Photographic Process: From Snapshot To Snapshot

Visiting the place

Iceland, widely known as the land of fire and ice, has recently became a buzz place that everybody and his brother with a camera visits. So here I was as well, with my bro Ota walking the picturesque and breathtaking black beach of Jokulsarlon. Just imagine - I could nourish my love for the outdoors only few meters from where we parked the car. We were experiencing the beauty of loads of magnificent icebergs, the greatest creations of the Mother Nature.

Pursuing the dream

I was in search for this magical moment under dramatic light we all are striving to capture, determined to get the perfect shot finally. The masterpiece that will receive thousands likes, pluses, favs and pings on social networks. I aimed to express my deepest inner feelings through my 14mm ultra-wide lens to offer my personal representation of the place while pursuing my ultimate passion for landscape photography.

Overcoming the challenge

Very early this morning, we met the famous award-winning and widely published photographer who did not greet back despite there was nobody else in the hotel's eating room. That was a bad sign. He showed us who we really were. Then, I could not connect with the landscape to reach a spiritual experience that would lead me to the decisive moment. Too many spirits the other night perhaps. My imagination dried up, my vision was blurred. Ota told me not to drink so much beer, but I think it was because I was disturbed by mumbling of 50+ attendants of extreme-adventure-aurora-volcano-glacier-fire-and-ice workshop who outvoiced soothing sounds of the ocean.

Practising the math

They were shooting in front of me, behind me, next to me, close to me. So instead of focussing on my masterpiece, surrounded by clicking of shutters I immersed into attempts to count how many times this beach has been photographed a year. In 2013, there were 807,000 people (mostly photographers and their brothers) visiting Iceland. Out of them around 45% traveled to Jokulsarlon area (good 360,000 pieces - roughly calculated based on this report) spending let's say 2 sessions (morning and evening) there. Each taking 100 images with their brand new mirror-less cameras and DSLRs stuffed with spacious 16+ gigabyte cards. Moreover, the famous award-winning and widely published photographer must have exceeded the statistical limit of shots by far as he was wandering the beach back and forth for long hours. I don't have the steam to incorporate this kind of deviation. Still, it is 72,000,000 (seventy-two million) pictures annually.

Enjoying the silence

Terrified by this number, I'm leaving the beach.

Camera: Hasselblad H1, Lens: 35mm, Digital Back: Phase One IQ150, Speed: 6.3s, Aperture: f/16

We returned the next morning, one hour before sunrise. Ota had a brilliant idea not to wait for the dramatic light, but to try to create it with torches. Despite my original plan, I did not end up with a masterpiece. But I could walk alone to the end of the beach. I enjoyed the silence.