Iceland – Focus On Nature (August 10-14, 2009)

Focus On Nature’s Einar Erlandsson asked me about my thoughts on my past (2008) and future (2009) workshop in Iceland, as well as my approach to teaching.
Here’s an excerpt.
Q: Do you see the light in Iceland as being different in some way?
A: Iceland’s light is ever changing. It moves so fast you have to stay alert.
Q: What in the landscape inspires you?
A: Extreme variety. Intense energy. Challenging complexity.
Q: Do you feel that the Icelandic workshop is different or has a character you can explain in few words to participants?
A: Iceland, both the landscape and its people, has a unique character. It’s very complex landscape with astonishing geologic variety – rugged seascapes, glacial lagoons, active volcanoes, Europe’s largest icecap, Europe’s only desert. The culture is simultaneously ancient (oldest European language, isolated genetic strain, different surname conventions) and high tech (cutting edge geothermal and computer technology). The people behind Focus on Nature are all professional photographers each with a lifetime of experience in Iceland. They know all the ins and outs of the place, the hidden spots and unusual people who would go unnoticed by someone without that experience. They’re extremely gracious. When it’s cold, Raggi pulls out a surprise stash of Russian Cognac. When it’s raining, Einar is suddenly found standing next to a student – with an umbrella. Everyday you’ll be surprised. You’ll get lost in Iceland. Be careful. If you go, you may not want to leave and you’ll definitely have to go again.
Read the rest here.
See my past Iceland blogposts including participant work here.
Space is still available. 10% discounts apply through April.

James Balog – Extreme Ice Survey

Jim Balog has been doing an absolutely fascinating photographic project. He and a team of glaciologists have put cameras around the world and set them to take exposures every hour. The changes they’ve tracked have been astonishing – even to the most learned scientists! You’ve never seen anything like this. Few people have. Until now. This project is important photographically – it’s extended the way photographers work and think about developing projects. The focus on movement/change represented by still photographs, many presented as time lapse series moves us ever closer to blurring the lines between still and video. It’s a project of historic proportions in so many ways.
This project presents important evidence in the quest to understand climate change. Here’s the bottom line. “Over 100 million people live within three feet of sea level—the very amount that experts expect seas to rise by 2100. Cities will spend trillions on coastal defenses, low-lying regions such as Florida and Bangladesh will be devastated, and many island nations will cease to exist. Overall, the consequences will test our ability to adapt like never before.” The debate is not whether climate change is happening. 90% of scientists agree it is. The real debates are how much, how fast, how much is geophysical, how much man contributes, what we can do about it, and are we prepared to react to it.
Watch Extreme Ice here.
Learn more about James Balog here.
Balog ends the series in a place that has captivated me – Iceland.
Check out my Iceland workshop here.
See my work in Antarctica. Images. Text. Book.

Focus On Nature – Iceland Journey 2008

“Excuse me sir. Could you help me get lost in Iceland?”
And we loved every minute of it.
If you want to get lost in Iceland, go with the pros; go with Focus On Nature.
We covered some territory and put in some long hours. And yet we feel we’ve only just begun to experience Iceland. Columnar basalt seashores, geothermal hotsprings, volcanic craters, lava beds, glaciers, glacial lagoons, black beaches strewn with ice, waterfalls, wide river deltas, lush river valleys, high deserts … but wait there’s more! But we’re out of time. We’ll have to wait – until next year.
Focus On Nature has been a great experience. Fantastic landscape! Great people!
Find out more about Focus on Nature here.
Get Priority Status for all 2009 workshops now by emailing

Get Local Information – Part 4 – Gudmundur Ingolfsson

Focus On Nature’s creator Einar Erlandson enlisted professional photographer Gudmundur Ingolfsson to help guide us on location in Iceland. Gudmundur is a veteran photographer. His passion for photography started when he was a young boy. He started learning English by reading photographic magazines. So what do you talk about for two 16 hour days while driving through the stunningly varied and complex landscape of Iceland? Susan Sontag and Roland Barthes. Eliot Porter, and Joel Sternfield. View cameras and CCDs. Climate change and vulcanology. Jim Jarmusch and Aki Kourismaki. Vivaldi and Dave Brubeck. You know light conversation. The funny thing is we were always laughing. Gudmundur’s drove us in his modified desert exploration vehicle, an old orange rig high enough to go across rivers and rugged enough to go over volcano beds lying between glaciers. We never would have gone to the places we went without his able guidance. When local’s share their experiences you learn, experience and share more. My advice? Get to know the locals. And have fun doing it! You might make great friends.
Find out about Gudmundur Ingolfsson here.
Find out more about Focus on Nature here.
Get Priority Status for all 2009 workshops now by emailing

3 Keys for Artistic Growth – Look, Speak, Listen

How do you help people make more authentic work? The most important thing to do is to find out where they are now and what they need most. How do you find this out? Look at their work. Listen to them speak. Watch them work. You can do the same for someone else.
You can do all of this for yourself. Look, speak, listen. Look at yourself looking. Listen to yourself speaking. Listen to yourself listening. Make notes. Do this without judgement. Just become more aware of yourself and your process. Simply becoming more aware of your process, both external and internal, helps you make more authentic work. You discover your voice. Make time and space for your voice. It’s extremely rewarding.
Find out more about Focus on Nature here.
Get Priority Status for all 2009 workshops now by emailing