Thursday (13-March-2014) — Iceland

Gone to See Iceland 2014 – Winter Photography Workshop. Day 5: South East Coast.

Colorful dawn clouds from Hotel Smylabjörg. After breakfast we stopped at the beach near Jökulsárlón to check out the glacial ice on the shore. Later on we went for a short hike below the Hvannadalshnjukur glacier.

East Coast Iceland Dawn from Hotel Smylabjörg. Composite of four images taken with a Fuji X-T1 camera and Zeiss 32 mm f/1.8 lens (ISO 200, 32 mm, f/4, 1/160 sec) (David J Mathre)
East Coast Iceland Dawn from Hotel Smylabjörg. Composite of four images taken with a Fuji X-T1 camera and Zeiss 32 mm f/1.8 lens (ISO 200, 32 mm, f/4, 1/160 sec) (David J Mathre)
Sunburst and Glacial Ice on the Beach near Jökulsárlón in Southeastern Iceland. HDR composite taken with a Fuji X-T1 camera and Zeiss 32 mm lens (ISO 200, 32 mm, f/16) (David J Mathre)
Sunburst and Glacial Ice on the Beach near Jökulsárlón in Southeastern Iceland. HDR composite taken with a Fuji X-T1 camera and Zeiss 32 mm lens (ISO 200, 32 mm, f/16) (David J Mathre)
Pond and Mossy Field Below the Hvannadalshnjukur Glacier in Southeastern Iceland. HDR Composite of three images taken with a Fuji X-T1 camera and Zeiss 12 mm f/2.8 lens (ISO 200, 12 mm, f/16) (David J Mathre)
Pond and Mossy Field Below the Hvannadalshnjukur Glacier in Southeastern Iceland. HDR Composite of three images taken with a Fuji X-T1 camera and Zeiss 12 mm f/2.8 lens (ISO 200, 12 mm, f/16) (David J Mathre)

I am not providing the name or recommendation for the workshop leaders for this trip. One of the reasons I signed up  was the opportunity to photograph Northern Lights from Iceland. In 2013 I got some great images of the Aurora Borealis in Tromsö, Norway and hoped to do the same in Iceland. I arrived in Reykjavik, Iceland two days before the workshop and arranged a private tour with TripsByLocals.com to go Aurora Hunting. It didn’t look promising when we left the hotel (snowing an hour earlier). For the first 2 hours the sky remained mostly overcast. We then found a spot where the sky started to clear, and started to see the Aurora. It was cold and windy, but I found a place behind the van where I could set up a camera on a tripod. I was able to get 80 images which I used to create a time-lapsed video. The moon was almost full, and lit up the snow covered lava field in the foreground. It turned out that this was my only opportunity to get some good images of the Aurora on this trip. My father commented that it was not as good as the images I got in Tromsö last year. The weather for the Iceland workshop did not cooperate – lots of rain and snow with significant cloud cover. On the first day of the workshop we were supposed to fly from Reykjavik to Höfn but the weather in Höfn didn’t cooperate (even though it was sunny in Reykjavik). After spending some extra time waiting in the Reykjavik airport, it was decided that we would fly to Egilsstadir and take a several hour bus ride to Höfn. On the positive side, I got to see some of the Fjords on the east coast of Iceland, and on the negative side I lost a camera battery on the bus ride between Egilsstadir and Höfn when we had to change from a big 55 passenger bus to a smaller van. Once we got to the airport in Höfn we transferred to the van that would be our transportation for the rest of the workshop. Our first stop was the black sand beach on the coast next to the Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon. Every day when the tide goes out, ice that calved from the glacier in the lagoon goes out to sea, then when the tide comes in, the ice lands on the black sand beach. The makes for some great photo opportunities. However, as we arrived the rain started. We could only stay out for about 15 minutes before getting soaked in the cold and windy rain. We then went to Hotel Smyrlabjörg. I stayed at the same hotel last summer. The Icelandic food served at dinner was outstanding. When I went to sleep it was still raining. During the night the wind increased to the point it sounded like a train was passing outside my window. At about 01:30 AM I woke up and could see some stars in the sky outside my window. I went outside to get a look. It was still very windy. Windy to the point that I could barely stand up. I took a couple of pictures, and could see that the Northern Lights were starting – but there was no way I would be able to stay out in the gale force winds. So I went back to bed. The next morning at breakfast our workshop leader was gushing about how great the Aurora was between 03:30 AM and 05:30 AM. Unfortunately, he didn’t bother to wake the majority of the workshop participants even though he stayed out taking images for his portfolio. There were lots of apologies and excuses that he didn’t know what rooms we were in, but we were all staying in adjacent rooms. This turned out to be the one and only night that the Aurora were visible during the workshop. I was lucky to get the one night before the workshop to see and photograph the Aurora. Most of the others that spent thousands of dollars to see and photograph the Northern Lights as part of the workshop were very disappointed.

Wednesday (12-February-2014) — Florida

Gone to See America 2014 Road Trip. Day 12: Big Cypress National Preserve.

Big Cypress Swamp at Dawn from the Loop Road. Image taken with a Nikon D800 camera and 14-24 mm f/2.8 lens.

Big Cypress Swamp at Dawn. Image taken with a Nikon D800 camera and 14-24 mm f/2.8 lens (ISO 100, 24 mm, f/8, 25 sec). Raw image processed with Capture One Pro 7. (David J Mathre)
Big Cypress Swamp at Dawn. Image taken with a Nikon D800 camera and 14-24 mm f/2.8 lens (ISO 100, 24 mm, f/8, 25 sec). Raw image processed with Capture One Pro 7. (David J Mathre)

One-Year Ago (08-January-2013) — Florida

Gone to See America. January 2013 Florida Road Trip. Day 5: Fort De Soto Park, St. Petersburg.

Sunshine Skyway Bridge panorama at dawn from the east beach at Fort De Soto Park, in Pinellas County Florida. Image taken with a Nikon D4 camera and 17-35 mm f/2.8D lens (ISO 100, 26 mm, f/11, 1/13 sec).

Sunshine Skyway Bridge Panorama at Dawn from Fort De Soto Park, in Pinellas County, Florida. Image taken with a Nikon D4 and 17-35 mm f/2.8D lens (ISO 100, 26 mm, f/11, 1/13 sec). (David J Mathre)
Sunshine Skyway Bridge Panorama at Dawn from Fort De Soto Park, in Pinellas County, Florida. Image taken with a Nikon D4 camera and 17-35 mm f/2.8D lens (ISO 100, 26 mm, f/11, 1/13 sec). (David J Mathre)

Three-Years Ago (02-January-2011) — Argentina

Gone to See Patagonia 2010/2011. Photography Workshop with Thom Hogan. Day 7: Hosteria El Pilar.

We stayed several days at Hosteria El Pilar near El Chaltén in Argentina. I start with an image of a bee hovering near a pink lupine. While reviewing other images from the day, I found several of Mount Fitz Roy at dawn and dusk. There were no clouds in the morning, but at sunset a very unique and colorful cloud developed while we were eating dinner. Desert had to wait until the show was over.

Bee Approaching a Pink Lupine in Patagonia. Hosteria El Pilar, El Chalten, Argentina. Image taken with a Nikon D3s camera and 70-300 mm VR lens (ISO 200, 300 mm, f/5.6, 1/640 sec). (David J Mathre)
Bee Approaching a Pink Lupine in Patagonia. Hosteria El Pilar, El Chalten, Argentina. Image taken with a Nikon D3s camera and 70-300 mm VR lens (ISO 200, 300 mm, f/5.6, 1/640 sec). (David J Mathre)
Patagonia Dawn from Hosteria El Pilar in El Chalten, Argentina. Image taken with a Nikon D3s and 70-300 mm VR lens (ISO 200, 82 mm, f/5.6, 1/80 sec). (David J Mathre)
Patagonia Dawn from Hosteria El Pilar in El Chalten, Argentina. Image taken with a Nikon D3s and 70-300 mm VR lens (ISO 200, 82 mm, f/5.6, 1/80 sec). (David J Mathre)
Reflection of Fitzroy in the Morning with a Horse. Hosteria El Pilar in El Chalten, Argentina. Image taken with a Nikon D3s and 50 mm f/1.4G lens (ISO 400, 50 mm, f/2.8, 1/25 sec). Patagonia workshop with Thom Hogan, Day 7. (David J Mathre)
Reflection of Fitzroy in the Morning with a Horse. Hosteria El Pilar in El Chalten, Argentina. Image taken with a Nikon D3s and 50 mm f/1.4G lens (ISO 400, 50 mm, f/2.8, 1/25 sec). Patagonia workshop with Thom Hogan, Day 7. (David J Mathre)
Patagonia Dawn and Reflection from Hosteria El Pilar in El Chalten, Argentina. Image taken with a Nikon D3x and 16-35 mm f/4 lens (ISO 100, 35 mm, f/8, 2.5 sec). (David J Mathre)
Patagonia Dawn and Reflection from Hosteria El Pilar in El Chalten, Argentina. Image taken with a Nikon D3x and 16-35 mm f/4 lens (ISO 100, 35 mm, f/8, 2.5 sec). (David J Mathre)
Silhouette of Mount Fitz Roy in Patagonia at Dusk with Glowing Orange Clouds from Hosteria El Pilar in El Chalten, Argentina. Image taken with a Leica D-Lux 5 camera (ISO 80, 19.2 mm, f/5.6, 1/100 sec) (David J Mathre)
Silhouette of Mount Fitz Roy in Patagonia at Dusk with Glowing Orange Clouds from Hosteria El Pilar in El Chalten, Argentina. Image taken with a Leica D-Lux 5 camera (ISO 80, 19.2 mm, f/5.6, 1/100 sec) (David J Mathre)