Geothermal Pipes At The Viki Crater Near Myvatn, Iceland

A large pipe transfers steam through the landscape near the Viki Crater not far from the town of Myvatn in northern Iceland.

I suppose it's fair to say that, proportionally, I post far too many pics of Iceland given the time I've spent there compared to all the other countries I've visited over the years.

But for those of us who have had the good fortune to have journeyed to this most beautiful island nation, the notion that too much is never enough makes perfect sense.

Despite suffering from a very heavy cold throughout the three short weeks I had in the country, during my first trip to Iceland, I just loved my time there.

I put in long hours chasing the light and was rewarded with fantastic photography opportunities. I can't wait to return. 

 
Selfie Horse Riding, Reynisfjara, Iceland

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I Desire To Make Life Affirming Images

The photo at the top of this post was made near the town of Myvatn in northern Iceland.

Geothermal power is a big deal in this country and, as a consequence, there's no negative comment being made with the inclusion of the pipe in this photo.

In fact the primary reason for including the pipe was as an aid to composition. It leads the viewer through the frame in much the same way as a road, railway line or river does.

A black and white photo depicting the rugged beauty of the Highlands in Central Iceland.

Creating The Impression Of Three Dimensional Space In A Photo

Notice how three dimensional the photos in this post appear. That might seem like an obvious statement, given the fact that we perceive the world around us in three dimensions.

But photographs are two dimensional. There’s no depth in a photo. And that's just as true for an image viewed on a computer or handheld device as it is for a traditional printed photograph.

Photographers employ a range of things including composition, differences in tonality and lens focal length as a way to increase the impression of depth in their photos. It is this impression of depth that produces the illusion of three dimensional space.

In the case of the scene at the top of this post I employed the long line of the pipe, and the notion of the journey it takes us on, to produce the sense of three dimensional space in the image.

Notice what’s referred to as atmospheric haze in the photo I made in the Highlands region of Iceland. It’s the relationship of highly textured and smooth areas within the photo that increase the sense of three dimensionality with the image.

And that’s despite the fact that a short telephoto lens was used to create the photo. Telephoto lenses are often employed to reduce the perception of distance between elements within the frame and, thereby, to change perspective within the image.

In think there’s an interesting push/pull occurring in this photo from the Icelandic Highlands due to the simultaneous reduction and expansion of perceived space within the image.

My friend, Tony Jackson, at the gates of an abandoned cemetery in rural Iceland.

Light and Beauty Are At The Heart Of A Great Photo

The photos in this post, from a compositional point of view, are all dependent upon light.

I remember being drawn by the glow of light reflecting off the surface of the pipe as it traversed its way across the landscape.

Likewise you’ll notice how light emphasizes the textural qualities in the Highlands and graveyard photos. It also increases the impression of distance as your eye is encouraged to journey, from light to dark tones, into the image.

Photography And The Dance Of Light

After rendering the original color files into black and white in I applied a warm tone to emphasize the mood of this alien-like landscape.

The success of a photo is only partly dependent upon the objects around which the composition is created.

In photography beauty is largely dependent upon light.

Light illuminates and reveals objects within the scene and the connections and meaning that dance of light evokes is central to the power of a great photo. 

Glenn Guy, Travel Photography Guru