Filming in Iceland Behind the Scenes: Day 2
The second day of my trip started out early at Skogafoss. My 5 A.M. alarm woke me up from a less-than-cozy night’s sleep. Beyond the below-freezing temperature, it is also hard to sleep in Iceland due to that midnight sun phenomenon. Before heading off on my trip, I thought to myself, This isn’t going to be so bad - I’ll just put something over my eyes and sleep that way. However to my dismay, that bright sky messed with my internal clock almost immediately. My initial grogginess turned into joy when saw that I had the entire waterfall to myself. There wasn’t a single tourist with their family of four in tow or a backpacking couple on their honeymoon anywhere to be seen. This was MY waterfall (at least for a short while), and I took full advantage of it. One of the biggest hurdles for photographers and videographers documenting natural wonders is trying to capture the entirety of the scene, without traces of humans. Sometimes you can, and sometimes you have to embrace that man eating a sandwich with an umbrella hat on. With the low sun rising in the East I was able to get all the shots I hoped to take without any distractions or obstructions from other tourists at this location. Once complete, I grabbed a bite to eat, packed up my SUV and headed onto to the next big adventure, forgetting all about my rocky night.
After leaving Skogafoss, I continued my counter-clockwise route of Iceland by heading further East. Despite high winds and less than ideal conditions for video and time-lapse I managed to spend two hours at Vik Beach, just one of the black sand beaches that are so well known inIceland. Vik is a quiet seaside town flanked by large cliff faces and jagged spires a few hundred feet out into the ocean. The windiness was so overwhelming off the ocean that I almost had a run-in with a broken camera situation. [Note to self: Ensure your equipment is secured every. single. time.]
The next stop was fjaorargljufur, a canyon with a winding river that was flanked on both sides by a jagged, grass-covered cliff. This site was especially cool because you have the ability to walk above or through the canyon. The scale of the canyon was actually a lot smaller than I had initially thought it would be from the pictures I had seen online, but it was just as beautiful as I had hoped. I spent a quick hour hiking up the canyon getting various shots, then had to wait for another drone pilot to finish making his canyon flight before I was able to send mine into the canyon. 10-year-old James would have been very proud of this moment as I got to act out a Star Wars scene as I maneuvered my drone through the canyon. The next exciting and unexpected stop was in Skaftafell region at the bottom of a glacier. Leaving the paved road behind, I ventured in towards the mountains and eventually reached the bottom of a steep valley that housed a stunning glacier. Although it was hard to get great footage at the glacier because of no decent vantage point, the drone was able to be free of these obstructions and offered a great and unique perspective. Having multiple tools to gather footage is definitely a necessity for unexpected adventures like this one.
The rest of the day was spent driving East, stopping at various beautiful locations for brief video shooting and photography. I eventually arrived around 11 P.M. at the Jökulsárlón Iceberg Lagoon. Jökulsárlón Iceberg Lagoon is a small body of water covered in separated remnants of the massive glacier in the distance. Interestingly, visitors can often see fallen ash on the glacier for neighbouring erupting volcanos. This 1000-year-old glacier is rapidly melting, making the lagoon grow each year by about 100 metres.