I took a lot of photos on my first night in Iceland. You’re probably all getting sick of seeing this lighthouse. This is the last one I’ve got, I promise… at least until I go back there again this June.
This is my first shot with the new gear I bought after those bastardos (the police taught me that) robbed me in Italy. I mentioned a little while back that I’d received my insurance check and, subsequently, my camera gear arrived on island. I haven’t really gone into what all I got and have yet to update the My Gear page (I’ve just noted that I should probably get on that). I decided to make a couple of changes though the majority of my gear has remained the same. I decided to stick with my combo of 5d mk ii and 7d camera bodies despite considering the 5d mk iii that has been released recently. In the end it came down to cost. I could buy both the 5d mk ii and 7d camera bodies used, on BH PhotoVideo, for considerably less than the cost of the 5d mk iii alone. On top of cost, I get to keep my two camera setup meaning I’ll have a backup in case I get a little too close to a waterfall or if a baboon steals one and chucks it off a cliff. I replaced my 14mm prime lens as well as my 24mm to 70mm zoom but rather than replace the 70-300mm zoom I had, I switched to 70-200mm lens. It’s just a much faster, better lens. It also seems a lot heavier, which I wasn’t anticipating. Along with it, I’ve bought an extender EF 2x II which increases it’s focal range to 140mm to 400mm.
I spent a day out in St. Georges with my new gear. Unfortunately, for some reason my ISO was set at the max and I didn’t realize, so most of the images are unusable. On the way back the sunset was starting to get interesting so I pulled off onto the railway trail at the bottom of Crawl Hill and took this photo.
Taking the Photo: Amongst the little bits I picked up along with my cameras and lenses was a variable neutral density filter. I didn’t actually know that they existed and just stumbled upon them. Rather than carrying numerous ND filters at varying levels you just buy one and twist it to adjust the darkness. It’s pretty cool, but I haven’t really had a chance to test it extensively. I used it for this picture and adjusted it dark enough until I got long enough exposures to totally blur the water.
Processing: Processing this photo was pretty straightforward without many issues. I combined the three exposures using Photomatix and then adjusted contrast and saturation in Photoshop before further bumping up the detail in Topaz Adjust.
Software: Photoshop, Topaz Adjust
Arriving in Iceland at midnight, in the middle of June, immediately makes you realise you’re entering a surreal land. As the flight begins it’s descent you can see the vibrant colors of sunset around you. The colors continue long after you’ve left the airport. Long enough that you can travel 20 minutes to your accommodation, drop off your bags and wake up your sleeping travel mate, that got there a day earlier, and still be able to take photos of the unending light!
This beach was walking distance from our guesthouse in Gardur so we made our way straight there. I spent at least two hours taking photos that night, despite my total lack of sleep, and didn’t even begin to feel tired. The air was crisp with a slight scent of sulphur from nearby springs. We even managed to climb up the lighthouse pictured in the distance here. It afforded a great view back across the landscape, including the newer, still-functioning lighthouse nearby.
I posted an image of the coastline of False Bay last week. This shot is taken just a few steps further down. Walking along the coast was interesting. We’d hopped off the train with an hour to kill before the next one arrived and our group split. Cameron and I took off up the coast towards a vantage point I’d spotted from the tracks. The others went down to the beach. One of the most striking things about walking along here was the huge numbers of mussels hugging the rocks, as well as the piles of shells of the unlucky ones.
The train journey to Simon’s Town has to be one of the most memorable in the world. We heard it was a picturesque trip. But for the first half we were doubtful as the train trundled through interesting but far from beautiful suburbs of Cape Town. This portion was kept interesting by the various vendors jumping on and off the train.
Then, all of a sudden we were next to the ocean, the tracks running meters from the breaking waves. The view was incredible. We passed small towns as we weaved around beaches that were dotted with colorful huts and surfers making their way to the water’s edge. Birds of all sorts flew over or rested on the rocks and occasionally a seal or two came into sight.
I decided to hop off on our return journey as the sun was setting. We got off the second last train of the day without a lot of time before the final one was scheduled. I walked up the coast a little ways and shot this picture looking back across the bay at Simon’s Town in the distance.