Luminous Landscape Forum

Site & Board Matters => About This Site => Topic started by: Kevin Raber on July 26, 2017, 10:02:28 AM

Title: New Article - Iceland Summer Workshop Underway
Post by: Kevin Raber on July 26, 2017, 10:02:28 AM
I am in Iceland for the next 12 days working with Daniel Bergmann for the start of the annual LuLa Iceland Summer workshop.  Learn more about the workshop, a video on the gear I will be using as well as my bittersweet feelings about this being the last Iceland workshop for the foreseeable future. You can read about Iceland Summer Workshop Underway (https://luminous-landscape.com/iceland-summer-workshop-underway/).
Title: Re: New Article - Iceland Summer Workshop Underway
Post by: stever on July 26, 2017, 10:41:00 AM
Our first trip to Iceland was last Sep.  Not having been there 10 years ago i can't speak to the comparison.  However we didn't find the roads particularly crowded and we made an effort to avoid tour bus areas at the fairly predictable times. 

My Iceland rule is the same as for the rest of Europe - Don't go in July or August!
Title: Re: New Article - Iceland Summer Workshop Underway
Post by: Osprey on July 26, 2017, 11:44:07 AM
Went in July last year, self drive, did a chunk of the ring road North and South of Reykjavik. Really wasn't as bad as advertised for crowds. Alone on the road quite a bit of the time, completely alone going to Snaefelsjokull in the later evening with the midnight sun.
Title: Re: New Article - Iceland Summer Workshop Underway
Post by: FelixBelloin on July 26, 2017, 12:20:38 PM
Hi Kevin,

You are so right about Iceland in the summer. I just came back from 10 days around the Island and man does it get busy. My first experience was in October a couple of years ago, when you would barely see anyone on the road. This time, I had to do all the trecking and popular area visits between 22:00 and 4:00 to ensure no one would disturb the peace and quiet.
I so hope Iceland will manage to tighten regulations, when I see people disturbing wildlife, walking on moss, flying drones everywhere and littering all around the place. I am not even starting on people stopping in the middle of the road wherever they want using their magical warning lights to stop, drop the window and take pictures... utter idiots.
My first experience of the country was absolutely magical, my recent trip left somewhat of a bitter taste.
I did spend some time in the center of the island, where I still managed to find a bit of loneliness, but it is turning into a luxury.
I hope your workshop goes well and I can only suggest to focus your efforts in the winter time, when conditions are a bit too tough for the tour bus dwelling crowds.
Best regards,

Felix
Title: Re: New Article - Iceland Summer Workshop Underway
Post by: Rajan Parrikar on July 26, 2017, 12:52:04 PM
Hi Kevin,
You are so right about Iceland in the summer.

If only that were true. It is an unpleasant mess year-round now. Next stop for the bucket-list hordes seeking their inner selfie: Antarctica.
Title: Re: New Article - Iceland Summer Workshop Underway
Post by: Kevin Raber on July 26, 2017, 02:03:25 PM
Rajan, didn't you have an article you did on Iceland tourism?  I thought I saw a piece by you in an Iceland publication.
Title: Re: New Article - Iceland Summer Workshop Underway
Post by: Rajan Parrikar on July 26, 2017, 03:16:49 PM
Rajan, didn't you have an article you did on Iceland tourism?  I thought I saw a piece by you in an Iceland publication.

Yes, Kevin. It is here. (http://icelandreview.com/stuff/views/2017/04/04/too-many-tourists) My original title was "The Death of Iceland" and it was published as is initially. But then, someone from either the Ministry of Tourism or the Icelandic Tourism industry must have gotten to the editor, and the title was changed to the lame one it is now. It was also translated and published (https://stundin.is/pistill/endalok-islands/) in an Icelandic language publication.
Title: Re: New Article - Iceland Summer Workshop Underway
Post by: jpaulmoore on July 26, 2017, 03:39:52 PM
I was there in 2014 on a photo tour with Daniel Bergmann and David Ward and it was fantastic in every way.  Great scenery and not too many crowds, but we ventured far away from any potential crowds in Daniels incredible Mercedes vehicle.  It does sadden me that it has become overrun with tourists who have no respect for the land, animals and it's people.  Iceland is a truly magical place and I hope it can survive the onslaught. Many or most of the iconic landscapes in the US are overrun with tourists who are interested taking selfies or putting their tripods in the exact holes made by the previous photographer.
Regards,
J. Paul
Title: Re: New Article - Iceland Summer Workshop Underway
Post by: farbschlurf on July 27, 2017, 03:10:30 AM
Sad. I visited Iceland in 2010 and it already had started with that. It's bad to hear it's now this crowded.

Actually sometimes I wonder whether photographers are more part of the disease than part of the cure ... I mean, photographers seem to be the "avantgarde" of mass-tourism, often. It's just like gentrification: First come the hip galleries, than comes the bourgeoisie. Seems to be the way it is, and I'm part of it, I'm afraid ... makes me think, though I don't have a solution.

Hope you got a great "last" Iceland trip never the less.

farbschlurf
Title: Re: New Article - Iceland Summer Workshop Underway
Post by: Paulo Bizarro on July 27, 2017, 04:17:13 AM
It is easy to criticize, but what is the solution? Is it even a problem? It is up to Iceland to decide what is best for them. Who are we (collective we) to complain that people go in large numbers to visit beautiful places?

It is impossible to "hide" these beautiful places anymore, the trend goes like this:

1. Beautiful place only known to locals;
2. A few visitors show up, and spread the word
3. Many more people come, and the place loses its "character". Most folks with kids and family can only travel during July and August, due to school holidays.

I have seen this happening in many places in my country, Portugal. Take the SW coast of Portugal, for example; a place I have known for 40 years. Some beaches and places are crowded in the summer, impossible to deal with. Most recent example is the Azores; last year I climbed Pico mountain, the number of people going up everyday is over 100 now... there are now cheap flights to Sao Miguel and Terceira islands, so the "invading hordes" are descending and, well, invading. Lisbon is becoming unbearable, apparently it is a hot spot these days, with many foreigners buying/renting houses in the historical centre of town.

I don't like it, but I can not criticize, as the income is necessary to the country. But it needs to be sustainable and planned, otherwise all goes to s*hit.
Title: Re: New Article - Iceland Summer Workshop Underway
Post by: FelixBelloin on July 27, 2017, 04:36:14 AM
If only that were true. It is an unpleasant mess year-round now. Next stop for the bucket-list hordes seeking their inner selfie: Antarctica.

Hi Rajan,

Just read your article, and it saddens me deeply. It is true that one has to be one step ahead of the game to find the last areas of remoteness before a marketing strategy or a TV series (Game of Thrones anyone) sparks the plug for mass tourism.
I feel a system in the likes of Yosemite National Park could potentially save the place, with a certain number of daily quotas to experience wilderness fully.
I cannot agree more about Antartica. It is an area I desperately want to visit but that I keep on postponing because I do not want to be the "marginal" tourist adding to the problem; and I feel it will soon be the same with Iconic locations like Torres del Paine, that are now turning into amusement parks.
Counterintuitively, I think ones has to visit all of these places as soon as possible, before none of the pristine lands remain.
Title: Re: New Article - Iceland Summer Workshop Underway
Post by: Joseph Colson on July 27, 2017, 10:29:22 AM
Crowds at popular photo venues are not limited to Iceland, or Europe, as all of you know. We're loving US National Parks to death and many have become almost impassable during the period between Memorial Day and Labor Day (coinciding with school recess and vacations). As photographers, we're a core part of the problem IMHO, and workshop leaders should point to themselves first when looking for solutions. I wrote a blog post here (http://www.joecolsonphotography.com/2016/10/15/crowds-at-popular-photo-destinations/) about the Great Smoky Mountains National Park last fall after reading articles written by workshop leaders about crowded photo ops.

Iceland is on my bucket list, crowds or no crowds.

Joe
Title: Re: New Article - Iceland Summer Workshop Underway
Post by: David Watson on July 27, 2017, 10:50:11 AM
I was their in March 2016 with Daniel and david Ward.  Having been three times before in 2007, 9 and 10 I have seen it go from deserted wilderness to, a busy tourist nightmare - if you are a photographer that is.  Jokulsarlon is a case in point.  In 2007 at the height of summer there were a couple of local families enjoying the beach and just one or two other photographers.  In March 2016 (this is Winter not Summer mind) there were already 20 or 30 photographers spaced out along the black beach just after sunrise.  The cafe was open, the car park busy with hire cars and tourist buses - not a lot of fun really.

As it was winter we did however find many deserted snowy out of the way places with no tourists or any other photographers.  So if you want to go to Iceland to photograph things go in Winter with Daniel - it is still worthwhile.
Title: Re: New Article - Iceland Summer Workshop Underway
Post by: Rajan Parrikar on July 28, 2017, 01:28:07 PM
I was their in March 2016 with Daniel and david Ward.  Having been three times before in 2007, 9 and 10 I have seen it go from deserted wilderness to, a busy tourist nightmare - if you are a photographer that is.  Jokulsarlon is a case in point.  In 2007 at the height of summer there were a couple of local families enjoying the beach and just one or two other photographers.  In March 2016 (this is Winter not Summer mind) there were already 20 or 30 photographers spaced out along the black beach just after sunrise.  The cafe was open, the car park busy with hire cars and tourist buses - not a lot of fun really.

The image of the bergs on the black beach at Jökulsárlón has now overtaken the 'Clearing storm in Yosemite.'
Title: Re: New Article - Iceland Summer Workshop Underway
Post by: lenelg on August 06, 2017, 03:15:18 PM
We drove around Iceland last June, and did not find it so bad. The worst hordes of tourists come on day excursions from Reykjavik, so the eastern and northern parts of Iceland are far less crowded. Studying the itineraries of tour operators is also a good way to learn which places to avoid.. Since Iceland is far North (Reykjavik at 64N) summer days are long, and by the time the golden hour arrives, the hordes will be back at their hotels.
Title: Re: New Article - Iceland Summer Workshop Underway
Post by: Dave (Isle of Skye) on August 06, 2017, 05:10:41 PM
As photographers, we strive to go to places and find views that are beautiful, dramatic, or spellbinding, we then take images of these places looking as amazing and as stunning as we can possibly make them. We then show or publish these images for the world to see in the hope that the world goes WOW! So is there any surprise that the world and their granny, then want to go to see and photograph these stunning places for themselves as well?

So I don't think it is so much that we landscape photographers are a part of the problem, I think it is more like that we are the problem.

So what can we do about it? Well nothing probably as the die has already been cast and what is done cannot be undone, but we could perhaps stop moaning about it and not wishing that everyone else on the planet would stay away, just so we can have it all for ourselves, as that would be selfish wouldn't it?

So if in future you are lucky enough to find an amazing undiscovered location, then don't take the most amazing photograph of it that you can and then show it to the rest of the world, because if you do, then don't be surprised if the next time you go there, you find yourself stood in the middle of a crowd of selfie stick tourists and trophy hunting photographers of your own making.

Sorry guys, but we have done this to ourselves going right back to the days of Ansel Adams and so now we need to learn to suck it up and live with it, or sell off all our cameras and find something else to do.

Dave  :(
Title: Re: New Article - Iceland Summer Workshop Underway
Post by: Rajan Parrikar on August 06, 2017, 07:51:39 PM
As photographers, we strive to go to places and find views that are beautiful, dramatic, or spellbinding, we then take images of these places looking as amazing and as stunning as we can possibly make them. We then show or publish these images for the world to see in the hope that the world goes WOW! So is there any surprise that the world and their granny, then want to go to see and photograph these stunning places for themselves as well?

So I don't think it is so much that we landscape photographers are a part of the problem, I think it is more like that we are the problem.


We photographers travel so that the rest of the world doesn't have to. It is our bounden duty to travel and deflower pristine places. For the rest, there's YouTube.
Title: Re: New Article - Iceland Summer Workshop Underway
Post by: Peter McLennan on August 06, 2017, 10:02:44 PM
Blame the Internet.

Steptoe Butte in the Palouse used to be a solitary experience.  Here it is last week. This is about a third of the photographers present at sunrise that morning.

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4426/36018988640_676b94741c_c.jpg)


Residents of Venice and Barcelona are rightfully attempting to reclaim their cities from rampaging hordes of tourists. 
Barcelona comprises less then two million residents. Last year they had 32 million visitors.
Venice is reportedly a horror show in summer with cruise ships anchored off Piazza San Marco.
New Zealand last fall was for me a nightmare of tour buses, line-ups and horrendous prices.
Bali is no longer a pleasant experience.

Like ocean fishing, tourism is an industry that eats itself. I'm so glad I did my travelling when I was young. 30 years ago.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/barcelona-tourism-1.4043864
https://www.forbes.com/sites/lauriewerner/2017/04/29/venice-and-barcelona-to-tourists-stay-away/#5426a2c8305f
Title: Re: New Article - Iceland Summer Workshop Underway
Post by: Rajan Parrikar on August 06, 2017, 10:33:00 PM
In his August 2017 magazine, photographer Jim Zuckerman had this in his opening commentary. I'm attaching the relevant portion.

Title: Re: New Article - Iceland Summer Workshop Underway
Post by: Peter McLennan on August 07, 2017, 12:14:16 AM
Rajan, I have fond memories of Goa from those travels 30 years ago.  Is it suffering the same fate?
Title: Re: New Article - Iceland Summer Workshop Underway
Post by: Rajan Parrikar on August 07, 2017, 01:03:52 PM
Rajan, I have fond memories of Goa from those travels 30 years ago.  Is it suffering the same fate?

Yes, it went from 'idyll to sewer' in a space of a generation. I could say more, but I have grown weary of angry Indian internet mobs.
Title: Re: New Article - Iceland Summer Workshop Underway
Post by: Dave (Isle of Skye) on August 07, 2017, 04:33:19 PM
We photographers travel so that the rest of the world doesn't have to. It is our bounden duty to travel and deflower pristine places. For the rest, there's YouTube.

Hi Rajan,

Having read your posts on this site, I know you will have written the comment above with your tongue placed firmly in your cheek, but unfortunately and sadly in my opinion, quite a lot of photographers do actually think in this way and what is worse, see nothing wrong in thinking this way.

It really is quite simple folks, we can't expect to find it, photograph it and then try to make a living out of running workshops to it through promoting it online and in magazines etc, without irreparably changing/damaging it to the point, it becomes something considerably less than what it was before we ever set eyes on it.

I am not saying we should stop going to photograph these places, or that we should no longer run workshops, or post images online or sell them to magazines etc, however I do think we need to stop moaning and blaming everyone else for a problem of our own making.

Dave
Title: Re: New Article - Iceland Summer Workshop Underway
Post by: davidgp on August 08, 2017, 03:51:33 AM
Hi Rajan,

Having read your posts on this site, I know you will have written the comment above with your tongue placed firmly in your cheek, but unfortunately and sadly in my opinion, quite a lot of photographers do actually think in this way and what is worse, see nothing wrong in thinking this way.

It really is quite simple folks, we can't expect to find it, photograph it and then try to make a living out of running workshops to it through promoting it online and in magazines etc, without irreparably changing/damaging it to the point, it becomes something considerably less than what it was before we ever set eyes on it.

I am not saying we should stop going to photograph these places, or that we should no longer run workshops, or post images online or sell them to magazines etc, however I do think we need to stop moaning and blaming everyone else for a problem of our own making.

Dave


+1
Title: Re: New Article - Iceland Summer Workshop Underway
Post by: alex on August 08, 2017, 09:47:56 AM
What a very depressing thread - having been longing to visit for several years but unable to spare either the time or the necessary cash, I am now hoping to go there in the late spring/early summer next year. It sounds as though I need to be very selective about where I go.

Alex Ramsay
Title: Re: New Article - Iceland Summer Workshop Underway
Post by: Chris Kern on August 08, 2017, 07:23:25 PM
Steptoe Butte in the Palouse used to be a solitary experience.  Here it is last week. This is about a third of the photographers present at sunrise that morning.

(https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4426/36018988640_676b94741c_c.jpg)

I really like this image.  The postures of the subjects couldn't have been better.  Perfect timing.
Title: Re: New Article - Iceland Summer Workshop Underway
Post by: Jeff on August 09, 2017, 02:46:23 AM
Here in the UK the BBC have a news item this morning about concerns relating to  the numbers of visitors to the Isle Of Skye, Scotland

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/uk-40872328/does-the-isle-of-skye-have-too-many-tourists
Title: Re: New Article - Iceland Summer Workshop Underway
Post by: Kevin Raber on August 09, 2017, 07:23:52 AM
I have now returned from Iceland.  Yes, a lot of what I said on my trip article was as expected.  The city is very busy.  On the one evening, we were there a cruise ship arrived and dumped 6000 people into the town.  Our workshop tours avoid the Golden Circle area completely.  On this trip, we headed straight to the Highlands.  The hotel we use there was completely sold out.  The campgrounds filled to the brim.  We ventured out to see a number of locations and for the most part, we were more or less on our own.  People (tourists) would arrive stay 5 minutes and leave.  They were happy with their iPhone shots.  We also had some very windy and wet weather which kept down the number of people I am sure.  On one road we were driving in the Highlands it looked like rush hour in the late afternoon as all the day tourists were heading out.  We then crossed the Highlands in our large 4WD Sprinter and saw a few tourists trying to navigate a road their rental car companies would have a fit if they saw them on it.  As well as a number of buses dragging trailers.

We spent a few days in the north where we would venture out before and after the tourist visiting times. We had some of the larger waterfalls in the north practically all to ourselves.  We continued around the Island and visited places that many people don't know about.  Once we hit the south all bets were off.  The Iceberg Lagoon was jammed with buses and people.  So, we went and had dinner and came back late and very early in the morning (sunrise time if there would have been a sunrise) 4AM.

Seljalandsfoss was a joke, however. even late in the day.  When I first visited this falls there were no barriers and no people.  Daniel Bergmann and I had the place to ourselves (June time frame, many years ago).  The parking lot could only hold a few cars.  Now there were hundreds of cars and large tour buses there and throngs of people.  There is a coffee/refreshment stand and the parking lot has been extended along the road. 

In the end, I came home with some nice images.  You can see many on my BLOG - Kevinraber.com (https://kevinraber.com/).  I am taking a year off from Iceland workshops.  The next workshops we do there will be very customized and we have some ideas how to offer a different experience there.  It will be 2019 before I return to Iceland.  I know a number of other photographers running workshops who have decided to do this too.

I love Iceland.  I feel privileged I have had the opportunity to visit it so many times and photographed it under a variety of conditions along with some fantastic people who have been on my workshops there.  It's a special country and unbelievably photographic. 

As photographers, we need to be able to work around the tourists wherever we go.  This means visiting off seasons (although those times can be crowded too).  Also, visiting off hours, which as photographers we like to do anyway.

I am off to Greenland with Art Wolfe in less than two weeks to run a workshop there.  That trip will be shipped based and should be a great visit.  If you haven't seen the Greenland Video I made you can see it here - Greenland Imensity (https://luminous-landscape.com/videos/greenland-immensity-2016/)
Title: Re: New Article - Iceland Summer Workshop Underway
Post by: Kevin Raber on August 09, 2017, 07:37:01 AM
One more thing ...  Lofoten, Norway is getting seriously crowded too.  We did a workshop there in winter 2017 (this year) and it was crazy.  There weren't tourists just vans of photographers trying to get the same images everyone else does.  Lofoten is extremely beautiful.  But, if you have ever visited Zion and stood on the bridge there you'll experience the same thing.  While you will get your own image of the place, you'll be doing it with a flock of other photographers.  The infrastructure of this area is not set up to handle all these photographers.  There is no pull offs on the road.  If you do pull off you stand a good chance of getting stuck in the snow.  The one popular location of the red huts and mountain is a bridge and it will be shoulder to shoulder with photographers.  Resturants are hard to find and many closed for the season.  Accommodations are limited.  The locals are trying to cope and also trying to understand what all these photographers are doing.

It was great to visit the location but while we were there we ran into at least half a dozen photographers that were there scouting out trips to do there in 2018.  So, Lofoten is off our list too.  If you go make sure you go with a good workshop operator.  If it requires you to drive your own car then be very careful.  The roads can become snow covered and icy. 

I am not a doomsayer here but calling it as we saw it.  I did this workshop with Art Wolfe and Ignacio Palacios and we did get beautiful images.  But, somewhere out there there are dozens of other photographers who have the same images.  You can see a few HERE (https://kevinraber.com/?s=Lofoten).