what i learned from my trip to iceland
When I initially had the idea of visiting Iceland for a photo trip, I had no clue what it could give to me. Even months later after my visit I think about this. I never thought it will be about so much more than «just» photography. This is why you should go to Iceland not only for your passion like photography, but for yourself and and your life.
The Bucket list
As a photographer and a human being, everyone should have an imaginary bucket list I guess. A list of things you plan to do in your life before it’s too late. I do have such a list in my mind. I always wanted to stand on top of Manhattan and see that ocean of lights and towers. And so I did. It felt like the middle of civilization. The heart of mankind. The place where it all happens. It was one of the greatest experiences I’ve ever had in my entire life. I’ll never forget it.
And on that list, of course, was Iceland. I’ve heard so many wonderful things about this place, especially from other photographers. I wanted it to see for myself. And I wanted it badly. It was very important to me to travel to Iceland for a reason. And that, of course, was my passion - photography. I’ve heard and read about the stunning light, the beautiful and unique landscape and the breathtaking things like icebergs, huge waterfalls or geysers. But you already know about this. No news here.
So we prepared over weeks and months. Everything was important. What kind of car would we need? When would we need to be in which place? What kind of gear would we need for our pictures, time lapses and movies? What kind of light would be right? We even downloaded an app which showed not only sunrise and sunset times, but also how shadows would fall on a certain place at a certain time! Crazy I know. But it was all part of the plan. Literally the big picture!
After all the research and preparation, we finally arrived at Iceland. And very soon I would realise that there was more to it than what I prepared for and expected it to be.
Soon after we took off with our rented car, after hours of driving through to our first stop, I got the feeling that this was different than anything else I’ve ever experienced. There were no people, no crowd, no big cities, no Apple Stores, no subways and no nothing. Sometimes it was like time stood still for centuries. It felt like nature was able to do what it would do without mankind trying to stop it. I guess words cannot explain what it feels to perceive that energy coming from those sceneries, floating right into your body. It’s something, you have to sense for yourself. Trust me.
When I realised
On top of Skógafoss, one of the greatest waterfalls on Iceland, for the first time I realised that this journey could give me more than «just» photographs.
It was around midnight when we arrived on top of Skógafoss after climbing up for around half an hour. Thanks to the midnight sun during this period of the year, it was far from dark. The horizon was color flooded. The sun was near the edge, but I couldn’t see it anymore. It was cold, but it all felt really good. We took some shots from that stunning view and of course the waterfall. Some longtime exposures resulted in these all known silky smooth water shots. And suddenly, after a couple minutes, I realised what was going on. It was absolutely quiet, no sound beside the water, falling down over the waterfall’s edge. I sensed, I had to become quiet. Very quiet. And calm. And relaxed. And all of a sudden I realised, it all had a purpose. It all made sense. I wasn’t just here to get my shots. I wasn’t just here to follow my passion. I was here to learn. To learn to get back to basics. Back to what was really important. Back to live life at it’s best. To enjoy the moment. To take a breath of fresh, cold air and savor it. To feel good with nothing but the moment. I forgot about the photos. I forgot about the preparation, the gear and the whole plan why I visited Iceland. It felt so good.
It was worth it
This one hour on top of waterfall Skógafoss was worth it all. Everything I did for this trip, every minute of research, just everything. It was worth it all.
I learned so much. When back from my trip to Iceland, over the past four months, I sold half of my gear. It wasn’t necessary anymore. It wasn’t important anymore. I now know, that it’s not so much about the photos, the gear and photography itself. It’s about that special moment that a passion like photography can give you. It’s about the experiences, it’s about the memories you can create. It’s about life and all it’s beauty. And it’s about that recovery. In a time where anyone can buy anything, we sometimes loose focus on the really important things. We forget about the basics. A trip to Iceland helped me find at least one important thing again; my focus on life and to enjoy the simple things again. Maybe Iceland can help you too…
The Travel report above was shot within one hour. The idea based on a spontaneous feeling we had at the beach of Vik. The mood was breathtaking and so we decided to shoot some impressions. This is what came out...
All images are taken with the Canon 5DIII and the Canon 100mm f2.8, the Zeiss 15mm f2.8 or the Canon 24mm f2.8 IS.