Land of ice and snow

Flem­ming Nielsen, a Dan­ish graphic de­signer, took his Nikon to Ice­land for an un­for­get­table land­scape ex­pe­ri­ence

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Com­ing to Ice­land, there are a number of well-known places you must shoot. But af­ter a while I tried to avoid the most pop­u­lar sights and in­stead fo­cus on lesser-known land­scapes, like my im­age of the morn­ing mist rolling up along a river early in the day, just af­ter sun­rise [1]. I used my 24-70mm lens at 35mm to in­clude the river, moun­tain and sky. I at­tempted to shoot this with a slow shut­ter speed, but it didn’t work out. I felt that the blurred wa­ter took too much at­ten­tion away from the mist. I de­cided to stick to a fast shut­ter speed to catch the feel­ing of the rag­ing river against the muted mist.

One late af­ter­noon, walk­ing along the beach back to our car af­ter pho­tograph­ing Reyn­is­f­jara near Vik, I spot­ted a small piece of yel­low sea­weed glow­ing like gold against the black vol­canic sand. It took me sev­eral shots un­til I fi­nally got the right com­bi­na­tion of flow­ing wa­ter meet­ing the sea­weed, all in a sym­met­ric po­si­tion, and I’m quite pleased with the re­sult [2].

Af­ter miss­ing out on the puffins on top of Dyrhólaey I was in luck to in­stead be able to get an im­age of the sun as it slowly van­ished be­low the moun­tains be­hind me [3]. I used my 70-200mm lens at 200mm to iso­late a small sec­tion of the scene, so I could em­pha­size all the sub­tle tones on the moun­tains and sky. The only prob­lem was I left my tri­pod at the ho­tel, so I used a high ISO and Vi­bra­tion Re­duc­tion to make the im­age sharp.

N-Photo says

It’s great to see you came away with some cork­ing shots from Ice­land, Flem­ming. It’s such a pho­to­genic land­scape it’s hard to not en­joy your­self there. We can see you didn’t waste any time, get­ting out in the early morn­ings, as you’ve shown here with the mist above the river. It’s an in­ter­est­ing com­po­si­tion and not one we would’ve thought to go with our­selves, but it works well. The moun­tains lead the eye from the cen­tre-right of the frame out to the edge of the left and they meet the cor­ner of the crop per­fectly – a nice touch. You’ve also bal­anced the colour well, with warm, yel­low tones on the left of the frame and cool, blue tones on the right – it per­fectly splits the frame in half. It’s good to hear that you ex­per­i­mented with the shut­ter speed, but we can’t help but won­der if the longer ex­po­sure would’ve com­ple­mented the smooth­ness that the mist pro­vides.

Your shot of the golden sea­weed on the black sand beach is one of those im­ages that just works. It’s a fan­tas­tic cen­tral com­po­si­tion, topped with a well-timed blue wave that pushes all of the em­pha­sis down to the bot­tom of the frame. The dark, ab­sorb­ing black sand gives neg­a­tive space for the sea­weed to pop out vi­brantly.

Half the time land­scape photography is about mak­ing the most of what you’ve got, and turn­ing around for a long tele­photo shot of the moun­tain ranges is a good ex­am­ple of mak­ing an im­age out

You missed the puffins, sure, but you’ve man­aged in­stead to cap­ture a very dif­fer­ent shot, with great depth in the moun­tains, each with a distinct hue

of noth­ing. You missed the puffins, sure, but you’ve man­aged in­stead to cap­ture a very dif­fer­ent shot, with great depth in the moun­tains, each one with a distinct hue and the last range cud­dled by a soft layer of cloud. Ex­cel­lent work, Flem­ming!

2 1 Beach Gold Morn­ing Mist Nikon D750, 24-70mm f/2.8, 1/125 sec, f/4, ISO100 Nikon D750, 24-70mm f/2.8, 1/500 sec, f/7.1, ISO100

3 Evening Glow Nikon D750, 70‑200mm f/2.8, 1/250 sec, f/5.6, ISO800

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