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I SHOT IT Competition Winner : First Prize

Competition Winner : First Prize

I am incredibly honored to take my second first prize in a year!

 

Judges Comment

Just stunning. My first impression upon seeing this photograph was that the subject of ice on black sand wasn’t very original. Those famous Icelandic beaches are amongst the world’s most sought after locations after all, and many beautiful photographs have been taken there. I did though put it directly into the final selection basket because it is technically so beautiful. Later, during a very close inspection of all the final images, when the smallest of details can mean win or lose , the fantastic technical qualities of this photograph became so apparent. This is as good as they get. The composition is beautiful, balanced, peaceful and perfect. The exposure is filtered, whites and blacks cleverly respected, whilst the aperture and shutter speed have been beautifully balanced to create this amazingly real oceanic atmosphere. The aperture has brought sharpness all the way into the corners, the shutter speed has given a perfect dose of life-giving movement to the sea, the power of the waves still visible, the surf drawing important lines. I have mentioned the importance of neutral density grad filters in landscape photography in several of my critiques this round, (see critiques), and here we see the beautifully toned sky and the top bottom exposure balance which can be obtained with them. You have, after the perfect photo session, gone on to very subtly develop your photograph, maintaining the cool tones, adding that little punch, that slight vignette… Congratulations, this can be the only winner this round.

 

Photographers Comment:

First off, thank you so much! This is a huge honor to take first place, especially considering the outstanding images from all the others in the winners circle.

I made this photo last September on Jökulsárlón Beach on the South Coast of Iceland. There is a reason that photographers from all over the world frequent this magical place. It is breathtaking. Every morning we pulled up to this beach, we were greeted with an entirely different scene. Depending on the tides and winds, you could have tiny jewel sized chunks of ice, up to huge, cobalt blue icebergs the size of trucks. Needless to say, the subject matter here is dynamic, varied, and captivating.

I have been shooting film exclusively for years now (Velvia 50 mainly), but I wanted to give my Nikon D800 a go in the landscape (I photograph oil paintings in our gallery with this camera). I use a Mamiya 7ii Medium Format film camera for my landscape work, most of the time I have the 43mm lens on the front (21mm equivelant). I ended up renting the Zeiss 21mm lens for the 800, as i’m quite familiar with that focal length…beautiful lens by the way.

One of the benefits of using a digital camera is one can have quick shutter speeds in low light situations…which is close to impossible with Velvia 50. My goal was to utilize this ability and try and capture the movement of the water, or even freeze it. This was easily achieved.

 

Technical info:

Nikon D800, Zeiss 21mm 2.8 lens, Lee filter system  ~ 2 stop hard nd grad, Gitzo Mountaineer tripod, Achratech Ultimate Ballhead…and most importantly: Knee high water proof neoprene boots made by “Bogs”, with these amazing boots, I was able to get dangerously far out into the surf, be warm and dry, as well as have the thick neoprene shield my shins from all the icebergs slamming against my legs.

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