One of the more impressive picture galleries I have seen of Icelandic landscapes is the collection images that Stan Klasz from Canada has on his web site. his images are dramatic, wintry and dramatic.
Stan has a collection of 10 minute exposures and I was especially gratified to see an impressive photo of the mountain Lómagnúpur (featured) which must be one of the more imposing mountains in Iceland.
Stan also has an unusual set of infrared images which are striking with their clear clear contrasts and sharp earthy colors. I was able to find Stan and his images through the facebook group Iceland the Photographers Paradise and he was kind enough to agree to to be interview and share his images with us.
Please tell our readers something about yourself?
Well, I live in Waterdown Ontario Canada, which is outside of Toronto. I’m an Air Traffic Controller by trade. I’m married and have two children, 3 and 1, who keep us extremely busy! I started taking an interest in photography about 10 years ago as I was traveling quite a bit back then, now photography is the reason I travel. I’m primarily a landscape photographer and I like to specialize in long exposure, black and white and infrared imagery. I was raised in Winnipeg which is very close to Gimli, Manitoba which I understand has one of the largest Icelandic communities outside of Iceland.
Urridafoss waterfall in the river Thjorsa. Unfortunately this river is under threat from a proposed hydro power plant.
When did you visit Iceland?
I visited Iceland in April/May 2015, I’ve wanted to photograph Iceland for a long time and turning 40 this year I made it “Bucket List” request and my wife was kind enough to take care of things at home which allowed me the opportunity. This time of year was a real challenge because it was the transition from winter to summer, there was still a lot snow around, the weather was rapidly changing, the landscape had yet to become green, but it allowed for relatively unhindered access to a lot of locales without the throngs of tourists that the summer would bring.
In my opinion you have captured the starkness of Icelandic landscapes and the sub arctic climate here in an unusually realistic way. What is the secret behind that?
I try to capture what I see, which most times the camera cannot capture that alone so I employ techniques to bring the image closer to that reality. The use of filters, multiple exposures and processing all combine to create the foundation for the image. I try to shoot with intent in mind of what the conditions will allow for. Long exposure (movement in cloud and water), black and white (contrast in scene), exposure blend (value of light vs shadow), focal length, panoramic, amount and quality of light, all these factor in the process. You have to make decisions suited for the time because quite often when travelling you may only visit the area once and have to be prepared to shoot in all sorts of conditions.
If you look at the images on your web sites you have travelled quite a bit. What is unique about Iceland?
Having been able to see a good part of the world I can definitely say Iceland has one of the most diverse and unique landscapes I’ve ever seen. It’s ever changing and in a short period of time you are going from lush fields to volcanic formations, rugged coastline to beautiful black sand beaches. The entire Island should be considered a natural wonder of the world.
When you visited Iceland were there any particular places or activity that you especially enjoyed or disliked?
I found the food to be quite remarkable, everywhere we visited always offered a great selection of local cuisine that was always superb. The Icelandic people were very welcoming and extremely helpful and knowledgable. Highlights of the trip for me was hiring a guide to take us up into Landmannalaugar and watching the icebergs flow out to the beach at Jökulsárlón. I have to say there is one thing in particular I disliked about Iceland…leaving.
What advice would you give those who are visiting Iceland for the first time?
Apart from doing research on some of the great Icelandic travel guides, I think building extra time into a planned itinerary on a daily basis is so important. The weather is ever changing and if you build too tight of a schedule you will miss so many opportunities. I found that every turn presents something beautiful and to take the time to explore is paramount. Keep an open mind and be adaptable to change on the go.