Friday, 05 September 2014 00:00

Arial Photographs of Iceland

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One of the most exciting excursions during our North Atlantic trip was the 5-hour helicopter tour from Reykjavik. We had occasional stops, and a gourmet lunch at Hotel Ranga. Even met a Hungarian waiter in the restaurant, which led to a nice conversation about Budapest, my hometown at such a remote place. The world is so small…

The weather was kind to us. After days of rain the sun came out when we took off from Hangar 6 by helicopter to photograph the dramatic landscape and capture some of the world's most spectacular scenery. 
We opted in for the "Fabulous Diamond Tour" by Reykjavik Helicopters. The pilots were very nice and experienced.  They enjoy flying probably more than any of their passengers. Well, Iceland is extremely beautiful, literally an ever-changing land offering breathtaking scenery all year around. It is a true paradise for photographers and nature lovers. During our whole flight I shoot almost constantly hoping to catch the beauty of that striking landscape.

You need some preparation for photographing from a helicopter. Learning from previous experience I dressed in black. Also made sure that the logo on my camera strap was covered. Our flight was not planned as a door-off photo tour, but probably seeing my enthusiasm and high quality camera gear at some point the pilot let me have the door open, which was very helpful to avoid reflections on the images. Yes, it was windy but I didn't care less, I was indulged in photography. To achieve true colors in the photographs, taking pictures without the window is a must. If you fly with strangers opening the door is probably not an option. At most locations the pilots are experienced carrying serious photographers, so you can negotiate your needs and they give you good advise. If you dare hanging a bit more out from the helicopter don't forget to tape your lens hood to the lens because the wind can blow it off. Dress warm and be sure no flying straps on your clothing and no hair gets in the way.
Keep your camera gear well organized and easy to reach for. When the door is open and the wind is blowing too strong it is better not changing lenses or memory cards. Use shutter priority, (1/1600 preferably), auto ISO, no polarizing filter and shoot several images in bursts. To be able to shoot high quality images with these parameters you need lots of sunlight.
For a serious photographer taking a regular sightseeing tour can be very frustrating. You might find yourself in the middle back seat from where shooting is tough. Couple of years ago before taking off to see the Nasca Lines in Peru they didn't want to let me taking my camera bag with me. They argued that it was too heavy and they couldn't balance the load. In Alaska I had to take the back seat for similar reason. To avoid this situations ask specific questions from the operator. Otherwise they can change your seat just before boarding. On that Iceland tour I was very lucky in every aspect.

In the air not only planes fly fast the time does also. You should be aware of all interesting subjects, constantly look for images to be captured. Shooting from air is a rear opportunity for most photographers, be sure to take advantage every moment of it.

Certainly on Iceland I had no problem finding the unique subject, everything was unbelievably beautiful. Our trip covered Thingvellir, Geysir, Gullfoss, Háifoss, Landmannalaugar, Thórsmörk, Fimmvörduháls, Eyjafjallajökull, Hótel Rangá and the south coast at Olfusa River delta. These names I probably will forget soon, but for many hikers and tourists all these have important meaning. Iceland is a paradise for hikers too. The beauty of nature and the variety of hikes attract tourists from all over the world. 
In a relatively small area the scenery include volcanoes, deep valleys, and waterfalls wide spread river deltas, mountains glaciers, geothermal pools lakes, and the ocean. The colors of the terrain were spectacular. Because of the minerals-rich terrain every color was present in the landscape. From dark color palagonite mountains to colorful rhyolite mountains and geothermal pools to turquoise lakes I have seen unforgettable wonders on that day.

Iceland Arial Photographs

B&W photos of Olfusa River Delta

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