All journeys begin somewhere, mine began at Glasgow Airport where I was waiting to board a plane for the very first time. Up until that point I had never flown anywhere before, so this was all a learning curve for me but I love trying new things and being able to travel this year was a dream come true! Iceland had been on my mind for years but I never saw myself having the opportunity to go there this soon in my career which was a welcome surprise. It turns out a thoroughly enjoy flying, the feeling of breaking through the clouds and looking down at the awe-inspiring beauty of Scotland with its many lochs and monroes from above just blew me away.Two hours later I could see the snow-topped mountains of Iceland, my heart was racing and a feeling of excitement washed over me. My eyes began to feel sore as I was looking out the window for far too long and I was mentally taking photographs of everything (and also with my iPhone incase I missed anything) so that I could never forget this experience. Keflavik airport is around 40 minutes drive from Reykjavik and the area is quite baron, it felt like we were driving across the moon and civilisation had just started to populate the area. Eventually I arrived at my hotel and the first I did was start to unpack my gear and organise it ready for the evenings shoot. The first evening I went for a scout of the area to prepare myself for the morning, I took my camera with me but it never left the bag. The first place I went to which was only a 10 minute walk from my hotel was the Viking boat sculpture known as "Sólfar" or "Sun Voyager", I had seen many pictures of it before so my goal was to try different techniques to get hopefully some interesting shots.
Over the next week I'll be writing a few more "Icelandic Journals" to keep you updated with what I'm up to but I will only show one photograph from those days as I'm saving the best ones for a portfolio of images that I will release when I return to Scotland next week. As well as using my D800 & D3 cameras I'm also using my iPhone 4s a lot more than ever! Maybe it's the young adventurer in me that wants to record and document every step I take in these new lands. The image below was taken with my iPhone, using the HDR mode I was able to capture a decent tonal range of the scene to make for a lovely wallpaper on my phone. ;)
Now onto the good stuff! Below is an image I took of Sólfar last night at around 10pm, the sun still had around 1 hour 30 mins until it disappeared but a few minutes the clouds broke on the horizon and golden light flooded the coastline making for a beautifully dramatic image. Now I bet you're wondering if this is an HDR image or I've used filters to even the exposure, I have done neither on this photograph. I remember writing in the past about how powerful a RAW file really is and how people are throwing away images that could be brought back from the dead. The dynamic range recorded on the RAW file of a D800 is astonishing, with this shot I exposed for the clouds and then in Lightroom I was able to pull back the details from shadowed areas. When I return I think I will do a video showing the before and after of this shot and show the capabilities Lightroom has to offer your photography.