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Author Topic: Iceland Portfolio  (Read 5763 times)
Bruce Percy
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« on: October 08, 2004, 11:32:41 AM »
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[font color=\'#000000\']Hi Dave,

Many thanks for the kind words about my images.

Yes, I would be very happy to share my experiences with you and tell you a bit about my trip including costs.

I loved iceland, and found the climate to be very similar to home. I was very lucky as they had record high temps while I was there, and in the 3 weeks I was there, only one day of rain!

Lots of waterfalls, and many places are very martian looking. I've provided my experiences as best as I can on my web site at the intro, and also at the last image.

I'm personally glad I did'nt go mid summer. I like the light to get low enough that I get really deep colours. August was good because it was initially bright enough to read a book, and by the end of the trip, was getting dark by 11pm.

I went alone, for 3 weeks, and it cost me in total approximately £900. This is including the flight from Glasgow.

The trick is to camp as much as you can, and use the buss system to get around.

I also like concentrating my time in key areas. In my own case, there were five main areas where I spent 3 to 4 days. This is ideal for me because you have a good chance of getting good light some time during that period, and it allows me time to get a 'feel' for the place I'm in.

The cost of a 4WD was too prohibitive for me, so I did a lot of research first by reading up travel books such as Lonely Planet, and buying an excellent photo book called 'Lost in Iceland'. The photo book gave me an idea of where I wanted to go, and so I just worked out the rest once I'd contacted Destination Iceland and got a hold of their buss schedules.

Flights are cheap from Glasgow via iceland air - mine was £150 return. Food was expensive, so I brought as much packet food as I could. I also bought a buss pass for £170 which allowed me unlimited time on the ring road.... and paid for any excursions off the main road.

I was so pleased with my trip, and managing to keep the costs down to £900 for 3 weeks that I'm planning on going back again next year.

Hope this helps,
Bruce.[/font]
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Bruce Percy
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« Reply #1 on: October 08, 2004, 01:14:22 PM »
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[font color=\'#000000\']Hi Bob & Dave,

If I may answer Bob first:

In terms of weeding out my images to the 'killers', I've found from experience that what I personally like, and what others like are two different things. It's all subjective. I also think that some images are very personal to me, due to the experiences I had or felt at the time, so it's not always an asthetic choice. I also like to give an 'overview' of the whole country rather than the best shots from a small area.

Thanks for the crit regarding having an index indicator on the site. I did think that some people may find the selection quite long.... everything is a compromise, right down to viewing images on a computer monitor for me, as the real prints are much better. I will definitely have a think about your suggestions.

Dave, I firmly believe that 'where there is a will, there is a way'. If you really want to do something, you will often do it. In my own case, I pondered going to Iceland for a long time and it's been a gradual progression for me, to get to a point where I am now quite confident when stepping out of my comfort zone.... a few years ago, I'd never been anywhere on my own, and each year I set a 'schedule' of where I want to go, and what I want to achieve in terms of travel destinations. Once I decide I'm going somewhere, I then start to delve into the logistics and try to do as much planning as I can.

However, i still have a few sleepless nights before any trip, worrying if it's going to work out ok.

Thanks for the big encouragement regarding the 'connected' comment. That's made my day :-)


Hope this helps,
Bruce. [/font]
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Bruce Percy
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« Reply #2 on: October 11, 2004, 07:05:10 AM »
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[font color=\'#000000\']Hi Daniel,

Thanks for the comments re my photography.

I had a difficult time choosing which ones to put on the site. I had a total of around 60 images in total, and managed to reduce it down to around 30 for the site.

I like to give a broad view of where I've been, and also like to show images that have strong feelings for myself - maybe because of the experiences I had.

I am very surprised by the view you painted of Iceland. I felt it was a very positive place, but I must stand corrected, because I know you are a native of the country, and I really love your images. I bought your book whilst I was in Iceland, and it was very inspiring.

I was aware that there is a region that they are planning on creating a damn for, and I'd also heard that they had thoughts of harnessing Detifoss' power, which would be a real shame. I also know that most of the business is of American interest.

I hope that the country stays beautiful, and that you have more 'good news' stories such as in the case of Gulfoss.

I'm just saddened that it seems to be that things go ahead, despite the opinion of the masses.[/font]
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Lisa Nikodym
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« Reply #3 on: October 11, 2004, 11:37:04 AM »
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[font color=\'#000000\']Something that everyone above seems to be forgetting is that that big corporations didn't come in and conquer and seize the natural resources of Iceland.  Those resources are/were owned by the Icelanic government and/or the Icelandic people, and, if power plants are being built in sensitive areas, it's because the (Icelandic) owners of those areas gave the corporations permission.  Trying to change corporate behavior is pointless; under a capitalist system, their sole motivation is profits.  If you object to what's being done, you need to instead convince the local owners of those resources that they have something precious that they shouldn't sell away for short-term gain.  If it's the local government selling away the resources, then it's the local voters you need to convince to do something about it.

Lisa[/font]
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howard smith
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« Reply #4 on: October 11, 2004, 01:42:01 PM »
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[font color=\'#000000\']nniko, I agree photography can be an educational tool to shape our environment.  And to preserve it, even is only on paper.  There are some environmentalists that state we should not photograph wild places becasue those phtos bring people and the place's wildness ends.

You suggest development in only the uglier places.  Good idea.  But who decides what is ugly?  I love Death Valley, but I know people who think it is just plain ugly.  I think New York city is ugly, but many people think it is the only place on earth worth being.  So the debate goes on.

Montana is ugly so let's strip mine it and send the coal to Utah to make clean electricity for beautiful Southern California.  Oh, you say Montana isn't ugly?  Utahans couldn't care less about Californians and don't want their power plants?  Utahans like Californians who are spending money on Utah's ski slopes, then go home?

I guess what I was thinking was how arrogant we become when we decide what is best for someone else.  Who am I to say that a spotted owl in Oregon is more important to Oregonians that the logging industry.  If Oregonians didn't want to log the forests, they wouldn't.  I have been to several places where tourism is the main or only industry.  The people prett much hated tourists but loved the George Washingtons.

Crime is a problem in the US.  Everyone wants more prisons, but don't want to pay for them or live next door to one.[/font]
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howard smith
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« Reply #5 on: October 11, 2004, 05:57:16 PM »
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[font color=\'#000000\']Michael, I have done some more reading.  In the last decadde Iceland has started to expand itseconomy into manufacturing, producing software and biotechnology.  Maybe we could agree that Iceland is neither first world or third world, but call them "emerging."[/font]
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howard smith
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« Reply #6 on: October 12, 2004, 03:56:45 PM »
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[font color=\'#000000\']Michael, seems I'm wrong again.  Iceland has nearly no natural resources save fish, running water, and some kind of algae (?) deposits.

Another aspect of the quid pro quo are taxes.  I am not familiar with the tax structure of Iceland, but many places have property taxes.  A large industrial facility could pay substantal taxes to support the local economy and infrastructure.  Workers not only have good jobs, but they pay income taxes.  I worked for a few years at a power plant in the US.  At first the locals were very anti - the plant was going to ruin the place.  Now they can't spend all the property taxes they collect.  A town of about 6500 people spent $1M on a swimming pool in the town park.  The schools are new.  The high school has a huge football stadium.  People at that plant have very high paying jobs compared to the local, largely agricultural population.  They pay plenty of income taxes, property taxes on their houses and buy many products (like cars and trucks) and services locally.  The area prospered.  Now the idea of closing the plant is a great concern to the local economy.

I worked at another power plant that, if you belived the environmentalists, would kill the entire bay it was located on and provided cooling water.  After the plant started up, the owners had to build a parking lot, a park for picnicers and a bridge so fishermen could get onto the plant's breakwater.  It was the best fishing in the area, better than ever before.  The lobster fishermen were aways busy pulling up full traps there.  Seems the warm water from the plant attracted a lot of bait fish, which attracted bigger game fish, and lobsters.

There is a nuclear power plant in Florida that was required to build a cooling canal and ponds to protect the environment.  Now the American crocadile lives there.  One of the two places apparently in the US.  Will the environmentalists requirethe plant to neve close, lest the endangered species die?

So industrialization does not have to be as black as the environmentalists would have us believe.  And an aluminum smelter isn't the most photogenic thing I have seen.  But neither is route 395, but it gets a lot of people closer to the Sierra Nevada mountains than they would otherwise be.

Oh, getting back to the original topic, the Iceland photos are beautiful.[/font]
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Bruce Percy
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« Reply #7 on: October 08, 2004, 06:42:45 AM »
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[font color=\'#000000\']Hi,

I recently visited Iceland and thought you may like to see my portfolio from my trip :

Iceland Portfolio.

All I take with me is a Mamiya 7 system, which is ideal for back packing with.

All the best,
Bruce Percy

The Light & the Land Photography
http://www.thelightandtheland.com[/font]
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d2frette
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« Reply #8 on: October 08, 2004, 11:14:55 AM »
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[font color=\'#000000\']Bruce -

First, those are wonderful images you have.
Second, would you mind sharing more of your experience with us?  Personally, I'd like to know if you had a tour guide, how long were you there, and how much the trip cost you (if you are willing to share that with us), and any other details you'd like to share with us.

Thanks again! These are wonderful to see.

- Dave[/font]
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David M. Frette.  
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boku
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« Reply #9 on: October 08, 2004, 11:57:43 AM »
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[font color=\'#000000\']Bruce,

I also admire your images and I think your explanation of the logistics was valuable. The website was a first class presentation, but I have a few personal observations...

1) You have some "stunning" images and some "good" images. You have so many images, why not just weed them out to the "killers"?

2) It sure would be nice to have an overall index page of the gallery. Paging through them one by one doesn't give any indication of how many there are or when the journey is complete. With an index, I could just go to the "stunning" images first and directly.

Despite this, your work is certainly distinctive. I wonder how much the film-based imaging and time of year played into this. There is a difference between your collection and the typical galleries shown by the participants of Michael's summer Iceland excursion. Your work seems to have more mood and presence. I feel more "connected" to the landscape. Hard to explain.[/font]
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Bob Kulon

Oh, one more thing...
Play it Straight and Play it True, my Brother.
d2frette
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« Reply #10 on: October 08, 2004, 12:59:17 PM »
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[font color=\'#000000\']Many thanks for the extra details Bruce.  Very helpful.  I would never have imagined getting by for 3 weeks on 900 pounds (what, US$1500?). Very impressive.

I've wanted to go to Iceland for years. It's still expensive, but doable.  And you've got excellent photos, so you obviously went to the right places (and without a guide).

Bob was saying something about feeling more "connected" by your photos. I definitely feel that you've showed another side of Iceland.  The images feel very surreal to me. They draw me in to another world.

Welcome to the forum.

- Dave[/font]
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David M. Frette.  
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swaitjd
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« Reply #11 on: October 08, 2004, 03:17:05 PM »
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[font color=\'#000000\']Superlative!

Joffre[/font]
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rpinciuc
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« Reply #12 on: October 10, 2004, 08:29:45 PM »
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[font color=\'#000000\']Absolutely stunning... breathtaking... I'd really love to see prints of these. A personal favourite is "Landmannalaugar, central highlands, 2004".

I'm really blown away by your images, and will be returning to your gallery often for inspiration.  Please keep up the wonderful work,

-Rob[/font]
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rpinciuc
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« Reply #13 on: October 11, 2004, 03:03:33 AM »
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[font color=\'#000000\']Daniel - I'm also thoroughly enjoying your online galleries.  Stunning, to say the least, your skills are well-honed.  And I hear what you are saying re: "the disappearing landscape" as you might call it.  With photos as beautiful as we've seen here, it would be a tragedy to lose _any_ of the natural features of this land![/font]
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howard smith
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« Reply #14 on: October 11, 2004, 07:58:34 AM »
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[font color=\'#000000\']You bring up an interesting conflict between progress and the landscape.  Sure, it is a shame to many that the landscape is being ruined by power plants and aluminium smelters.  To some it is progress.  Do the people in Iceland want to live in a third world country so outsiders can visit a pristine country?  The cheap airfare to Iceland is possible partly because of cheap, abundant aluminium.  How does one get around once there?  Roads and busses or cars.  Once there, you may use an aluminium tripod and a very modern hitech camera.  All possible because of industrial progress somewhere.  There are islands north of Canada that are equally beautiful but few see because it costs so much to get there and there are no hotels, grocery stores, roads, busses or tour operators.

I just cannot understand how we Americans and some others can cry over cutting the rain forests in South America in the name of progress while there is scarcely any virgin or old growth forests remaining in the US.  The people of Brazil want a life with the amenities too.  We all want cheap, reliable and abundant electrical power but don't want power plants that burn oil, gas, uranium, or use rivers.  People complain that windmills are ugly, noisey and kill birds.  We all want good roads to get our cars or busses to pristine places where we can be alone.  "There's no free lunch."[/font]
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« Reply #15 on: October 11, 2004, 10:20:34 AM »
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[font color=\'#000000\']Howard,

Your position is absolutist. The choices aren't between civilization (such as it is) or wilderness. Thoughtful people are able to appreciate that there can be a balance between the two.

Voracious corporate interests would have us believe that we have to make an either / or choice. We don't. We can save the environment for our children and future generations by applying some intellegent self restraint, not by having to make an absolute choice between preservation and environmental rape.

There is lots of aluminum in the world, and lots of electricity to produce it. Iceland doesn't have to have its unique and precious environment devastated by Alcoa simply because that company finds there a cheaper source of electricity.

By parroting the corporate mantra that one has to choose one over the other, we simply are handing the rapists victory.

We can have cars, aluminum cans AND wilderness areas. All it takes is people who care to speak up, and an acceptance by the so-called advanced societies in the world that there have to be limits on growth.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled lives.

Carry on.

Michael[/font]
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Daniel Bergmann
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« Reply #16 on: October 11, 2004, 11:52:18 AM »
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[font color=\'#000000\']Howard,

There is no danger that we will be living in a third world country if more alumnium smelters will not be constructed. As is Iceland has one of the highest standard of living in the world. There has been a lot of growth in tourism in the past decades, which has given rise to better infrastructure and cheaper airfare, and in the long term I would say that tourism is a better choice for economic growth than harnessing glacier rivers, which will fill reservoirs with sediment in 50-80 years, making the Hydro Power stations obsolete within that timeframe. We are only caretakers of this earth. We have it on loan from our children, and it is our duty to treat it with respect and shy away from creating unreversible ecological and environmental damage. We need to strike a balance and not sacrifice everything for the sake of so called "progress".

I know I painted a bleak picture of the local situation. Not everything is all bad over here, but I just wanted to raise the issue and make you all aware of it.[/font]
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Lisa Nikodym
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« Reply #17 on: October 11, 2004, 12:58:57 PM »
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[font color=\'#000000\']A final note:  I've actually been to Iceland on vacation about five years ago.  I was impressed by how wild so much of it is, by how most of the landscapes were created by nature with very little influence from man.  Some development is often necessary for people to live as comfortably as possible, but I hope that whatever development comes to Iceland's wild areas is put in the less beautiful and less environmentally sensitive areas.  I applaud Daniel's (and others') approach of using photography to educate people to the value of the natural landscape, of which Iceland still has plenty.

Lisa[/font]
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howard smith
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« Reply #18 on: October 11, 2004, 04:48:11 PM »
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[font color=\'#000000\']Michael, asyou suggested, I have done some reading.  Iceland produces about 90% of its electrical power from hydro.  The other 10% is mostly geothermal.  How can you be so sure Daniel's computer is run by geothermal, unless Iceland has a split istribution for geo and hydro.

I am still looking at the third world title.  From what I have found so far there are first world countries, defined as "westernized and industrialized" and the rest of the world being third world.  The second world is pretty much gone.  By the way, Russia and China are considered third world.

Iceland's major exports are fish, goods and services.  Services are a bit more than goods, and combined they do not equal the $1.3B US of fish.

Their major imports are machinery (probably including computers and turbine.generators), petroleum products, food and textiles.  Whether they are considered "industrialized," I don't know.  I will do more reading.[/font]
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« Reply #19 on: October 12, 2004, 10:45:31 AM »
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[font color=\'#000000\']I´ve been reading all these posts with some interest and thought I´d chuck in my tuppence worth at this point.

Firstly, congratulations on a great portfolio of images. You have really captured that glowering atmosphere that is so prevalent in Iceland, as well as the near-miracles of beautiful evening light that occasionally relieve all that "algjört skita veður" (Daniel will understand!).

Iceland is posed with a great dilemma as it looks into the future. Although it is a very prosperous country with a GDP per capita figure that would be the envy of most of the developed world (it is emphatically a first world country) its economic success is effectively founded on two renewable resources: fish and electricity.

Iceland´s fish stocks are managed very carefully by the government with the aim of maintaining long-term sustainability. They have been very successful in so doing thus far, and we must hope that this remains the case. However, Iceland is just as vulnerable to climate change as anywhere else. We´ve seen the collapse of the cod fisheries in Newfoundland and the North Sea, mainly by overfishing, it´s true, but we hear increasingly dire predictions about the possible deflection southward of the Gulf Stream (without which Iceland would become a block of ice) if global warming continues apace. Anyway, it became apparent to the Icelandic government years ago that it was foolish to have all your eggs in one basket (fisheries were roughly 80% of exports in 1980, as opposed to 37% now).

The dam that Daniel refers to is massively controversial for the reasons that he stated, and one always has great sympathy for his line of argument - it would be hard-hearted to say otherwise. In fact, you might think of this dam as Iceland´s Hetch-Hetchy Reservoir that Ansel Adams so bitterly opposed. This valley, as Daniel will admit, is no tourism icon and was rarely visited by anybody, so I guess the calculation was made that if a valley had to be flooded this would be the lesser of many evils. Maybe.

The dilemma that Iceland faces is: If it were to happen that the fisheries collapse (possible, if only remotely so) or that tourism (23% of exports) reduces/collapses (easily possible, with the world economy on the brink as it is) or, God forbid, both happen, the nation will be left up the creek without a paddle. Big time. Where, but where, will a dependable income derive from?

That is why there are dams and smelters (3 of them!) in Iceland - it´s to give the economy a broader base and a safety net.

Iceland is virtually a second home to me and a place that I have great affection for. The people are a most sympathetic bunch, and justifiably proud of what they have achieved "up there".

I know I´m simplifying massively, but 100 years ago Iceland was one of the poorest countries you could conceive of, and unless it wants to risk returning at least part-way in that direction if the fishery fails the occasional compromise has to be made. And I wouldn´t call damming Dettifoss a compromise either!

Skál!

Bill[/font]
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