Behind the Shot #1 West Fjords, Iceland

 Behind the Shot #1
   West Fjords,Iceland 

Canon 5D Mark 4, Canon 70-200mm 2.8
 Iso:1000 SS:3200 Fstop: 4.5 

Welcome to the first post of Behind the Shot! If you haven't read the intro post, here's a brief overview:

 Photography has always had a whole world occurring behind the frame. 
We admire the polished finished product but what does the road look like leading up to it?   
Many see it as simple click of a button or get a good camera and a good photo will follow. 
Travel is now glorified through immaculate Instagram images but the truth is, its hard work and the polished finished product doesn't show the bumpy road it took to get there. 
Behind the shot will explore an image per post and the stories of how each photograph came to be. 
Raw & Unfiltered. 

This image had a gloomier origin but every dreary tale has at least one beautiful, light at the end of the tunnel moment in it if we look closely and openly. 

It was my 5th day in Iceland and photographing was just not working this week. Everything I tried to capture, failed. I have a lot of patience stored up but anyone that has been to Iceland knows its not a cheap vacation during peak tourist season, so frustration and anticipation swarm in quicker. 

I set out to venture through the west fjords which i haven't explored yet through my previous Iceland trips. 

^ lunch at a pullover on the side of the road 
(plus a few more tomatoes and bread) 

^ Majority of the two way, unpaved road along the West Fjords. Which are all cliffs, making it a hell of a lot easier to tumble to your doom and have a heart attack every two minutes. But there's sheep wandering about in the summer months so that makes up for the gut wrenching feeling that death is near when a large truck is passing you. 

I spent the whole day driving solo in search of Rauðasandur beach, which is one of Iceland's red/gold sand beaches. There's not much civilization around the Fjords. It was a chilly, rainy quiet day. The light was flat. My mood & creativity were flat. 

Finally arriving where I *thought* would be a beach access point but alas, nothing but more windy roads.The forecast is predicting heavy rains and i still needed to find a place to sleep.  

I car camped at Melanes campground. By car camped I mean I was too miserable to pitch my tent and just slept in the backseat in my sleeping bag. Highly recommend a stay there if camping in the West Fjords.  You can walk to the shore,  hang out in a big field filed with sheep,  the staff were great and there's hot showers!

I wandered about looking for images to manifest before my very eyes but nothing. This is where the agony hits. The doubt creeps in.  I think "You are privileged to be visiting this beautiful country, why the hell can I not create at my usual capacity?" But this is okay too. This is part of the process. Art is not always meant to be beaten to the ground 24/7 . We are the conduits for creativity to seep through us. Its not always on our time.  The type of work I do is so fickle. There's a lot of chance and trust in there. Sometimes too much when you are traveling on your own dime....hence my always luxurious accommodations:) 

After a few hours of forceful wandering, I retired to my vehicle and set up an editing office on my lap. 

      ^That was my view all night until i forced myself into an        uncomfortable, downhearted sleep. 

Its not always glamorous views, epic camp sites or warm meals. Sure there are glorious sunrises to wake up to, fresh mountain air or the distant sound of ocean waves but there is also the view of your car frozen on the inside or your sweater hanging from the handle trying to keep the sun out.  There are many photographers out there creating content of their in between moments, and I always think to myself : "Really?!" "It looked that pristine the whole time?! How are you not a complete mess right about now🤷 

By 6am, i had to get a move on back down South. The Midnight Sun peaks in Iceland in June so many nights and mornings look very much the same.
Feelings of regret and defeat started to sink in as I am driving out of the campsite and am roadblocked  by a family of sheep deciding to cross the road, taking their sweet time. 

As I am waiting, I look to my left and there it is! A photo before my very eyes. The fog cleared. The rain cleared. Leaving a perfectly overcast morning. If I can crouch down at just the right angle I can make the beach a sliver to match the rock patch showing. Some campers are walking around. The mountains in the distance are cloudy. Fucking Finally. I leave the car on the side of the road and shoot for the next hour or so.

Thank you sheep family for the cue. Pay attention to the signs you are given folks.

When on the road, I  am always geared up and ready to shoot. Camera at my hip, extra batteries and memory cards in my pocket.That pivotal moment is so fleeting. It vanishes if you are not quick on your feet. You have to assess your surroundings and subjects and guess what they are going to do next. When looking for people in the far distance, I am moving myself as well to match their placement in the background. There's constant running around involved.

 I don't always leave a location with a ton of images. Maybe I will shoot a few hundred but only 3 are successful. In this case it was only one that stuck out to me. The selection process afterwards is just as crucial as the shooting process. 

Minimal. Ethereal. The result of patience and timing. Patience has always been a virtue i prefer to incorporate into my everyday life. This type of photography has taught me time and time again the value and lessons that lurk in patience's deep and at times rough waters. 

Swim through the discomfort, wade through the demons that your own mind creates, maneuver your way through physical ailments. Channel impermanence. You'll get there. You always have before. 

The key is to be the conductor of the intricate dance of patience and hard work. 
Once those two connect, an invisible dance takes place and some sort of other worldly magic happens . 

 West Fjords,Iceland  
Behind the Shot #1



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