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Friday, 14 November 2014

Profile Article in Iceland Magazine

Well, here's a bit of a nice surprise :-)

After posting one of my images onto the Iceland Magazine Facebook page I was contacted by them asking if they could do a little profile piece on me and my recent trip to Iceland!

Wow!!! Wow!!! Wow!!!

Do I call myself an Internationally Published Photographer now??? Ha ha ha :-)

Why not head over and have a little read of what they wrote. Here's the link:

http://icelandmag.com/article/love-stunning-landscapes-and-a-life-long-dream-seeing-northern-lights

What do you think? Please let me know.

Take care. Speak soon.

Kevin.

PS: I've got a couple more images to be uploaded to my website later today, so keep an eye on there as well.

Monday, 10 November 2014

Iceland - The edited results

Hi everyone,
I've been back from Iceland now a few days, and am back at work today :-(
I have now uploaded some of the edited images to my website for you all to have a look at.

Here's the link to the slideshow:
http://www.kevinbrownephotography.com/#!iceland-2014/cf75

I would really love to know what you think of the images, so please feel free to leave a comment at the bottom of this post.

Don't forget these images are available to buy as prints or canvases, so just drop me a line if you'd like to see one of these hanging on your walls at home.

Speak soon :-)

Kevin.

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Iceland Day 4

The first thing I noticed when I woke up this morning was the sound of rain on the hostel roof...heavy rain! 
Looking out the window confirmed we would not be shooting sunrise today, no matter how long it lasted. 
Our plan was to stop at the iceberg beach near Jokulsarlon and photograph the big lumps of ice which are washed up on the beach after breaking off the end of the glacier. Then we wanted to find the abandoned American Navy DC-3 airplane which crashed in 1973 (no one died thankfully). We were also thinking of making a few other stops while making our way back to Reykjavik. 

Finding the iceberg beach was easy. It was very surreal walking along a beach made of volcanic black sand in between big lumps of crystal clear ice which are just sitting there as if every beach should be like that. 

There were so many options for taking photos on that beach. 

Luckily I brought a cameradom with me because it was pouring with rain the whole time we were there. Freezing cold as well! I was wearing thermal longjohns, my lined hiking trousers and a pair of waterproof leggings, two micro-fleece base layers, a thermal mid-layer, a hoodie and my big coat along with neck gaiter, hat and two pairs of gloves. 

After a couple of hours shooting on the beach we headed off to find the DC-3   That meant another couple of hours in the car towards Reykjavik. 
When we found the turning off the main road we had to travel about 3 miles off-road across more black sand. That wasn't 3 miles along the beach parallel to the sea though. That was 3 miles down the beach towards the sea. Some of the open expanses here in Iceland are simy mind-blowing! 
More heavy rain (again) when we arrived at the plane. Those pilots must have thought they crash landed on Mars (except the sand was black not red). Apart from some mountains in the distance all we could see was black sand in every direction! 

Back in the car and onwards to Reykjavik. The scenery still absolutely astounds me. 


Reykjavik surprised me. I don't really know what I was expecting but it was much bigger than I thought it would be. The apartment we had was stunning as well, right in the 101 district which is where there are loads of bars, restaurants and galleries to keep people interested. It has a really young and vibrant feel to it. 
We were initially thinking we were going to go out for some celebratory drunkeness to round off a fantastic week, but we needed food first so found a chinese restaurant. The food was amazing. And reasonably priced as well. 

The obligatory photo of Reykjavik church. 

Iceland...I love you. I'll definitely be back!

Keep an eye on this blog over the next few days for updates on the proper photos being uploaded to my website. 
www.kevinbrownephotography.com


Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Iceland Day 3

Day 3 started with an urgent dash to the petrol station to fill up with fuel...for the car and for us. Because we got to our overnight stop after the shops closed (at 8pm) we had no dinner so we were hungry and grumpy (or Hangry as my girlfriend calls it ��).
Once fed and feeling human again we set off for Seljalanfoss waterfall which was only about half an hour away. It was pouring with rain when we got there so initially we thought we'd just do the tourist thing and walk up to it without the cameras, but as soon as the scale of it was realised we knew we couldn't leave without at least trying so we got the heat out of the car and went behind the waterfall to try and get some decent shots. Sunrise was not possible because of the heavy clouds but we had to get something. 
The wind kept blowing the spray from the waterfall all over us so our lenses and filters kept getting soaked. After a couple of shots we gave up and headed back to the car. That was good timing, a coach load of Japanese tourists turned up in the car park just as we got in the car. 
iPhone shot of the Seljalanfoss waterfall. 

Another half hour down the road we stopped at Skogafoss waterfall, but we arrived in the same rainy conditions. I took my camera with me but left the tripod in the car so at least I got some shots and we did a group shot of ourselves and headed back to the car. The coach turned up just behind us again...we had to keep moving to avoid the swarm of bus passengers getting in all our shots. 

Next stop, the black sand beach at Vil. What an amazing place. Absolutely stunning to look at with its jet black volcanic sand, towered over by sheer cliffs and the dramatic stone stacks stood out in the sea like beacons. 
This is where I tested the waterproofing I had sprayed onto my walking boots before I left home. Stood at the edge of the waterline with waves coming up to my shins I pulled off my favourite shot of the trip so far. 

I'll be really looking forward to seeing that on the laptop screen. 
As for the wayerproofing, it worked to a point then I felt my left foot get cold. 
At least I didn't fall over in the water like Adam did. 

Onwards!
The main aim of today was to get to Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon, a two and a half hour drive from our last location. 
This lagoon is at the bottom of a vast glacier system and acts as the run-off point to the sea for the melt water. 
When we arrived the sky was clear with just some clouds way off in the distance, along the horizon. The sun was beginning to set and that just added to the magic of this place. 
These are all iPhone pictures, I will post a link to the website when I get the proper images from my camera edited and uploaded. 

All alerts were going mad for a good show of the Northern Lights so we were praying that the clouds would stay on the horizon as it got darker. We stayed at Jokulsarlon until well after dark, constantly having to de-ice our camera lenses and keep moving around to fight off the bitter cold. 
Some of the guys say they managed to capture some of the aurora while we were there but I don't think I did. I'll have to wait till I look at the images on the laptop. 
The clouds beat us again so we decided to move east to get ahead of the clouds again. We drove for over an hour and stopped a few times when we saw the lights putting on a show. 

I've seen the Northern Lights with my naked eyes!!!!

I got some great shots on my camera and managed to get this very dark and grainy image on my iPhone 

Believe me the ones on the camera are much much better. The whole experience of seeing the Northern Lights is something I will never forget. 

The clouds caught up with us again and wiped out the whole sky so we decided to find a bar and have a celebratory drink. Then headed back to our hostel for the night and crashed into bed totally exhausted. 

The weather forecast for Day 4 is total cloud and rain. Not sure what sort of pictures I'm going to be able to get but we'll try. 

Keep an eye on www.kevinbrownephotography.com for the full images of this trip.

Here is the link to Day 4.

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Iceland - Day 2

After waking up we headed 10 minutes up the road to Kirkjufell mountain, probably the most famous and most photographed mountain in Iceland.
The thing that has surprised me most here is the length of time it takes the sun to rise or set. In the UK we are used to rushing to get set up and start taking images as soon as we are ready for that 15 minute window. Over here we get 2 hours of colourful skies to work with. 
At Kirkjufell I was able to try about 3 different locations and took two 5-minute exposures with the Lee Big Stopper. 


Once we were done shouting at an annoying French guy who kept getting in our way and ruining our shots we started heading south towards our digs for the night at Hvolsvollur. 
On the way we stopped when we spotted some great light anywhere along the way. 

It was a bit cold though!!!

We headed to Gullfoss (yep another waterfall), but due to weather conditions the walkway to the best place to shoot from was shut. Because Gullfoss is fed from a nearby glacier, and the wind was coming from that direction it really was freezing. The spray coming off the waterfall was causing havoc with taking shots as well. 

Back in the car then for a two hour drive along gravel roads to our hostel for the evening. 
One thing that REALLY grates on me about Iceland though is the fact that all the shops shit by 7-8pm...after we got to the hostel. That meant no food and go to bed hungry and grumpy. 

The northern lights failed to show up again! Beginning to think we are going to miss out completely on this trip. 

Day 3 is further south again towards Vik stop offs at Seljalanfoss and Skegafoss along the way.

Here is the link to Day 3

Monday, 3 November 2014

Iceland - Day 1

The day started early, very early. My alarm was set for 1:30am! There wasn't really much point going to bed because I didn't feel rested when I got up.

I drove over to Waterlooville and picked up Adam, Marc, Mark and Matt and we headed of to Luton Airport. Apart from me nearly missing the turn for the M1 it was a very uneventful journey thank goodness. 

The whole experience at Luton was much the same. Checked-in, got a coffee, had breakfast, got on the plane and took off. 
The flight was only 2hrs 25 minutes which was good because it was quite cramped and I hate not being able to stretch my legs out. 

When we'd collected our bags and went outside to wait for the car hire company to come and collect us that's when we got our first real Icelandic welcome...by the wind. It must have been gusting up to 50mph and was bitterly cold. 

Once in the car our first port of call was the Blue Lagoon, the famous geothermal pool. I'll say it was the most expensive swimming pool I've ever been in at £34, but it was well worth it. Sitting in an outdoor pool while a 50mph wind whistles over your head was definitely a fantastic experience. 


Our plan was to get to Kirkjufell mountain for sunset, but we underestimated the distance and the time it takes to get places here in Iceland. 

As we were driving along we realised we weren't going to make it but we're still keeping positive that we'd be able to get some night shots and hopefully the Northern Lights. 
The iPod was on loud and the banter in the car was brilliant when we spotted a great waterfall by the side of the road. We stopped and jumped out and got all our gear out to set up for sunset. 



Once we left that waterfall the weather turned really really vicious. Matt was driving and had to cut the speed down to about 40mph because of the wind. At one point we could see the car was heading left but Matt was pointing the steering wheel to the right ��
We had to go through a mountain pass and there was ice everywhere. The in-car banter suddenly went quiet! 

After a total of 6 hours we finally reached the town of Grundarfjordur where we stayed in a really warm and comfortable hostel. 

As for the Northern Lights...all the websites were going crazy saying the lights were really active right above us...but the 100% cloud cover and rain made sure we didn't get to see any of them. We even checked at 3am, 4am and 5am but there was no chance it was going to happen for us on our first night. 

The weather forecast for night 2 is looking like a better chance of clear skies so hopefully we'll be able to catch them then.

Want to read more? Here's the link to Day 2

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Iceland - T-minus 3 days

So, the countdown has well and truly begun!
In 3 days time myself and four friends will be flying out to Iceland for a photographic tour.

5 grown men and all their luggage and photographic gear in one car.
4 nights in different accommodation each night.
Approximately 950 miles to cover in unpredictable weather!
Loads of photo locations along the way, and every sunrise and sunset in between.
And, of course, hopefully we'll be able to capture the Northern Lights...fingers crossed for clear skies!

Our wish list of locations:
Blue Lagoon
Kirkjufell
Thingvellor
Geysir
Gullfoss waterfall
Faxafoss waterfall
Mt Hekla
Hvolsvollur
Seljalandfoss waterfall
Skogafoss waterfall
Solheimajokull glacier
The town of Vik
Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon
The Iceberg beach
The abandoned DC-3 airplane on the black beach

Thats a lot of locations and not a lot of time to squeeze them in!
I think we will all be very very tired by the time we get back.

I shall be updating this blog and my Facebook page each day while we are out there, so please keep your eyes open for the latest upload.

www.facebook.com/kevinbrownephotography