Frankie goes to Iceland, April 2015

Category: Newsletters 15 April 2015

f11 Member Frank Pisani at Hoffelsjokull, eastern Iceland. Canon 5DS R, 100-400mm 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens.

That tiny solitary figure treading boldly in the landscape that you see in the bottom of the frame here dwarfed by the immense scale of the Hofellsjokull beyond is not, for once, Wendy; it is f11 Member Frankie Pisani from Melbourne, and he has my body. Yes, Frankie travelled all the way from Australia to join us on our Iceland Adventure, but it has to be admitted he may have on the first day been questioning the wisdom of that globe-spanning journey.

At the meet and greet in Reykjavik the day before Wendy, Ao and I had laid it on thick; respect the force of Mother Nature, if you go in the water you won't come back out, put your camera bag way up the beach, stay back, always watch out for the one rogue wave. A photographer had after all died on Reynisfjara just the month before. But despite our entrustments on the very first morning shoot on the beach at Vik Frankie ended up taking a dip, with his camera bag. Thankfully he did come back out, but looking wet and cold. With the North Atlantic streaming out of his bag and his filter pouch bobbing in the surf it wasn't the start we'd hoped for.  But somehow we dealt with Frankie's now total lack of usable photographic equipment; cameras, lenses, salt water and black volcanic sand do not mix. Within hours he was warm, dry and exposing with my spare 5D mkIII body as if nothing had happened. Well, we do promise them an adventure.


Adventure was the word, for all three weeks of our trip. Two 7 day/6 night Workshops broken by a week in the middle shooting in the Snaefellsnes was our lot, and as usual Iceland delivered up a heady mix of extreme weather, stunning light, frozen foss, sweeping glaciers, exquisite ice caves, smjor, soups, hot tubs, big wheels, screaming winds, jagged pinnacles, aurora, curious horses, friendly dogs, lava fields, black sand, translucent ice, fresh snow, crashing waves, remote churches, lonely lagoons and weather lashed headlands. Iceland really is an elementally beautiful country that just continues to take the breath away. We'll be doing it again next year, but with a difference. Watch this space, but Frankie; if you're tempted to return by all means pack the Speedos, but for the hot tub, not Reynisfjara.

it pays to respect the force of Mother Nature in Iceland. Waves breaking on Reynisfjara with Dyrhoaley beyond, Iceland. Canon 5DS R, 100-400mm 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens.

The camera I had on my tripod when I shot Frankie's solitary figure at Vatnajokull was a pre-production model of the new super high resolution 50+ megapixel Canon EOS 5DS R. Used in tandem with the recently released EF 100-400mm IS II lens it made for a potent combination; I just wish I could show you the image big, really big; as big as we were printing the images on the Canon stand at The Photography Show. The clarity and fine detail have to be seen to be believed. Still, you f11 Members will be able to read and watch all about that in next month's edition of the Chasing the Light Online Magazine.

Printing BIG on the Canon stand at The Photography Show.

But let's not get ahead of ourselves; photography spanning the globe to inspire and inform is our mission each and every month and April's edition of the Chasing the Light Online Magazine is no exception. I report from South Africa with second helpings of Behind the Lens and the Video Blog, Jeremy Horner is in Tibet, Chris Weston is with a pride of lions under the stars in Africa, Ross Hoddinott is down by the sea, Clive Nichols is in the garden, my Fundamentals of Post-Production Video Tutorials re-visit Umbria while Stepping Back heads for Poldark Country. It's all there for you (insert link), plus all 38 back issues, and yes, as a result of your feedback we are working on an index to help you make the most of this steadily increasingly valuable information resource.

Talking of resources the two e-books The Composition Tutorials and Light for Photographers have proved popular downloads. We're working on the next, which like all my ebooks will be absolutely free for f11 Members. All this for just £39 a year. If you're still unsure about what f11 Membership and the Chasing the Light Online Magazine is all about there's a video you can watch summarising it all here.

My latest ebook, available to download and free for all f11 Members.

So to the news. Its short notice I know but this Saturday 18th April I shall be giving two seminars at the Manfrotto Take Over Event at Jessops in Manchester. Then next week in my role as Manfrotto Ambassador I shall be visiting their factory and HQ in Belzano, northern Italy, before returning for another Manfrotto Take Over event at Park cameras in Burgess Hill, near Brighton on April 23rd. We'll then be returning to north eastern Italy next month to present our Chasing the Light Road Show to the Palmarino Photographic Club in Cividale del Friuli on May 23rd. I'm happy to say that event is now sold out to an audience of some 450; should I learn some Italian quick?


Join us next autumn on Exmoor

The next available workshop you could join us on is autumn's Photo-Explorer Adventure: Exmoor but watch this space for announcements on subsequent offerings, including next year's Iceland plans. But workshops, Road Shows, seminars, events, ebooks and Online Magazines are all only possible if I'm out there in the Great Wide Open, loitering by the tripod, waiting for the light, being a photographer, month in month out. To that end next month we'll be chasing the Orient Express around the Austrian Alps on an intriguing commission to shoot the iconic train in an evocative setting. You’ll hear all about it. I'm also working on a unique project shooting a local estate over the course of four seasons. After all the travel, restaurants and hotels it is a real joy to get stuck into a commission literally just down the road; its forcing me to look at our familiar surroundings with all fresh eyes.

A dog in front of the church at Bjarnarhofn, Snaefellsness Peninsula, Iceland. Canon EOS 5DS R, 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM lens.

As usual there are regular updates on all this with posting of recent images such as this dog (which we wanted to bring home) on Facebook and Twitter. And to all our f11 member's we positively welcome your suggestions as to what you would like to see coming your way in the Chasing the Light Online Magazine in the coming months.

Let’s finish with a picture shot in an ice cave beneath the Breidemerkurjokull. To be there in that subterranean world of ice and light was a very special experience for all of us, one I'll never forget. Such experiences are what this game of photography is all about. The pursuit of our craft prompts us to do and see things few others ever witness. It's a blessing, although just for a moment last month I'm not sure Frankie quite saw it that way. I bet he does now though.

An ice cave beneath the Breidemerkurjokull glacier, eastern Iceland. Canon 5DS R, 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM lens.

Keep exposing.


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