I am asked, on numerous occasions, if I’ll take a rest on holiday, and leave my camera gear at home. What a crazy idea! However, it has made me think, should I? In the end I usually conclude that it would cause me more anxiety, being stood in front of a monumental scene, full of regret and, probably resulting in great cost when re-booking flights to return with my camera kit. Photography is a passion, and it is what drove me to create a business and a life that makes it part of daily life. So how do I differentiate between work and pleasure when shooting?
There are elements of most shoots, work or play, that I can honestly say I just love. However, there is something so calming about going off into the wilds to shoot landscape photography. It is what captured my imagination when I started shooting and, given the chance I still get the same buzz waiting for that moment of golden light to pop. It's often, far from glamorous and requires immense patience and planning, plus you must always remember your fate is with the weather gods. You have to be prepared to wake up at 3 am, stand in the pouring rain and still come home with nothing. All of this for the chance to capture one ‘wow’ moment in a trip, it’s always been worth it.
So, here's how I know it's a trip for ‘me’. There is no pressure to get anything, just shoot, explore, and enjoy. While not everyone’s cup of tea, and certainly no physical respite, a dedicated photo-trip is a real brain break and just tops up those creative juices.
At the start of a new year, when eagerly planning 2018’s adventures I thought it timely to look back on the biggest photo expedition of last year.
Enter.... Iceland, the Ring Road edition! The challenge, to complete the ring road in 7 days while hitting up as many of these photo stops as possible. Initially, having let my good friend Shula loose on plotting some epic shot stops, I thought 'no way', but she reassured me by sticking to a tight schedule we'd make it. Of course, the whole operation was entirely weather dependent and, while we didn’t win every day, ‘wow’ we made the most of it.
This was to be our DJI Mavic Pros first international outing and, the chance to compliment our ground based photography with some aerial views. It was the perfect companion for this trip with its lightweight form factor and portability we were able to pack it as standard to our day packs. In fact we actually had one each! With Iceland's vast and sprawling landscape, going armed with a drone was a game changer. It allowed us to play and capture the money shots, even in the harsh midday light, pull back and reveal some monster waterfalls as well as chase us around to at least make it look like we were actually there!
We experienced the good, the bad and the ugly during this epic road-trip. Drove in to storms, ran away from them, off-roaded, hiked, scrambled and clambered our way through some of the most incredible of natures creations. In summary, we conquered the North and South of the island and came so close to revealing the wonders of the East and West only to be beaten by those pesky weather gods. Surely there will have to be a return visit?
No trip would be complete without a few stats, so here are a few to give you an idea of our life on the road.
- 447 Images Taken
- 30GB of Drone Video Footage
- 27 Chicken Wraps Consumed
- 14 Red Bull's
- 2,700KM Driven
- 8 Waterfalls Conquered
- 1 ‘fear for life’ moment
- The kilo of pistachio nuts and dried mango got the better of us... but we left a little bit of tropical joy behind for somebody to enjoy!
Although, primarily photographers, with the introduction of our aerial friend, we took the opportunity to capture many of the wonderful sights in video. Sometimes it is hard to do such scale justice, this helps to give a little more insight into the size of the waterfalls. Click below to check out our Iceland Ring Road Adventure in movie format. Enjoy!