ICELAND, ICELAND, ICELAND… If it feels like that name has been ringing in your ears, then you’re not alone.
Iceland has quickly become one of the hottest places for cold weather and landscape photography, and with eye popping images being spread around on all channels, it is easy to see why everyone wants to go there.
With our travel bug and Iceland on the radar, I got in touch with Blake Parker, an Australian born photographer now living in London who made a trip to Iceland this march. I wanted to dive past the social media images to hear what all the fuss was about, get a few words around his recent trip and perhaps even get some tips for anyone thinking of heading over.
All photos shot by Blake Parker.
Vallerret: You recently travelled to Iceland. Was the purpose always for a photography trip or was there another reason and photographing some epic locations was just a bonus?
Blake: I never really travel to places with the sole intention to just photograph. I feel if that was the case, you would miss out on important aspects of different cultures. I went there with 3 friends to explore and look at all the amazing things that the country has to offer. In saying that I definitely had photography as an agenda there.
Vallerret: Iceland is rapidly becoming one the most popular destinations for landscape photography.
Why do you think that is and what was it that attracted you there in the first place?
Blake: It might be a cliché, but it is definitely like no other place I have ever been before. The variable weather, the wildlife, the sheer amount of amazing things to see and the opportunity for the aurora all come together to make it a pretty special place.
Since moving from my home of Australia to London (and travelling through Europe) I’ve definitely gained an appreciation for mountains/hiking and snow. To be able to see these dramatic mountain landscapes and snow on the beach with fun waves breaking just off the shore combines a lot of my favourite things.
Vallerret: With so many photographers heading to Iceland, do you think it is still possible to get unique shots of the iconic locations we have seen so many times on social media and other platforms?
Blake: Good questions!
I suppose we do see a lot of the same landmark day in day out, but we keep going back to look at more. There is also the odd picture that stands out and allows you to view that same landscape from a different perspective. I’ve noticed recently more and more drone footage/stills posted which is also epic!
Vallerret: Do you think there is a lot more to Iceland that has yet to be explored in terms of great photography locations?
Blake: Coming from a surfing background I would say yes! Also, as people are becoming more adventurous they are going to greater lengths to get cool photos. Adding a human to landscapes also puts things into perspective and subjects tend to be willing to do anything.
Vallerret: Tell us a bit about your trip, where you went, some of the most notable spots, any great stories or most memorable moments?
Blake: I went over in late March, hoping to get a glimpse of the lights but also hoping for good weather and longer days. Turns out we got a bit of it all. There were 4 of us in total, so we decided to rent a camper van. This would allow us to be flexible and (slightly) comfortable. We first drove around the golden circle and then focused on the south coast. Notable spots would definitely be the plane wreckage near Vik and Skogafoss waterfall.
The first night we were in the van we stopped by a crater somewhere along the golden circle. It was getting late so we decided to park there the night. At about 11pm I went outside to check the evening sky. I looked up and saw a faint streak across the sky. Instantly I thought aurora but then my doubts set in and I decided it was just a cloud. However, after getting my camera and taking a few shots, my doubts were cleared and I let my buddies know that we would see the lights tonight. It ended up being epic, basically filling the night sky!
Vallerret: Did you have any disaster shoots on your trip?
Blake: No real disaster shoots but we found ourselves in a hairy situation trying to accelerate up hill and around a sharp bend on an ice covered road. Never having driven on snow and ice before I probably didn’t handle the situation as well as I could have. But as they say, all’s well that ends well.
Vallerret: Now that you have been to Iceland and can look back on your trip, what is some advice you would tell yourself before you went.
Blake: Get up early and stick around for the afternoon. Nothing beats the dawn/dusk light.
Vallerret: What is some key advice you would tell someone looking to go to Iceland for a photography trip?
Blake: Give yourself time and a good vehicle!
Also, Pack a good coat, get yourself a warm pair of gloves and take lots of pictures.
Carl van den Boom
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