Civil Protection Agency warns catastrophic mountain collapse a threat at Svínafellsjökull glacier
Where are you from?
I currently live in Boston, I am originally from New Hampshire, and I went to college in Vermont. I actually graduated college last May and I skipped graduation in order to have more time to spend in Iceland. Right now I work as an engineer at GE Aviation in Boston.
When and where was the video shot?
The video was shot in May and June of 2013. It was shot all over Iceland; I drove around the island twice, once in each direction. Unfortunately, I was not able to go into regions like Landmannalaugar as they still were covered in snow.
Was this your first time in Iceland?
"This was my first time visiting Iceland. I saw a film called "The Midnight Sun" which really inspired me to go to Iceland. I had also read how Iceland was one of the best countries to go as a landscape photographer and conveniently, it was only a 4.5 hour flight."
"Looking back I wish I had gone out in the pouring rain and fog because I probably would have gotten more shots."
How long did you stay?
"I stayed for about 4 weeks. I spent the first 2.5 weeks living in an RV with my family and driving around the island. Then I dropped them off at the airport, got my rental car, and started driving around the island for a second time. I did most of my time lapse photography when I was alone, and unfortunately during these 10 days it rained for 6. I had two days of good weather near lake Mývatn and another two days of great weather when I was driving through the eastern fjords. During the six days it rained I barley left the car. I was aware that good light was critical in making a strong photograph, but I was convinced that good light meant the clouds had to be gold and pink.
"Looking back I wish I had gone out in the pouring rain and fog because I probably would have gotten more shots. Instead I stayed in my car. I slept in the car, I cooked my meals on a gas stove that I balanced very cautiously on the passenger seat. I also had an elaborate charging station so I could charge all my batteries and laptop. As the rain and wind shook my car I was often slurping on Ramen noodles, watching a TV show, glancing up at the sky every few minutes, and occasionally wondering what I had gotten myself into. When I was worried my car battery was getting low (I had nightmares it would die on me and I would wake up in an exotic location with a useless car and no humans in sight), I would drive around and explore.
"After days of being inside a car I can't tell you how beautiful the sun is. All of a sudden I felt FOMAS (Fear of Missing a Shot) and I would scramble to have my camera rolling, especially during the Golden Hours. I skipped meals, didn't sleep for full days, all because I was so driven to capture the beauty that was unfolding in front of me. Looking back at my film I find it quite surprising that while I was in Iceland for 4 weeks, almost all of the shots in the film are from 4 days."
The rescue vehicles broke down as they tried to dig us out so we ended up having to stay a second night. Fortunately the storm cleared by the next morning, and we were able to see the waterfall with a fresh coat of snow"
What's your favorite memory from Iceland
"The most distinct memory I have is watching the sunset over lake Mývatn. The previous four days it had been raining and I had barley left the car, and then one afternoon the clouds cleared up just enough. I started by shooting a sequence of the shadows setting over the crater (2:38 in the video), then I drove over to the lava flows (1:20 and 3:18). Next I drove to a lookout over the lake and saw the most amazing sunset I have ever seen (1:27), and then I drove east to capture the sunrise (1:35). That was an incredible night with some spectacular light."
Was there anything about Iceland or its people that surprised you?
"I had done a lot of research about Iceland before I went, however my family and I did make a mistake towards the end of our trip (this was early June). It was really late at night, we were all hungry and wanted to find a place to spend the night. Dettifoss was not too far away so we decided we would drive to the parking lot and spend the night there so we could check out the waterfall first thing in the morning. The next morning we woke up and the entire parking lot was covered in snow and the access road had some 6ft tall wind drifts that had formed over-night in the storm. The rescue vehicles broke down as they tried to dig us out so we ended up having to stay a second night. Fortunately the storm cleared by the next morning, and we were able to see the waterfall with a fresh coat of snow, and by the time we got back to the RV the trucks had reached the parking lot and were digging us out."
Any plans to come back to Iceland?
"I would love to come back to Iceland, quite possibly next summer. I would come again this summer but Iceland is an expensive country to visit."
Watch Julian's beautiful time-laps video below.
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