Monday, December 28, 2009

The Great American Adventure part #1 - NY/NJ

I began my great American adventure in New York City on the 9th of September 2009! Flying over from London, England. I landed at JFK in the evening and was picked up by my great uncle who lives in New Jersey. Being able to meet with him was great, even though for just a couple of days. I got caught up on family history that I knew very little about, which was really neat for me personally. Apparently, my great grandfather was the original inventor of the 'jaws of life' used by rescuers in card accidents.

I spent a couple of days in Southern NJ and afterwards I headed a little closer to New York to meet up with a friend I had met through flicker, Antonio! Had a great time with him shooting pictures around town and spending time with his family for a few days.

I stayed at a youth hostel in New York City for three days, up on 103rd street and took the subway down every day to look around town. I tried to use my time and money wisely, as New York is quite an expensive city. So finding free attractions in New York became my tourist objective. What I was interested in mostly was finding some unique photographs of the city and the attractions that I visited. Click on images below to view them larger.

Looking over at Manhattan from New Jersey, 
the Empire State Building on the right on 42nd St.

Sailing on the Hudson River

Battery Park with Ellis Island in the Background

Busy Times Square

New York Public Library

The Staten Island Ferry

Statue of Liberty with the sun back-lighting the torch

After all the sight-seeing I met up with a pastor friend, Pr. Anton, who I was hooked up with through friends in Ireland. I spent some time with him and his family on the outskirts of the city in upper New York. I went to a church camp-meeting and later to the Bronx Botanical Gardens with them. Overall I spent some ten days on the East Coast and had a great time!

Small Flower in the Bronx Botanical Gardens

One thing I came across while on the East Coast was something I had never really experienced before in America and that is the after effects of 9/11 (other than tighter airport security). Walking through downtown Toms River, NJ I came across this poem written by an 8th grader on a monument. I think it catches the emotional impact the attacks had on the American people, especially those living close to New York City:

Our Brightest Day
"They want us to remember tons
of dust and twisted steel.
They think they can destroy us,
that we will never heal.
They want out world to crumble
and say that it's "God's plan".
But it's God's love that unites us,
each and every man.
Their evil has attacked us all
and filled our hearts with fear.
So now we must recover and
grow stronger with each tear.
We must pray to God for guidance,
to show us all the way.
Our faith will turn this time of
darkness into out brightest day!"
- Samantha L. Ruocco

All Images are Copyrighted © Friðrik Páll Friðriksson

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Bag I Wanted to Make...

As a photographer and a traveler, finding the perfect bag to carry your gear and even some of your personal belongings while traveling can be somewhat.... cumbersome.

Recently I had been visualizing a design for what I would like to see in a camera bag. I was inspired by the Dream Bag Challenge that that the manufacturer Kata is currently running. Check it out! I haven't made an entry there, but might if I get my idea down on paper. Anyways, the design I was visualizing, well it was a backpack that had space for my camera and extra personal belongings. A nice rugged, fit for the rough outdoors, kind of bag. Something I could take hiking or on nomadic travels. Something versatile and modifiable enough.

Even though I had looked quite extensively I just couldn't find a bag that would fit my requirements or style. The closest I could find was the Lowepro Primus AW, which is in fact quite a nice bag, but still doesn't cut it. Then just in the last 24 hours I stumbled across this...

Image © F-Stop Gear

This is the F-Stop made Satori! (Interesting name huh?) Now I don't want to say they stole my idea or anything like that, but I want to say, this is very close to how I visualized my bag looking like! As an old saying goes "There is nothing new under the sun." Eccl. 1:9  So I guess I should just recognize that my idea wasn't the original one. It just so happened that someone else was brilliant before me.

But yeah, to the bag... It looks great, the features seem very functional, ruggedness doesn't seem to be a problem and best of all it looks really cool! Now, I haven't gotten my hands on one yet, but I surely would love to have one! When I do get one, I'll give a more in-depth review on it's awesomeness!

Definitely check out the F-Stop Gear website, they've got quite a nice line of products, including the Satori's little brother the Tilopa. For me what really makes these bags awesome, aside from the things mentioned above... is the internal detachable/removable camera compartment! Less gear, more gear, normal backpack, camera backpack... versatility, now that's what I'm talking about! Can see the bag in action right here!



Monday, November 30, 2009


Portraiture is very fascinating genre of photography. The human face, the features and even the wrinkles are unique to each person. Photojournalists and travel photographers especially relate to this genre, as their job is exactly to bring out this uniqueness of the people or cultures they photograph. For some reason faces fascinate us, the emotion of the person being portrayed speaks to us. I've always been fascinated by this very thing. Looking at images from notable magazines like National Geographic or Time, where the objective is often to tell the stories of people, portraiture plays a big role in communicating the essence of the subject. One of the most famous National Geographic covers was a portrait of a little Afghan Girl, photographed by Steve McCurry. It became a icon of it's time (still is), telling a whole story through only one image.

Today I was playing a little bit with this genre. My friend Jacob had to do a school project where he has to do several self portraits, so we got together to brainstorm on how to make creative portraits. He had to do the project on film, black and white, so we decided to see what we could do in the area, playing with available light and gradients. We weren't really trying to tell a story, more just to make visually pleasing images, bringing out the subject. I was shooting with my digital camera, using it as a proofing device (kind of like polaroids), to get the exposure just right. Here are a few shots:

© Jacob

© Me

© Ivan

© Jacob Shooting



All Images are Copyrighted © Friðrik Páll Friðriksson

Friday, November 27, 2009

Inspirational Alpinism

Mountain Face in New Zealand

I don't know about you... but I've always had this infatuation with climbing things. Now, I've never really been a real extreme risk taker, so I'm not one of those "nuts" that want take on ridiculously hard routes and have a high risk factor. But for some reason, people that do take those risks inspire me to want to push myself just a little bit further...

Now, just recently I've been getting to know the world of alpinism/mountaineering, a purist way of tackling routes and mountains. It originated in the Alps (France, Switzerland, Austria & Italy) in the late 1700's and has been transforming ever since into an extreme "sport" (some might call it a lifestyle). The main idea behind alpinism is to take on the mountains in an equitable manner, relaying on skill rather than lots of gear, speed rather than a long siege (Everest style) and climbing in the least damaging manner. Summed up, climbing light, fast and high!

The climber has to have experience in various methods of climbing, be it rock or ice. Knowledge about the proper use of gear is essential since most often it's not the gear that fails you, it's human error, your own lack of ability or experience. This is one of the things that really fascinates me about mountaineering, it's very diverse and tackles
many facets of expertise.

I am by no means an expert on this subject, but having started reading books like "Mountaineering: Freedom of the Hills" and "Extreme Alpinism" as well as stories of notable climbers such as Sir Edmund Hillary & Reinhold Messner, it really inspires you!

My first real mountain experience happened in New Zealand not to many months ago (May 2009). I climbed the first mountain Sir Edmund Hillary climbed in Aroaki/Mount Cook National Park, South Island, NZ. It is called Mt. Ollivier and is about 1,933 m (6,340 ft) high. Climbing it with very little mountaineering knowledge, and without the proper gear, ready to take on a mountain peak in the early winter months, some might say it was quite foolish (we were warned about the weather forecast for that day). But my two good friends and I decided to tackle it even though the weather wasn't promising and visibility was low in the higher reaches of the mountain. Climbing, trough sometimes knee to waist deep snow, we made our way up as the weather alternated between blowing snow storms and gaps in the clouds with the sun shining through.

We reached a hut near the top called Mueller Hut (1,800 m). The peak in sight! Earlier we had met a girl from Germany who had followed our tracks and was carrying a trekking pole, something we didn't have and was essential in order to continue the ascent. We stopped in the hut for some food and to regain strength. It was very cold and we had only a few hours left of daylight. We could see the summit and I was eager to "bag a peak" so to speak. But talking with my group and reasoning it through, we would not have enough time to hike through the deep snow to the top and make it back down the mountain before dark. So we turned around without actually reaching the summit.

Even though I did not reach the top of the mountain, I learned a very valuable lesson climbing it. You should always climb according to your ability and skill, making incremental steps as you gain experience. Now technically the climb we did wasn't hard, but we were underprepared and did not understand fully what was needed in those conditions. Also the lesson of humility, knowing when to stop, knowing your limits and when to save the goal of reaching the peak for another day. Many people have had to be rescued or even perished because of their death defying goal of reaching a summit.

The View From Mt. Ollivier with Mt. Cook in the distance

A documentary I was watching really brought this lesson home. Now watching it will either deter you from serious mountaineering or inspire you with a new level of insight, having more respect for the dangers involved. Watch the "Beckoning Silence" here.

Finally... Truly, there are very few instances comparable or as gratifying as sitting on the top of a mountain looking over the beauty of peaks in the distance and the valley below, wondering in amazement at your accomplishment! I know for me, it just takes my breath away!

Be Safe,


All Images are Copyrighted © Friðrik Páll Friðriksson

Thursday, November 26, 2009


Welcome to my blog,

My name is Friðrik and I'm the son of Friðrik, which makes me Friðriksson (hence my last name is Friðriksson). Born and raised in Iceland. Yes, the land of ice and fire. I've put up this blog to keep you informed on my "adventures"... well my "life"... hmmm... my existence!

I'll be posting stories, links, videos and of course photographs from the various place I've traveled to. I'll also be posting on my various interests such as rock climbing, mountaineering, photography & religion.

You can Subscribe to my blog to be updated when I post something, or bookmark it and check in often! Comments are also appreciated! :)