Welcome to Ineffable Wanderlust, a collaborative blog series with a group of my favourite photographers that will take you around the world in their images. For each month of 2017 we have chosen a meaningful word for photographic inspiration.
For the long, lightless January days what could be better than luminescence? Isn’t it a beautiful word? Luminescence (n) Light produced by chemical, electrical, or physiological means.
This month I am reliving darker days, the good type of dark, not the depressing one. Allow me to travel back in time to December to a country called Iceland. The dreamer in me needs to relive and remember by putting together an album of memories, and the traveller in me is finding ways to plan another trip there in the not too distant future.
We arrived in Reykjavik on a dark and dismal Saturday in December. There is not much light at all in December. The week we were there the sun rose at 10:51hrs and set at 15:43hrs. The good thing is that if sunrise is your thing you don’t have to get up early at all but you have to factor in that sometimes even though it is daylight you don’t actually get to see the sun which is what happened to us. Maybe this sounds awful but when you are in Iceland in December, the sun never really goes very high so the light is that constant golden hour quality that photographers lust for. We got soaked to the skin – e v e r y s i n g l e d a y – but we would do it all again in a heartbeat.
Our main reason for revisiting Iceland was to experience the Auroras, those magnificent lights that illuminate the night sky that everyone is mesmerised by. Now wouldn’t this be a magnificent luminescence post if I could include a shot of the Aurora Borealis. Unfortunately, yet again we returned home without even a glimpse and believe me when I say we tried. We spent a long time glued to the Aurora prediction page and drove out of the city in search of clearer skies, but nothing. We didn’t have the right car or driving experience to be able to go inland to see nature’s show.
As a family we are a fine mix so it’s not easy to put together activities that will please us all. We have the adventure junky of the family, usually with camera in hand, the calm, urban loving man, forever well dressed for an occasion and the 12 year old that loves to travel but did not inherit the off the beaten track gene. Like I said, a fine mix.
The first day there I had arranged to go on a photo tour with a local photographer. I follow Benjamin Hardman on Instagram and love the feel of his work and was delighted to see that he does workshops and custom photo tours for photographers (and their families) so I contacted him. The day was planned in advance but with the Icelandic weather you have to be prepared to accomodate changes and I am so glad we did. Benjamin really knows his way around and knows how to interpret the weather so it really was the best spent money in Iceland. I emailed him and when he replied, in the same sentence he used the words basalt, beach, lunch, plane, waterfalls and Defender. It was one of those shut up and take my money moments, that and oh-shit-I-need-a-new-camera-for-this. Thanks to Benjamin and his Defender my adrenalin levels have reached a new high and we had a brilliant day loaded with new experiences.
A top holiday usually involves a Defender at some point – all my doing. Thankfully they admit that my ideas tend to turn into the best memories.
The day started off looking like the end of the world but a few river crossings later the rain clouds gave us a break.
Winter in Iceland is supposed to be colder but for some reason whenever we go to a cold place it’s always the mildest season in history. This day it was colder in Barcelona.
The day involved a bit of a drive, crossing little rivers by car, a bit of a trek up to a glacier where we had a few stepping stone river crossings, crossing a pretty big river by car… twice, lunch at a place called Volcano Huts, a walk in a canyon, spotting a friendly little arctic fox.
We trekked up to the foot of a glacier and got as close as safety would allow. This is the glacier that was affected by the eruption in 2010 that brought Europe’s air traffic to a total halt. Eyjafjallajökull – get your tongue around that and try and pronounce it. It means ice cap of Eyjafjöll and it’s a beautiful place on earth.
One of the following white creatures is not like the rest.
I felt so lucky to get to see one of these little things pottering about.
As I’m not allowed to adventure every day, some days we played the tourist and I will admit I enjoyed it.
A selfie while we wait for Strokkur to blow. It never gets old watching it burst in to the air.
Reykjavik is so much more happening than I remember. I suppose last time I was more tired attempting to keep a 4 year old entertained.
We took the lift to the top of Hallgrímskirkja at 11 am and it was still dark…and raining. I can only imagine the view from here on a beautiful day.
Another of the highlights of this holiday was to visit Reynisfjara beach. It’s not just the black sand, the cave and the basalt columns. There really is something magical about this place. The day we visited the wind was rough and the rain was nasty but the sea was down right fierce. To get the next shots we got soaked to the skin. Peal your clothes off your skin type of soaked but I can say that one of these makes my heart sigh and is going to be printed very big.
This is not a black and white shot.
We ended our stay in Iceland with one day and night at the Silica Hotel. It’s a place in the middle of a lava field and so lunar and amazing that it’s difficult to explain. Of course the Blue Lagoon is a must but this place has its own private lagoon and I kid you not when I say we had the place to ourselves the night we were there.
We had high hopes that with the clear skies we would have been able to see the Aurora Borealis while chilling in the pool. It didn’t happen but we had a brilliant time exploring all the nooks of the lagoon and feeling well and truly rejuvenated. Got to love the timelapse feature on my new camera so I could get in the shots. I don’t think the silica will ever come off but I love seeing it and remembering why the grip is white instead of black.
We filmed a few bits with our phones, mostly river crossings from day one so if you feel like spending a minute and a half getting dizzy in a Defender, be my guest. I can’t wait to go back and actually film this properly.
In the meantime I will have to feed my wanderlust by traveling to fellow photographers that share their travels and adventures with light.