The weather is going to be terrible. Just prepare for it. Absolutely bloody awful. Iceland is renowned for the fickle moods of its weather. For the island, weather is like a petulant teenager, blowing hot and cold with gale force tantrums and days and days of melancholy gloom interspersed by moments of extraordinarily beautiful sunshine. At least that’s how the theory goes. In fact in 2018 the year’s weather held pretty much to this pattern. When we arrived in June of last year we were greeted with 2 days of half sunshine. “Oh, you’ve seen our summer”, exclaimed a waiter who was serving us at the famous Ork Pizzeria. So, drenched and cold we visited and shot waterfalls and mountains, streams and extraordinary vistas in the drizzle and downpour.
I am admittedly stubborn when it comes to post-production. Although I am a firm advocate of continuously learning new techniques, I do tend to be late on the uptake. As is the case with Adobe’s Merge to HDR pano feature in the latest version of Camera RAW (version 11.3). For a long time I have had a tedious, but effective, workflow creating HDR panoramic both for my own images, as well as for clients. The technique has involved layering images and selectively blending them into individual frames which are then stitched together to form a panoramic. The technique was long-winded, difficult to learn, easy to mess up, but extremely effective. Then Adobe gives everyone the ability to do it at the click of a button. It seems almost like cheating it’s so easy.
Here is the new process in a few easy steps:
Iceland! It’s a place that conjures up images of longboats riding white capped waves and black mountains jutting out and over pounding dark surf. A land of vikings, volcanoes and ice. As such it has drawn photographers in their droves to explore the island which sits just south of the Arctic Circle. It has drawn so many photographers that it is hard to pick up a photographic magazine or look through the images in a photographic salon without coming across at least a few images from Iceland. It is this allure that had me chatting to some photographers around a fire, in quite the contrary location - Botswana’s Kubu Island, about their thoughts in visiting Iceland.
Two years later, almost to the month I found myself setting foot onto Iceland’s soil joined by some of those same photographers who planted the seed of visiting Iceland in the first place. We had touched down in one of the few pronounceable (for anyone who doesn’t speak Icelandic) towns on the Island, Keflavik. This is about an hours drive from the more familiarly unpronounceable capital, Reykjavik - home to just under a third of Iceland’s 350, 000 strong population. From the air we could see a ring of snow-capped mountains surrounding what to us looked like a flat plain of green and dark grey. We later found the plain to actually be churned up moss-covered prehistoric lava flow.