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Tag: Landscape Photography

Our Iceland Adventure

Our Iceland Adventure

In September 2019 Belinda and I spent two weeks in Iceland—a trip that we have been planning and anticipating for some time. It was a goal to get there, and now that we have been, it is a goal to go back and to further explore this amazing island nation.

This post is the start of what will be a series describing our adventures, the planning and preparation to get there, the photography opportunities and challenges, gear for travelling and photography, and more. I guess we will keep posting as long as the stories and supporting images allow us to illustrate how much this land of extremes inspired us.

A Land of Extremes

Iceland is a small country with absolutely massive landscapes.

There is nothing average about Iceland—it is a land of fire and ice; micro and macro; light and dark.

From a photography perspective, you have countless opportunities to capture the massive landscapes, or the incredible details.

To enjoy Iceland fully you need to be ready for anything. And everything.

Our Adventure

We flew into Keflavik Airport and collected our hire car before heading into Reykjavik where we stayed for the first few nights.

From Reykjavik we went on a scuba diving adventure in the Silfra Fissure, undertook an amazing photo tour to Landmannalaugar, and did a self-drive tour of the Golden Circle, as well as exploring the city of Reykjavik.

We then set out to drive around the 1,332km of the Ring Road, with side advemtures to the Snæfellsnes Peninsula with the iconic Kirkjufell on the west coast, and Seyðisfjörður on the east coast. We visited Akureyri in the north, and Hofn and Vik in the south.

Our visit in September was timed for the shoulder season—it was not the high season of Summer with the midnight sun, nor was it the icy winter. Weather was variable, with sunny, warm-ish days, and bitingly cold and very wet days.

Reliving the Adventure

We’re home in Australia now, and this series of posts and the images are a chance for us to relive the amazing experiences. We hope you enjoy sharing our experiences.

Aoraki Azure

Aoraki Azure

Driving from Wanaka to Tekapo in New Zealand we were quite suddenly greeted by an amazing view of Aoraki / Mt Cook across the stunning blue waters of Lake Pukaki.

As I worked on this image, a few months later, I was challenged to remind myself that the lake and the sky were incredibly blue. Editing any image requires the photographer to be honest about what it was about a scene that inspired them, and to produce a final image that is true to their photographic vision and the story they are telling.

This image was personally challenging in that regard, but I am happy with this result.

View this image in my Photo Gallery or on Flickr.

Wakatipu Reflections

Wakatipu Reflections

A trio of images from the Queenstown area of New Zealand, featuring the stunning mountain ranges as a backdrop to the magic foreground of Lake Wakatipu.

The scenery around Queenstown is simply breathtaking and would keep any landscape photographer happy for years.

Wakatipu Reflections

Wakatipu Reflections

Magnificent reflections on Lake Wakatipu. Driving back from Glenorchy to Queenstown we spotted this great vista, smooth surface and great reflections, and pulled over as soon as it was safe to make some photos.

Old Paradise Wharf

Old Paradise Wharf

Roughly half-way between Queenstown and Glenorchy is the hamlet of Little Paradise, Mt Creighton. There’s not much there – basically just a lodge and the old wharf. This last site is a magic foreground for photos.

SUP Wakatipu

SUP Wakatipu

Taken from the Queenstown Gardens with the stunning mountains backdrop to the standup paddle-boarding and other water activities taking place on Lake Wakatipu.

Book Review Inner Game Outdoor Photography

Book Review Inner Game Outdoor Photography

The following review was originally published on my website BlueBeyond.com.au. I’ve decided to move it over here for reference. 

Galen Rowell’s Inner Game of Outdoor Photography is a book that I have been meaning to review for some time, but with the recent, tragic death of the author in a light plane crash, its time to put pen to paper. For my money this is one of the outstanding books on photography philosophy, and should be part of every photographer’s library.


Galen Rowell was one of the outstanding adventure photographers of our time. A major proponent of “participatory photography”, Rowell’s unique approach was based less on equipment and technique, and more on vision and philosophy. Participatory photography is an approach where the photographer is not a passive observer of the subject, but someone who is interacting with the environment and the subjects. Rowell was an active participant, and as such was a noted mountain climber and hiker, skills that allowed him to get a unique perspective that most photographers don’t even get close to.

Most of us have seen those photos of a climber hanging delicately from a cliff face, and marvelled at the extreme situation in which that climber has got themselves into. Yet few of us stop to think about the photographer, who is right there in the same place taking that photo. Many times that photographer was Galen Rowell.

His remarkable photographs have been featured in National Geographic, Outdoors and Outdoor Photographer. He wrote 18 books; some of them coffee table books, others more instructive about his approach to photography, and some of them about climbing.

The Inner Game of Outdoor Photography is one of Rowell’s most recent books. Inner Game is a compilation of various articles that Rowell has written over the years for Outdoor Photographer magazine.

Clearly underwater photography is a form of participatory photography – it is difficult for the photographer to be passive. Although not known for underwater images, Rowell’s philosophy and approach is one that underwater photographers should consider. Few other photographers become so much a part of their environment as underwater photographers!

As a matter of interest, Rowell did in fact do some underwater photography, and some of these pictures are published in Inner Game. When you look at these, underwater photographers may notice some backscatter – a curse that most land based photographers never learn much about. But the composition, the organisation of the elements within the photo and the technical exposure are up there with the best, as you would expect. His landscape and adventure photography are without equal.

Many underwater photographers have an extensive library of books on our subject. Many of us read up on photographic fundamentals, landscape photography, macro photography and so on, due to the parallels between topside and underwater techniques. This book is different – it focuses on the philosophy and approach. These are aspects independent of environment.

The Inner Game of Outdoor Photography is a superbly written and beautifully illustrated book. I would recommend this book highly to underwater photographers, landscape photographers, and indeed to any photographer who understands the importance of vision in image creation.

See Galen Rowell’s Inner Game of Outdoor Photography
at Amazon.com (aff).