When five photographers planned a trip to Iceland together, they shared a common goal of wanting to capture the rugged beauty of the country on film.
In October, the group traveled through Iceland’s unique terrain, spending time in Reykjavik, Akureyri and Vík í Mýrdal. Armed with photography equipment and their talented eyes, the group shot hundreds of photographs in a variety of conditions, often only having a moment’s notice to set up for the perfect picture.
What they captured during the six-day journey was some of Iceland’s most fascinating natural landmarks, as well as a few snapshots in time they will never forget.
Photographers Scott Stimeare, Keith Burke, Emily Forgo, Nicole Caracia and Rob Akans are sharing their pictures with the public in the exhibit “Iceland: A Photographic Journey Through the Land of Fire and Ice,” at the Chesapeake Arts Center until Feb. 1.
Over 60 pictures on canvas, acrylic, metal and other mediums are arranged in the gallery, along with a television that scrolls 95 other shots. Here you’ll find photographs of just about everything that makes Iceland a celebrated tourist attraction, including mountains, landscape, and wild animals.
Luckily for the photographers, finding photo-worthy subjects was not a problem.
“The thing about Iceland is everywhere you look, there is a breathtaking, majestic view,” said Stimeare, a commercial and product photographer. “Point your camera in one direction and you'll find an award-winning shot, not realizing that right behind you is an equally ‘once in a lifetime’ photo, as well.”
Stimeare has six photos in the exhibit, all printed on metal.
“Together, they create a collage that tells an overall story of my trip,” he said.
Naturally, capturing the Northern Lights was a high priority for the artists. Burke, a photographer who specializes in landscape and astrophotography, was stationed in Iceland from 1999 to 2002. While living there, he took photos of the scenery , but wasn’t satisfied with them because of the low-quality cameras that were available at the time.
But now that photography technology and cameras have improved, Burke said he wanted to return to the country to attempt to capture its beauty once again.
After he posted his trip intentions on Facebook, Burke says a few of his friends asked to tag along. He said yes and the adventure was booked.
“Having seen the Northern Lights with my own eyes while living there, I really felt happy that I was able to bring a group together and have them see something that was on all of their bucket lists,” he said. “Seeing the excitement in my friends’ eyes while traveling around Iceland is something I will always remember.”
Burke contributed a variety of prints to the exhibit, focusing on the lesser-known features of Iceland.
Linthicum resident Forgo was able to combine two of her passions —traveling and photography — by going on the trip. Describing the journey as “overwhelming in the best possible way,” Forgo found Iceland was home to some of the most beautiful scenery she had ever seen.
Along with visiting the Kafla Viti Crater and the Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon, Forgo and the crew spent time at the Hverir Geothermal Area, a large field of bubbling mud pools and smoking fumaroles, surrounded by multi-colored sulphur crystals.
It was here Forgo took a photo she entitled “An Alien World,” which features a steam vent decorated with different colors and textures she feels captures the “other worldliness” of Iceland.
“It felt like something out of Star Wars,” she said. “There was this great contrast between the muddy, bright orange foreground and these huge, snow-covered mountains in the distance. The mud was dotted with these rocky steam vents, sulfurous geysers and rivers of boiling grey mud that all came together to be something out of this world.”
In addition to that picture, Forgo has around 15 prints on canvas, metal and acrylic in the gallery, as well as shots on the television scroll.
Caracia, a professional photographer and program and marketing director of Chesapeake Arts Center, always wanted to explore the Nordic nation through the eye of her lens.
While there, Caracia took a variety of shots at iconic locations like Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach, the Diamond Beach and Goðafoss, the waterfall of the Gods. Two of the pictures she took were selected for the Smithsonian Photo Contest, an annual competition that features some of the world’s best shots.
In one of the chosen photos, Caracia took an image of a man wearing a yellow jacket in front of the giant Skógafoss waterfall. In the second, she captures a moment of striking contrasting beauty, as Forgo walks towards a large cliff at the ominous black sand beach while wearing a bright red dress.
Caracia, who has several photos on display in the gallery, found more bold colors and contrasts when the group visited the Krafla Viti Crater, a circular crater filled with bright blue water surrounded by a geothermal field and mountains.
“It just snowed and seeing the beautiful mountains and the bright, shiny blue lake was so peaceful and breathtaking,” she said.
Rounding out the group is Rob Akans, an amateur photographer who had wanted to visit the country to take pictures, but never had because most of the workshops offered are extremely cost-prohibitive. He said when he was asked to join the others on the trip, it was an opportunity he couldn’t pass up.
“Besides the great photo opportunities, the best thing about this trip was sharing the complete experience with five other great photographers; it was an awesome experience,” said Akan, who has six prints on display.
The group plans to return to Iceland during the spring of 2020 to view the country during a different season.
For more information on the exhibit, visit http://chesapeakearts.org/.
Email your North County news from Brooklyn Park, Pumphrey and Linthicum to Heather Vecchioni at firstname.lastname@example.org.