Sky Arts Master Of Photography 2017

Well I've picked 10 images for my Sky Arts Master Of Photography submission.

It nearly went wrong this morning when a power surge destroyed my computers power supply unit, fortunately that's all that was damaged. I got it all fixed in just a few hours.

Now all I have to do is upload my selected images, answer the questions, do my intro video & push submit!

Kirkjuefellfos HDR Camera Dynamic Range Experiment

Ok so I've taken one of my photos I took at Kirkjuefellfos and as you can see it's exposed for the sky meaning everything else is vastly under exposed.

So I wanted to see just how good the dynamic range is of my new camera the FujiFilm X-T2. To do this I used a technique I learned from a film photographer.

  1. Open the original image in Lightroom.
  2. Push the exposure up until you are happy with the exposure of the underexposed areas of the image (not forgetting to count how many stops you have had to push the image).
  3. Duplicate the original image file as many times as the number of stops you have pushed the image.
  4. Reset your original image.
  5. Push each duplicate 1 more stop than the previous image (e.g Duplicate 1 is pushed by 1 stop, duplicate 2 by 2 stops, etc, etc)
  6. Once you've done this merge all the duplicates & the original image using the Photo Merge HDR option.
  7. Make sure Auto Toning is on when looking at the preview.
  8. If you are happy with the result finish the merge.
  9. The new HDR image file loads up as a DNG file which you can now edit just like a RAW

Below are the results of my experiment.

I then edited this image in Google's NIK's Silver Efex Pro before doing a little more when it reloaded in Lightroom.

The FujiFilm X-T2 has a great level of Dynamic Range especially for an APS-C sensor camera.

Seljalandsfoss & The Solheimasandur Plane Wreck

Ok so after being taken the scenic route by my sat nav on Wednesday there was not a repeat on Thursday. A nice simple shorter drive with spectacular mountains & a sheer drop road followed buy sweeping fields on one side & yet more mountains & waterfalls on the other side. Plus it was sunny again!

After driving for a little over 90 minutes I arrived at my first stop Seljalandsfoss. I really wanted to visit this waterfall above all others because you can actually walk behind it! Which is really cool (a bit scary too) you also get quite wet from the spray as well.

My next stop was going to be the waterfall at Skógafoss but when I got there there were so many people it would have made getting any kind of good photo practically impossible. Also you can go to the top of the waterfall but it's a real climb even on the steps, I needed to keep my walking legs for my final destination - The Solheimasandur Plane Wreck.

The Solheimasandur Plane Wreck was my final port of call. It's a long walk from the road, a really long walk, so long in fact that at one point I could no longer see the car park & still couldn't see the plane wreck either.

Meanwhile the whole time I'm walking to the sea I look back and see the huge mountains (some with snow on) & a glacier, while either side & in front of me the ground is black & grey like rubble. Also the whole time I'm walking to the wreck everyone else is walking in the other direction, that seems to have happened a lot to me on my stay here in Iceland - Maybe I'm lucky?

So I eventually reach the Solheimasandur Plane Wreck, there's maybe another 6 people there already so less than I thought would be there. As I reached the plane it self the weather started to turn as the cloud began to roll in & the wind picked up so I knew I should be quick in taking my photos.

However this is my favourite photo of the day, the inside of the wreck was virtually pitch black but I knew there was someone in there. I went to the back & took this shot and it came out even better than I had hoped. I'm really impressed by my FujiFilm X-T2 camera.

And so to the long walk back to my hire car, I think a third of my entire trip that day was taken up walking. It took about an hour each way walking to/from the wreck, I think my feet were ready to kill me by the time I got back to my hire car!

So to sum up my Iceland adventure.

It's a spectacular place, I'd love to come back again with a few improvements.

  • 4x4 Hire car - There are so many places that just aren't reachable without 4 wheel drive, also Diesel is cheaper than Petrol in Iceland.
  • More money - Food prices are insanely high, to give you an example a medium pack of sliced cheese costs maybe a few £'s in he UK. Over here it's over 2300ISK which is around £17!
  • Stay in different locations - I made the mistake of basing myself in one location (Reykjavik) which meant travelling long distances to reach where I wanted to go. Because I was based in just one location there were places I wanted to visit but the round trip was just too much (Diamond Beach & the Glacial Lagoon).
  • Accommodation - Pick your accommodation, although mine was cheap & pretty good for the price (£155 for 7 nights) the beds were a little uncomfortable for me. Also pick places which are self catering or where meals are included.
  • Be prepared to wing it - There are so many places in Iceland that don't attract the swarms of tourists that the most common locations do. Again if I had been driving a 4x4 I would have gone off the beaten track to explore more of Iceland.
  • 1 week isn't enough - To have a proper exploration of Iceland you need a minimum of at least 3 weeks maybe 4. I would love & most likely will come back again but for much longer maybe as long as 2  months.

Well that's it folks my last night in Iceland before I go back to UK on Saturday.


Kirkjuefellfos was my destination today, things didn't get off to a good start however. My car hire sat nav wouldn't take my destination so I had to choose the nearest point & go from there.

Next instead to taking me through the toll tunnel (the shortest route) my sat nav sent me the scenic way which added another 1 1/2 hours to my journey time. On the plus side I did get to see these beauties.

So having taken the scenic route I finally reached Kirkjufelloss, to my surprise there weren't as many people there as I thought there might me. What really made it so great was the sun, it shined ALL day which made for great photos. 

After spending an hour shooting photos I had some lunch & headed back to Reykjavik only this time I forced the sat nav to go the shorter route.

All in all a good day so lets hope tomorrow is as good for my trip out east.


Well where to start?

As I eluded to in my previous post the weather was indeed changeable. Having started off quite grey & overcast when I started my walk into town from my accommodation the cloud lifted & the sun began to try to break through.

Until then I hadn't realised that where I was staying was on the highest hill in Reykjavik, it gave a great view of the town/city but this would come back to bite me later.


As you can see from the photo above Reykjavik is quite spread out (this is only a section on the city). The big pointy thing in the middle of the photo is Hallgrímskirkja Church which was my initial destination.

The church has a beautiful ornate door on both the inside & outside.


As you can see the weather started to get worse as it often does with little or now warning.

I went inside where there was an organist playing the main organ.

By the time I left the church the weather had not improved, in fact the wind had started to get quite strong so I decided it would be best if I turn back & return to my accommodation.

The route back was a more direct one, this mean't I could visit the Perlan Viewpoint.

Below the glass domed roof there is a museum & restaurant. The viewing area is outside the dome on the 4th floor, I had to buy a ticket for 480ISK (that's about £3) to get up there.

Having climbed 4 flights of stairs I eventually reached the viewing area. There were little devices you could use to look further afield with.

From the Perlan Viewpoint you can see the whole of Reykjavik including the domestic airport.

By this time it was mid afternoon & I was in need of food so I made the rest of the way back to my accommodation.

I didn't realise just how much my walk had taken out of me until the next day, I could barely walk from the pain in my feet but especially the pain in my Achilles Tendon in my left foot. This has mean't I've laid up today and have had to push back my plans by a day meaning I won't be able to do what I wanted on Thursday which may be a blessing in disguise.

Below is a gallery of all the photos I developed from my walk.

Iceland Plans

Ok so I've firmed up my plans now.

Today I go in search of the supermarket to stock up on supplies (only managed a few supplies from a mini-mart).

Tomorrow (Monday) the weather is a little changeable so I'm going to spend the day walking round exploring Reykjavik.

Tuesday I'll travel north to Kirkjufellsfoss, the rain is meant to be a lot further north plus there's lots of coast to admire on the way.

Wednesday I'll travel east to Solheimasandur Plane Wreck, the weather is meant to be a lot clearer that day.

Thursday will be the hardest day travel wise, Jökulsárlón & Dimond Beach. It's about a 5 hour drive each way so I'll be leaving early in the morning, dawn isn't until 8.45am here with sunset at around 5.30pm.

That leaves me Friday to recover & edit my photos.

Fingers crossed.

I am in Iceland!

Ok so I got to Gatwick Airport this morning expecting some kind of delay for the weather but to my surprise there was none! Also on the way to the airport I saw a double rainbow :)

So after checking my baggage & going through security I wondered the South Terminal waiting for my flights gate number to come up. While I was wondering I thought I'd get a travel alarm clock so I didn't have to reply on my phone, could I find 1? It appears you have better odd's of winning the lottery than finding a travel alarm clock @ Gatwick Airport. I don't get it.

Anyway after a while my stomach started to grumble so I had a nice breakfast as food was extra on the flight.


Having filled myself up it was time to get on my flight.


When I went to Australia back in May I was seated one row back from two screaming children that screamed the plane down for the full eight hours of that flight. So when about twenty plus teenagers boarded I was a little concerned. Two & a half hours of constant noise was torture but there was a silver lining.

The Air Steward was quite different, a mixture of sarcasm & dead pan humour would be the best way to describe him.

When we landed it was cloudy with sunny periods so better than what I had left behind.

Getting through the airport only took about twenty minutes which was good. I had a nice surprise when I got to the Hertz car hire desk too, they upgraded my hire car at no extra coast! Instead of a roller-skate (Toyota Yaris) I got me a automatic VW Golf Estate! They even threw in the Sat Nav at half price.

So I've never driven a left-hand drive car before, when I got into town I kept getting to close to the kerb (I even mounted it a little bit once but at low speed & no apparent damage was done). I found the scenery really hard to ignore, I saw loads of spots I'd like to photograph so I have a feeling I won't be lacking photographic opportunities while I'm here in Iceland.

So eventually I reached my accommodation, you get a lot for just over £20 per night. I'm a bit underwhelmed by the lack of power points in my dorm room (sharing with 3 other people).

I did pop out for some supplies but managed to get a little lost, still I got a few of the items I wanted.

More to follow soon...

Almost Time To Go - Maps

Ok less than 48 hours to go (if my flight doesn't get cancelled for bad weather), here are some maps of 3 places/routes I plan to go on while I am out in Iceland.

Solheimasandur Plane Wreck


Diamond Beach

I'll probably stop loads of times along the way so 4 1/2 hour each way (longest journey planned) could easily turn into 5 1/2 hours each way.

I hope to shoot some video as well as stills, with any luck I'll even get to see the Northern Lights (fingers crossed).

16 Days To Iceland

Only 16 to go!

Hire-car booked (paid for).

Accommodation booked.

Flights booked (paid for).

I’m still planning where I will visit in Iceland, I’ve decided to limit myself to no further than a 5-hour drive (each way), that’s a lot of places to visit.

When I have decided on some definite sites I’ll put up their locations (Google Maps), the glacial lagoon Jökulsárlón is on my list along with the Solheimasandur Plane Wreck & Snaefellsnes.

More to follow.


Ok so I have purchased my airline tickets & arranged my accommodation so all I need now is a hire car and I'll be set.

My camera is nice & clean (had the sensor cleaned a few weeks back @ Park Cameras), my 24-70mm f/4L lens is getting fixed so should have that back by the end of next week at the latest which is good as I want to exchange it for a Tamron 28-300mm lens which is much more practical.

All things being good I'll have my 5DSR, tripod, action video camera & 2 lenses (Samyang 14mm f/2.8 along with the Tamron I mentioned earlier) nice & ready for my trip.

I'll post the places where I will be photographing later once I have a better idea my where I want to go.

Web Site

Ok so this is my first post on my new web site.

Before I set up this site I used a combination of my 500px site & Wordpress blog to show people what I have been up to. All future projects will now appear here with select images appearing on my 500px site which will be available to licence only from that site.