Icebergs in Iceland

Jokulsarlon, South Iceland, Northern Europe

Jokulsarlon, South Iceland, Northern Europe

Nikon D700, 24-70 at 48mm, f10, 1 sec, ISO100, 6 Stop Neutral Density Filter, 0.6 Hard Grad

This was shot on the landscape photography workshop I ran in Iceland last year, Two points to talk about

1 – Landscape photography is not all about wideangle lenses, these days I seem to be reaching for the 17-35mm less and less, I remember when I first got it (2003 probably), I would always turn up at location and put it on by default. As you zoom out looking through the viewfinder you see the whole scene coming into view, anything different from our eyes 50mm perspective seems exciting. When shooting at 20mm you are making to a decision to emphasize foreground and do the opposite to background / distance. If you’ve ever shot on the beach at Durdle Door you might know what I mean.

Shooting at 48mm on this beach in Iceland I didn’t want to seperate the main iceberg from the others in the composition, also I couldn’t do this with the wideangle because I would have got soaked by that incoming tide!

2 – Secondly if I hadn’t been running the workshop (and told the clients the previous evening we were going out) I might well have looked at that sky and stayed in bed, it looks worse than unpromising, but actually the moodiness and foreboding clouds were perfect for this shot, this wouldn’t have worked with a clear bright dawn. Its a good example of how its always worth getting out of bed and getting out there. When you’re abroad and you know you might never be there again its always easier to motivate yourself isn’t it?

Jokulsarlon, South Iceland, Northern Europe

Jokulsarlon, South Iceland, Northern Europe

Nikon D700, 24-70 at 66mm, f11, 1/40th, ISO100

Shooting this at 66mm compressed the perspective and allowed me to show the distant cliff face, which the low sidelighting was bringing out.

Landscape photography is all about decision making, when you see successful shots you imagine it was simply a case of turning up and pressing the button but there is always so much more to it. On this evening shoot at Jokulsarlon we had to decide whether to find the best angle for sunset and any potential colours to the west or head in the other direction and hope for strong light breaking through on this north easterly view.

With so many icebergs in that lagoon it was all about finding an interesting shape to anchor the composition. When you first get to an epic location like this there can be a tendency to be a little overwhelmed by the overall beauty of it and to just point the camera at everything, thinking it will turn into a great shot. I’d shot Jokulsarlon the previous year and a lesson learnt from those experiences was to to find the most dynamic icebergs for the shot. A ‘banging sky’ always helps…

Happy shooting


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