River's Journey_Iceland

A raging river cutts its way through a ravine in southern Iceland

Iceland is an amazing place to visit and, for the enthusiastic photograph, many opportunities await. I spent 2 1/2 weeks in Iceland during July, 2011. I arrived during the height of Summer and revelled in the long days afforded by the midnight sun. In this way my friend Joseph and I were able to cover significant distances and shoot well into the night. In fact my days photography would often not be completed until around 3am the following morning. Being a bit of a night owl, I had no problem adapting to this regime.

We'd usually drive and explore during the day, stopping to shoot when and where possible, with the intention of arriving at a pre-designated destination between 9 and 10pm in the evening. The idea was to arrive with the warm end of day light and photograph an iconic location at sunset and, if possible, continue photographing the location at sunrise and beyond.

Our energy and motivation were usually high, but we were almost always foiled by flat light as the sun set behind a bank of clouds. This doesn't mean that we didn't make great photos, but its true to say we never experienced an iconic location illuminated by a classic sunrise or sunset.

Despite good organisation, the highest motivation, purest intentions and significant financial outlays the goddess of photography will simply not shine her glorious light when and where we want it. Now let this be a warning to new players and those attending outdoor photography workshops. At the end of the day your photography, just like your vacation or your annual evaluation with your boss, is what you make of it.

I can probably summarise my experiences in landscape photography as follows:


  1. You have to work for and earn your best photographs
  2. They rarely, if ever, feature iconic locations
  3. The best images are often made on the journey. So stop the car, get out and have a go 4) Your attitude should be to Make rather than Take photographs


The above photograph was made during our first night on our epic journey driving through and around Iceland. Other than one other night in the highlands, this was probably the most beautiful light we experience during our trip. And it lingered, for several hours, as we stopped to photograph rivers, dams and one most glorious waterfall. This is pretty much heaven on earth for a landscape photographer working, for an extended period of time, under this kind of light. It was a truly wonderful night and, while the above location may not be particularly iconic, the experience of photographing throughout that evening was one of my happiest for the entire trip.

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Glenn Guy, Travel Photography Guru