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Vestrahorn

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10 things I learned about landscape photography in 2018.

About this time last year I was wrapping up a photography trip in Iceland. For a month I explored this lonely, otherworldly country from a camper van. So much has happened since then — the intense feeling of isolation turned my personality on its head as I was left to battle goals, dreams, weather and mood swings alone.

That month was full of firsts: my first time in a camper van, first time traveling for a month, first time experiencing crazy short days. I met photographer + YouTuber Thomas Heaton here, and shortly after the phenomenal Mads Peter Iversen, who I was privileged to call a colleague during my time as a staff writer for Fstoppers.com.

That month and the next 3 I spent photographing the UK were life changing, but not in the glowing way I had envisioned. The day before beginning my journey back to Reykjavik for the flight to England, I visited Vestrahorn once more. I was a bit homesick, craving a latte, and feeling like an emotional wreck.

I started chatting with the lady at the gift shop. About weather, about my time here, and about my hopes for the future. She handed me a cup of coffee. I grabbed a selfie.

Then it clicked.

That experience started to change my focus: not every day would have an exceptional landscape for me. But if I took the time, I could meet new and exceptional people. They couldn’t cure the loneliness, but they could give it meaning. They couldn’t give me a perfect landscape, but they created the story behind it.

As I continued to battle with ups and downs, I started to discover just how much individuals have to offer for the photographer who will take time to ask and listen. It transforms the artist into a storyteller.

My last morning at Vestrahorn was as gray as ever, but it was a good deal less dreary.

That isolation set the tone for my time in Charlottesville, Virginia: a sparse place for landscape photography, but rich soil for some of the most meaningful friendships of my life.

Stokksnes, Vatnajökull National Park, Iceland.

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Tagged: , iceland , winter , travel , camper van , wanderlust , snow , beach , sand , water , wave , coast , mountain , sunrise , dreary , national park , sabbatical , trip , landscape , long exposure

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