The Chain Gang

Category: Newsletters 23 February 2016

Eystrahorn above the beach and lagoon at Lónsvík, Eastern Iceland. Canon 5DS R, 24-70mm f2.8 L II lens.

Meet The Chain Gang. That's them, otherwise known as our Iceland Winter 2016 Photo Adventure Guests, in the picture below, outside the mouth of Ao's Cave. Why Chain Gang? Well, two years ago when we ran our first Iceland Photo Adventures we needed a system of unloading all the camera bags and tripods off the ThorMobile in an efficient and timely fashion, and the name just stuck. This Chain Gang has had a particularly adventurous week, with, in the words of Ao Thor (our Icelandic Guide; the name's a bit of a giveaway) an AWESOME aurora display, epic locations, some sparkling light, a lonely ice cave and the usual banter on topics ranging from the daily soup, the Highway to Hell, Rob's tripod, sharpening, the merits of the various toasters at all the hotels we've stayed at, hot tubs, signal to noise ratio, Arif's selfies, elusive glaciers and of course smjor. But all good things must end, and while they are all back home now Wendy and I are holed up in a cottage in Stykkishólmur awaiting the arrival of the next Chain Gang.

We've got to know this beguiling country pretty well over the last few years; I can even say Eyjafjallajokull now. The grandeur of this sub-Arctic landscape of glaciers, volcanoes, sweeping bays, lava flows, jagged headlands and black sand beaches is endlessly captivating and inspiring.

But Iceland has now become very popular with photography groups; virtually every photographer I know has been here this winter. With good reason of course, but that popularity is starting to impinge on the experience of being at some of the more famous locations, such as the glacial lagoon at Jökulsárlón. The ice cave we visited last year has been receiving several hundreds of visitors a day this winter. That in a nutshell is why we have Ao behind the wheel of the ThorMobile. With its huge wheels and Ao's local knowledge we're able to venture far off the beaten track. It works, as our discovery of the far east of Iceland (see lead image) and of Ao's Cave proved.

The Chain Gang.







Next week we and the Chain Gang will be investigating the lonely north of Iceland. Fish soup will feature I'm sure; otherwise its uncharted territory. And as for next year; watch this space.

Ao Thor, our Viking guide, in an ice cave somewhere in Iceland. Canon 5DS R, 24-70mm f2.8 L II lens.

Wendy is taking off her ice spikes after walking around the harbour, where the ferry to Brjanslaekur and the Western Fjords docks. From our cabin we can see out to Breidafjördur where eiders and seal seem completely at home bobbing in the icy water. Beyond glimpses of islands and the low winter sun catching remote headlands come and go in the shifting fog. To the south isolated red-roofed farms nestle in valleys beneath the imposing peaks of the Snaefellsness Peninsula. Everything is covered in pure, fresh, white snow. It all seems a world away from the where we were just a month or so ago in the arid gorges of Western Australia. I'm just looking now at the Behind the Lens feature and accompanying Video Blog on our experiences there in this month's edition of the Chasing the Light Online Magazine. A greater contrast I couldn't imagine.

A eucalyptus tree in the last light of day, Hamersley Gorge, Karajini National Park, Pilbarra, Western Australia. Canon 5DS R, 24mm TS-E L II lens.

I can't believe The Chasing the Light Online Magazine is now four years old. This month's Issue is the 49th, which means new f11 Members have a lot of catching up on back issues to do! As usual this month's Issue takes you our f11 Members around the world with images and the stories behind their creation to inspire and inform. Apart from the features from Down Under I contribute my usual two Fundamentals of Post-Production Video Tutorials, as well as a Low Down piece on the Inspiration of food, The Stuff of Life, and a nostalgic look back 30 years ago to when I first went freelance.

Our f11 regular Ross Hoddinott dwells on what constitutes a good, or bad, exposure, while Bas Meelker is seeing the world without colour. Ben Pipe is on an advertising job in Hong Kong, while Austrian landscape photographer Rainer Mirau extolls the surprising variety and beauty of his homeland.

There's your images in the f11 Member's Gallery, and, last but not least details of the f11 Member's Your Vision 2016 Photography Competition. The closing date is 1 March, so you've just time to get your entries in if you've not already. Just in case you don't yet know, the Chasing the Light Online Magazine is published monthly exclusively for our f11 Members. Still not sure? There's a video you can watch here which explains it all.

A platter of thai ingredients at Wat Phra Singh, Chiang Mai, Thailand; an image from Inspirations: The Stuff of Life in this month's issue of the Chasing the Light Online Magazine.








Once we're on the road with the next Chain Gang the week will fly by; before I know it we'll be back in Milborne Port preparing for the next event; The Photography Show in Birmingham NEC 19-22 March. I shall be there all four days and presenting Fundamental Imaging Techniques of Post-Production at 1445 each afternoon in the Adobe Theatre. Our Chasing the Light Online Magazine Editor, Freya Dangerfield will also be there on the Monday, so, all in all, it will be a great opportunity to catch up with f11 Members. See you there? Let us know.

The Northern Lights over Hornafjörður, Iceland. Canon 1Dx, 14mm f2.8 L lens.

Failing that this spring we've a string of Shows to entice you. On April 9 Droitwich Camera Club hosts our Chasing the Light Road Show, the following week on April 16 we'll be presenting the Road Show to The Royal Photographic Society at Runnymede near Windsor, then the following week on April 23 the Road Show pulls up at The Hague in Holland as guests of PhotographySchoolNL. Follow the links for tickets and details of all these events. I should also mention if you're active on Social Media you can follow us on our travels plus get regular updates on events like these both on Facebook and on Twitter.

Time to head out now, chasing the light in the vicinity of Helgafell. It's a holy mountain nearby, although at only 73 metres high that seems a touch of an exaggeration on the part of the first settler in the area, Þórólfr Mostrarskegg. Helgafell also appears in the Laxdæla saga as the location where the heroine Guðrún Ósvífrsdóttir last lived and is buried. Great names, aren't they? How they're pronounced though I haven't the foggiest. And I thought I was doing well with Eyjafjallajokull.

Keep exposing.

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