Iceland Full Circle Photography Tour 2016 Travelogue 4 (Podcast 549)

Iceland Full Circle Photography Tour 2016 Travelogue 4 (Podcast 549)

This is the concluding part of our four part series of travelogue style episodes to walk you through the final ten images from my recent Iceland Full Circle Tour and Workshop.

We pick up the trail on Sept 13 (2016) when we walked up from Detifoss to Selfoss. Selfoss doesn’t have the power that Detifoss has, but they’re definitely worth the extra walk once you are nearby. There is a series of falls all along the right side of the river as you can see in this photo (below).

Selfoss

Selfoss

Again, I wish we’d been able to get to the other side of the falls, but it wasn’t to be this year. What I do like about this photo from this angle though, is that pronounced line of waves in the water, almost making an “S” shape from the front of the main falls, first banking left then coming back towards the middle of the frame and out the center of the bottom of the photo. It almost feels like there’s a giant serpent just under the surface of the water.

This was a 0.3 second exposure at f/14, ISO 100 at 100mm, with my 100-400mm lens. I converted to black and white in Capture One Pro. I haven’t used Silver Efex Pro once since I switched to Capture One, and I’m really not missing it. The biggest benefit of course is that I get to keep my images in their original raw format, so I save disk space, and will benefit from upgrades of the processing engine as Phase One upgrade Capture One Pro.

Lake Mývatn

Later in the day, we visited Lake Mývatn, not far from where we were staying for the two days we spent in this area. In true form for Iceland the rain hadn’t really let up for the last few days, so a people decided to stay on the bus but some of us walked down to the lake, to capture some of the beautiful fall color that we can see in this photo (below).

Lake Mývatn

Lake Mývatn

The overall scene would have been nice in the sun, but I think the wet leaves look nice when they’re wet like this too. The colors literally become more “saturated” when wet. It’s not a coincidence that we use the same word to mean both colorful and very wet. I shot this with a 0.6 second exposure at f/14, ISO 100, at 63mm with my 24-70mm lens. If you didn’t catch it, I released a review of the new 24-105mm Mark II lens last week, and that’s what I’ll be working with in the future.

Dimmuborgir

The following morning bright and early we visited Dimmuborgir while the frost was still on the ground, and had a lovely early morning walk with a blue sky that was nice to see for the first time in a few days. I am actually not a fan of blue skies, but if it’s a toss-up between blue sky and constant rain, there comes a point when the blue sky becomes more appealing.

Shadow Selfie at Dimmuborgir

Shadow Selfie at Dimmuborgir

This is more a fun shot than anything, as it’s a selfie of my own shadow. If you look closely, there’s a figure standing on top of that shadow pinnacle. That’s me with my 11-24mm lens shooting this photograph (above). There’s the shadow of another member of my group to the left of me as well. I really enjoyed this shoot, just because it felt so great to be out in the brisk morning air, but the fall color was a nice added bonus.

My settings for this photo were 1/100 of a second at f/16, ISO 400, at 15mm. I had increased my ISO so that I could hand-hold the camera for this shot. There really wasn’t enough room to set up my tripod on top of the rock on which I was standing.

Asbyrgi

After the morning shoot, we had a long drive up to Asbyrgi, where we took a short walk from the bus to a simply magical lake, that you can see in this photo (below). We had hoped for a windless day for this reflection, and we were lucky enough to get just a slight breeze, so there was only a small amount of rippling on the surface of the water.

Asbyrgi Reflection

Asbyrgi Reflection

There was that solitary white gull on the lake too, which I thought added a nice additional element. I shot this at f/14 for 1/15 of a second at ISO 400, 38mm. Although I was using a tripod for this, I increased my ISO a bit here for a couple of reasons. Firstly, the gull was moving around, and I didn’t want it to become a streak of white with a longer exposure. Also, we were shooting from a wooden platform on the lake, and people were walking around, so there was always risk of that causing camera shake, so the shorter the exposure the less risk.

If you click on the image and look really closely at this photo, you’ll see a person in a blue coat just above the trees on the right third of the image. After shooting from the platform on the lake for a while, we went up there, and shot this next photo (below) showing the lake and the cliff wall that encompasses it.

Asbyrgi

Asbyrgi

This beautiful fall color is one of the reasons that I plan my tours for September. The other reason is because many of the summer crowds have also started to leave by this time. I love the color in this shot though, from the oranges in the cliff face to the right, through all of those lush greens, yellows and oranges in the foliage. This was a 1/25 of a second exposure at f/14, with a focal length of 16mm. I was on solid ground now, so I’d set my ISO back to 100 and was using a tripod again.

Goðafoss – Waterfall of the Gods

Making the most of the dry weather, after this, we drove to Goðafoss, and I was very excited to see the sky as we approached the falls. As you can see in this photograph (below), parts of the sky looked like a long exposure, without actually doing a long exposure.

Goðafoss - Waterfall of the Gods

Goðafoss – Waterfall of the Gods

This was actually just a 1/4 of a second exposure at f/16, at 33mm. We had walked down to the river bank for this first image. Again this black and white processing was done in Capture One Pro, and I love the control I have over the tones. In trying to stop the bright parts of the sky from blowing out though, I found that the water in the falls was a little bit too dark, so I brush in a band of Adjustment layer across the falls, and increased the Clarity just for that layer, and this made just the water brighter again.

I did the same with the water in this next shot from the other bank of Goðafoss. Just brushed in some Clarity across the falls and the white water caused by the falls, just to bring some balance back to the image, caused by the sky being so bright in some areas.

Goðafoss - Waterfall of the Gods

Goðafoss – Waterfall of the Gods

Goðafoss literally means the Waterfall of the Gods, and I can see why. I mentioned earlier in this series that Skogafoss was still my favorite waterfall in Iceland, and Seljalandsfoss another of my favorites. After my first visit to northern Iceland on this tour, Goðafoss has secured a solid place in my my list of favorite Iceland falls. I’d been looking forward to Detifoss more, but because we couldn’t get to the other shore, I was somewhat disappointed by Detifoss. Goðafoss though surpassed my expectations, so I’m really pleased we added this location.

Diffraction

My settings were 1/4 of a second at f/22 at ISO 100, and a focal length of 12mm. You’ll probably recall me saying in previous episodes that I don’t like to go below f/16 because it starts to make the image soft due to diffraction, which is when light that is forced through a small hole spreads out on the other side. Well, as expected, this image is just a little bit soft throughout because of diffraction. I couldn’t bring myself to take this into Canon’s Digital Photo Professional just to apply their digital lens optimizer, so I’m going to live with this, leaving it soft for now. If I print this at some point, I’ll use the lens optimizer to remove the effects of diffraction at that point.

Barnafoss

The following day, we had a long drive across what was left of northern Iceland and down the west coast towards Reykjavik. Our last planned stop was for the beautiful waterfalls Barnafoss and Hraunfossar. Here first is Barnafoss, a cascade of glacial meltwater through the rough lava formations (below).

Barnafoss

Barnafoss

This is similar to the shots from previous years, although I do like the sky in this version, with plenty of texture. The fall color was nice this year too, and I think I went a little wider than usual as well, opening up my 11-24mm lens to 11mm. This is a 1.6 second exposure at f/14, ISO 100. I used the Healing brush in Capture One to remove a number of people along the top of the rock on the left side of this photo.

Hraunfossar

Just down from this point are the beautiful cascades of Hraunfossar, that we can see in this photo (below). I’ve not really shot this angle before, but I quite like this, with the actual horizon of the land at the top of the frame, showing the falls in context of their surroundings.

Hraunfossar

Hraunfossar

I shot this with the same settings as the previous image, 1.6s at f/14, ISO 100, but I used my 24-70mm lens for this, at 63mm, so not as wide. I love the silky feel of the water in these falls at 1.6 seconds. It’s a bit long for some waterfall shots, but I think it suits these falls, and the longer shutter speed also helps to make the water of the river smoother as well.

Just outside of Reykjavik, we made a brief stop to photograph these horses that we see in this last photograph for this travelogue series (below). This was a lovely moment as two of the horses touched heads, looking like they were sharing a tender moment.

Lovey Dovey Horses

Lovey Dovey Horses

I really like horses when it’s raining, with their matted hair and manes. I had put my 100-400mm lens on and shot this at 182mm. Because of the long focal length, I increased the ISO to 800 and the shutter speed to 1/320 of a second at f/5.6. I wanted the wide aperture to force the background to go out of focus a little.

Group Comments

As usual, at the end of the tour, I took a digital recorder around the bus and recorded a comment from each of the participants, which I’ll play you now.

[Listen to the audio with the player above to hear what everyone said.]

So, that brings us to the end of my 2016 Iceland Travelogue series. I hope you’ve enjoyed tagging along vicariously over these four episodes. I love doing these Iceland tours, and can’t wait to get back there again next year.

Join us in 2017!

If you think you might like to join us for the 2017 Iceland Full Circle Tour & Workshop, from September 4 to the 15th, please do check out the details at mbp.ac/iceland. As you see, we visit some amazing locations, and have a great time.

Iceland Tour & Workshop 2017

Iceland Tour & Workshop 2017


Show Notes

Check out details of the 2017 Iceland Full Circle Tour Here: https://mbp.ac/iceland

Music by Martin Bailey


Audio

Subscribe in iTunes for Enhanced Podcasts delivered automatically to your computer.

Download this Podcast in MP3 format (Audio Only).

Download this Podcast in Enhanced Podcast M4A format. This requires Apple iTunes or Quicktime to view/listen.


Iceland Full Circle Photography Tour 2016 Travelogue 3 (Podcast 547)

Iceland Full Circle Photography Tour 2016 Travelogue 3 (Podcast 547)

Today I share with you the third in our four part series of travelogue style episodes to walk you through ten more images from my recent Iceland Full Circle Tour and Workshop.

We pick up the trail after lunch on September 10, 2016. In the morning, I’d been photographing on the west side of the channel, through which water from the Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon flows, but this first photo (below) from the afternoon session was from the east side, or the left, as you look out from the lagoon.

Rough Sapphires and Waves

Rough Sapphires and Waves

I love the color in the ice that washes up on this beach from the glacier. We literally can spend an entire afternoon just photographing a relatively short stretch of beach, and continue to find compositions that work. Here I was waiting for the waves to crash bigger than average, and I was also conscious of the waves rolling in as well, trying to get a good combination of both. The sky was great on this afternoon too.

Careful Composition

I set up my camera on a tripod, as I often do, and carefully positioned the left edge of the frame just to the left of the end of the ice. When composing shots like this, I’m also very conscious of where the chunks of ice fall in the frame. I’ll move around and find an angle and focal length that enables me to compose the shot without a chunk of ice being cut off by the edge of the frame.

When there is this much ice strewn around, there will often be a few small chunks that are cut off, but I’m fine with cloning those out. I just don’t want to be messing with large chunks. I generally allow myself to clone things out that I was aware of in the field. If I get home and find something annoying sticking in the edge of the frame that I didn’t even see, I abandon the shot. Over-kill, you may think, but this is how I’ve trained myself to be very careful with how I compose my photographs.

I shot this image with my 24-70mm lens at 24mm, with a shutter speed of a 1/50 of a second at f/14, ISO 100. I also used my cable release, without a timer, so that I could release the shutter at the optimal moment as the waves crashed.

For this next shot, it’s obviously not possible to avoid cutting off the large chunks of ice, as I was square on, and there were no gaps, so in these circumstances I start to look for the best place to cut off the ice, and that results in this composition for this scene (below).

Sapphire Splash

Sapphire Splash

Again I was using my cable release to release the shutter at the best moment for the waves. I actually speeded up my shutter speed a little to 1/200 of a second for this, and increased my ISO to 400 as well, to counter that change. Basically I increased the shutter speed by two stop, going from 1/50 to 1/200 and that means two stops less light would get into the camera, so increasing the sensitivity of the sensor by two stops gives me exactly the same exposure as the previous image with a faster shutter speed.

The reason I speed up the shutter speed was because I was now closer to the waves, and wanted to freeze the movement just a little bit more than a 1/50 of a second would. Note too that I also considered lowering my tripod a little, so that the waves reached further up into the sky, making them look bigger, but that also reduced the amount of sea and distant waves in the shot, and I didn’t want that, so I stuck with my tripod height.

Jökulsárlón Glacial Lagoon

After spending most of the afternoon on the beach, I walked back up into the glacial lagoon, and did a few more shots, like this one (below). This was a 20 second exposure using my new 10 stop 4X neutral density filter from Breakthrough Photography.

Jökulsárlón

Jökulsárlón

Looking Forward to the 24-105mm Mark II Lens!

I bought this particular filter a number of months before the trip, and was so happy with the images from this filter, when I got home, I bought five more filters from Breakthrough Photography. My 24-70mm lens has an 82mm filter thread, but I’m currently eagerly awaiting my new Canon 24-105mm f/4 Mark II lens, that is expected to go on sale this week (Nov, 2016).

I have bought a UV protector filter for it, as well as the Breakthrough Photography Circular Polarizer, and their 3 stop, 6 stop and 10 stop neutral density filters. This means that I’m now fully kitted out for the new 24-105 lens, and I can use these filters on my 100-400mm lens too, which is means I actually don’t need to carry my 82mm filters around with me any more.

I’m not going to sell the 24-70mm just yet, as this is a beautiful lens and I may still need the f/2.8 aperture, which is the main reason I sold my old Mark I 24-105mm lens years back. The reason I’ve been waiting for this Mark II version of the 24-105mm is because I am now shooting with my 100-400mm lens rather than my old 70-200mm, because of the extra reach and great sharpness.

I’ve never been happier with my kit, traveling most of the time now with my 11-24mm, the 24-70mm and the 100-400mm lenses. But of course, that leaves me with a 30mm gap between 70 and 100mm, and that’s where the 24-105mm lens comes in. I have made it work with that gap, but there has been times, lots of times, when somewhere between the two lenses would have been better.

Zooming With Your Feet Can Get You Killed!

If you are listening right now thinking that popular mantra “zoom with your feet” then just stop. There are plenty of places where that just isn’t possible without falling off a cliff or otherwise maiming yourself, and when possible, I don’t want to crop down a wider shot either, so the 24-105mm lens is going to be a great new additional to my kit.

I actually have a rule that I try to stick to with my gear, that is, if I don’t use it for more than a year, I consider selling it. I’ve actually just sold my Canon EOS 7D Mark II camera, because I haven’t used it since the 5Ds R came out, and I sold that 70-200mm lens too, because I haven’t used that since the 100-400mm came out. Half of the money from these sales will pay for the new 24-105mm and I have the rest saved in my Map Camera point card for the next purchase, whenever that will be.

Double Rainbow Reflection

The following day, we moved on to new territory for me. I’ve perhaps been as far as this photo actually, but from this point on, we were heading north, and were going to go around the northernmost areas of Iceland that I had not taken the group to in the past. As we headed into the unknown, we couldn’t resist stopping for this rainbow (below).

Three Rainbows

Three Rainbows

It’s at times like this that I’m happy for my GoreTex lined Scarpa hiking boots, as I can just walk out into water like this to get a water filled foreground to reflect the bottom arch of this double rainbow, without getting water filled boots. I used a polarizer filter to intensify the color here. This was a fun stop, with everyone running around like crazy trying to find a good bit of water for a reflection or including the road that you can see to the left of the frame.

The Teigarhorn

We spent the day driving and stopping for shots along the coast, and our last shot from this day that I wanted to share with you is this one, from a small promontory of land from which we had this view of the Teigarhorn mountain and an abandoned boat in the foreground (below).

Teigarhorn and Abandoned Boat

Teigarhorn and Abandoned Boat

I also did some long exposures here, but the sky didn’t look great, as the cloud cover was a little bit sporadic. I prefer heavier skies for long exposures. I like this though, with the browning autumn grass and that characteristic boat in the foreground. It’s a bit postcardy, but that’s OK sometimes.

Litlandesfoss Waterfall

The next day, we continued up into northern Iceland, and had some lovely shoots at a number of waterfalls. The first of which is Litlandesfoss, that you can see in this photograph (below). This is a good little hike up the hill from the road, but it was a pleasure to be shooting in an area a good distance from Reykjavik, far from the madding crowds.

Litlandesfoss

Litlandesfoss

As I’ve mentioned in previous episodes, I’m now processing all of my images in Phase One’s Capture One Pro, and just wanted to quickly mention that I haven’t really done a lot to these images, but am really happy with the results, after tweaking the Highlight and Shadow sliders, as well as the Levels a little, and the Luma Curve, and a little bit of Clarity and Structure to finish.

Tim Vollmer, my partner for this tour had shown me a photo from the top of the waterfall, where there is another basin in the basalt rock, but when we walked up there, it turns that that you have to be a mountain goat and totally fearless, like Tim, to get to a point where you can actually make that photograph. No one in the group, including me, was brave, or maybe stupid enough, to climb down onto the wet rocks, to get that photograph, so I’m pleased that I’m happy enough with this photo.

What!? No Name?

Unnamed Waterfall

Unnamed Waterfall

A little later in the day, we stopped at another similar waterfall, which as far as I can see from the map, has no name. It’s amazing to me that Iceland has so many beautiful waterfalls like this one (right) that they don’t even bother to name them all.

We spend plenty of time at these spots, so we’d photographed these falls and the river from higher up initially, and then walked down to the river, to get shots like this, with the water swirling around in the foreground.

I used my 11-24mm lens for this, at 14mm, so that I could point the lens down to get the river in like this, while still including the falls in the distance, showing us where the water had come from.

I used a shutter speed of 0.3 seconds for this shot, at f/16, ISO 100. I can’t remember exactly, but I think I had an strip of ND1.2 film in the gelatin filter holder on the back of the lens, giving me four stops of neutral density to get this exposure.

I could perhaps have gone a little bit longer, but I was also trying to maintain some of the texture in the water here, so this is my result.

Otherworldly Scene

This next shot is of a pretty surreal landscape as we made our way to our next location. We were told that NASA did some testing of the moon buggy out here, although I don’t know if that’s true or not. Regardless, I love this almost otherworldly landscape, made even more eery by the low cloud (below).

A Moon with Atmosphere

A Moon with Atmosphere

I cut this down to a 16:9 aspect ratio, because there was a bit too much sky, but I quite like this letterbox look for some photos, and of course it’s a great ratio for showing images on a wide screen display or TV. One change to note for this photo is that there were lots of patches of bright orange foliage in this scene, especially to the left, but rather than cloning them out, I used the Advanced Color Editor in Capture One and selected the color, then reduced it’s Lightness and Saturation, to make the orange less prominent.

We continue with the otherworldly theme, with this somewhat apocalyptic scene at Namaskarth (below) the following morning. This reminded me a lot of Sulphur Mountain, that we visit on my Japan Winter Wildlife tours, but this place covers a much wider area.

Námaskarð

Námaskarð

I generally wait for people to leave the scene in landscape shots before releasing the shutter, but this is one of those times when I think the people add interest. I waited for the person on the far right to walk in front of that billowing fumarole, but I also had a second figure walking through the steam near the middle of the frame, and I quite like both. It almost feels like they’ve just had a sinister meeting, maybe a small package was exchanged, before going their own ways.

Dettifoss

Later in the day, we visited Dettifoss (below) accredited as being the most powerful waterfall in Europe. There is a waterfall in Norway with more water flowing, but it only falls about half the distance. Of course, you can’t tell how far the water is falling from this shot, and we were not able to get to the other side of the falls, so we’ll have to save that for a future trip.

Dettifoss

Dettifoss

The wind direction made the spray from the falls very difficult to work in, but I was able to get a number of shots, using my trick of keeping a cloth in front of the lens while I wipe it dry, then taking it away a split second before I release the shutter. Despite that, I was working with a shutter speed of 1.3 seconds, to enhance the silky feel of the water for this shot.

A short walk from Dettifoss, is Selfoss, a beautiful series of waterfalls, that we’ll take a look at to kick off the concluding part of this series next week.

Join us in 2017!

If you think you might like to join us for the 2017 Iceland Full Circle Tour & Workshop, from September 4 to the 15th, please do check out the details at mbp.ac/iceland. As you see, we visit some amazing locations, and have a great time.

Iceland Tour & Workshop 2017

Iceland Tour & Workshop 2017

 


Show Notes

Check out details of the 2017 Iceland Full Circle Tour Here: https://mbp.ac/iceland

Music by Martin Bailey


Audio

Subscribe in iTunes for Enhanced Podcasts delivered automatically to your computer.

Download this Podcast in MP3 format (Audio Only).

Download this Podcast in Enhanced Podcast M4A format. This requires Apple iTunes or Quicktime to view/listen.


Iceland Full Circle Photography Tour 2016 Travelogue 2 (Podcast 545)

Iceland Full Circle Photography Tour 2016 Travelogue 2 (Podcast 545)

This week we continue our series of travelogue style episodes to walk you through my Sept 2016 Iceland Full Circle Photography Tour and Workshop.

At the end of part one, we looked at a photograph of the beautiful Seljalandsfoss, one of my favorite falls in Iceland, which is just around the corner fro Skógafoss, probably still my favorite waterfall. There are a lot of tourists at these falls now, with Iceland welcoming more than seven times their entire population in tourists each year now, and these falls are within driving distance of Reykjavik.

Skógafoss

Still though, there is no denying the raw yet simple beauty of a 25 meter wide wall of water dropping 60 meters into its basin, then flowing off in a surprisingly immediately calm river. Although we generally get a few moments to shoot the falls when there are no tourists in the frame, and I have a few shots I like without people this year too, I decided to share this fun shot with a guy in front of the falls with an umbrella (below).

Umbrella Man at Skógafoss

Umbrella Man at Skógafoss

As I mentioned in part one, I love to process my Iceland waterfall shots very dark and moody like this. I toyed with brightening up the water around the umbrella man a little, to make him stand out more, but it really doesn’t suite the mood for me. Plus, although the web version is quite dark around his lower body, the full sized version has good separation, so I’m leaving this as it is.

Dealing with Spray

One of the things that the members of my group always has fun with, is keeping the spray off the front element of the lens while shooting a waterfall like this, that generates a lot of spray. Some people inevitably get frustrated, but with a bit of patience, it’s totally doable.

For light rain or spray, with just a few droplets, I generally just use a rocket blower to blow the beads of water of the filter. That doesn’t work with this much spray though. You have to wipe the lens or filter clean with a lens cloth. The problem is, the spray gets on the front of the lens again while you are wiping, so it seems like an endless battle.

To overcome this, I always carry a large cloth with me. A small towel will work just the same. And I hold that in front of the lens as I wipe, and then drape it over the lens to keep it clean until I’m ready to release the shutter. Of course, I’ve got the camera on a tripod, and I’ve already got my composition and exposure set. I do that while getting the front of the lens wet, then dry it ready to make the photo.

With my camera set to a 2 second timer, so that I can get my hand away from the camera to avoid vibration from my hands, I wait until no one is in the frame, or in this case, until the umbrella man turned up to do his thing. Then I press the shutter button, all the time holding the cloth over the front of the lens to keep the spray away.

I wait until the 2 second timer is almost finished, then whip the cloth away from the front of the lens to get my shot. In the split second that the front of the lens is open to the elements, I usually don’t get any spray on it, so I get my shot.

Note too that although I generally like to use a 0.8 or one second shutter speed for waterfalls, the water will start to look silky from around 1/5 of a second, although I like to still use about half a second, as I did for this shot.  At f/13 I increased my ISO to 160 for this photo, using a 3 stop neutral density filter, for that 0.5 second exposure. Any longer than 0.5 seconds here just increases the risk of water getting on the front of the lens.

I should also mention that this method works best with screw in ND filters and the lens hood on. It’s much more difficult to keep those big square filters dry, which is one reason why I don’t use them.

Reynisdrangar Sea Stacks

After our time at Skógafoss, we continued our drive to Vik, and headed down to the black beach to photograph the  Reynisdrangar Sea Stacks, as you can see in this photograph (below). This is another of my favorite spots on the southern coast of Iceland, so we stay in a nearby hotel, and revisit these sea stacks the following morning too.

Reynisdrangar Sea Stacks

Reynisdrangar Sea Stacks

We had a more dramatic sky the following morning, but this is one of my favorite images, because of the contrast between the white water and the black beach. This is a 1/30 of a second shutter speed at ISO 160 again, and the aperture set to f/14. At 65mm that’s just about enough to still get good depth of field, so everything is in sharp focus.

The 1/30 of a second shutter speed isn’t quite enough to freeze the movement of the water, but that is my intension. When you zoom in and look at the detail, there is a little bit of movement visible in the crashing waves and the front edge of the foamy waves on the beach, and this adds just the amount of movement that I wanted. I also do long exposures at this spot, and although they’re nice, there are a lot of sea birds, so the images always look like a kid scribbled over the sky with a pencil.

The following morning, we visited the beach again, and here is a shot from the cave, which is just out of the frame to the left of the previous image. As you can see, with my 11-24mm lens, it’s possible to get the entire mouth of the cave in the shot from within the cave (below).

Cave at Reynisfjara

Cave at Reynisfjara

I showed how I processed this image in Capture One Pro in the video that I released last week. As I mentioned, it’s possible to shoot something like this, with the inside of the cave almost totally black on the back of the camera, and still be able to bring out a lot of detail. I just expose for the highlights in the clouds, ensuring that they are close to the right side of the histogram, and this gives me enough detail inside the cave to bring most of it back in post.

I much prefer this method to doing HDR, as I feel this looks more natural, and it’s less work. I’ve nothing against HDR if they feed the photographer’s creativity, but I don’t like to see obvious HDR images. If you can’t tell that they are HDR then the photographer has done a good job in my opinion.

As we left Vik to continue on our journey, I saw a great sky, and stopped the bus for a few minutes, which resulted in this photograph (below). Roads are great subjects—very symbolic—so I always like to include them in my shot when the rest of the scene will support it, as I feel it does here, with this great sky and the cloudburst to the right.

The Road

The Road

Again, I’ve gone for a dark and moody look, which I feel really suites Iceland images, but this doesn’t feel sinister to me. I’ve struggled to find a good title for this shot, so at the moment I’ve settled on The Road, which leaves it open to interpretation, but I’m hoping people feel positive thoughts when they view this. It’s processed dark, but not a dark mood image, in my opinion.

Fjallsárlón Glacial Lagoon

After a good drive, we arrived at the Fjallsárlón glacial lagoon, which we photographed from the shore for a while, but then had an hour on Zodiac boats, sailing around the lagoon, getting photographs like this one (below).

Fjallsárlón Icebergs and Glacier

Fjallsárlón Icebergs and Glacier

It’s always fun shooting from a Zodiac, although they are always rocking around, so keeping the horizon straight is a bit of a challenge, and because you are moving, it’s always best to keep the shutter speed quite high. I used 1/500 of a second for this shot, at f/10, and that required an ISO of 500.

ISO—Main Exposure Adjustment Parameter

I generally use my ISO as my main exposure adjustment parameter. I work in Manual exposure mode almost all the time, and my thought process is generally to first set my shutter speed based on what I need to do with the scene. I might want a slow shutter speed, and even use neutral density filters to reduce the amount of light coming into the camera, or as in this case, I might need a faster shutter speed to freeze the subject or avoid camera shake caused by shooting from a moving platform.

I then select my aperture, based on how much depth of field I need. I like to use f/14 for landscapes, when I’m using a tripod, but when hand-holding, I sometimes have to go a little wider, and for a scene like this, f/10 will give me enough depth of field.

Finally, I adjust my exposure with my ISO, to the point where the information is just about touching the right side of the histogram on the camera’s LCD. This is a technique known as Exposing to the Right or ETTR, and gives you the best quality images, and enables us to open up the shadow areas better, as I mentioned earlier.

Even with today’s cameras, people are often still afraid to increase the ISO for fear of introducing grain, but if you are taking control of the exposure and using ETTR techniques, it really isn’t a problem, especially on full frame sensor cameras. Even the high resolution 5Ds R has great ISO performance, despite what the pigeonholers would have you believe. When necessary I will push my images to ISO 3200 and even 6400 and have no issues with grain.

Jökulsárlón Glacial Lagoon

After our Zodiac ride, we drove a little further along the coast, to the Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon, where we spent the rest of the afternoon. One of the things I love to do here, is to photograph the ice that gets stuck in the channel as the tide goes out forcing the water to run out of the lagoon and into the sea, as we see in this photograph (below).

Through the Ice Hole

Through the Ice Hole

Here I was obviously attracted by the hole in the ice, and I used a 1/15 of a second exposure to capture some movement in the water, but leaving some texture too. A longer shutter speed for this shot would smooth over the texture of the water through the hole a little too much.

The following morning, we came back to Jökulsárlón and spent a number of hours photographing the ice on the beach, as you can see in this photograph (below). This was on the right side of the channel, as you look out to sea. There was not so much ice on this side, so I spent a couple of hours here before lunch, just singling out beautiful pieces like this.

Gems on the Shore

Gems on the Shore

I love the quality of light in this image. I shot this with my 100-400mm lens, and an ND1000 10 stop neutral density filter to give me a 10 second exposure at ISO 125, and an aperture of f/14. It can be tricky doing long exposures of ice on the shoreline, because the waves that wash around the base of the ice can cause it to move during the exposure.

Especially for this image, I was timing my shots so that the water was washing right around the ice and over the stones in the foreground, so some of them didn’t work, because the ice did move.  For this one through, the ice stayed still, and I got my shot.

Here’s another image from the same place, which I’d like to share with you because I love the color in the ice (below). People often ask if the ice really is this blue, but apart from a little increase in the saturation and clarity, I haven’t done anything to enhance the color. Sure, it looks bluer than the original raw file, but only to the level that I recall seeing in the field.

Ice Sail

Ice Sail

This was shot with the same settings as the previous image. In addition to the form of the ice jutting out of the water, I really like the line of rough water near the horizon caused by the water rushing out of the channel with the tide. This was also of course a lucky shot, because in some of my frames the ice did move as it was completely surrounded by sea water. Luckily though, it was grounded well enough to stay still for this 10 second exposure.

Next, I turned my camera the other way, and walked down the beach for a while, to make this photograph (below). Here I was attracted by the way the foreground chunks of ice sort of lead out to the ice in the sea, almost forming a procession of ice. I also thought the sky was beautiful in this direction.

Ice Procession

Ice Procession

There are some large chunks of ice that moved during the exposure, but I feel there are enough stationary pieces to anchor the image well enough to work. This was a 5 second exposure at f/14, ISO 100, so there is a little bit more texture in the sea than the previous shots. I like the effect, but if I’m totally honest, the reason I reduced the shutter speed for this one, is because the ice wouldn’t stay still long enough for a 10 second exposure.

This final image for today shows the people on the other side of the channel, having fun in the ice, and escaping the waves that sometimes crashed in a little bit further than they expected (below). Although I often photograph the surrounding scene at the locations we visit, I rarely share the images. I like this one though, as it holds up as a photograph, as well as a document of the situation.

Fun on the Beach

Fun on the Beach

I of course removed the neutral density filter for this shot, and increased my ISO to 400, for a 1/160 of a second exposure at f/14. Although it was a documentary shot, I was still conscious of where I placed that foreground ice, and I waited for the right moment to release the shutter with those crashing waves nice and high.

Next week, we’ll continue with the shooting from this day, as I photographed on the side of the channel that you see in this photograph after lunch. I have three more images to show you from this location, before we move on to areas of Iceland that I had shot for the first time on this Full Circle tour.

Iceland 2017 + Hokkaido Landscape Photography Adventure!

If you would like to join us on the 2017 Iceland Full Circle Tour, please check out details at https://mbp.ac/iceland. I’d also like to mention that we do still have some places left open on my upcoming January Hokkaido Landscape Photography Adventure. This is an amazing minimalist winter landscape tour, in an area of Japan that still seas very few tourists, and the resulting photographs are absolutely beautiful. Please check this out at https://mbp.ac/hlpa if you might be interested.

Hokkaido Landscape Photography Adventure 2017

Click for Details


Show Notes

Details of the 2017 Iceland Full Circle Tour & Workshop: https://mbp.ac/iceland

The Hokkaido Landscape Photography Adventure: https://mbp.ac/hlpa

Music by Martin Bailey


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Iceland Full Circle Photography Tour 2016 Travelogue 1 (Podcast 543)

Iceland Full Circle Photography Tour 2016 Travelogue 1 (Podcast 543)

Today we start a series of travelogue style episodes to walk you through my recent Iceland Full Circle Photography Tour and Workshop.

Before we start, I want to just mention that I will interrupt this series, probably next week, to bring you a video showing how I’m processing my images now in Capture One Pro. I was hoping to do that this week, but have been too busy, so we’ll start this series, but jump in with the video then continue the series after that.

Now in it’s fourth year, this year’s Iceland tour was another wonderful, memorable experience, with a great group of participants. We changed the itinerary for this year, to take the group full circle, enabling us to pull in some of the beautiful waterfalls in the North, and we’ll look at some photos of these falls in a later episode.

Very Productive Trip

I shot a total of 1991 images during the 11 days of shooting in Iceland. During the few hours of downtime that we had here and there, I was able to go through and do a quick edit and initial selection of my images for all but the last day, which I completed after I returned to Japan. After my initial selection process I had some 538 photos that I wanted to look at again. That’s more than one in four images, and a higher ratio than I’m used to selecting. It’s not that the images were necessarily better than usual. It was just a very productive trip.

Also, many of the images were variations of ice on the beach with crashing waves or iceberg photos from a zodiac, which generally require a large number of frames to find something that works well. Still, I had to invest the time to go through and whittle my selection down to as few images as possible, and it was relatively time consuming this time, especially when we consider that this was a landscape trip.

Even though it’s been two weeks since I got home, and going through removing a few more images each day, I still have 146 images in my current selection, and I can’t see myself removing many more at this point. It’s a nice problem to have of course, but now I have the job of going through and promoting the better of the set to identify the images that I want to proactively share with people, and also find the portfolio class images.

Bonus Day in Reykjavik

As usual, we did a bonus photo walk on the first day, for people that were already in town, and visited the large church in Reykjavik, Hallgrímskirkja. Unfortunately the outside view was a bit of a mess due to some construction work that they were having done, so I won’t share any images. We continued on along the main road in Reykjavik, and down to the Harpa Concert Hall and Conference Center on the water front.

I really enjoy shooting in the Harpa, with all of its colored windows and intertwined floors, but I rarely like my photos from the inside of the building enough to share them. Here is one of the outside of the Harpa building, from the other side of the small harbor out back (below).

Harpa Building and Harbor

Harpa Building and Harbor

As you can see, we had a great sky, although I have brought that out some in Capture One. The original image was a little bit flatter than this, although there are only a few slider tweaks between this and the original. The Harpa is an amazing building though. I really enjoy my yearly visit.

Öxarárfoss Waterfall

To make time to go up north, we dropped the days that we used to spend around Reykjavik, and the Reykjanes Peninsula, and headed out of Reyjkjavik the morning after this bonus day, once all of the group was in town. Our first stop was Thingvillir, and the Öxarárfoss waterfall.

Öxarárfoss

Öxarárfoss

Apparently it’s been a relatively dry summer in Iceland, so the water level wasn’t very high, and the rocks were mostly quite dry, which I don’t really like. This location is much better when the rock is all deep black and shiny, but we have to work with what we’re presented.

I also much prefer to photograph waterfalls when it’s overcast, as they are too contrasty in direct sunlight, but again, we do what we can. The result is an OK photo, but nothing to write home about. Although I would have done this black and white conversion in Silver Efex Pro in the past, this one is straight out of Capture One Pro.

Geysir

After Öxarárfoss we headed on to Geysir, the geyser from which the west got our name for these natural phenomenon. I decided to first go for a shot of the water bulging, as the eruption starts, and although I had to crop it down considerably on the top to remove the people in the background, I’m pretty happy with the results (below).

Geysir Bulging

Geysir Bulging

With the bright sun directly behind the water, I was able to get a shutter speed of 1/1000 of a second at f/10, ISO 100, so this pretty much froze the movement of the water as the bulge started to develop. I really like how you can see into the water to see the right ridge of the hole from which the water erupts, and see all of the bubbles under the surface.

Geysir Erupting

Geysir Erupting

A few minutes after this, I photographed the eruption itself, as we can see in this image (right).

From the same location as the previous image, the sun was right behind the water for this shot, so all of the water is beautifully backlit, showing all of the texture and various layers of the water.

Still at a 1/1000 of a second shutter speed at f/10, ISO 100, the droplets of water are all perfectly frozen in time.

The fast shutter speed also meant that the blue in the sky went really deep. I’m not a fan of blue skies, but here, I think it makes a nice contrast.

I haven’t bothered to clone out the few people in the image. I might do that later before I submit this to OFFSET for my stock photography collection, but for now, this is just a documentary shot to show you where we were and what we were photographing.

After Geysir, we continued on our somewhat touristy Golden Circle tour, and made our way to Gullfoss. When we first arrived, the falls were still in full sun, but luckily we had a great sky roll in just as we started to get into position to shoot the falls.

Gullfoss

I know this is kind of repetitive, but I couldn’t resist making my favorite photograph from this spot, looking down the gorge, as we can see in this image (below/right).

Gullfoss Falls and Gorge

Gullfoss Falls and Gorge

I’m happy to have been able to make this new version of this photograph, because of that great sky. It’s probably the best bit of sky I’ve had for this photograph, so a nice addition to my image library.

Again, this is a Capture One Pro black and white conversion. I’ll try to remember to show you what I did to this image in the upcoming processing video, but I’ll quickly summarize here.

I turned on the Enable Black and White checkbox in the Black and White tool panel, obviously, and reduced the yellow slider to -80. This deepens the greens, as I wanted the foreground grass to be really dark.

Then in the High Dynamic Range tool panel, I increased the Highlight slider to 45, and the Shadow slider to 20. Under Levels, I moved my mid-point to -0.10 and my white point to 250.

In the Luma Curve I also deepened the shadows a little and brightened the mid-tones, which is the water. I know I increased the Shadow slider in the High Dynamic Range tool as well, which may seem counterintuitive, but I like the finished look, so I’m not worrying about that too much.

Then I added 35 Clarity, set to Punch mode, and 23 Structure. These are all generic changes, that modify the look of the entire image. I went on to add an Adjustment layer to darken down the two triangular shaped sides of the foreground, and also cloned out some bits of grass and rocks in the foreground that stood out a little bit too much.

Time-wise, these modifications took perhaps a couple of minutes, which is about the same amount of time that I would have spent on this image in Silver Efex and Lightroom in the past. I haven’t been quite as heavy handed with the darkness of these dark areas as before. I am using the Exposure Warnings in Capture One to show me when I’m going to full black, and pulling that back again, to maintain a little bit of detail as I plug up that foreground, and this is working well for me.

The Highlands

That took us to the end of the shooting for day one, and we then drove to our next hotel in the highlands, for a nice early start the following day heading into one of my favorite locations on the planet, Landmannalaugar.

On the way, we stopped at the Blahylur crater lake, of which I got some nice shots, but wanted to share a view from that location in a different direction, as I’d photographed these beautiful ringed hills in the distance. I’ve photographed these each year so far, but never really liked the results, because the light wasn’t quite right. Today, it was working, so I’m happy with this photo (below).

Ringed Mountains

Ringed Mountains

I love how the layers of strata are visible in these hills, as they look almost like a topographical map of themselves. The moss and lose volcanic gravel add to the effect, and the colorful mountains in the distance doing a great job as supporting actors. To isolate this scene, I used my 100-400mm lens at 255mm, with a 1/30 of a second exposure at f/14, ISO 100.

Landmannalaugar

A little further along the road, we reached our destination, the carpark at Landmannalaugar, and walked up onto the lava shelf, and across to the valley that you can see in this photo (below). I tell myself each year, that this place is just a little bit closer to heaven than most parts of the planet, speaking metaphorically of course.

Landmannalaugar Winding River

Landmannalaugar Winding River

I did my usual valley shots, and my self-portrait with me looking out across the valley, but I thought I’d share this shot, as it’s a little bit different from my previous work. I used my 11-24mm lens at 21 mm, pointing down into the valley, to show the river winding through it. At 21 mm the rhyolite mountains are still large enough to add impact to the shot, as well as allowing us to see the valley basin with the various shades of grass and cotton grass, as well as a few strategically placed sheep.

After spending quite a while photographing the valley, we walked around the edge of the lava shelf, then back up over it, before heading into the mountains, where I shot this next image (below). I love this view too, with the lava shelf in the middle ground, way in the distance you can see the valley where we had parked our bus, and then this foreground with the moss and steam, almost makes it look like the mountain is alive and breathing. I guess in some ways, because of the geothermal activity, the mountain is alive.

Breathing Mountains

Breathing Mountains

We had a great sky on this day too. The light was similar to that which we’d had on my first visit to this place, four years ago. It was simply magical. I used to run my photos from this location through Color Efex Pro to bring the greens and other colors back to how I remembered and felt the location, but here too, I’m now just tweaking these images in Capture One Pro. I love being able to keep my images in their original raw format and get exactly the look I want.

Rhyolite Mountains

Rhyolite Mountains

After climbing a little further, we got to a point where you can see this incredible view, looking through the rhyolite mountains (right).

This spot is difficult to shoot and really do justice, because you can’t quite get a good angle without getting the base of the mountain that you are standing on in the bottom of the frame, but it works well enough.

Again, the colors are enhanced slightly in Capture One, but only by tweaking the Saturation and Clarity, and moving the white point a little bit in the Levels.

I had exposed for the clouds in this shot, at the top of the frame, so the foreground was relatively dark. To bring the detail out, I pumped up both the Highlight and Shadows sliders in the Hight Dynamic Range tool. This works really well, so I was able to continue to avoid doing any HDR images throughout this trip.

I also wanted to note that I can’t look at this image without seeing a koala bear’s face in that snow at the top of the frame. Can you see what I mean? There’s his left eye and nose, and the right eye is covered by that peak.

After this, we walked back across part of the lava shelf, then down beside the river, back to our bus, to drive to our hotel for the night.

Seljalandsfoss

Seljalandsfoss

Seljalandsfoss

The following day, we made tracks along the southern coast of Iceland, until we got to one of my favorite waterfalls, Seljalandsfoss, that we can see in this photograph (right).

There was a good breeze, so the tendrils of water are blowing around, seemingly quite frail, as they make their way to the basin at the base of the falls.

Again a Capture One black and white conversion here, I have continued with my tendency to make the rocks of the cliff walls really dark, accentuating just the form of the falling water.

I also stayed in Capture One to clone out the hordes of people behind the falls. And I cloned out the little island of grass that was in ton our he water, taking up most of the left side of the basin of the falls here.

It sometimes requires a little more work to do this in Capture One, but I learned of a shortcut from Phase One’s David Grover recently, that really speeds up the process, so I’ll share that in my upcoming processing video as well.

After this we drove 15 minutes around the corner to Skogafoss, absolutely my favorite waterfall in Iceland, but we’ll take a look at a shot from there at the start of part two of this series, as this takes to us our tenth image for today.

Iceland & Greenland 2017

With that, I’d usually just point you to my 2017 tour page if you might be thinking of joining us, but I’m actually considering totally changing next year’s tour. Last week I floated the possibility of doing another Greenland tour in 2017 and/or 2018, and I had a pretty good response, but not many people want to travel this far for just one week in Greenland, so I’m considering coupling it with a second week in Iceland.

Adding a week in Iceland will obviously add quite a lot of money, especially as the prices in Iceland are going through the roof right now, but I do think it will be an incredibly productive two weeks, so what I’m going to suggest right now, is if you think you might be interested, just drop me a line to let me know, and I’ll keep you in the loop.

 


Show Notes

Music by Martin Bailey


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Iceland Tour 2015 Travelogue Part 4 (Podcast 494)

Iceland Tour 2015 Travelogue Part 4 (Podcast 494)

Today we conclude our four part series of travelogues to walk you through a total of 40 images from my 2015 Iceland Tour and Workshop with Tim Vollmer and our amazing group for this year.

We pick up the trail on September 29, as we headed over to Fjallsjökull. This is a glacier that you can get quite close to on a promontory on the other side of the lagoon. You may recall from a few weeks ago that I mentioned my decision to take my 100-400mm lens to Iceland instead of my 70-200mm lens. Although the 70-200mm lens is a great workhorse, I really enjoyed being able to zoom past 200mm, even for landscape work.

For this photo (below) I zoomed right in to 400mm to just capture the front edge of the glacier, and a slither of the water in the lagoon for context. Although the height of the pinnacles of ice are smaller, this really reminds me of Antarctica, which is amazing really when you consider how much cheaper it is to travel to Iceland.

Fjallsjökull Glacier

Fjallsjökull Glacier

My settings for this image were 1/80 of a second at f/11, ISO 400. As I mentioned last week, because we had a fair amount of wind, I was often choosing to increase my ISO to avoid low shutter speeds, so that I could reduce the risk of camera shake, even though I was using a good tripod. I didn’t do much to this image in post either. I just added +10 on the Clarity and Saturation sliders in Lightroom, to give the image a very slight boost.

The following day, September 30, we would drive all the way back to Reykjavik from Jökulsárlón, but I ensured that we had plenty of time to photograph two of my favourite waterfalls in Iceland, as we’ll see shortly. On the way though, we made another brief stop at Kálfafell, because there were some beautiful low clouds around the distinctive mountain, as we see in this photograph (below).

Kálfafell with Clouds

Kálfafell with Clouds

There was a good breeze on this day, so we didn’t have the mirror-like reflection that we saw in the image I shared in Part 3 of this series. Because of this, I decided to go a little wider, and include the near bank of the pond, and this of course enabled me to include more of the dramatic sky.

I was fairly undecided as to whether or not to go black and white with this image, but I finally decided on colour and brought out some of the detail and heavy sky with Color Efex Pro, because the original was a little bit flat. As we just jumped off the bus for a quick photo here, I was hand-holding for this shot, with a shutter speed of 1/100 of a second at f/14, ISO 200 and a focal length of 28mm.

After driving for a few more hours, we arrived at Skógafoss, which is the waterfall that probably played the largest part in me wanting to visit Iceland than any other location. Just looking at this photograph, it’s hard to believe that this is just  a few minutes from a car park, and we always have to wait for a break in the crowds of people that flock here each day to not be in the scene, but if you are patient, you can get photographs like this (below) without people in the foreground.

Skógafoss

Skógafoss

On an overcast day like it was when we visited, if you put an ND8 neutral density filter on your lens, you can generally get a shutter speed of around half to one second with an aperture of f/14 at ISO 100. I shot this at 0.6 of a second. You always want to try to shoot waterfalls when it’s overcast, as direct sunlight on a waterfall makes it very contrasty, and in my opinion most of the beauty is lost then.

I converted this to black and white in Silver Efex Pro, and made the rock and green moss either side of the falls very dark, giving this look that I love for most of my Iceland waterfall images. The white specs that you can see on the cliff face are seagulls, which hopefully gives you a little bit of scale too. The falls are actually 25 metres (82 feet) wide with a drop of 60 m (200 ft), so they are quite a site to stand in front of.

Seljalandsfoss

Seljalandsfoss

The second waterfall that we’d photograph on this day is Seljalandsfoss, which is just a 10 minute drive from Skógafoss.

As we can see in this photograph (right) although the drop is the same at 60m, this is a more slender waterfall. I always think of Skógafoss as the sumo wrestler and Seljalandsfoss as the lady in a kimono, although that’s my Japanese influence sneaking in there of course.

One of the things that I love about this waterfall is that the wind easily catches the streams of water as they fall, so you get these beautiful curves in the water as it moves in the wind.

For this image, again shot with the ND8 attached to my lens, my shutter speed was 0.8 seconds at f/14, ISO 100.

Once again, I’ve made the sides of the falls very dark, although they are green in reality. I just much prefer this look, as it enables me to reduce the scene to almost black with the beautiful delicate streams of water and the cloud of mist that raises up from the pool at the bottom of the falls.

While we’re talking about this waterfall, I’d like to mention that two of my Iceland images from 2014, including one of these falls, are currently in a collection of prints available from a company called West Elm, who have tied up with Offset, the stock agency that I license my work through. You can see the collection and buy reasonably priced prints of any of the images at mbp.ac/westelm if you are interested.

Seljalandsfoss from behind

Seljalandsfoss from behind

Although photographically I prefer the front view, you can actually walk behind Seljalandsfoss for a view like the one we see in this photograph (right).

Again, I shot a number of images because of the way the water moves in the wind, and chose this one for the patterns that the water make as they hit the pool below the falls.

Also, if you look in the bottom left of this image, you’ll see a bridge over the stream leading from the falls. That’s where I stand for my main shot of these falls. It’s always fun though, because if anyone walks on the bridge during your exposure, it moves, ruining your shot, so you have to ensure that no one moves, and time your images when no tourists are about to walk on the bridge.

I also waited a while for most of the people walking up the bank in the bottom right of this shot to move out of the photo.

It’s important to note too that you are basically photographing in a shower at this point, with the spray coming off the falls falling right onto your camera and your lens.

With light spray or rain, I usually use my air blower to blow the droplets of water to the edge of my filter, but in this much spray, you have to wipe it. I also hold a cloth over the front of the lens as I wipe it, to stop more spray hitting it as I wipe, and I leave the cloth over the front of the lens until I am ready to actually make the exposure. In fact, I use a 2 second timer, and remove the cloth a split second before the time elapses, and this enables me to get shots without droplets on the filter, as those droplets will usually ruin your photo.

After spending an hour at Seljalandsfoss we continued our drive back to Reykjavik, for two more nights. On October 1, the last shooting day of the tour, we travelled north east of Reykjavik, to the small but very wide waterfall at Hraunfossar (below). This photo actually only shows a small percentage of the 900m wide series of falls as water flows from ledges of less porous rock in the lava field.

Hraunfossar (Falls)

Hraunfossar (Falls)

I’ve never liked my photos here when I go really wide, trying to include all of the falls, as the details are lost in a wide shot, so this photo (above) is about as wide as I personally like to go, at 50mm focal length. I used an ND8 here too for a 2.0 second exposure at f/11, ISO 100. It was raining at this point, so the sky was very dark giving me a good long exposure, even just with the ND8.

As you can see, this is one of the few places where there are enough small trees to actually enable the fall color to play a part in the image. This is one of the reasons that I time these tours for September, as well as the fact that most tourists have left by September as well. 🙂

I also used my 100-400mm lens at 100mm to zoom in and shoot more details, such as the angel that Tim Vollmer often points out to the group here (below). The shape of the water just to the left of centre looks a little bit like an angel with its head and wings spread.

Hraunfossar Angel

Hraunfossar Angel

I actually changed my ISO to 200 here, and to counter that, changed my shutter speed to 1 second, as that’s plenty to get the beautiful silky look in the water, and it also helped me to reduce the movement in the trees as they caught the wind, although I don’t dislike capturing that movement in my images either. I think it adds to the dynamism of the shot.

A few minutes walk upstream take you to Barnafoss, which we can see in this image (below). I shot longer focal lengths here too, like in previous years, but here I used the new Canon 11-24mm f/4 lens at 12mm to capture the entire flow of the water that can be seen from this spot, from when it enters view in the top right, down to where it flows out of view on the left.

Barnafoss in Fall Color

Barnafoss in Fall Color

Going wide here also enabled me to capture almost equal amounts of colour in all four corners of the image as well, which I quite like. This spot is quite popular with day trippers and school trips at this time of year too, because of the beautiful colour, so we had to be patient here too, waiting for the tourists that walk along the rocks in the top left to leave. I think I ended up cloning out one person for this particular image. This was also shot with a 1 second exposure at f/14, ISO 200.

We keep our eyes out for some nice Icelandic horses throughout the trip, and Tim generally know where there are some that are more friendly, or less shy, and we stopped to photograph some of these on our way back to Reykjavik after photographing the falls, as we can see here (below).

Icelandic Horses

Icelandic Horses

The difficulty with ad-hoc horse shoots in Iceland is that they usually come over very close to the wire fence around their enclosure, so you have to frame your shots in such a way as to not include the fence. That’s partly what I was doing here too, but this one grey horse that lifted its head up above the others for a moment caught my eye, so I couldn’t resist shooting this. I’m not sure exactly why, but I quite like this, despite it being a little bit busy, and I’ve cropped the nose off the brown horse to the right. Maybe it’s the waves formed by the various heads, with just the grey horse sticking his head up above the rest that appeals to me.

We’ll finish our 40 images that we’ve looked at over these four episodes with this last somewhat humorous shot of the horses, with the grey one sticking its tongue out at us. This was actually just part of a yawn, but there was a moment when the tongue was sticking out, which kind of makes me smile. 🙂

Icelandic Horse Sticking Tongue Out

Icelandic Horse Sticking Tongue Out

Under the heavily overcast sky, both of these images were shot at ISO 1600 to give me a shutter speed of 1/400 of a second with an aperture of f/8.  I wanted a fast shutter speed as the horses were moving and their hair blowing around too, but also so that I could safely zoom in to 400mm if I needed to, without worry about camera movement as I was hand-holding.

This became our last shoot of the tour, so as is customary, on the bus on the way back to Reykjavik we recorded a brief message from each of the members of the group, which I’ll play you now. John, who starts off totally cracked us up reading his message from his iPhone screen. Take a listen…

[Listen to the recording with the player at the top of this post to hear what everyone said.]

What a brilliant group we had again this year!

Greenland 2016

Before we finish, I also wanted to mention that in addition to my 2016 Iceland Full Circle Tour, I have teamed up with Tim Vollmer for a new tour in Greenland, that promises to be pretty amazing!

We’ll be visiting the eastern side of Greenland with fjords and beautiful scenery, glaciers and huge icebergs which we’ll explore from boats and helicopters, and we’ll be on land too, shooting both the incredible scenery and a number of cultural experiences as we photograph the local people making kayaks and performing an Inuit Drum Dance. For details and to book your place, visit mbp.ac/greenland2016.

Greenland Tour & Workshop 2016

 


Show Notes

Details of our Greenland 2016 Tour and Workshop: https://mbp.ac/greenland2016

Details of Iceland 2016 Full Circle Tour and Workshop: https://mbp.ac/iceland2016

West Elm X Offset Print Collection: https://mbp.ac/westelm

Martin’s work on Offset: https://mbp.ac/offset

Martin’s Iceland Prints

Music by Martin Bailey


Audio

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