The Road Through Europe 2/3: Islands of Wonder

It is a 36 hour journey from Hirsthals, Denmark to Thorshavn, Faroe Islands.

Being at sea was a bit harder than I thought it would be. It certainly had a lot of novelty value, and on the scale 1 to vomming absolutely everywhere, I was probably at around 4, which left me more than a bit sea sick, where it would come and go.

The Faroes inspire a similar kind of awe to that which you experience in Iceland, epic landscape, deep fjords, raging sea. It was wonderful to go back.

17 hours in the Faroes begins...

17 hours in the Faroes begins...

Sunrise over Nolsoy, storm clouds dissipating 

Sunrise over Nolsoy, storm clouds dissipating 

Staying up on the higher decks with a view of the horizon was definitely the way to go, and the outer deck was lovely when the sun was shining. Eating a lot was super important too. Although the sea sickness left you not feeling very hungry, which was ironic.

Moody Faroe Islands

Moody Faroe Islands

A few hours before we arrived, the captain announced that we would be in the Faroes an extra 12 hours, on the count of bad weather on the passage to Iceland. Imagine what that would have been like if we had gone through that!

This was music to my ears, and immediately I thought about all the places I would go with all of my time.

And then there was a problem. I had not advised Smyril line that I wanted to take the car off the ferry, so it was placed in an inaccessible part of the car deck. The dream of roaming the faroes slipped away…

And then there was a solution: we made some friends on board, and they had a big van with plenty of seats. They had cameras and a drone too, so we were very much on the same page.  We discussed some locations and off we went! So, from 05:00 to 00:00, we had the Faroes. And off we went.

Wonderful little churches of the Faroe Islands

Wonderful little churches of the Faroe Islands

After a very early and short little drive around Thorshavn, our first location was the famous Gásadalur. This is the one that is ALL over Instagram. Even I used it to try and get you to look at this blog post. It’s a dramatic cliff where a waterfall falls directly into the sea. This is the only place where I have ever seen such a thing. Does anyone out there know any places where that might be true too? Let me know if you have!

It was snowing, and that is pretty rare in the Faroes. We took the van down the steep fjord road, and when we tried to take it back up, it simply wasn’t happening.  We were stuck.

It was very early in the morning, and the roads were being serviced, gradually. We called up the road authority and discovered that the truck was coming to clear the snow and sleet from the road, but we had to wait an hour or two. Luckily, we had 15 hours so it wasn’t an issue. We took refuge in a warm café with a cute dog, so we drank tea and waited.

We tried to go and photograph the waterfall, but it was much too blizzard-y, and so we retreated. Hopefully you can get a sense of the conditionsin the pictures below.

We didn’t wait long. The snow truck came an hour later, and our van was able to climb the fairly steep fjord road.

In the end, it calmed down sufficiently in order us to go and see the waterfall, but then it picked and got all crazy again, so we had to make an escape. By the point, we had already gotten the van up the steep fjord road, so we had to walk all the way up. Not too bad, but pretty hard given the conditions.

The weather in Iceland is changeable, they said. You could also say the same about the Faroes. For about 30 minutes after a blizzard at Gasadalur, we had glorious sunshine.

Our next stop was the villege of Tjørnuvik, famous for the Witch and the Giant, sea stacks that lie far out to sea.

There's a nice back story here to the legend of the Witch and the Giant goes something like this:

Once upon a time, the giants in Iceland got jealous and decided they wanted the Faroes. The Witch and the Giant went down to the Faroes to go and get them. They struggled to climb the cliff, not noticing the time. Day broke, the sun shined, and they turned to stone. And so goes the legend of the witch, frozen forever in the village of Tjørnuvik, in the north of the island of Streymoy, punished by the raging sea forevermore.

I had some wonderful times here during my summer in the Faroes in 2014. It was wonderful to go back there and see it all again. This took on new meaning since I became a photographer, which wasn't the case when I lived there.

Amazing spots to pull over, take photos and drone. Some of those roads in the Faroes were unbelievably beautiful. Infinity points everywhere. And birds! It was amazing to have the drone out there too. Very necessary. These days, a flying camera is as import as the more terrestrial sort.

We left the small village, the Witch and the Giant and headed off back to the capital. It was mid afternoon at this stage and we were looking to get some food.

Our third location in the Faroes was the village of Kirkjubøur. For hundreds of years, this was the Capital of the Faroes before Thorshavn. The natural harbour seemed to be a natural place for driftwood to collect, which allowed people to build houses and settle.

I was lucky enough to catch the farmer while he was busy. I deliberately didn't warn him I was coming, although this had more to do with the fact that I didn't know if I would make it or not. I grabbed a selfie with him which you can see below. He hadn't changed one bit.

It's a very special village: all the buildings are black, and all the windows are red. They have whale bones for garden fences and 12 Highland Cattle, a Scottish breed, but the only ones in the Faroes.

The famous Roykstovan, at Kirkjubøur,  is a wooden house on the farm. It is one of the oldest still- standing, still lived-in wooden buildings in the world. Dating back 900 years. It was truly wonderful to go back and visit the farm, if only for a time. I managed to meet the farmer and give him a hug, and grab a selfie!

Also, sheep everywhere, and they give you this eerie, vacant stare.

Above, you can see the whole group posing for a self portrait. There were quite a few nationalities representated: Brazil, Poland, UK, Germany and Jamica.

Lastly, we came back to Thorshavn and wondered around town, to see out the evening. These parts of the town are the very oldest part of the town, dating back to the early 19th century.

By the time the evening came around, it was time to get back on the ferry. The sun was setting late, and it was a lovely evening in Thorshavn, warmer than i remember it being, even though this was spring not summer.

And so, onwards we went, into the night as we had done on previous days, whether they were spent on the road or at sea.

Iceland was coming. We had nearly completed our journey. However, there was still the small matter of travelling half way across Iceland from the ferry port town to Reyjavik,  where I live.

That’s the third part of the story.

 

The Road Through Europe 1/3

If you combine a bunch of roads that have been taken in a strange, different and unique way, does that make it the road not taken? Maybe not, just an idea. 

So I decided to do something a little bit crazy; I decided to buy a Land Rover Defender in London, and then transport to Iceland. How? By driving from London to the White Cliffs of Dover, crossing the English Channel, driving through Continental Europe up to the north of Denmark  and taking the Smyril line ferry from Denmark all the way up to Iceland, via the Faroe Islands. Stopping at:

  • London, United Kingdom
  • Dunkirk, France
  • Brussels, Belgium
  • Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • Bremen, Germany
  • Hirtshals, Denmark
  • Thorshavn, Faroe Islands
  • Halfway across Iceland via the northern Route 1
  • Reykjavik, Iceland

This post is about the first part of my journey through Europe with the Landy, up until when I got on the ferry in Denmark. The map below shows the entire journey.

The Route Through Europe

I left first thing in the morning from London on Easter Sunday. It was a straight run with absolutely no traffic. The sailing from Dover to Dunkirk was at 10am but I arrived at 07:30. DFDS offered to put me on the 08:00. Absolute win! I was in Brussels by 14:00.

Once in Brussels, I men up with Frank who is also gearing up to bring his Landy to Iceland. In just a couple of weeks time, he will make the same journey that I made! We made some nice modifications to the Landy, like fitting a wading kit to allow the axels to breath, fitting a subwoofer, new stereo, spot headlight and an LED lightbar. After three days in the workshop, we were ready to roll out for Amsterdam

Frank's (very) photogenic cat, Nolan

Frank's (very) photogenic cat, Nolan

Amsterdam was great. Awesome to arrive there and chill out for a day. The original idea was to go to the Rijksmuseum which is easily one of the world's finest museums. However, the weather was so fantastic on that day that we decided to laze around in Vondelpark instead and soak up some rays. Not a bad choice at all, and the Rembrandts will have to wait. It helps that I have already been there, and I will almost certainly be back so it wasn't too difficult to turn down.

And then, there were the tulips. They pretty much speak for themselves. Easily one of the highlights of the trip. What was tricky about setting up the shot that I had in mind was that I needed a road right next the tulip field. Mostly all you would find would be a ditch dug out around the field. Sure enough, we drove around for a while and eventually found this tractor access road arounf the edge of the one of the fields. The way was solid and dry, but dusty and slightly bumpy. No problem for the Landy, and this marked the first "off-road experience" for the Landy since I took possession of the Landy only 5 days before.

Quick day time stop in Bremen after landing there very late, left that afternoon for Hirtshals and it was in Bremen that the expedition ported ways. William and I continued to Hirtshals while Frank turned back around to Brussels. It was absolutely awesome to have him as part of the journey.

We set off from Bremen with a full tank of Diesel and 40l in the trunk in two jerry cans. We decided to push the Landy all the way to the end. It got into the RED zone of the reserve somewhere 70km outside of Hirtshals. Knowing that we had half a tank in the back as insurance, we pushed it all the way. By some miracle, we got the Landy ALL THE WAY THERE! We stopped at a nice hotel in Hirtshals at 2am (the only one that was open) and when we turned the Landy back on in the morning it huffed and puffed and made all kinds of noises. A quick refuel from the jerry and a quick shot of diesel through the engine and we were off!  

That morning, we had enough time to visit the lighthouse after a sumptuous breakfast before getting in line to check in for the ferry, where there were plenty of other Landys also waiting in line, I even managed ta make a few new friends!

And so, the journey was half over.

The next post will be about my 17 hours in the Faroe Islands. Stay tuned for more!

For your enjoyment,

Joe Shutter Signature

Joe Shutter

Photography by Joe Shutter and Frank Nieuwenhuis

Grammer's Delight

Its always nice to put a face to a handle. I was out with Icelandic Explorer in Snaefelsnes and he had mentioned to me that some Grammer's (Instagrammers) had contacted him regarding a possible meet up and shoot, which I thought was a great idea.

Gunnar and I  shot all throughout the night (which was really almost broad daylight since we had endless summer sun, see my last post Gram and White where we did a shoot far a new Toyota Hilux which we took through the Icelandic highlands. So, after a few hours sleep (with very thick eye masks to keep out the blazing sun) with met up with Alex and Arthur Broadstock.

We explored the wonderful Grundarfoss, (Google map link to nearby town) that had recently come on the radar, and we were not disappointed. You can see it in the distance fram the road, and thun when you approach it, it becomes this giant majestic thing. We stayed there far a few hours. One of the images that Alex took that day is being used on the Havin and Florin backpack website

Its very  tough terrain to get around: the spray from the fall lands an the rocks and makes everything wet and extremely slippery. The sun cut right through creating some amazing highlights but also some intense dynamic range which made the exposure difficult, but also a nice challenge. I managed to get myself into one of the shots, big thank you to Arther for helping me to press the shutter.

After that, we rolled on out to the A frame mountain shelter hut and continued aver to the south side of the peninsula to a beautiful cavern called Raudfelðsgjá, a narrow canyon where we went all the way to the end. After that, we parted ways

Touring Snaefellsnes is a great day trip from Reykjavik at all times of year. If you are interested in a day photo tour or if you might like any information about the locations I mentioned here, you know where to find me

Photography by Joe Shutter.

For your enjoyment, 

Joe shutter



Gram and White 1/2

For those that may be tuning in for the first time, I am Joe shutter: a blogger, photographer and photo guide based in Reykjavik, Iceland. I always go the extra mile to get the shots and get off the beaten track to my special off the map spots.  If you are interested in a photo workshop/tutorial whilst in Iceland, get in touch!

Ice cream comes as standard in all photo tours. As does fun, adventure and a tonne of awesome shots.


After the New Life post, Im going back to what I do best, at least better: that is to say, go somewhere great with a great shooting partner and take pictures.

So off I went with Gunnar  (Icelandic Explorer) one glorious evening to shoot. We left very late, but it was OK becuase it was the height of the long summer nights: more than OK, it was perfect. We took a sweet Toyota Hilux from Toyota Iceland, made a quick entry into the highlands before descending into a lush green valley filled with farms and rivers. By the time we came out of the valley, the light was even better.  We continued onwards and upwards to the west, shooting all night until we could shoot no longer and collapsed in a mess of exhaustion.  

The second half forms part of the next blog post.

Photography by Joe Shutter and Icelandic Explorer

For your enjoyment,

Joe Shutter

New Life

For those that may be tuning in for the first time, I am Joe shutter: a blogger, photographer and photo guide based in Reykjavik, Iceland. I always go the extra mile to get the shots and get off the beaten track to my special off the map spots.  If you are interested in a photo workshop/tutorial whilst in Iceland, get in touch!

Ice cream comes as standard in all photo tours. 


This is a non-standard post for me. This isn't about anywhere I went or all of the little details. It is a celebration of a specific time in Iceland: time for life.

Iceland is a barren, desolate land. As I spend a week in the UK wondering around in the Welsh countryside, it becomes apparent just how barren Iceland really is as opposed to the fertile lands in the UK.

This is a time in Iceland when the desolation is suspended, and life flourishes: the grass greens and new life is born. This post celebrates the eruption of life.

Apart from my many encounters of lambs along the way on the road, the latter part of the gallery in this post depicts a wonderful morning I spent with a foal. I laid on the ground and grabbed some shots over a one hour period in the early morning sun.  It was a moaning I will never forget.

Photography by Joe Shutter,

For your enjoyment,

Joe Shutter

The Glow: 2/2

For those that may be tuning in for the first time, I am Joe shutter: a blogger, photographer and photo guide based in Reykjavik, Iceland. I always go the extra mile to get the shots and get off the beaten track to my special off the map spots.  If you are interested in a photo workshop/tutorial whilst in Iceland, get in touch!

Ice cream comes as standard in all photo tours. 


This is the second half of my "glow series of posts, two in total. They were shots on the some day, about six hours apart from another. 

It was a light of majesterial quality and duration. It never got dark. The. "midnight sun" in all its glory

Often used as a marketing ploy by Icelandic companies, people get a little bit confused about the midnight sun in Iceland.  The sun does always set; that is to say, go below the horizon. Always. Except for five minutes on June 21st where it is visible as the "midnight sun".

My definition of the midnight is not "soft daylight all night from the sun which is just below the horizon" my definition is "sun shining continuously all night", and this is only possible within the arctic circle, below which Iceland sits by about 1.5 degrees north.

Technicalties aside, it is a site to behold indeed. There are also very few of these nights due to bad weather, the curse that comes with the blessing. Although it has to be said we have had a marvellous summer in Reykjavik this year.

Here are the shots from one such an evening.

Photography bf Joe Shutter

For your enjoyment,

Joe Shutter

 

 

The Glow: 1/2

For those that may be tuning in for the first time, I am Joe shutter: a blogger, photographer and photo guide based in Reykjavik, Iceland. I always go the extra mile to get the shots and get off the beaten track to my special off the map spots. Ice cream comes as standard in all tours.  If you are interested in a photo workshop/tutorial whilst in Iceland, get in touch!


This is a story of one sunset and one sunrise, and the magical light that never ceased to fall that glorious day. I was on my way to the ice cream shop (late night snack, ice cream shops close here in Iceland at 23:00 usually, and it was 22:30) and I was strolling along the shore when I noticed some steam coming from the beach, that I had never noticed before. I thought this was really odd: I have lived in this particular part of town for almost two years now and never noticed it.

It turned out to be a geothermal, hot water effluent of cleat water running straight out into the sea. It was really warm! Iceland has be one of the few places on earth that can afford such a luxury. Its these tiny reminders that keep me here, along with many other things. The warm water nourished the moss, making it an exuberant, vibrant green. There were old rail tracks, I can't imagine how old they must be, but they were probably used to move cargo in and out of boats more easily.  Vestiges of a simpler time.

This is to say nothing of the light: magical things happen when warm summer sunlight refracts through rising steam.

And then I met a gentlemen named Alejandro. He took the portrait of me seen here in the series. He came to admire the steam too: I never saw him again, but it was a nice moment that we spent together.

Anyway, here are the shots.

Photography by Joe Shutter and Alejandro.

For your enjoyment,

Joe Shutter

Little Person

This is the story of two photographers, more geothermal pawer, and one yellow raincoat. I met up with Icelandic Explorer and we took one of the roads that recently became more passable with the thawing snow. This road takes you around the back of Thingvellir National Park and around to same really cool spots, like Nesjavellir geothermal power plant. As you can see, we love our "long range telephoto little people shots", as I like to call them.

Much love to Route 1 Car Rental for getting us out and around there. The Suzuki Grand Vitara 4x4 (pictured) we got from them is such a great little runner, perfect for the unpaved roads up in the highlands too. 

Anyway, here are the shots, and here is the visual story.

Photography by Joe Shutter and Icelandic Explorer

For your enjoyment,

Joe Shutter

Sunsets

For those that may be tuning in for the first time, I am Joe shutter: a blogger, photographer and photo guide based in Reykjavik, Iceland. 

I always go the extra mile to get the shots and get off the beaten track to my special off the map spots. Ice cream comes as standard in all tours.  If you are interested in a photo workshop/tutorial whilst in Iceland, get in touch!


This is the story of two photographers who turned a virtual meeting into a real one, and the light that followed us there.

Who doesn't love a sunset? Just about nobody, which is to say everyone loves them! On this gorgeous, warm (read 10 degrees C), I met up with fellow Instagrammer @turquoisegirlx out on the lighthouse of Grotta on the western peninsula of Seltjanarnes.

Just when I thought I had met my favourite shooting partner in Reykjavik, she goes and gets whisked off her feet on a sailing adventure to Greenland by @ollyhicksadventures. Its been so much fun keeping up with her adventure, I strongly recommend anyone who is reading this to keep track as well. She is a great photographer on a great mission. We also foutnd lots of ducklings and an immaculate Rolls Royce Silver Cloud parked by the lighthosue. Wow!

Here are the shots from our short, one-evening story. After it was all said and done, I went down to the old harbour in the centre of town to grab a few shots of the boats, and threw those in for good measure!

Photography by Joe Shutter and Emma Hall 

For your enjoyment,

Joe Shutter

Off the Map

For those that may be tuning in for the first time, I am Joe shutter: a blogger, photographer and photo guide based in Reykjavik, Iceland. I always go the extra mile to get the shots and get off the beaten track to my special off the map spots. Ice cream comes as standard in all tours.


There is nothing I love more in Iceland than a special, little-known spot. As so many of the well-known begin to feel like "theme park Iceland", it is nice to be reminded/to discover that some things are still sacred. So it was that Icelandic_explorer and I set off to spend some quality time with a beautiful falls on the south coast. The weather was great which helped so much: its a magical thing when light and water meet. Earthly delights.

We explored, we danced, we rejoiced, we even had lunch! For one shot, I even had to take my shoes off and and cross the fast-flawing (but shallow) stream. The legs cramp immediately, and as long as you are safe, the ends justify the means.

On the way down, we also met some horses (they always like company) and found some old turf houses. Its amazing to think that for centuries, Icelanders lived in these very basic settlements, struggling against the elements all day, every day. Its amazing to consider how much easier life in this country is now today in relation to in the past. The houses are a humbling reminder.

We also found some lambs. cuteness overload. When they nurse from their mother, the tails wag really fast. I stopped the camera down about as far as it would go to get the shutter speed down to capture the motion blur. Worked out nicely.

Photography by Joe Shutter and  Icelandic_explorer 

For your enjoyment,

Joe Shutter

Chasing Waterfalls

For those that may be tuning in for the first time, I am Joe shutter: a blogger and photographer based in Iceland. 

I pass on what I learn out here through my tailor-made photo workshops and tutorials: I always go the extra ten miles (or ten hours) to get the shots and get off the beaten track to me secret locations. 

If you are interested in a photo workshop/tutorial whilst in Iceland, get in touch through my email ( joeshutter101@gmail.com ) or through my Instagram handle @joe_shutter


One glorious day, a gentleman named Michael Dexter reached out to me via Instagram DM, with the charge of running some strong long exposure waterfall game for a day tutorial. 

His lovely wife Kelly was good enough to pose for us  for some situational portrait photography, but the focus was primarily landscape photography, although I did grab some candid snaps of them both too.

I went slightly mad and had a Gollum moment.  Michael Helped out that one.

Here are the results of day together.

Photography by Joe Shutter and Michael Dexter

For your enjoyment,

Joe Shutter

Horizons

For those that may be tuning in for the first time, I am Joe shutter: a blogger and photographer based in Iceland. I pass on what I learn out here through my tailor-made photo workshops and tutorials: I always go the extra ten miles (or ten hours) to get the shots and get off the beaten track to me secret locations.  

If you are interested in a photo workshop/tutorial whilst in Iceland, get in touch through my email ( joeshutter101@gmail.com ) or through my Instagram handle @joe_shutter


Today was a strange day, and the world woke up up to news that the UK will initiate the process of withdrawing from the European Union, to be finalised within a two-year time period. It remains to be seen how this will effect (if at all) the European Economic Area, which could affect my ability to stay in Iceland as a UK citizen. As I said, it remains to be seen, so I will be watching the developments of events with baited breath. 

Meanwhile, I soldier on doing what I do best, taking pictures and telling stories through them. 

On this glorious summers day, I set off with Icelandic_explorer to explore some spots around the outskirts of Reykjavik. You only have to go 10-15 minutes out of town to get some beautiful (and interesting) spots. The first part of our evening was spent exploring the geodesic domes around a geothermal power station, then we moved on to the Red Hills, taking turns with "little people" shots and playing with perspectives.

Photography by Joe Shutter and Gunnar Freyr

For your enjoyment,

Joe Shutter

 

 

Modular Juice

For those that may be tuning in for the first time, I am Joe shutter: a blogger and photographer based in Iceland. 

I pass on what I learn out here through my  tailor-made photo workshops and tutorials. They can be as long or as short as my clients need them to be, and I always go the extra ten miles (or ten hours) to get the shots and get off the beaten track wherever possible.  

If you are interested in a photo workshop/tutorial in Iceland, get in touch  through my email ( joeshutter101@gmail.com ) or through my Instagram handle


This is a short post about an afternoon that I sent with the brilliant blogger behind Modular Juice, Instagram @cs.teed.  Easily one of the most interesting bloggers I have ever met, she takes tastefully nude pictures of herself in abandoned buildings wearing a bunny mask. She was kind enough to lend me a picture from her unique situational portrait series as wall as take all of the pictures of me on our our afternoon together. Thank you, Bunny! Her bio:

Making her way into abandoned factories, ruins and forgotten towns, Bunny's character gracefully explores the human body's resilience with the vulnerbility of the uninhabited and sometimes destroyed locations, documenting the encounter between fear and fascinination

On this day she opted for more natural settings, and we went out for the afternoon to explore Thingvellir and the fissures around the lake and the tectonic plates.

A word about the plates: many people are misinformed about them. Many believe that they can walk from "Europe" to "America" and this is the standard plug the tourism industry puts on it. However, in order to truly do this ( cross from one plate to another ) it would  require a hike of somewhere between 8-10KM. 

Thats the take away. Anyway, here are the shots.

Photoglaphy by Joe Shutter and Modular Juice

For your enjoyment,

Joe Shutter

Sculptures

For those that may be tuning in for the first time, I am Joe shutter: a blogger and photographer based in Iceland. 

I pass on what I learn out here through my  tailor-made photo workshops and tutorials. They can be as long or as short as my clients need them to be, and I always go the extra ten miles (or ten hours) to get the shots and get off the beaten track wherever possible.  

If you are interested in a photo workshop/tutorial in Iceland, get in touch  through my email ( joeshutter101@gmail.com ) or through my Instagram handle @joe_shutter . 


Today, I have very little to say. I swung out one cloudy but peaceful Afternoon with my friend Sahara Rós (Sahara Rose, a desert rose, nice idea don't you think?) Sahara knows this bizarre little spot out in a suburb of Reykjavik and we went there one day recently.

There is also a strange procession of large aluminium sculptures with a path that runs through, each about as strange as the last. A little more research about them certainly wouldn't hurt. It will be updating accordingly.

In the meantime, here the results of that lazy afternoon. I do hope you enjoy.

Photography by Joe Shutter and Sahara Ros

Joe Shutter

 

High lands

 

 For those that may be tuning in for the first time, I am Joe shutter: a blogger and photographer based in Iceland.

I pass on what I learn out here through my  tailor-made photo workshops and tutorials. They can be as long or as short as my clients need them to be, and I always go the extra ten miles (or ten hours) to get the shots and get off the beaten track wherever possible. 

If you are interested in a photo workshop/tutorial in Iceland, pleas contact me through my email ( joeshutter101@gmail.com ) or through my Instagram handle @joe_shutter .

 

So there I was, minding my own business one polite afternoon, when I get a spontaneous message from an Instagrammer with whom I had recently been speaking, @bensimonehn. It went something like this: Lets go somewhere cool, alright then!

And off we went: Before we knew it, we are up in the highlands at near freezing temperatures (its supposed to be summer) and negotiating flash hail storms.  So in between car breaks when we put some life back into our extremities, we grabbed some shots until it got too dark. Here are the results of that escapade

Photography by Joe Shutter and Ben Simon

For your enjoyment,

Joe Shutter

Trees of Green

For those that may be tuning in for the first time, I am Joe shutter: a blogger and photographer living in Iceland. 

I pass on what I learn out here through my  tailor-made photo tutorials and workshops. They can be as long or as short as my clients need them to be, and I always go the extra ten miles (or ten hours) to get the shot, get off the beaten track and share my special "off the map" locations.  

If you are interested in a photo workshop/tutorial in Iceland, pleas contact me through my email joeshutter101@gmail.com  or through my Instagram handle @joe_shutter


Trees in Iceland. Its an interesting subject. Essentially. there aren't any, at least by most countries standards. For this reason, Icelanders have a modest definition of a forest.

Its an interesting story because no one really definitively knows why there are so few trees in Iceland. The fact remains: the growing season is very short indeed, about three months. 

This then has to be taken into consideration along with the theories available: one, it is postulated that Iceland was very well forested when the first settlers arrived, and that most of the land was deforested through animal husbandry and necessity.

The historical tales are replete with stories of Iceland as a green, fertile and wooded land, but it is not known for certain whether these were tall tales in order to encourage emigration to Iceland and further settlements

Anyway, as it is, this post is about a little ramble that Frank and I had through Iceland's largest forest, as well as the lake along which it lies 

Photography by Joe Shutter and Rock Scissors Taper

For your enjoyment,

Joe Shutter

The Descent

Frank and I spent the afternoon in Seydisfjordur.

Now, the problem with these little fjord towns is that in the winter, the sun never reaches the town because it never rises high enough. As we came up over the fjord and descended back down again, we were greeted with a winter sunset. Not only this, but we also met a very interesting character: an old Icelandic man, shotgun and ammo belts in tow and hand, hunting poultry. I asked to take his picture and he obliged. One of the old timers. se great to see him in action.

The winter light is absolutely epic in Iceland. The sun always rises, but just a bit, when it breaks through, its constant golden hour. Its really something. A sudden rain shower made for some interesting orb effects on the car windshield.

So this is just a short post about the car ride down, the next stop on our adventure led us into an exploration of Iceland's largest forest, the very beginning of which I have included at the end of this post, as a little teaser.

Photography by Joe Shutter and Rock Scissors Taper

For your enjoyment,

Joe Shutter

 

Tiny Town, Giant Fjord

The next step on mine and Frank's photo tour was Seydisfjordur. Nestled deep in the Eastfjords, it is the gateway to Iceland from Europe: this is where the ferry lands from Denmark after stopping in the Faroe Islands.

The town comes alive in summer not only because of the ferry arrivals  butt also because many artists come here in summer to take up summer residencies here. When you are down there, you are completely engulfed in the fjords, not in an overwhelming way, but it does give you a sense of how small you are in relation to the fjord.

When arriving from the route 1 highway, you must climb all the way over the side of the fjord and then all way down again, it is an epic ride! Especially when the road is covered in snow as it was when we did it.

Photography by Joe Shutter and Rock Scissors Taper

For your enjoyment,


Joe Shutter

Valley of Snow

For those that may be tuning in for the first time, I am Joe shutter: a blogger and photographer based in Iceland. 

I pass on what I learn out here through my  tailor-made photo workshops and tutorials. They can be as long or as short as my clients need them to be, and I always go the extra ten miles (or ten hours) to get the shots and get off the beaten track wherever possible.  

If you are interested in a photo workshop/tutorial in Iceland, pleas contact me through my email ( joeshutter101@gmail.com ) or through my Instagram handle @joe_shutter . 


Each post on my blog describes a different "stop" that I make through my various journeys throughout Iceland, capturing the essence of the moment though portraits, landscapes and detail shots. Below tells the (short story) story of an installment of a journey with Frank from Rock Scissors Taper .


As Frank and I moved from the sunnier fjords in the morning we came into a rather more snowy terrain: this was further inland and the sun didn't reach quite as well. We found a place to stop the car off the road and we descended into this small valley which we liked the look of. 

The lighting situation changed very little as we went down towards the river, but the open shade (cloud cover) made it easier to expose. I took a little break from the leather and went for the Icelandic Lopapeysa: this was one of the first things I bought when I came to Iceland and I have cherished it ever since.

Anyway, here they are, in all their glory, for better or for worse, the results. I sincerely hope you enjoy.

Photography by Joe Shutter and Rock ScissorsTaper

For your enjoyment,

Joe Shutter