it was in.

Some fragments of runestones have for some reason been built into an old church. I have not seen those yet.

Mosaic of details from runestones in Färingsö, Sweden, showing runes and symbols.

One evening, i went out to to look at as stone i had not seen before. It’s hidden in a bushy area and a path has been cut through the bushes to give access to the stone. When i got there, the setting sun was perfectly aligned with the path and the warm light was coming through the opening in the bushes and lighting up the stone. It was almost like that magic Indiana Jones moment when once a year, the sun is perfectly aligned to light up a special point. I had about 30 seconds to set up my tripod and camera and shoot a few images. A minute later, the magic light was gone. This is what i will be looking for in this project – the best possible photo of every stone.

Runestone in Törnby, Färingsö, Sweden. This one was made in the Viking ages.

I’ll be writing more about this project as it progresses. I am not sure just yet what will come out of it. At least i hope to learn a lot about these fabulous stones and their history. I also expect to learn a little about finding the light and angles and making a kind of images that are different from what i’ve been doing before.

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