Travel – Iceland

Revisiting Old Images

Unless I forget to remove the lens cap, I rarely delete and simply archive. I would like to believe that I’m a better photographer than I was 2 years ago. I see things differently and how I approach creating new images is forever changing.

With all that file clutter just taking up space, it’s an interesting exercise to look back and compare what I had originally thought was good and/or bad. It’s also interesting to see how opinions have changed.

It feels like forever and a day since I was in Iceland but when I saw an image of Dettifoss this week, I went back to my archived library to see what I had originally passed over as rejects. I remembered being there but I had also remembered coming back without anything interesting to print.

This is what I found. A relatively flat mid-day image of Europe’s most powerful waterfall. It surely doesn’t have the same impact as it did standing there inches from the rushing water.

Dettifoss, Iceland

50% of my visualization is through trial and error. Should it be cropped? Does it need more or less contrast? Would I prefer this or would I prefer that?

Once I identified what I did not like about this image, I removed the colour, darkened the sky and ended up with two different images. One was be the original 8×12 but the other a perfect square. Both with very different perspectives of the location.

So I asked the question on Facebook which image was preferred and I feel like I got an equal mix right down the middle. You can see everyone’s comments here, here, and here. Art doesn’t get more subjective than this and how one connects with an image varies wildly.

Some prefer the feeling of standing there looking over the edge into the Jökulsá á Fjöllum river while others much prefer 1:1 and removing the triangle shaped distractions.

There is no answer and I still do not know which one I prefer.

Dettifoss, Iceland

Dettifoss, Iceland

I Have Much to Learn

Iceland was the first group tour I’ve ever been on. With a fixed itinerary, pre-defined locations, and a large group with a variety of interests – to say I was highly skeptical was an understatement. Regardless of my hesitation, it was hard to turn down the invitation and I really wanted to travel with those that invited me.

Now that I’m home and relatively pleased with a few of the images I brought home, it’s interesting and often amazing to see what the rest of the group saw and shot. With each new image, I found myself saying “Where was that?”, “Why did I not see it that way?”, or “#*$?, my image sucks compared to that one”.

The trip was a very fast paced packed itinerary with little time to rest (most of use slept in the van) and exhaustion was a battle by week two. At a time when I was completely uninspired to pick up the camera with several excuses of being too tired, the light or weather sucks, it’s mid-day and hot, there were other photographers out making great images that I had the opportunity and intentionally missed out on.

To close off this Icelandic Adventure, we as a group have assembled a PDF in the form of an eBook showcasing everyone’s favourite photographs.

Iceland eBook

Today’s Image – Two Weeks in Iceland PDF eBook

This 122 page PDF is designed to be a portfolio of our favourite images from 12 photographers that ventured off to Iceland for 2 weeks in the spring of 2012. Published by oopoomoo, you can download this free 36MB PDF to see the wide variety of images and the different photographic styles artists can produce, even though we were often standing side by side in front of the same scene in the same weather.

Askja and Víti

One of the most memorable days from our Iceland trip was a 12 hour round trip adventure to the Askja volcano, Viti crater and Öskjuvatn lake. It was the most off-road driving we had. It involved driving over sand, gravel, lava, snow, and through rivers. It’s no secret my style is attracted to warm light on the edges of daylight so this was not about creating sunset or sunrise images — because I came home with none. The rewards were all about the experience.

Askja and Víti

The Askja stratovolcano is located in a remote part of the central highlands of Iceland. This crater and geothermal lake was formed in an 1875 eruption but getting here was not easy. With special permits and the guides from Fjallasýn, we rocked the cross country driving.

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After an intese 17 days of travel around the coastline of Iceland, I’m home again and settling back into the second half of spring here on Prince Edward Island. Now begins the battle to organize, sort, process, back up and start sharing the results. If you wish not to wait until I prepare future blog posts, I have been sharing images faster on Facebook and Google Plus.

Iceland Sunset

Today’s Image – An Everlasting Iceland Sunset

There is a significant difference between the north and south coast of Iceland, but the slow moving sun would start to set around 7pm and last until 1am — only to rise again shortly after. There was little need to feel rushed with the exception of the rapidly changing weather. With almost 24 hours of daylight and the sun only dipping below the horizon line for about 90 minutes, I was getting half of my sleep in the back of the van between locations. It was an interesting adjustment to come home to a night sky and see darkness for the first time in over 2 weeks.

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A Photographers Travel Checklist

It’s that time again when I must recheck and recheck again to make sure I have all the necessities before packing the camera on a plane and traveling off to a location not-so-close to home. I will soon be in Iceland with a few photographer friends and while packing light is always the priority — having enough to get by for a couple weeks is a concern as well.

My pack list from my American Southwest adventure this past fall proved to be successful but I must admit with all the restrictions and frustrations of travel — I do miss the days when all I had was a small pocket camera.

Virgin River, Zion National Park, Utah

Today’s Image – Virgin River in Zion National Park

In the spirit of travel and because I’m not yet in Iceland, today’s image is flash back from my November trip to the Southwest National Parks. The first stop was Zion National Park and here I am along side the Pa’rus trail (N 37 12.894 W 112 58.524) in the Virgin River looking south.

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