Landmannalaugar Moss Landscape

landmannalaugar

This was a rainy trip through Iceland’s Southern Highlands in July 2016. The rain was on and off and mostly mist like drizzle. This is one of many lava fields dotted between the mountains near Landmannalaugar.

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Background

The forecast was not wrong, it was for rain, but getting lighter at Landmannalauagar into the evening. So, we took a chance and took the rough road into the park.

We couldn’t even see anything for miles because of the mist. We eventually stopped at a point where we could see a mountain through the mist. I tried a shot with my Zeiss 50mm and was fuming at my self for such a bad composition. So I decided to keep it on my camera all evening until I got a good composition. How dare I be so out of practice.

As we got closer to Landmannalaugar, the mist lifted allowing us to see the beautiful mountains. We stopped near this lava field. I explored it with my 50mm prime.

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Composition

Lava fields are difficult to compose. I had my background established with the most interesting mountains that would fit into my 50mm. So, I looked for lava shapes that would frame the mountains, balance the left and right, lead the eye into the image and have some interesting elements at different depths to add composition dynamics.

(I don’t ask for a lot do I?)

As I explored further, I spotted the river. I knew that including this would add extra depth, but I need to get higher. In doing this, I found some beautiful unspoiled lava and moss.


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Magic Cloth

The scene is not a high dynamic range scene, so it was never going to be a heavy cloth action. I could have easily retained what little detail there was in the sky and got enough shadow detail for a decent shot. My use of the Magic Cloth here was very slight and subtle and just allowed me to expose the moss on lava a little more. During my 30 second exposure, I allowed the whole scene about 1 seconds exposure before moving the cloth down over the whole scene and lifting all the way up. I repeated this about 4 times over the 30 seconds. The intention was to get some cloud movement, although this is very minimal.

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By Tony Prower

Tony Prower spent over 15 years photographing the landscapes of Iceland. Tony Prower is a pioneer of the Magic Cloth Technique and ran thousands of photo tours in Iceland over 10 years.

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