PARIS, VENICE, ICELAND AND AN ARCTIC FOX…

In a few days from now I am heading to Iceland for my 2012 Summer expedition. It has been well over a year since I was last in Iceland and I am very much looking forward to returning to its amazingly varied and ever changing landscape. Before I make my way to Iceland however, I am going to be spending some ‘quality time’ travelling through France and Italy with my better half. We will be spending a week in Paris, where I will be dragged kicking and screaming from landmark to landmark before we make our way (by car) through the French provincial countryside visiting some of the more famous wine regions on our way to the canals of Venice.

Now, I am normally not in the slightest bit interested in cities. I find them generally polluted, overcrowded and unpleasant places to be. I much prefer to be out in nature’s wilderness. However, I need to earn  a few brownie points and spend some time engaged in activities that my significant other finds appealing before I can escape to the wilds of Iceland. C’est la vie. Secretly, I am looking forward to some photography in the French countryside and around the canals of Venice (but don’t tell my wife!).

On arrival in Iceland I am going to spend a couple of days in Reyjkavic where I will meet up with my good friends Daniel, Martyn and Bruce before we make for the Snaefellsnes peninsula; which is an area of Iceland I have not yet visited. After spending a few days in the Snaefellsnes region we had been planning to head to Hornstrandir Nature reserve to photograph arctic foxes in the extreme northwestern part of Iceland (weather permitting). This is true expedition territory as no one lives there permanently  and it is quite easy to end up stranded there for days if the weather turns bad. At this stage the plan is to wait and see what the weather forecast is and to decide at the time if it is worth the risk. Since the region is so remote it is strictly camping only and all supplies must be carried with us. There is a ferry that travels to the area from Isafjordur and again weather permitting we were thinking of spending a day or two out at Latrabjarg which is one of the best places in Iceland to photograph Puffins. At this time of year the parents should be bringing the chicks fish in their beaks which would make for some excellent wildlife opportunities.

Room with a View in Iceland

In terms of equipment I am planning to take almost my entire line-up of cameras and lenses on this trip. With my wife in toe for the first part of the trip I can easily offload some of my gear into her carry on luggage if required. My compliment of cameras and lenses is going to include:

  • Canon EOS 1DX w/ Really Right Stuff mounting plate from a Canon 70-200mm F4L lens (the L bracket is not yet released for this camera)
  • Canon EOS 1DS MK3 w/ Really Right Stuff L Bracket
  • Canon 17mm F4L TSE Lens
  • Canon 24mm F1.4L MKII Lens
  • Canon 35mm F1.4L Lens
  • Canon 50mm F1.2L Lens
  • Canon 85mm F1.2L Lens
  • Canon 90mm F2.8 TSE Lens
  • Canon 70-200mm F2.8L IS Lens w/ Really Right Stuff Mounting Plate
  • Canon 300mm F2.8L IS Lens w/ Really Right Stuff Mounting Plate
  • Canon 1.4 Tele-Converter MKII
  • Gitzo GT350 LSV 6X Carbon Fibre Tripod w/ Really Right BH55 Ball Head
  • MacBook Pro 15″ w/ 8 Gig RAM and 256 Gig SSD running Lightroom 4.1 and Photoshop CS6
  • Sufficient CF and SD Cards, Card Readers, Back-Up Hard Drives (2x IOMEGA dual Firewire 800 1TB Hard Drives), My LEE ND grad filter kit, Camera Batteries, Chargers, Lens cleaning equipment etc…
All of the above (excluding the tripod) will be stored in my Gura Gear Kiboko and Gura Gear Chobe camera bags and carried onto planes. I will check my tripod inside my Helly Hanson duffle roller bag. A year or so ago I would also likely have packed my pocket Canon S90 both as a back-up and for snapshots. However, the camera in my iPhone now serves this purpose and saves me a few grams of weight; whilst adding oodles of convenience.

This trip will be the maiden voyage for my new Canon 1DX camera; which Canon promised me on a handshake I would have before I left. Since it literally only arrived yesterday I was getting very nervous that they were actually going to deliver (especially after all the delays). Ideally, it would have been beneficial if the camera was delivered a week or so earlier so that I had an opportunity to at least put a few hundred frames on it under test. As it is I have not had time to do much more than shoot a few frames in the backyard and local park to ensure the camera is operating properly. My initial impressions are very positive (the new autofocus system and high ISO performance are truly phenomenal) and I have high hopes for the Canon 1DX. It has been a long time since it was announced back in September last year and I am now very keen to get out into the field to put it through its paces.

I plan to update my blog as regularly as possible throughout the trip and both Bruce and I will also be writing a blog for Moab paper of our experiences in Iceland. Bruce will be travelling with both Canon and Nikon equipment including a Canon 5DMKII and Nikon D800E with lenses for both, as well as a Leica M9 and a large selection of their very finest glass (including some rare and ‘little’ LEE ND graduated filters made specifically for Leica lenses). It is going to be very interesting to see how the little Leica performs in Iceland’s elements. My friend Martyn is bringing a 5D MK3, a 1DS MK3 and his Sony Nex all of which should add to the melting pot of brands and models on hand to compare and contrast. It should be a lot of fun.

See you in Paris.

3 Comments

  1. Posted July 8, 2012 at 7:58 am | Permalink | Reply

    I was in Hornstrandir yesterday for a day’s hike in Hornvík and managed to get a couple of good compositions. Saw some dens but no sighting of the Arctic fox itself. Ideally a week’s time there is required to increase photographic opportunities. What a place! I am not a camper (unless it is camping at the Hyatt or Marriott) but the sheer isolation and beauty may impel me to go back to Hornstrandir for an extended time.

  2. Posted July 5, 2012 at 8:31 am | Permalink | Reply

    Lovely right up, can’t wait to see/hear the first impressions of the 1DX…
    First drinks are on me, digger!
    Best,
    Martyn

  3. Posted July 4, 2012 at 9:17 pm | Permalink | Reply

    This is so gorgeous! You really take great shots! =)

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