Tag Archives: iceland
Seeing photos emerging from Conor and Greg’s trip to Iceland makes me want to go back there, for now I have to be content with raiding my shoebox and processing images I never got around to, such as this one of a load of ducks on a cold lake.
Luckily for me it wasn’t really that cold when I was there. I had a biting wind every now and then, but otherwise it was mild and pleasant. Certainly not minus twenty…brrr.
Unfortunately I didn’t get to see a clear sky for my whole trip either, and the Aurora Borealis was certainly out of the question – but then I did get to see these ducks, so that’s something I suppose.
Oh, I also made friends with a horse. I say friends, I haven’t heard a word from her since leaving.
Here’s an iPhone Instagram shot of the same scene.
We had found a lovely spot to have lunch, and this was right beside a lake full of ice and ducks, snow covered mountains in the background and puffy clouds moving through the scene. Classic Iceland really,
Except for the ducks.
John managed to get in the way during this shot, but it made for a nice reflection so I let him stay there, and think I may have told him to stay longer than necessary while I fired off a few brackets.
Here’s a few of my Instagram shots from this location, including ducks and lunch, but not the two of those together:
Have a good weekend everyone.
Sorry to The Automatic, but it’s just a cloud.
I decided to take a glance at a random folder of my 2012 Lightroom catalogue last night so I could do a bit of processing, and a particular folder for one day jumped out of the random collection due to the fact it had over 1,000 images in it (though I bracket most things, so this equates to around 333 actual shots. Within that I found images from my Iceland trip, a good enough folder to land on, and this image jumped out at me.
Though I don’t remember the exact details of where this was taken, and I’m too lazy to find a map, I do have a previous image that you can see for scale. Chasing Ice shows a crop of some of the ice in the middle of this image, and a group of people working their way through the landscape. They sure have a long way to walk.
For processing I tonemapped 3 brackets using Photomatix, sharpened and added a contrast boost in CS6, and then used selective brushing of the Urban Sickness & Cybercool filters from OnOne’s Perfect Effects; this was finished off with a little brushing in of Low Key shadows from Color Efex Pro and finally a denoise via Topaz.
I went to see a screening of Chasing Ice last week.
It’s a documentary about global warming and succeeds in providing a great visual interpretation of the issues we are facing. I just wish I had seen it before I went on my trip to Iceland this year as I feel I would have appreciated the journey a little bit more.
For example; here’s an image of a group of people about to embark on a walk over an ice formation. Though pretty awesome in size, it’s nothing compared to what it was 10 years ago, and that’s something I simply didn’t think about while I was there. Even when standing on a beach with ice on it I didn’t really think about the implications of how it got there; the only possible message about global warming I found on the whole trip was in a bit of graffiti:
Check it out if you happen to see it on in your area.
This little van was parked up by a spot we stopped at on our first hour or so in Iceland. After being told we’re not allowed to take our hire van on an ‘F-Road’ we spent much of the first hour in it driving through some pretty dodgy terrain and wondering just what exactly an F-Road was. I’m sure it would have been worse than what we were on…perhaps.
Near to this spot was some sort of power plant type building, and a long wooden walkway leading down to the sea where hot water and steam spewed from a drain. The water was pretty warm so it wouldn’t have surprised us to find the owner of this van having a spa somewhere near by.
It looks like a pretty cool van, though I’m glad our rental one was a little bigger and equipped with things such as a fridge, cooker, bed, etc.
Have a great weekend everyone.
This is a bit like what it looks like in London today. Except for the church…and the hills. That blanket of mist however, that’s what we do have right now.
This is another image from the beautiful Iceland, somewhere I definitely need to return to when I can hope for better weather. It’s difficult when planning a photography trip because you spend a lot of time planning, preparing and booking things in advance to make sure you can a) get them and b) get them at a reasonable price, yet you are then completely reliant on the weather.
Well, not completely I guess. You can embrace whatever weather comes at you are put a photographic spin on it; but for me somewhere like Iceland would be a little better if we actually saw a sunset/sunrise or had a nice blue hour.
Anyway, there were plenty of these gorgeous little churches over there. The architect really did a good job and then thought to himself ‘I designed it, people like it, let’s run with it’. They do make for a good photo though, and love that on my particular trip they were mostly surrounded by mountains and low hanging clouds.
Guess where this image was taken?
Well, I’ll tell you then. This is from my trip to Cornwall late last year.
Alright, not really. It’s from Iceland. Um…Surprise!
This was a lovely little spot that we found; it was very isolated and was just a few minutes away from a similar spot that was just full of tourists so we were happy to find it and have it to ourselves. This seemed to be where all of the ducks* (not in this shot) went for a bit of relaxation as it was nice and quiet.
I hope everyone had a lovely weekend.
*If that’s what they were. Not too sure. I know they were duck like, in that I know they were birds and was pretty sure that they were definitely not penguins.
Returning to Iceland again today for what to me feels like an apocalyptic scene. Sulphur and smoke in the background, a rocky wasteland in the foreground, imposing clouds and a lake that just doesn’t quite seem right somehow.
Of course, when at the scene itself it was pretty beautiful with the nice blue lake contrasted by the barren land surrounding it, a mixture of serenity and industry.
So far I’ve managed to process about 20 images from Iceland which covers a 4 day trip. Granted, the weather wasn’t the best while there. I have more to process, I’m sure, but also find that I take several brackets of the same scene, perhaps from different angles, which means when looking through my catalogue of images I sometimes skip a whole set of brackets because I have already processed that ‘scene’.
New York I processed 18 images, Austria 15, Cornwall 12, Scotland 15.
Do you find that you get a lot of images from a trip away? I know I generally look for those I like the best to process and often leave the rest, but 15-20 images per holiday doesn’t seem like many.
Another one from Iceland today, seeing as how I did process so many of them on the flight
There are quite a lot of waterfalls on the South side of the island…though I’m sure they have them on the North side also. This is around the base of one and was somewhere near Skogarfoss I think, we stopped here as we travelled West towards the end of our trip, and indeed towards Reykjavik.
To get this shot I was standing on a
tiny small clump of grass in the middle of the river stream attempting not to step fully into the water. Here’s an Instagram shot of me getting my feet wet. I love Gore-Tex technology, but do seem to always get my feet wet.
Another image from Iceland today, but I can’t tell you too much about it as I have absolutely no idea where I was when I took it (other than the fact I was in Iceland, I’m sure of that much).
I processed this shot while on the flight from London to Seattle. This is the reason I love having a MacBook in place of a PC. The fact I have something that is light enough to travel with, yet powerful enough to be able to handle all of the processing software is just wonderful. I stuck a film or two (Men in Black III and The Amazing Spider Man) onto the small TV screen in the seat, and then just went to work on processing a few of my Iceland shots. It was good fun, though I must admit I’m not too used to using the track pad for it rather than a mouse, and there simply wasn’t enough room to use a mouse (unless I had used the leg of my fellow passenger as the mouse pad, but I’m doubtful she would have enjoyed that).
I’ve taken this afternoon off work in case my jetlag kicks in…I find it odd it hasn’t yet. Should I remain fresh I’ll hopefully be processing some images from my Seattle and Toronto trips
Jökulsarlon in Iceland has a nice black sand beach where you will regularly see large deposits of ice which flows down river and remains on the shore. It certainly seemed to be a pretty popular tourist spot with visitors there both day and night during our two visits to this location.
As I was walking along the beach I saw this nice little block standing there and thought it would be nice to get a shot of it with the bridge in the background, as the other way you would see nothing of real interest, plus lots of people. Unfortunately I had just been walking down the beach between the bridge and the ice so you can see my footprints leading up to this spot. I didn’t want footprints, so after taking a few brackets I repositioned the ice (which was heavier than I had imagined) so that I could take a few more shots without the footprints.
In the end it turns out that the footprints worked slightly better after all, so kept my first shots – as is often the case.
We make another trip back to Iceland today for this image, and it’s one of the first that I shot while on that trip. After getting in the van and stocking up on food we headed to the South West coast of the island where we were to try and find a ruinous lighthouse. On the way we spotted some thermal activity and decided to take a detour to look at it up close.
Though this image looks nice and serene, behind me there is lots of water gushing out of a pipe, boiling hot and smelling like eggs. The water had cooled off a lot by the time it reached this part of the beach, but was still a little more than tepid, lovely though.
It was taken shortly before 10pm, the sun is still reasonably high in the sky and it would be another hour and a half before the ‘sunset’ was to take place.
Hope everyone had a good weekend; I had a lovely relaxing one by the coast – which I enjoyed very much in the run up to a few busy weeks ahead.
This scene was taken at 3am in Iceland. Just look at the light available at that time!
I have to admit I walked this lonely wooden path. It took me through a lot of sulphuric mounds and up to a viewing platform. I returned from it okay…apart from the smell of rotten eggs up my nose…and so the title of this post is a little misleading. However, I do feel you can look at this shot and imagine the path leading on into the unknown – so I ran with that.
I took another of these shots in a self portrait style with my hooded character; however as I wasn’t wearing my hoodie the Berghaus coverall simply didn’t have the desired effect so I opted to process the set of brackets without me in them; the sulphuric steam was also much better in this one with a more even spread.
Over the weekend I processed a few images to try and build up a bank of them in preparation for my trips away. Out of my desired 16 images I processed 8, so halfway there, and I’ve enjoyed going back in to some of the Icelandic ones from earlier this year.
This certainly isn’t the largest or most powerful of waterfalls that we visited in Iceland, however it was one of the prettiest and also was the only one which you were able to walk around the back of – though doing this meant that I, and my camera, did get rather moist.
As a daytime shot I used the B&W 10 stop filter to make the exposure longer and smooth out the water, and this also had the added effect of making the other people on the scene disappear as they walked from one side of the frame to the other in front of the lens. One of the routes to walk behind these falls is seen at the right of the image, and so the long exposure did a great job of ensuring those walking on that path simply weren’t in the final image.
We visited these falls twice on our trip, as we drove out from Reykjavik to the South East side of the island and then back. The first time was after the first night of absolutely no sleep and we arrived here pretty early and were the only people here. The second time, on our return leg, it was in the early evening of a very dreary day and it was full of tourists. It’s odd, therefore, that John chose this latter day to don his flip flops and act like a madman by standing in the freezing cold river at the base of the falls.
Anything for a photo…right?
I really would like to get into the area of compositing, but know I have a heck of a lot to learn about Photoshop before I can do that; plus a lot more shots to take if I want to purely use my own images for them. However, over the weekend I felt in the mood to give it a try, and after processing one image that I felt needed something a little extra – I ended up with the above shot.
It started out with my processing a shot from Iceland; it was taken in an area where there was a lot of sulphurous steam and I liked that I could make out a fence post in the right hand side of the frame; here’s the shot I started off with:
Though I liked the image I did feel that the fence wasn’t quite visible enough to make it the sole focal point of interest in the image, and I wanted to try and add something extra.
As the shot was taken in Iceland my mind immediately went to the downed plane that we found there and I thought it would be a perfect fit; so I returned to square one and re-tonemapped a few of the shots which included a second set of brackets for this scene and a set of brackets of the plane:
Once I had these, I drew a mask around the plane and cut it out into the new frame, reducing it in size as I went. I added shadow underneath it and then went to work on the Color Efex (by NikSoftware) and Perfect Effects (by OnOne Software) filters to get the feel I was after. I preferred the ground of the original image I had processed so I brought some of that into this shot also.
Finally I needed to add a little more of the steam to the shot than what was in there so I went ahead and did this using a combination of some smoke type brushes I added to Photoshop and a little cloning also.
I’m pretty happy with the result, and though there wasn’t too much missing from my originally processed image I did enjoy adding the plane into the scene and hope to do a lot more of these – likely with more surrealism – in the future.
Hmm, perhaps this post title would have worked better had this church been in Helsinki. Never-the-matter, this is Hallgrímskirkja Church in Reykjavik – and it’s a pretty odd building if you ask me.
We arrived here on our last day of the Iceland trip and were pretty fortunate to arrive when there was nobody around outside, as we nipped into the church for 5 minutes and suddenly it seemed like buses full of tourists pulled up and would have made the above shot pretty difficult to achieve.
Speaking of bands, on the plane to Iceland there was an article on a band called Of Monsters and Men. They received a good write up and were obviously topical for my destination, so I looked them up when I got home. They’re pretty good.
Check out a video of them performing Little Talks, and enjoy.
The churches all look pretty similar in Iceland. I think they found a design that they liked and ran with it.
As we were driving along a very long stretch of road from Jökulsárlón to Höfn I saw a church in the distance, and then went through a mental checklist I had.
Is there a church? Yes
Is it at the foot of a mountain? Yes
Are there clouds or mist covering parts of the mountain? Yes..well..kinda. Mostly covering really.
Is it raining? No
Sweet, let’s go over there and check it out.
John did the driving in Iceland, as I don’t drive (or as I pointed out at one stage, I’ve told him I don’t drive and this could just be a clever ploy for me to avoid doing any of the driving on our photo trips), and wasn’t too sure if we were driving on to private property – his priority was getting to the nearest town to find a public convenience and not detour for a guy who had just been reciting a checklist aloud in the car.
It’s not private, I assured him without really caring if it was, and we drove up to the church.
John was relieved there (literally), he had been praying for a restroom and it turns out that little hut to the left of the church was a toilet…and by far the nicest one we found on the journey.
I would have liked a little more of a break in the dark clouds, but am happy with the scene and glad we took the detour.
When in Iceland I thought I had to take a photo of one of their horses…I’m not sure how you can go there and not do so really. However, there were a couple of attempts to do this, one more successful than the other.
When looking for horses I always wanted to have an nice backdrop – a scene to place them in. The first group of horses I found had just that, a lovely mountain range in the background with mist over the mountains – perfect.
We pulled up at the side of the road and I tried to get the attention of the horses who were busy doing horse-like things, eating grass, and one was chasing a sheep.
I called over to them, but they didn’t come.
I held out some fresh long green grass from my side of the fence, but they didn’t come.
I shook the fence to see if that got their attention, but I got an electric shock.
They still didn’t come.
I moved on to a neighbouring field and the horses in there were a little better at getting closer, but still none of them were very friendly to us and didn’t pose very well for photographs, and so we moved on.
Just outside Vik there was another field with four horses in it, one was a lovely white horse that just looked great in the middle of a field with mountains in the background. Again we stopped the car and went over to the horses. These ones were a little too keen, and as soon as we got near to them they started walking towards us and ruining the shots that were in mind.
They were very friendly though, and were happy to be petted and have their photo taken. This is where I took the one above.
Here’s a copy of the unprocessed shot which I find is a nice comparison:
Also, just for a bit of fun – here’s a snap of me and the horse together taken by John, and the resulting shot I took of the horses cheesy grin while the horse was attempting to nibble on my camera.
Okay, so I admit calling this one ‘Swan Lake’ may be a stretch. Yes, it was more of a pond than a lake, and for all I know that could be a goose rather than a swan. ‘Goose Pond’ just doesn’t sound as nice though.
I loved how the mist was teasing its way through the mountains while in Iceland; this appeared to be the only real plus side to the weather we had when there. I loved the frost on the ground making everything nice and crisp and fresh also….or at least I would have done if that was frost; this shot was taken at around 9pm and for some reason the moss always seemed silvery rather than the lush green you would expect.
It was super comfy to lie down on though.
I hope everyone had a great weekend. Mine was spent very lazily catching up on sleep and watching the three Nolan Batman movies, I wrote a little review of the BlackRapid RS-4 Strap, and I made a chicken pie. Oh, and of course the Olympics started so I have watched some of that – really enjoyed the opening ceremony. You?
Friday already, and I am very much looking forward to the weekend. I have been so tired since returning from Iceland, and having to get up for work has not helped me to shake that. I’m going to enjoy a nice long lie in tomorrow morning.
Beside the shot I took yesterday was this really nice blue lake; as mentioned, it was really odd having two areas of such contrast right beside each other, but it was nice and pretty all the same. The birds that had tried to bomb us in the area with the cracks didn’t care while we were here, so we also went from the noise of bubbling mud and birds to pretty much silence.
Enjoy your weekend everyone.
This scene (again from Iceland, as all will be this week) was taken at the very South West of the island. This area had many craters of bubbling mud, and you can see the thermals rising from these in the distance on this image. The air was ripe with sulphur, which got worse as we progressed through this scene. We also appeared to get closer to nesting birds (a regular occurrence on this trip) who tried to ward us off with shrill cries and low flying manoeuvres.
The shot itself is an odd one looking back at it and thinking of how things appeared on the scene. The cracks on this image look quite large and somewhat cavernous, when they were not. I used the 14mm lens aimed at the cracks immediately in front of me and shooting at an angle. This meant I could maintain a viewing angle that looks like I’m standing but also get low enough to make the cracks appear to be quite large. The vignette blur that you see in the bottom of the frame is mostly from camera, with Focal Point (by OnOneSoftware) used to clean up a little and replicate at the top of the shot.
This is Dyrhólaey, or “Door Island”, in Mýrdalur on the south coast of Iceland – a gigantic arch of black lava which reminds me very much of Durdle Door on the South Coast of England, which I hope to visit later this year.
We arrived here on our first full day in Iceland, having had lunch in nearby Vik we returned to this spot for a few hours sleep as we hadn’t had any since arriving the day before, hoping that by the time we awoke there would be better weather and fewer visitors – that turned out okay for us.
I still haven’t caught up with sleep since my trip away, though do find myself falling asleep in the evening and sleeping right through to my alarm in the morning, which is nice.
Before going to Iceland there were 4 or 5 locations that I had found on the interwebs where I wanted to go; the remains of this plane crash was one of them. I managed to find the plane on Google Maps so that we had a rough idea where it was in relation to the road we were driving on, and on our first full day there we parked up and hiked out to it.
There is probably an easier way that the way we went, I’m not sure. It did involve us walking for quite some time over rough terrain, getting dive-bombed by birds who must have thought we were too close to their nest, and also we ended up walking through a river.
Eventually we arrived at our destination (unlike the plane).
As well as taking the usual shots of the plane from different angles I decided put together this scene – hope you like it s much as I do.
This is Gullfoss, or Golden Falls if you want the English translation.
As many of you will know, I have just been on a trip to Iceland – and what a wonderfully pretty place it is. We had better weather than expected, as it wasn’t raining all day every day, but unfortunately we weren’t able to get much decent light in the sky even around the sunrise/sunset periods on this trip.
We stopped at these falls on the last night of the trip, and it was an unplanned stop where we decided to simply rock up as it was so close to the nearby Geyser. We had seen showers coming and going all day, and at this stage there were some awesome rainclouds in the sky, hopefully one of those images will follow at a later date.
There was nobody at this location, partially due to the time of day (it was midnight), and partially due to the weather (the wind was super, super strong). Though I was on a tripod it was being moved by the wind, so I wedged it in between a few rocks, stood as best as I could to block it from the onslaught and shoot brackets. In the end I just processed this using the single exposure as there was too much movement otherwise.
A huge thanks to John who organised and drove on the trip. I have no idea how he stayed awake while I was sat in the passenger side, head lulling, but it’s very much appreciated.
Update 06 December 2012
Here’s a workflow video which I have recorded for HDROne.com on the processing of this image.