Iceland Mag

6 Reykjavik

Iceland Mag

Travel

I felt like I had to pick up my jaw every ten minutes

By Jón Kaldal

  • Kieran and friends "Waking up next to Skógafoss waterfall was incredible, and we had the place to ourselves in the morning before the tour buses started to arrive." Photos/Kieran Duncan

  • "We did end up in a whiteout with extremely low visibility for the last two hours as we tried to reach the emergency shelter... we eventually arrived soaking wet and had the best whisky and pasta of our lives!"

Through the overbearing noise of the internet every now and again something will break through that really grabs your attention. One great example is a great short travel-video-diary (see below) by a young Scot named Kieran Duncan. Not only does it shine a beautiful light on Iceland's nature but the fantastic joie de vivre is sure to bring a smile to your face. We tracked Kieran down and asked him a few questions.

 

Where do you live?
At the moment I'm living in Dundee, Scotland. I'm at the art school finishing off my Masters degree in Animation. I wrap up in September so I'm not sure where I'll be going after that, it mostly depends on where I can get work, but I'm quite keen to move abroad and try something a bit different (perhaps back to Iceland!).

Have you done other travel videos like this?
This is my first time trying this kind of video, but I hope won't be the last! Travelling as a poor art student definitely takes its toll on the bank balance, but I'm hoping to go on plenty more adventures when I can, and I'll definitely be recording them. Most of my previous projects were directing short animated films (some of which are on my vimeo channel), but I'm really interested in branching out into adventure and documentary style film making. I just need to find somebody crazy enough to fund me! My animation experience definitely helped when it came to planning/editing the Iceland video, and I've always been a keen photographer, so it was nice to marry the two and try something different. 

Was this your first trip to Iceland?
This was my first time in Iceland, but I certainly hope to come back. I feel like I've only seen a tiny part of it and I'm keen to experience it's stunningly varied landscapes in different seasons. Coming from Scotland, there was a certain familiarity with some aspects of Iceland (particularly the insane weather), but so much of it felt incredibly alien at the same time. I can't wait to find an opportunity to go and explore some more. 

I remember sitting in second year of university watching it on my laptop and thinking "I need to go to this place!

What brought you here?
Believe it or not, it was actually the "Inspired By Iceland" video which was released a few years ago, and it worked! I remember sitting in second year of university watching it on my laptop and thinking "I need to go to this place!".Since then, I've had a couple of friends and family members visit Iceland, and they assured me that I'd love it there. Then last year my flatmate and I booked the flights and I spent 6 months waiting with itchy feet to get started. I've always regarded it as quite a mysterious place, and I tried not to spoil it for myself by researching it too thoroughly. I was keen to experience it without too much knowledge of what to expect, and I'm glad I did. 

Photo/Kieran Duncan

What's your favourite moment from the trip/video?
There's so many I don't know where to begin! I can't believe we got so much done in eleven days, the abundance of daylight really helped. I think my favourite moments from both the trip and the video are the small incidental personal touches. I really love the shot of my friend's face near the end, when we round the bend and discover another stunning waterfall on the hike from Skógar. I think the excitement and wonder on her face captured the trip perfectly, we must have had those expressions at least 90% of the time. The entire hike north of Skógar was stunning and definitely a highlight, although we did end up in a whiteout with extremely low visibility for the last two hours as we tried to reach the emergency shelter... we eventually arrived soaking wet and had the best whisky and pasta of our lives! I also love the action shots hanging out of the car window (just don't tell the car hire company!) and the other generally silly shots. I tried to find a good balance of fun and epicness with the edit, and there was plenty of footage of both.

Where did you go while here?
We spent a few days just getting our bearings and went north up to Borgarnes and Akranes for some wet and windy hiking. It was just two of us for the first three days, then we went back to Keflavik to pick up our friends before we spent four or five days touring the southern coast. We tried to see as much as possible and made it as far as Skaftafell before we had to turn back. We camped the whole way which was great,  waking up next to Skógafoss waterfall was incredible, and we had the place to ourselves in the morning before the tour buses started to arrive. There were several hikes inland away from the ring road, which was amazing. It was great to get a small taste of what Iceland has to offer off the beaten path. We stayed in Reykjavik for the last three nights and completed the Golden Circle which was brilliant. We then spent a day exploring the city and visited the amazing national museum before splashing out on a beautiful meal in Kol. On the last day we checked out the fantastic Viking Museum in Keflavik, and visited the Blue Lagoon for a well deserved rest before flying back to Edinburgh!

Any favourite part of the country?
It's impossible to say. I felt like I had to pick up my jaw every ten minutes, and we had to stop each other from saying "that's awesome" constantly. The entire drive along the southern coast is some of the most spectacular scenery I've ever witnessed, is that too large to count as a favourite? Anyway, I'm hesitant to pick a favourite part until I've been back to see the rest! I know I definitely want to explore more of the inland areas and do some more serious hiking. The small sample we had on this trip was spectacular. Although it's so varied I doubt I'll ever be able to nail down a favourite part to be honest. 

Where to next?
It's difficult to say, I'm at a bizarre point in my life where I need to start pretending to think about the future. I'm trying to figure out a way I can combine my love for adventure and film making into a viable career, so I hope that works out! My best mate just moved to Norway today, so I imagine I'll be out there for some more filming and Jack Daniels over there as soon as possible. I'm really into rock climbing and I'm eager to experiment with some climbing videos, Norway seems like a great place to start! Either that or I'll be putting my masters degree to good use in the local McDonalds. 

Iceland 2014 from Kieran Duncan on Vimeo.

 

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