michellenyss November 06, 2016
Beautiful !!

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Aug, 2016

Versturhorn #1

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Won Contest Finalist in High Peaks Photo ContestJanuary, 2017
Won Member Selection AwardDecember, 2016
Won FeaturedNovember, 2016


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Behind The Lens

We visited Iceland for the first time last summer and circumnavigated the island via the Ring Road, which runs along the coast, stopping at many of the iconic spots along the way. The Vesturhorn (also Vestrahorn) is on the Stokksnes peninsula in the Southeast part of the island.
After staying in the nearby town of Hofn, we were headed to the East Fjords to stay that evening. Given that sunrise in Icelandic July ranges from 3 to 4:30 AM, we weren't worrying about hitting golden hour, so ate breakfast at the neat little cafe/gift shop at the foot of the peninsula and made our way out to get some shots around 9:30 AM local time.
The light was nothing special, being fairly flat and diffuse due to the clouds, but that actually helped by letting me bring out more of the textures of sand, seaweed and cloud in post-processing.
Canon 6D with the Tokina AT-X 16-28 f/2.8 Pro FX. Tripod mounted. That's it!
Because we had missed prime lighting, my goal was to try and capture the atmosphere - windy and windswept beach, combined with typical (for Iceland) low clouds with multiple layers. Iceland has great contrasts, and this scene has a lot of those elements - the green of the moss on the mountain, blacks and browns in rock and sand, different hues of blues and grays in the water and sky. Plus, it's one of classic images from the country, so I had to get at least one image of it - in fact, I've got a whole series, each with slightly different viewpoints and different looks.
I initially processed ths as an HDR image with 5 bracketed exposures, but I wasn't happy with the results, even after multiple tries, so I went back to one of the original images and worked first with adjustments in Lightroom, both in the Basic panel and with Tone curves (the initial histogram had peaks both in the darks and the lights, with low midtones) along with a strong push to Clarity and Vibrance. I then exported to Photoshop where I ran it through some of the tonal contrast tools in Nik Color Efex Pro and Topaz Clarity to really bring out the textures in the clouds and the foreground.
In my camera bag
Too much :) I've always been one to overpack, but often find myself not using half of what I'm carrying. My goto lens has been the Canon 24-105mm f/4L as it gives a good wide range of focal length for landscape work, mounted on the 6D body. On the wide end, I like the Tokina 16-28mm and I carry the Canon 70-200mm f/4L as a telephoto. I've never been a big user of filters, but they're something I'm experimenting with more.
In Iceland, things change quickly - so it's worth hanging out and waiting for a bit if you can. We were under a bit of schedule pressure, though, so much as I would have liked to stay there all day, I really had to make the best of the conditions that I had. It can really windy, so make sure that you have a solid tripod and a way to weigh it down in order to minimize camera vibration. And don't be afraid of the rain - protect your gear, but take advantage of the time that you've got and work for the shot. Even though there are thousands of images of this mountain on the web, I'm happy I can say that this one is mine.

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