Located near the town of Grundarfjörður on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula, Kirkjufell may well be the iconic image of Iceland.
There is a reason this sight is so well photographed—it is very accessible, and has the ‘whole package’ of a distinctive mountain and two waterfalls in the scene (the second one is on the bend on the lower right of the image—the white water is beneath the fall).
Being so well photographed, the challenge with somewhere like Kirkjufell is to make an image that is unique.
Over the course of a couple of days during our Iceland adventures I was able to get several different perspectives, and was happy to get some real drama in the sky on in several images.
Iceland’s highland region of Landmannalaugar is notable for the spectacular rhyolite mountains, valleys and hills. It is also known for several surrounding lava fields.
For photographers, these features make for spectacular subjects, but a good photograph has a good subject and great light, and Landmannalaugar is also well known for the spectacular light that can be experienced.
After quite an amazing trek up Blahnukur, we explored the adjacent lava fields, and found several vistas showing both the hills and fields, but the light in this vista really took my imagination. It was simply spectacular.
An all day trip to Landmannalaugar allowed time to explore, and you really need to be able to take the time and let the light conditions progress. Don’t rush.
The Black Church of Budir is one of those Icealandic photography locations I had seen in various Youtube videos and guidebooks, and the look of this quaint, black, church intrigued me enough to ensure a side trip to visit the location while staying on the Snaefellsness Peninsula.
This was early in our trip to Iceland, and the skies were not promising. As we drove over the mountain pass from Grundarfjordur (the town adjacent to Kirkjufell), the heavy rain and low clouds did not give me great confidence of great images.
We of course persevered, and the cloud did not lift. If anything, it set in even further, with the surrounding mountains shrouded in a heavy cover.
So while not ‘ideal’ the conditions challenged me to look around, and instead of using the mountains as a backdrop, I changed composition to show the sea.
As with many locations in Iceland, the beauty of the scenery is often enhanced by the ever-present cloudy skies, bringing out the saturation in the grasses.
In this case, the black church provided a stunning contrast to the church grounds, and the skies enhanced the mood of darkness that the church naturally evokes.
Precisely one year ago we visited Cape Otway on Victoria’s Great Ocean Road, staying at the Cape Otway Lightstation for a milestone birthday treat.
There are three or four cottages or studios in historical buildings in which you can stay at the Lightstation. On this occasion, we are pretty sure we were the only guests staying overnight, and given the staff don’t stay on site, we had this incredible piece of history to ourselves overnight.
I haven’t done a lot of night sky photography, but with a clear night and a new moon in a remote location I had to take the opportunity.
Staying overnight provides the opportunity to scout out compositions before dusk, and the use of the PhotoPills app allowed me to plan the time of night when the milky way would be aligned above the lighthouse.
While I am sure that there is a lot of room for improvement, I am very happy with this image. Not only it is a decent image of the magnificent night sky, it brings forth great memories and wonderful imaginings.
Photography is a medium for story telling. This image provokes thoughts of the vastness of the universe, it is a reminder of the danger of navigation along a treacherous coastline. These threads combine—for me—into thoughts of exploration and journey.
One of the joys of living in Sydney is that you have a magnificent city scape, a beautiful harbour and many beaches and bushlands to explore.
When I arrived on this morning, I was a little disappointed about the low cloud covering the horizon, but the pre-dawn glow was just right to cast some beautiful pinks and reds into the sky. This was also a good hour for minimal boat traffic on the harbour, which my long exposure also dealt well with.
I can’t imagine tiring of taking this exact shot time and again, and know that chasing the perfect image is a worthy quest.
Godafoss was one of the key photography locations that I was looking forward to seeing and capturing during our visit there in September 2019. I can’t remember exactly how and when I first learned of this stunning waterfall, but it certainly came up regularly as we planned our trip.
We based ourselves out of Akureyri in northern Iceland for a couple of days, and made the journey out there on our second day. Of course the weather was quite overcast, and the distant mountains were completely hidden in the cloud. We still spent some time hunting for composures and hoping for the weather to clear. It didn’t, so we continued on to visit other locations around Lake Myvatn.
While I got a couple of nice images, I was not able to get the image I had in my minds eye—and had travelled half way around the world to capture.
The next morning was our last in Akureyri, and I planned to get up early to try again for the image I wanted, but the weather was even worse, so we had a leisurely breakfast, explored Akureyri and set off early afternoon for our next destination.
Our route would take us right past Godafoss, but the weather was still poor. As we neared the waterfall, we decided to stop anyway. I got the camera gear out, covering it up a raincover.
Suddenly there was a break in the rain, and the cloud lifted just enough to expose the distant mountains. The drama in the sky added to the natural beauty of this ‘waterfall of the gods.’
A little bit of persistence, and an equal measure of luck, helped me to get the photo I imagined.
Today is the 50th anniversary of Earth Day so I wanted to present an image the shows nature at it raw finest.
This was an image made over a valley between a lava field and the incredibly colourful rhyolite ranges in the Landmannalaugar region of Iceland’s highlands. We visited this location on a photo tour with our guide Kaspars Dzenis.
Clearly the weather was quite overcast, but the muted light only served to bring out the incredible colours of the rhyolite, the grassy valley and the blackness of the lava fields.
We love the Landmannalaugar area, and reviewing these photos is a special opportunity to think back on one of the most special hiking photography experiences.
Known locally as Sigöldugljúfur Canyon, the Valley of the Tears is a stunning canyon nearby Haifoss in Iceland’s Highlands.
Arriving in a dusty carpark a short stroll to the edge of a cliff overlooking the valley exposing the stunning vista seen in this image.
As with so many of Iceland’s amazing landscapes, it is difficult to produce an image the brings to life the country’s rugged and amazing beauty.
Sigöldugljúfur is a lesser visited location for visitors to Iceland, but it is certainly well worth the stop on the road to Landmannalaugar. We were fortunate to be taken to this stunning location by our photo guide Kaspars Denisz.
Yasaka no To is a pagoda in Kyoto’s Higashiyama district that is one of the busiest tourist attractions in the city.
The picturesque pagoda, coupled with the adjacent old-style streets, makes it very popular for photographers, tourists and locals alike, and by day you would be hard-pressed to find an angle without dozens of people throughout the scene.
There are a couple of ways of dealing with these crowds:
Ignore them, and in fact embrace them in your images;
Remove them from the scene in post-processing; or
Get up early and capture the streets with no one in them in the first place!
The third option was obviously what I did with this image, and I am really happy with the result. Not only did I get the images that I had in my mind’s eye, I was also able to have the experience of wandering these lovely streets and having them all to myself!
Prague’s Charles Bridge is a pedestrian bridge linking the Old Town to the Prague Castle area.
We visited in Autumn (September) when the crowds were said to be relatively small, through it you look at the number of people on the bridge at sunset it is hard to imagine what is must be like when it is ‘busy’.
It is also hard to imagine what it must be like as I write this during the COVID-19 pandemic, when cities like Prague are on lockdown.
There are a number of good vantage points for shooting Charles Bridge, and sunrise and sunset align pretty well during our visit. PhotoPills was valuable in planning the time and positioning I wanted to get the best image.
In this case I went up the tower at the Eastern end of the bridge for the sunset image. I went up the tower well before sunset to find my spot, and waited there through sunset and into the golden hour and blue hour.
During this time, I made sure to allow space for others to get images, noting the vast majority of people would stay for a few minutes, capturing a small number of shots before moving on.