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There were many surprises on our recent DPD workshop in Iceland. Anticipating auroras we encountered heavy weather, which we expertly dodged with resourcefulness of our hosts at Focus On Nature.

In the images I made during this week I found something old and something new. I revisited a few old themes – reflections and ripples. I connected new themes – contrails and tire tracks. But the bird’s eye views we saw during one hour of aerials both over frozen highlands and along flowing rivers were the most captivating. Related to aerial images I’ve produced in Namibia, I’m sure now that this kind of photography is something I’ll do much more of in the future.

That said, it’s really the relationship between a new image of a wave and an earlier one of a waterfall that excites me most. I thought that I hadn’t found what I was looking for, great images of auroras. But when I saw this wave repeatedly crashing into the air, I realized I actually found what I’d been looking for for quite some time. Expect the unexpected?

 View more Contact Sheets here.

View Seth Resnick’s images from the same voyage here.

Learn more about my digital printing and digital photography workshops.

WhyMakePrints

Suffusion XV, Skogafoss, Iceland, 2012

To find what I was looking for, it took three visits to this waterfall.

On the first visit, I made conventional postcards surveying the site with a curious eye; cliffs, grass, moss, waterfall, pool, river, rock, vapor, rainbow, sun, clouds, rain, tourists, horses. The images I made were competent – and nothing more.

On the second visit, I identified my primary focus – the fast-moving complex patterns the water made as it fell in waves through the air. Images that isolated these patterns contained a number of qualities that I was excited about, both something related to what I had been developing in other images and something new. I had found what I was looking for. But, when I evaluated the images I made and developed the material further (enhancing the patterns by combining them and adding new elements) it became clear that I needed more material to make a complete statement. During development, I made notes and sketches to chart my progress and refine my ideas.

On the third visit, I walked up to the waterfall and stood in front of it silently watching for new patterns and making exposures for the better part of an hour. I was thrilled to be immersed in a magical moment, completely focused, and undisturbed. At the end of this session my good friend and colleague Arthur Meyerson asked, “Did you get anything?” “Yes,” I responded, “I got a body of work.”

With so many wonderful possibilities out there, why would you return to the same well more than once? Let me count the reasons.

1       You’ll get to spend more time with your favorite people, places or things.

Passion energizes.

2       You’ll have an opportunity to make the images that almost worked or that you missed.

Make a list to learn from your mistakes and create a working plan.

3       You’ll have an opportunity to improve your images.

Practice makes perfect.

4       You’ll learn more about a place.

By increasing your understanding of the places you photograph your photographs will become more interesting.

5       You’ll see changes in the place.

Time reveals new things, changing subjects and changing us.

6       You’ll see new things.

Having first found the images that come to you naturally, you’ll later find yourself challenged to look for other kinds of images, which will stimulate your creativity and increase your visual versatility.

7       You’ll learn more about yourself.

You’ll be called to identify your habits, changes, strengths and weaknesses, hopes and purpose.

Just because we see new things doesn’t mean we will see in new ways. In fact, it’s often during times when we are engaged by a great deal of new information that we fall back on our habits. When we see the same things again we are challenged to see in new ways and/or deepen the ways we see them.

Questions 

What things would be most valuable for you to revisit?

How many new ways can you imagine approaching a subject?

What do you hope to accomplish when you revisit them?

What can you learn about yourself when you return – preferences, tendencies, habits, core strengths, areas for improvement, etc?

Find out more about this image here.

View more related images here.

Read more The Stories Behind The Images here.

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Constellation VI, Selljalandsfoss, Iceland, 2012

I had tried my hand at this subject and failed a number of times. It was easy to make the standard high impact postcard images of this famous location. Selljalandsfoss, Iceland is a marvelous waterfall that you can circle in front of, around, behind and back again. It’s particularly dramatic in the winter when the stairs that lead behind it freeze over and the walls around it freeze up forming icy stalactites of all sizes that periodically crash to the ground. It’s particularly divine on evenings when the setting sun sets the sky and the waterfall afire. In all the times I’ve visited Selljalandsfoss, the light has been like this only twice. Good enough results the first time lead to my knowing what I needed to do to excel – and I was able to do it. Well before sunset, I walked behind the waterfall, and sat quietly without interruption for the better part of two hours, listening to the thundering sound of the cascading water, feeling its vibrations in my body, and watching the water slowly change color from white, to cream, to gold, to pink, to coral, to mauve, to lavender, to gray, to black. I never took my eyes off the water, seeing endless patterns continually appearing, disappearing, and reappearing. I was enthralled, enchanted, transported in one of the more intensely inspiring moments of my life. I made a thousand exposures and collected enough material for a body of work. When you’re in the zone you stay there and you don’t do anything that might disrupt your flow.

What specifically is flow?  A mental state when people are completely absorbed with energized focus while harnessing emotions aligned with performing and learning activities. Some say that how and when flow happens is a mystery; they give up on solving this riddle because there are so many conditions that contribute to failing to achieve, achieving, sustaining, and disrupting flow – and they vary between individuals and individual moments. Others, love mysteries, like flow; they look to the most common causes for achieving and sustaining flow and incorporate individual differences and sensitivity to current conditions into attempts to achieve and maintain it. Psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihaly suggests that we enter states of flow or peak performance when we rise to challenges that interest and stretch us but aren’t beyond our ability to meet, placing us in a curious emotional state that lies between the poles of boredom and anxiety. Throughout the ages cultures have studied flow (using many different names) and we continue to learn more and more about it every day. My recommendation is that you too study flow – personally.

For instance, from previous experiences I know I tend to achieve states of flow more frequently and more deeply when I connect with a subject emotionally and my understanding of it is deep enough to ask more specific questions while creating something in a way that involves physical activity with sustained concentration. The natural world is almost always involved in some way. Reflection before, meditation during, and contemplation after, all aid this process for me.

You can profit from other people’s experiences of flow, what they create in it, and the paths they find to it, but don’t expect yours to be identical – your experience may be very different. In your study of flow, beware of limiting attitudes and superstitious behavior. Above all, pursue flow actively. Take action. Don’t ask “What happens if …?” hypothetically and preemptively. Instead, ask “What happens when … ?” during practical experimentation. Then look at probabilities and stack them in your favor. All you need to do is to find your tipping point(s) and trigger them. How do you know when you’re in the zone? You’ll know. And so will everyone else. When you’re in the zone, there’s no denying it. You’re usually there when you’re doing your best work and feel most alive.

Questions

What are the benefits of being in the zone?

How do you know when you’re in the zone?

What does it take for you to get into the zone?

What can you do to get into the zone faster?

What can you do to get into the zone more frequently?

What can you do to stay in the zone longer?

Find out more about this image here.

View more related images here.

Read more The Stories Behind The Images here.

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My free July desktop calendar features an image from Iceland.

Download it here now.

Find out about upcoming events here.

My free April desktop calendar features an image in my series Suffusion from Iceland.

Download it here now.

Find out about upcoming events here.

My free March desktop calendar features an image from Iceland.

Download it here now.

Find out about upcoming events here.

How Auroras Work

October 26, 2012 | Leave a Comment |

How do aurora work? Find out in this informative video.

Learn more in my Iceland Aurora digital photography workshop.

 Charlotte Bailey

Here are a few images from Digital Photo Destinations 2012 Arctic Voyage.

View more alumni images from our Iceland 2012 Adventure.

Seth Resnick, Arthur Meyerson, Ragnar Th Sigurdsson and I had a great time with a fantastic group of people while photographing three arctic islands this month – Svalbard, Greenland, and Iceland. Polar bears, reindeer, walrus, whales, and countless birds populated the diverse and historic arctic landscapes we passed through. Cryophilia (love of ice) set in when we entered one of the largest fjord systems in the world – Scorsbysund, Greenland. We’re all excited to return to Greenland and see more, which already we’ve begun plans for.

There’s limited space left in our Antarctica 2013 Voyage.

We’ll be announcing our Iceland Northern Lights 2013 workshop soon.

If you’d like to join us for a future adventure / voyage email jpc@digitalphotodestinations.com.

Linda Sandow

Olaf Willoughby

Michael Quinn

Evan Anderman

Danielle Vick

Campbell Gunn

Barbara Ventura

Jed Best

Jim Brewster

Cathrine Spikkerud

Charles Kleiman

Geir Morten Skeie

Charlotte Bailey

Paul Tornaquindici

Bob Peterson

Kathy Beal

Read more

Here are a few more alumni images from Digital Photo Destinations / Focus On Nature’s 2012 Iceland Adventure.

Seth Resnick and I had a great time with a great group of people in Iceland last week. We visited old favorites (Seljalandsfoss, Skogafoss, Jokulsarlon, Rekjanes) and some new favorites (Snaefellsnes, Landmanalaugar). 4-Wheel drives to the highlands, Zodiac cruises, and glacier walks took it up a notch. Every one of us learned a lot and improved our photography.

We’re now planning a northern lights, super-jeep, and ice cave adventure.

Be the first to hear about our March 2013 Iceland workshop.

Email jpc@digitalphotodestinations.com.

Yves Perrault

Charlotte Bailey Rush

Duane Miller

Kathy Beal

David Cho Yee Young

Graham Smith

Richard Moreau

Olaf Willoughby

Carla DeDominicis

Michael J Quinn

Michael McGinnis

Here are a few first alumni images from Digital Photo Destinations / Focus On Nature’s 2012 Iceland Adventure. I can’t wait to see what they make by the end of the week!

Seth Resnick and I have been having a great time with a great group of people in Iceland this week. We visited old favorites (Seljalandsfoss, Skogafoss, Jokulsarlon, Rekjanes) and some new favorites (Snaefellsnes, Landmanalaugar). 4-Wheel drives to the highlands, Zodiac cruises, and glacier walks took it up a notch.

We’re planning an aurora and ice cave adventure now.

Be the first to hear about our 2013 Iceland workshop.

Email jpc@digitalphotodestinations.com.

Yves Perreault

Richard Moreau

Duane Miller

Carla DeDominicis

Michael McGinnis

Olaf Willoughby

Charlotte Bailey Rush

David Cho Yee Young

Kathy Beal


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