Monday, September 20, 2010

Icelandic Power!!!

A video from my travels in the US. The incident happened deep in the forests of Michigan at an undisclosed location. The power of the Icelandic people is rarely displayed in such a raw form. Just remember that you don't want to corner off an Icelander in a dark alleyway!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Reykjavík Marathon 2010

So my brother is a runner. He decided to take part in the annual Reykjavík Marathon. He did not run a full marathon of 42,2 km, but the shorter half marathon or 21,1 km. I decided to come along and cheer him on and take some pictures. There were quite a few people that took part or 7,319 in all (either the 10 km run, 21,1 km run or the real marathon of 42,2 km).

The beginning of the Reykjavík Marathon 2010

Now my brother did well and ran the distance in 1 hour and 54 minutes, which is decent and I'm proud of him! :o) 

Half way through
Near the finish line

Recently my brother bought Vibram Five Finger shoes that are specifically designed for people who like to run barefoot, or at least close to barefoot. So he ran the half marathon in those "shoes" and it proved to be quite good. Next on the agenda for my brother is a full marathon in Vienna, Austria... Go brother, GO! 

Happy happy

Joe McNally's Lecture in Iceland!

This last Friday I had my first "formal" education in photography. Most of what I know about photography I have learned from forums, blogs, books, articles, videos and most importantly experience. Focus On Nature, Icelandic photography community decided to bring in a famous photographer and lecturer Joe McNally. Now Joe is a legend within the photo community as he's been a staff photographer both for Life and National Geographic magazine. 

The lecture was at Grand Hotel and it was very interesting as Joe gave an insight into his carer as a photographer, both the hardships and highs. I had some questions that I had been pondering for a long time and he gave me some answers. 

One question I had been wondering about what how to approach personal projects, how to decide what to photograph and where? His answer was fairly simple, to photograph was moves and compels you. Additionally If you shot compelling stuff and show it to others that is the best self promotion that might give you work in the future.

Also how to approach sensitive subjects such as tragedies or children and how to find such subject? His answer was to have full disclosure about what you want to do and be very direct about what you want to do and achieve and then leave the decision with the subjects. Now how to find such subjects he said was a matter of journalism. He mentioned that photographers that want to become photojournalists usually don't get enough education or training in becoming journalists, which is often more difficult than actually taking the images since it requires storytelling and often exceptional human relation skills. 

So photographer + journalist = photojournalist! Simple yet a big revelation to me! 

I also wrote down some memorable comments from Joe as he answered questions on various photography related issues. 

"Think of a world where nobody is watching." 
- Commenting on the much overrated death of photojournalism. 

"You have to be happy at the moment of exposure." 
- Commenting on being published and seeking reputation vs. being actually happy with the images you photograph. 

"You have o love this! You have to love this with a  passion that cannot be quenched!" 
- Joe's advice on how to continue staying in business as a photographer.

Now Joe's lecture was not long and he did not cover a lot of the technical aspects of photography, but I was reminded of what I love about photography and what compels me to shoot...

Me and Joe

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Summer Vacation & Travels - Update #2 (Norway/Switzerland/Lichtenstein)

So the wedding finished late in the evening! Got some great shots of the bride and groom and now my friend is off to manhood and happily ever after! :-) 

Right after the wedding I hitched a ride to Oslo train station where I was kicked out after an hour or so since they close it just after midnight... I just barely missed the last train to the airport and had to wait until 4:45 to catch the next one. I met some Lithuanian girls that were kicked out as well and I walked them to a safe haven at the buss station not to far away where they have a waiting room, but there is a guy there that is posted there to keep you sitting right and awake... funny eh? 

I made it to the airport in the morning and caught a snooze before my flight around noon. Gardemoen airport in Norway is supposedly one of the best airports to sleep in, like people don't disturb you and it seemed quite true because when I came there were lots of people lying around everywhere.  

Now I was flying with Swiss airlines and the flight was good! Considering I was in economy class it was really good! They really care about quality service and lasting impressions. The seats were comfortable, legroom tolerable and they gave me a croissant, yogurt and bar of chocolate! Other budget airlines take note... because they were fair price!

Now arriving in Zurich I went to pick up my rental car, an Opel Agila 1.2... It was a nice car, brand new! Now I tried driving around the city a bit, exploring the center, but it was just so crowded with small streets that I left soon. I had decided to drive East and following the small country roads to Lichtenstein. Driving on the country roads in Switzerland is just beautiful, with the mountains and the ornate houses, it's actually amazing that you make it to your destination because I could have been stopping to look and photograph every 5 minutes (sometimes did that)... I finally made it through to Lichtenstein and almost drove through it! It really is a small place! I found Vaduz castle, which is kind of a symbol for Lichtenstein and took a picture. Before I got to Lichtenstein I found a nice parking-lot in the town Buchs in Switzerland, just over the border, and decided to stay there for the night... I had decided to just sleep in the car since it would not really be worth it for me to rent an expensive hotel room for a few hours of snooze time.

To be continued...

Friday, July 30, 2010

Summer Vacation & Travels - Update #1 (Norway)

So I'm finally on vacation! School finally finished in the beginning of July after six long months and I did some work in July, but now I'm on VACATION! HURRAY!

I decided to do something special this summer since I only have two weeks before school starts again in August. My friend is getting married in Norway (Oslo) so I decided to start the journey there and attend his wedding (kind of have to since I'm partially responsible for photographing it). From there on I will be flying to Switzerland and journeying through Austria, Italy and France, taking somewhat of an alpine adventure of sightseeing and picture taking around the alps. I only have 7 days and close to 2,000 km to cover so it will be dash from location to location and sleeping in the car. The next and final leg of my journey (vacation) will be heading back to Norway (Trondheim) to visit my mom, which has moved there.

I flew out to Norway a couple of days ago, just after clearing out all my stuff from where I was living and storing it at my grandmas place. New the journey started like any other, some excitement and some dread... the dread being the journey to and from airports and the duration of the flights... those things are usually always a bore and a hassle and quite frankly incredibly uncomfortable. I think most of you know what I'm talking about. The flight I had was probably the second worst flight I've ever had, with seriously crammed seating space. I flew with IcelandExpress and it seem like they cram the seating so tight that you can't really keep your legs straight and the seats in the upright position are close to a 80 degree angle. Considering that I'm average hight (approx. 185 cm / 6 feet) it is outrageous that such tight seating is allowed, I should have at least an inch of extra space (but you have to pay 2.900 ISK extra). Don't think I'll be flying with them anytime soon, I prefer paying a little bit extra for better service and some more legroom.

Anyways... airlines are usually more worried about making a profit than offering quality service that's actually worth the money...

So, I made it to Norway, prices doubled for me (stupid financial crisis and Icelandic króna) and I'm having a good time in the humid and rainy weather. I've been spending the time with my friend and his parents sightseeing since they are tourists in Norway, coming all the way from Jamaica to their sons wedding.

Hope the wedding will go as planned and I get some decent shots to give them. :)

I'll try to update when I can and maybe with some pictures...

Friday, April 9, 2010


So I haven't been as active blogging as I thought I would be and time flies when you are busy. It's now the beginning of April, spring and then summer should be coming soonish... I hope...

Just recently we had easter break... It was during that time, just after my final exams for the semester that my brother, cousin and I decided to go hiking. We had set our sights on the newest Icelandic phenomenon, the VOLCANO next to Eyjafjallajökull!

Now seeing a volcano on the TV screen is kind of cool, but seeing one with your own eyes is something to behold!

© Forces of Nature

Fortunately the volcano decided to erupt right on a popular hiking trail at a place called Fimmvörðuháls, so it's quite accessible, either by walking or driving a truck over one of the glaciers next to the volcano. We decided to hike up to the volcano, after sitting on a school "bench" for the last few months I was ready to get some movement! 

© My brother and couson... hmm... roughing it!

The hike was pretty nice. It starts at Skógar next to one of Iceland's most spectacular waterfall, Skógarfoss. From there it is approximately 15 kilometers to the volcano with elevation gain of close to 1000 meters, starting very close to sea level. When we began the hike it started to snow and didn't stop until we got up close to the volcano. We were starting to wonder if we would see anything at all. 

It took us about 5 hours to get to it. We stopped for a few minutes to eat and rest at a cabin thats up there (Baldvinsskáli). The temperature was well below freezing and I feel sorry for anyone that went up there with no gloves, baklava, warm clothing or hiking boots. We had been hearing on the news about fools having to be rescued because of inadequate clothing, some even getting frostbite...

© Baldvinsskáli, our old and filthy rest stop.

Once we got up to the volcano unfortunately it was less than an hour to sunset and we only got about 15 minutes of actually looking around before we were told they were evacuating the area and we had to leave... We were not happy about that at all. We had planned to stay until dark and walk back in the darkness since seeing the volcano in darkness is just spectacular. 

Anyways, the reason they were evacuating was that another crater had started to form next to the already active one and there was a huge cloud of smoke coming from it and it was also raining ash. Pretty neat experience I have to say, but they wanted everyone out of there for safety, the volcano could blow up, they didn't know. It took about an 1.5 hours until people evacuated the area fully, some walking back but most of the people who were by the volcano came driving over the glaciers... no they did not use a Toyota Yaris, but trucks with big tires... Arctic Trucks! 

© The smoke and the Swedish army track vehicle.

Now the experience of coming so close to the volcano, seeing all the people there,  the rescue personnel and a bunch of helicopters flying over our heads felt being in a major disaster or war zone... At least they way I would imagine it or how I've seen it in the movies. :-)

Well, we decided to stick around a bit, which got us a ride back with the rescue personnel in their special Swedish military track vehicle, driving over the glacier. It took a while as we had to wait a bit for the rescue personnel, but we got extra time looking at the volcano from a distance and during night so we didn't mind. I was actually glad since I had hurt my foot early on in the hike and was dreading the walk back, only a small mistake and I could have twisted my ankle really bad leaving us exposed in the cold and darkness hours away from rescue... 

Overall... great hike, awesome seeing a volcano live in action and happy to have arrived home safely! Can't wait to be out of school though and hike up to the volcano again and take some better shots, they say it might be active for weeks to come... SWEET! :-)

© Me, my cousin and my brother, next to the volcano!

National Geographic has some awesome images from Icelandic photographer Christopher Lund! Check them out!

All Images are Copyrighted © Friðrik Páll Friðriksson

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

News Flash #1

Well, haven't posted anything in here for a while so I though I'd better throw in a post before this blog thing totally falls apart. I've been very busy recently, starting school in Iceland and studying business administration. It's been tough... but interesting and very practical!

Aside from doing school work (math problems and what not...), I've been following quite a bit of other blogs, looking at some neat projects and ideas that are posted out there.

One that I like particularly is this one here:

They've got various posts and video blogs about climbing and mountaineering and give a 'live' update of their expeditions or projects around the world! Really neat and inspiring!

TAWOCHE 2K10 dispatches #1 from renan ozturk on Vimeo.

I've also been following really neat photo/HD video blogs: DSLR News Shooter and Vincent Laforet's Blog

Really great blogs with entries about doing professional HD videos with your digital SLR! Really great professional sources with excellent advice and information on how this technology is 'transforming' photojournalism and the film industry!

I really liked this video from Dan Chung from DSLR News Shooter. It was shot on the 7D and 5D MKII, using Nikon lenses! Figure that one?

China's 60th Anniversary national day - timelapse and slow motion - 7D and 5DmkII from Dan Chung on Vimeo.

Last but not least... Recently I downloaded a movie from Big Up Productions! They are offering some of their most recent productions available for HD download! I downloaded the movie 'Progression' and the extras as well. Really neat seeing the dedication that professional climbers have and the amazing projects they are able to take on. The cinematography is excellent, so you get plenty of visual stimulus as well!

I also discovered from there a music artist from Sweden, 'AndreasBeats'. He's got some really nice tunes! Check out his website:

That's it for now... Should get on posting some images from Iceland and writing the rest of my American journey!