Photographer Captures Magnificence from Iceland to the Edges of the Earth

Pelican Pro photographer and filmmaker Benjamin Hardman was so drawn to arctic landscapes, he traded in his life on the nice and cozy shores of Australia to stay in Iceland, one of many harshest environments on Earth. In his documenting of the chilly climate landscapes that he loves, Hardman has taken a extra easy strategy to sharing what life is like outdoors of the well-known images spots within the arctic.

Full disclosure: This text was dropped at you by Pelican

Rising up in Australia, Hardman had by no means been uncovered to a life within the chilly. That every one modified in 2013, when the photographer booked a ticket to discover Iceland. The nation’s volcanic terrain, glaciers, and dramatic landscapes instantly drew Hardman in. It wasn’t lengthy after that he packed up his belongings and made the transfer to Iceland.

“I don’t recall ever listening to a lot about Iceland as an Australian from the opposite facet of the planet,” Hardman tells PetaPixel.

“I had seen photos of the unbelievable waterfalls and northern lights, and I needed to see that magnificence for myself. On my first day in Iceland, I noticed the Glacier Lagoon and the south coast of Iceland. That was the primary time I ever noticed a glacier and large mountain peaks, and that have modified the course of my life. I felt very linked to what I used to be seeing. Once I returned dwelling, I couldn’t cease serious about Iceland, and I knew that I needed to transfer there. I needed to review Icelandic and engrain myself within the tradition, so I utilized for a scholar visa.”

After arriving in Iceland, Hardman spent each free second outdoors of college exploring the island nation’s most well-known places, in addition to those who he would study from the locals that he would meet.

“Versus simply visiting, dwelling in Iceland has given me a totally completely different perspective on the unbelievable landscapes. Whenever you go to, you are attempting to rapidly cram in as many sights and pictures as attainable, however when these views are in your yard, it supplies the luxurious of with the ability to discover at a slower tempo. This has allowed me to seek out distinctive, off the crushed path places that I used to be in a position to {photograph} again and again, simply ready for the correct moments.”

Hardman says that he has spent years dedicating his complete summers taking a look at Google Earth to seek out new places that seemed attention-grabbing after which driving to them, along with his Sony A7rIV digital camera at all times close to.

“When on an Icelandic street journey, I should be ready for something,” Hardman says.

“Summer time in Iceland isn’t like summer time in lots of places. Wind, rain, sleet, hail and snow can come at any time, and with little or no warning. Once I moved to Iceland, I realized in a short time that defending my useful digital camera gear always, in addition to myself, isn’t a suggestion, it’s a requirement. I take the Pelican 1510 Carry-On Case in all places with me and it has been an enormous improve from carrying my gear in my digital camera bag in chaotic climate. Understanding my gear is safely saved always offers me absolute peace of thoughts and prevents me from doubtlessly lacking the shot because of a digital camera malfunction.”

Hardman says that Iceland is without doubt one of the greatest locations on the planet for a images street journey, because of the farmers needing to seek out their sheep. Due to this, there are gravel roads that weave all all through the countryside, even in places that appear like there wouldn’t be a street. Hardman stresses that you probably have the correct automobile for the Icelandic wilderness, you may journey to unbelievable, hardly ever visited places.

“Of all the unbelievable places that Iceland has, maybe none are as enchanting to me because the highland areas,” Hardman says.

“It’s actually the place I’ve been in a position to shine as a result of there’s simply a lot landmass, there’s so many issues to see and {photograph}. There are seemingly limitless compositions for distinctive summary photographs and drone images. Most of those locations had been photographed from the air numerous occasions earlier than, however till lately, you have been restricted to zooming previous in an airplane. I really feel I could be way more artistic utilizing a drone and framing the scene in a sure approach. As a substitute of getting to rapidly react, like I might in an airplane, I can simply look forward to the sunshine and nail the proper circumstances and framing that I’m searching for. In my view, Iceland is a real paradise for a drone photographer.”

As typically is the case, probably the most lovely images places may also be probably the most difficult. Iceland’s climate shouldn’t be solely unpredictable, however exceptionally harsh when a storm develops. Hardman recalled one of many scariest storms that he ever encountered.

“I used to be serving to to information a ski expedition, and I at all times convey my digital camera gear with me, as I wish to take images of the journey. We had arrange a base camp within the backcountry mountains, and the journey had gone exceptionally nicely. On our last full day earlier than we left, we seen {that a} storm was predicted to come back in, however not till the day after we left. Not nervous about it, we went to sleep that night time and awoke to a chaotic scene. The hurricane power winds and blizzard-like snow was destroying our tents and tossing all of our gear in all places. We hurriedly packed up and skied again to our automobiles for over three hours, regardless that we weren’t very far in any respect. As soon as again to our automobiles, it took 9 hours to drive 5 kilometers. It was probably the most intense storm I had ever skilled.”

Fortunately for Hardman, he had saved the vast majority of his digital camera gear behind in his Land Rover Defender. Nevertheless, the older car is infamous for having lower than sufficient climate sealing, so when he opened his automobile door, Hardman was greeted with a surprising sight. “The wind and snow was so highly effective that it broke by the door seals and coated the within of my automobile with a thick layer of snow,” he describes. “Once I journey, particularly in these harsh arctic circumstances, I at all times maintain all of my images and video gear in my 1510 Carry-On Case and Pelican 1610 Case and my reminiscence playing cards within the Pelican 0915 Micro Memory Card Holder. With the quantity of snow that penetrated my car, I truthfully imagine I might have misplaced some extremely useful gear or reminiscence playing cards filled with images if I had my invaluable digital camera gear in backpacks as a substitute. I’m seemingly continuously on an intense journey, so I actually depend on my Pelican circumstances to guard my digital camera gear, as images and filmmaking is not only a pastime for me, it’s additionally my livelihood.”

With a newfound ardour of photographing chilly climate environments and a centralized dwelling base in Iceland, Hardman started to discover different places in and close to the arctic circle. His favourite places that instantly impressed Hardman have been Greenland and Svalbard, a distant Norwegian archipelago positioned between mainland Norway and the North Pole. Being one of many world’s northernmost inhabited areas, Svalbard is a very wild location made up of glaciers and a frozen tundra which are dwelling to polar bears, Svalbard reindeer and Arctic foxes.

“For me, Svalbard is the wildlife goldmine for my images,” Hardman states.

“I’m fortunate sufficient to show images on expedition ships, so I’ve lots of alternatives to {photograph} the customarily exhausting to seek out wildlife. The unbelievable factor about Svalbard is that each view is simply as lovely because the final, so we frequently don’t have set itineraries. We are going to simply get on the ship, decide a path, and begin transferring. Everybody would like to see a polar bear, however you may by no means make sure what you’re going to come back throughout and what the climate goes to do. For me, these make for probably the most thrilling encounters, particularly if we’re off of the ship and on a smaller Zodiac boat. These small boats allow us to get nearer to shore whereas additionally permitting the photographers to seize dramatic images of the arctic wildlife at eye stage.”

Even with all the wildlife encounters Hardman has skilled in his images profession, one specifically continues to face out in his thoughts.

“A couple of years again, I used to be on one in every of my earliest expeditions in Svalbard after we got here throughout a younger polar bear mating couple. We have been photographing an exquisite frozen fjord after we noticed the 2 bears within the distance. We occurred to be in the correct place on the proper time as the 2 younger bears walked proper by our zodiacs,” he recollects.

“Instantly, we have been head to head with these two lovely younger bears, at a secure distance after all, observing their behaviors as they performed with one another, earlier than leaping within the water and diving down and popping again up again on land. To this present day, which may have been one in every of my favourite wildlife images experiences. It was the primary time I had ever photographed with a main wildlife lens, and it made all of the distinction. A good friend of mine on the journey had a Pelican case with two 500mm f/4 lenses, and he was sort sufficient to let me use one in every of them. From that day ahead, I acknowledged the significance of utilizing a top quality wildlife lens, which has solely improved my images over time.”

“In my view, Svalbard and Greenland are two of probably the most unbelievable locations on earth, particularly for photographers.” Hardman continues. “In Svalbard, not solely is it one of many few locations the place you could find polar bears and different arctic wildlife, however, identical to Greenland, the untouched, ice-filled landscapes will go away you speechless.”

Clear from one pole to the opposite, Antarctica can be a spot that Hardman feels a particular connection to. In Antarctica, the photographer chooses to expertise the distant and rugged terrain in a vastly completely different approach than most guests. Whereas the waters across the Antarctic peninsula are teeming with cutting-edge expedition ships, Hardman explores the world in an previous, three masted, picket tall ship.

“It actually offers the journey a totally completely different feeling,” Hardman says.

“As a substitute of being a visitor on a big, fashionable vessel, being on this previous ship for weeks looks like being thrown right into a time machine. It’s difficult. It’s demanding. I’m not going to lie, it downright sucks if you end up uncovered to the weather of the Drake Passage. However for some motive, it simply feels proper. To sail to Antarctica feels just like the pure method to do it.”

Hardman describes how the voyage makes him really feel like he’s documenting a window into historical past, which is usually neglected within the technologically fueled world of in the present day. “Once I get to Antarctica, my expertise is formed by what I’ve finished by crusing by the Drake Passage. Seeing land, and taking my first steps on Antarctica’s chilly shores, looks like an enormous achievement. I really feel that I’ve earned that have, versus simply being handed it.”

The photographer can’t assist however think about the emotions that the early explorers had as they navigated the unknown terrain in the identical sort of ship that he finds himself on. He additionally says, regardless of the a long time which have handed, he’s witnessing nearly the identical views that they did numerous years in the past. “It’s such a mind-blowing expertise for me,” he says. “Not solely am I dwelling on the identical sort of ship that they did, however the landscapes are as lovely as they have been again then. No buildings. No streets. No litter. No noise. All the expertise may be very eye-opening, and I really feel that it makes me admire the fantastic thing about our world much more than if I used to be on a modern-day, luxurious ship.”

Hardman says that in calmer climate, he’ll typically maintain his 1510 Carry-On Case outdoors, on the highest deck of the ship. He explains that there’s at all times one thing to {photograph} from the ship within the Antarctic peninsula, so maintaining his gear the place he’ll almost definitely use it has allowed him to seize images that he could have missed if he needed to constantly haul his gear out and in, up and down the steep, slim stairways. Being that the case is watertight, he by no means has to fret about his digital camera gear being broken by the ocean spray and rain that’s typically discovered within the Drake Passage.

On all his journeys, however particularly his excursions to Antarctica, Hardman focuses on telling visible tales, whether or not they be within the type of images or video.

“For years, I might take 20,000 images after which get dwelling and use 100 of them,” Hardman describes. “Lately, I attempt to restrict the variety of images I take. I attempt to envision the scene in my head that I would like, and simply deal with attaining the specified end in as few exposures as attainable. This leaves me extra time so as to add video to my visible storytelling. As soon as I’ve achieved the set of images that I’m after at that second, whether or not it’s an encounter with wildlife or an exquisite panorama, I’ll then transfer to telling the story by video. I’ve been enthralled with the best way a few of my favourite chilly climate places yield tales by movement photos. I wish to attempt to convey the emotion of what life is like for the animals that stay in these harsh environments. Or different occasions, the atmosphere itself, with out the wildlife, has a narrative to inform.”

Together with his work together with extra video, Hardman says that altering mindsets and taking pictures kinds between the 2 could be tough at occasions.

“I feel images typically has much less logistics and you’ll be extra spontaneous. For a images journey, I can pack all of my gear into my Pelican 1510 Carry-On Case and be assured that I’ll come again with an enticing visible story. However for me, video is a extra bodily and mentally demanding activity. The 1610 Case has develop into my essential storage field for my cinema video setup. It’s a good measurement bigger than my 1510, however it must be, as a cinema video setup is significantly extra gear. It has loads of area and wheels, making it attainable to haul heavy gear from my home out to my car and into the sphere.”

Hardman lately put that cinema video setup to make use of, as he has spent the previous three years filming for the brand new Netflix sequence, Life on Our Planet. His essential job was capturing aerial clips all through Iceland. The 1610 case is so sturdy, Hardman makes use of it because the takeoff and touchdown pad for his drones.

“Seeing how a giant price range pure historical past manufacturing operates actually modified the best way I create,” Hardman says of the Our Planet crew. “They need to get the shot, it doesn’t matter what. I feel that mentality formed the best way that I shoot video now. Each single time I take a video clip, I make an effort to attain the identical stage of focus and element as one photograph that I’d think about portfolio worthy. I apply that very same artistic thought with composition, mild, coloration, and expression of no matter it’s I’m taking pictures, however I think about how I could make this attention-grabbing with motion for a ten or 15 second video. So I nonetheless apply the identical photographic ideas to video, however I’ve to research within the second questions like ‘how does this shot begin? What story am I taking the viewer by for these 15 seconds? And the way does this shot hyperlink to the subsequent shot?’”

“Versus pictures, I really feel I would like to use extra artistic storytelling to cinematography, and I strategy it with the identical finesse as summary advantageous artwork images.” Hardman continues.

“And I feel that’s what’s unbelievable concerning the Our Planet reveals. They make viewers query how it’s attainable to get a video clip like those they’re seeing. I can let you know from doing it for the final three years, it’s actually simply grinding for limitless hours, working by trial and error storytelling approaches, and attempting to determine how one can get the impression of 1 photograph throughout a 20-second video clip.”

Like each artist, Hardman has had the occasional bouts of preventing to seek out inspiration, regardless that he lives in probably the most lovely places on earth. The treatment for that always comes from merely remembering the place his ardour lies.

“I’ve discovered that, over a decade of documenting these wild locations, that specializing in the area of interest of images that I like has helped me share a deeper perspective of those places that I really feel linked with. I really feel that has been the important thing to maintaining my creativity at all times evolving. Even when I’m drained, or the climate is harsh, I by no means get tired of capturing the tales of solitude and journey in these distant places, and that has translated into with the ability to have a profitable profession in doing what I like, all whereas dwelling in probably the most distinctive and engaging locations on the planet”

Extra from Benjamin Hardman could be discovered on his website, Instagram and YouTube.

Full disclosure: This text was dropped at you by Pelican

Picture credit: All images by Benjamin Hardman.