What Is ‘Behind The Shot’?
To me, photographs are strengthened by having a good story to support them. At its core, photography is the art of capturing memories and those memories deserve to be told & shared. With this new concept I want to tell people that story. I want to share what effort, struggle and sometimes luck is behind the publishing of that single image you might see in your social media feed. Every month I will be sharing one photograph which has a good story, a deeper meaning or a struggle behind it.
The Icelandic Highlands: My Happy Place
Ever since I visited the Highlands of Iceland for the first time in 2012, they left an enormous impression on me. During that first visit, we hiked the now world-famous Laugavegur hiking trail. I can still pinpoint some of the moments during that hike that made me sit down, look around and take it all in. It changed my thinking, my appreciation for nature and ultimately also changed the course of my life dramatically. It sounds so cliché when I write it down but it’s 100% true.
I often think about how different my life would have been if I hadn’t gone on that trip. It turned out to be a significant pivotal moment for me which often makes me think about one question: would I still have ended up moving to Iceland if it weren’t for that first experience with the highlands?
That trip in 2012 ignited a huge love for the Icelandic Highlands. Since then I have travelled through this untouched wilderness countless times, exploring many remote parts of it while still only scratching the surface. And even though I tend to plan my adventures well, there’s always a part of me, even on planned workshops, that wants to explore something new.
Exploration & Memories Are Key
Whenever I see a road I haven’t travelled yet, there’s this itch that needs scratching. I feel this sudden urge to drive down the unexplored path, I feel this need to know what is there and what can be seen. This urge has often put me in situations where I managed to capture shots I still cherish to this day. The reason for that is not that those photos are especially unique or amazing but rather that they are photographs I connected a memory and a story to. For me that is the cornerstone of photography: the art of capturing memories. By doing that, you evoke a certain feeling or emotion when you look back at the images related to that memory.
From The Magic Spot…
This brings me to an, for me, incredible moment during a private photo workshop, which I hosted together with my friend Andy Mumford. As we were travelling through remote areas of the highlands, and reached the end of the season, we saw very few people. On one day specifically, we didn’t see any other cars or people. At first we made a quick stop at a location which I like to refer to as “the Magic Spot“. The reason for that is that this place, even after countless visits and photographs, still gives me a new angle or perspective. It’s a magical location and a gift that keeps on giving for my photography. Soon after, we decided to go exploring and drove down a road which is not well travelled.
…To The Magic Lake!
The conditions were incredibly moody that day. Low and fast moving clouds covered the mysterious and volcanic landscape around us. As we drove onto a tiny mountain road, we decided to drive to a viewpoint so we could get a better look at the lake from a different angle. Because this particular mountain road was in very rough shape, we spent about 55 minutes driving a 30 kilometre stretch. Not a single other soul was to be seen which made for an incredible experience.
As we arrived at the viewpoint, we realised we were almost touching the clouds. The conditions were absolutely stunning. The moody clouds moved rapidly above us, which caused the sunlight to highlight certain parts of the landscape. Even though it was really windy, I decided to put my drone up. One of the places I had been dreaming of shooting were the smaller lakes located on the other side of the larger lake. Flying my drone in extreme conditions such as in the Greenlandic winter and above the eruption had given me a lot of (over)confidence in what I could achieve with my tiny little drone.
I roughly estimated the distance I would have to fly using Google Maps on my phone and then set out full blast. I flew about 4,5 kilometres in a straight line across the large lake, hoping I would have enough battery left to take a few shots and fly back. Because I was already at high altitude, I didn’t need to ascend at all. The conditions were brutal. The temperature was somewhere around 0 degrees, with strong wind, and it even began snowing as I flew.
Somehow, on my first attempt, I managed to get wide-angle panorama which is this month’s subject of ‘Behind the Shot‘. I had immediately reached the right location to shoot from and immediately figured out what I wanted to shoot. As soon as my battery reached 40%, I flew back. Halfway back to the takeoff point the drone even got caught in a snow shower. These were some of the most stressful minutes of my photography career. “Will the drone make it?” was all I could think about. A few minutes later, with the battery very closely nearing depletion, I managed to reach the takeoff point. I was relieved, but also thrilled, that I managed to get my drone back to safety.
Join A Photo Workshop In 2024!
Do you want to experience Iceland or Greenland through your passion for photography in 2024? These unique photo workshops, or maybe even a private tour or photo workshop, might be something for you. Jeroen works together with a variety of established landscape and wildlife photographers to bring you the best possible photo workshop experience.
Learn Drone Photography
Want to learn how to get the best results with your newly purchased drone? I wrote the most comprehensive guide available on drone photography which teaches you a technique to get the DSLR-like results out of even the cheapest drones.
In 125 detailed pages I explore everything you need to know to start creating the best photographs using any type of drone. Whether you are a complete beginner or an advanced drone pilot, this e-book contains a vast amount of information to level up your drone photography skills.
What to Expect?
- A 125-page educational PDF about nature drone photography with very detailed explanations
- Which drone to get for photography and why
- Important settings and configuration options
- A list of useful skills & tips
- A list of useful accessories and what not to buy at all
- How to research locations for drone photography
- How to compose with a drone and insight into Jeroen’s thought process with plenty of examples
- Thoughtfully planning ahead for your drone shoot
- The how and why of creating bracketed images
- The how and why of shooting HDR panoramas
- What challenges you might face and how to deal with them
- Common mistakes & how to deal with them
- How to stitch your panoramas together
Use EBOOK20 to get 20% off your Nature Drone Photography (E-Book) purchase!
Support Jeroen’s Work
As an independent photographer, Jeroen partially relies on your support to keep producing worthwhile content such as blogs, photographs, books and much more. If you want to support his work, it is possible to do so by buying his e-books & books, prints or calendars.
You can also sign up to the newsletter to stay up to date on new blog posts, projects, workshops and other interesting information. Additionally, signing up grants you a 10% discount on your next purchase.
Thank you for considering!