The Guardian Readers' travel photography competition

December 31, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

I recently entered the Guardian Readers' Travel photography competition. I was delighted to read that my image had been chosen as the winner October's competition and got entered into the yearly competition. Sadly I didn't win the year end competition for a trip to Iceland (something some would argue I don't need ha) 

The link to the competition and the other entries can be found here:

https://www.theguardian.com/travel/gallery/2016/dec/24/readers-travel-photography-competition-2016-the-winners-in-pictures

It was however nice to see my work displayed in The Guardian offices gallery along with the other monthly winners of which I received these images from them. 

 

If anyones thinking of passing by the Guardian offices at King's Place in London to have a look then feel free to send some images.


SleekLens Lightroom Presets

September 07, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

I've been contacted by a company called SleekLens to trial some of their Lightroom presets for Landscapes. With my Iceland trip on the horizon I thought I'd go through an image i'd never edited until tonight. Whilst not using the presets completely I've used essences of them on this image.

For cutting out a lot of work the presets work quite well and certainly for a beginner getting into a next chapter of editing then they would take the hassle out of some things.

Certainly for bringing detail out of the sky the presets worked well. Sometimes a little too much but you can tone that down to your own taste.

They are simple to install and then are ready to use straight away.

A link to their website and some tutorials are here:

 https://sleeklens.com/product/landscape-lightroom-presets/

 https://sleeklens.com/product-category/lightroom-presets


Iceland - October 2015 Day 7 - 16

February 16, 2016  •  4 Comments

DAY 7
 

Not much of a lie in and getting up around 9am. I headed for breakfast at the guest house which was included in the stay. I loved the Icelandic breakfasts as they have a selection of meats, pancakes as well as usual cereals so it's a good opportunity to fill up for the day ahead. 

Spending the day mostly around the Stokksnes area I first visited the Viking village I'd mentioned the day before. Whilst not being overwhelming it was good to not being thinking about composing an image. Having a break now and again from the camera will do wonders and takes away the pressure of finding an image to shoot. There were some wild horses roaming the area though and it was enjoyable to get some fun candid shots of these. I found they liked Maryland cookies and you could get them to hang around for images for the odd snaffle of a biscuit. They are quite friendly by nature and allow you to get close up and stroke them. Don't be afraid to spend some time with them as many a good image can be obtained with patience!

I then headed down the coast and got some images from there before returning to take some images of the Vestrahorn peaks again. I waited ages for some cloud so I could get some atmosphere in the sky doing a long exposure. You can see the camera's set up here. This was before I put on my hood I have over all the camera. This stop the chance of any light leakage. You will get it on long exposures and covering the viewfinder is sometimes not enough. It can get in lots of places other than there so I shut it all out. You'll see light leakage by streaks of light or odd colours appearing on your long exposures. If you've experience this and are mystified as to what it could be then there's good chances this will be why. I use the weather cover I have for my 300 2.8 in reverse as it secures using the velcro already on it. But you can use anything even a wooly hat!


Sure enough patience paid off and I was rewarded with the image below. I was using my 16 stop Hi-tech Firecrest ND filter with this with my Firecrest grad filter to control the sky. It was an 8 minute exposure time but gives a surreal effect in the right situations.

 

Settings as follows:

Exposure:  480 seconds, ISO: 100, Length: 21mm, Aperture: f/13




After this shot I headed back to Hafnarbúðin (Did I mention how good this place was) for lunch. The usual burger, chips, onion rings combo was the clear winner.

Sunset at Vestrahorn was much better this evening with dramatic clouds and nice light cast upon the mountain range and produced one of my favourite images of the trip:

 

Settings as follows:

Exposure:  3.2 seconds, ISO: 100, Length: 16mm, Aperture: f/16


No aurora tonight due to cloud cover meant time to catch up on social media, Edit a few shots, back up images and thankfully an earlier night ready to move to Jokulsarlon tomorrow.

DAY 8

Up early and on the move to a place that I fell in love with last year....Jokulsarlon. It's only an hours drive. The weather was quite misty and hazy with scattered showers which wasn't a worry as it was due to clear at around 11am so I had time to go and drive up some of the glacial roads. 

I travelled past Hoffell down a bumpy F road and came to the glaciers edge. It was hard going but I got to the glaciers edge. There is a viewing point which would have been a nice shooting venue had it not been for the weather. I turned back and then turned the attentions on another glacial route F985. This time this one would take me up high up alongside the glacier. After a never ending very steep route up which the Duster coped very well I reached the summit. The climate had changed dramatically with below zero temperatures, and fog widespread. Unbelievably at the summit there were a group of guys getting some pictures of reaching there also. At the top was a closed guest house / lodge which I'm guessing is only open summer time. It was a great experience to see the glacier close up and how vast and huge it was. Care should be taken going up and down these roads though and if at any point there is a sense of danger then it is safe to turn back and not risk anything!

The route down was a slow one but taking care I got to the bottom and then headed to Jokulsarlon. I decided to try the lesser popular but still as jaw dropping Fjallsarlon. I wasn't disappointed as I thought this view was better than that of Jokulsarlon.

 

Settings as follows:

Exposure:  480 seconds, ISO: 100, Length: 25mm, Aperture: f/10


Whilst the weather had cleared up it was bitterly cold. There was an ice cold wind blowing from the west which meant for a long exposure, equipment would have to be securely positioned as any slight movement would ruin the image. As I've mentioned before always prepare yourself well for the conditions. I was happy with the clothing I had on but saw a good few tourists heading back to their cars without even reaching the waters edge. I would never dream of coming to Iceland in trainers, joggers and just a hoody but bold as brass people were there shivering beyond belief!

Whilst the long exposures were running there was also time to get some "tourist" pictures. I always seem to skip getting any pictures of myself when out with my camera as I'm always behind it and forget. PS you can see the hood in place on the camera this picture.

 

After a few hours I decided to see the day out at Breidurmerkursandur. This is the black sandy beach over the bridge from Jokulsarlon. Sometimes called Jokul Beach or The Glacial Beach. Icebergs drift out to sea from the Lagoon and then get broken up by the fierce tide. They then get swept up on the beach and create a magical setting.

Everything piece of ice is different and if you get some nice rays of light the ice sparkles in the sun. it's one of my favourite ever places to photograph as it's so unique and a magical place.
 

Settings as follows:

Exposure:  4 seconds, ISO: 500, Length: 23mm, Aperture: f/7.1


Settings as follows:

Exposure:  3.2 seconds, ISO: 100, Length: 18mm, Aperture: f/6.3

Settings as follows:

Exposure:  0.8 seconds, ISO: 100, Length: 16mm, Aperture: f/18

Settings as follows:

Exposure:  0.6 seconds, ISO: 100, Length: 35mm, Aperture: f/18

Those are just some of the shots that can be obtained there. Shooting on the beach can be quite tricky. Here are some tips to help get you that perfect shot. 

  • Firstly Wellington boots should be worn. My friend had had an ingenious idea of masking tape with gaffer tape over the tops which stopped any water going into the boots over the top....a tip I will use again and again as it prevented soggy wet feet.  
  • A clean lens cloth is needed as you will get spray on filters and your lens. Try and shoot with the wind to your back to stop this becoming a tiresome exercise. Check regularly to see if there are any specs or spray that could ruin an image!
  • Never leave your camera bag laid down close to the tide line. Every now and again a rogue tide will come in and go a lot further than what you are expecting. A wet bag with all your equipment ruined is not what you came to Iceland for. Place it well back and keep a good eye on it. If its a rucksack (recommended) wear it and don't take the chance.
  • Shoot often. The waves give a great effect on the way in and the way out. Change the angle at which you shoot the icebergs at. Get close in, further out, longer lens....Experiment. There is no right or wrong!
  • Don't fall in love with one piece of ice! There are thousands of gems there. Don't focus on one piece and then risk all your shots being the same.

Shooting until darkness it was then time for the short journey to our next stay which was at the Skyrhusid Guest House. http://booking.com/9138b398f69cf77d . The hostess was very friendly and offered us free juice and milk on our stay and 1 free Skyr yoghurt. The free yoghurt was the deal breaker it seemed and it became our little running joke as when every guest would arrive she would offer them but adamantly state ONE free skyr. There was a fridge full of them and no one was taking them (If you've never had skyr then it is an acquired taste) The bad boy in me wanted to hide 10 or so of these yoghurt's just to see her reaction but thought better to keep international relations friendly. 

As there were no cooking facilities where we were staying I dined the the Thórbergur Center. This a museum on the complex where I was staying that also has a restaurant. It's quite easy to spot from the road as it is shaped like a row of books.

 The speciality is the Arctic Char. It's part of the Salmon family and was very nice.....A nice alternative to the hot dogs and noodles I'd grown accustomed to!

I headed out quite late this night as again the weather forecast which was spot on was due to clear later on that night with a KP 6 for Aurora. This was one of our best nights for the Northern Lights. They started with nice patches and me wondering if that was all I was going to get to a full blown curtain of green!

I started off at Jokulsarlon as I'd dreamt of getting the northern light reflecting over this great lagoon. I tried a few shots and got those in the bag and then decided on a full hour long exposure which captured the milky way in a star trail and the aurora all over a glacier. All boxes ticked you could say I was happy with what I got. More happier when Canon UK decided to use it on the social media platforms to display star trail photography.

 

Settings as follows:

Exposure:  3597 seconds, ISO: 100, Length: 16mm, Aperture: f/2.8


Moving on to Fjallssarlon (the lesser popular lagoon I've spoke about) already happy with the images I had you couldn't imagine my delight when the Aurora decided to put on its great show. The lights just got stronger and stronger and as if by some divine intervention placed themselves exactly where you'd want them......right over the glacier. The wind was non existent and barring the cold climate conditions were perfect.

With enough shooting time to experiment I got a vast array of images with these ones being amongst the very best I have ever taken! Again there was a full hour exposure image done and then one that I'd always wanted with the reflection over the lagoon.

 

Settings as follows:

Exposure:  3597 seconds, ISO: 100, Length: 16mm, Aperture: f/2.8


Settings as follows:

Exposure:  20 seconds, ISO: 3200, Length: 16mm, Aperture: f/2.8

I shot until 6.30am where I had to call it a day as day light pollution was starting to encroach from the horizon. It truly was one of those nights where you could of shot forever! Needless to say though my head was glad to hit the pillow.

Day 10

A late get up enabled me an afternoon around Jokulsarlon. The light however was uninspiring and didn't really set the place alight as the previous year. Impressive as it still was the weather put a damp squib on it and once the rain decided to take hold it was end of day. I've mentioned before that you'll get days like this and sometimes they are a blessing in disguised as they'll allow you to recharge and stop you getting tired and unfocused to what you want to be doing. Whilst still getting some images that day they are more of a record than masterpieces.

 

Settings as follows:

Exposure:  1/40 second, ISO: 100, Length: 105mm, Aperture: f/11

Back at the guest house for the evening as no Aurora due to cloud it was time to recharge, edit and most of all chill out.

Day 11

Moving on to Skogafoss for day 11 meant a 3 hour drive to out next accommodation stay - The Hotel Lambafell http://booking.com/dd5b98b49cd89a6f . On arrival I thought we had the wrong place as the place looked a far more expensive place than what we had paid. It was a huge log cabin and was impressive inside. I was greeted by the polish housekeeper Artur and he confirmed I was in the correct place. A very friendly guy who had just moved over there and sorted us out when it came down to the food so I must thank him for that.

Once the weather had cleared up it was off to Skogafoss for some shots of the falls. After travelling here last year and bagging quite a few it was all about getting the ones that I had missed out on for one reason or another. Be warned Skogafoss is heavily populated by tourists! They will get in your shot! They will not care that they have! If you suffer from short temper and stress and are looking for a peaceful shoot then do not come here. To get the people out of shot then a long exposure is the way to go, but on some you will still get the odd one that likes to stay in the same position for the 10 minute duration of your shot..hence them featuring in it, so it is try, try and try again. If all else fails then brush up on your cloning skills. Sometime you can use the people in the picture but more often than not you want to exclude them. 

 

Settings as follows:

Exposure:  899 seconds, ISO: 400, Length: 16mm, Aperture: f/10

Settings as follows:

Exposure:  38 seconds, ISO: 100, Length: 18mm, Aperture: f/11

Settings as follows:

Exposure:  15 seconds, ISO: 100, Length: 17mm, Aperture: f/16


Arriving back at the cabin it was time again for a quick bite to eat then to head out for some Aurora shots. It does seem a bit of a fairytale how many times I got chances to shoot the Northern Lights and I have to say it exceeded my expectations. Tonight was no exception and I headed out early as they were already out in force. The jewel in the crown for images for me was Skogafoss with the northern lights over the top. Once again after a wait for the lights to change in there appearance they duly did this and I got one of the images that I so sorely wanted. I can quite honestly say that if I could have had one image in mind before coming then it was this one!

 

Settings as follows:

Exposure:  10 seconds, ISO: 3200, Length: 16mm, Aperture: f/2.8



 

Settings as follows:

Exposure:  5 seconds, ISO: 20000, Length: 16mm, Aperture: f/2.8

Turning to the left was the cracking streak coming over the mountain and farmhouses of Skoga.

 

Settings as follows:

Exposure:  10 seconds, ISO: 3200, Length: 16mm, Aperture: f/2.8

With my fill of Skogafoss done I moved down to Dyrholaey. From here you could shoot both ways down the coastline. One way was Vik with its prominent rock formations on the horizon. The other way was the Dyrholaey lighthouse over the arched rock formation.....I duly did both as well as getting some time lapse footage which I've yet to edit.

 

Settings as follows:

Exposure:  20 seconds, ISO: 1600, Length: 16mm, Aperture: f/2.8


 

Settings as follows:

Exposure:  15 seconds, ISO: 1600, Length: 16mm, Aperture: f/2.8

Shooting until the early hours again (3am) it was time to call it a night again coming away with some more unimaginable images of this great country.

DAY 12

A short drive to the black sands of Vik this morning to take in the sights of Reynisdrangar and the basalt columns. 

Legend says that the stacks originated when two trolls dragged a three-masted ship to land unsuccessfully and when daylight broke they became needles of rock.

You can see why there are so many fairytale's of this great country as the mystique it carries with it warrants it. You can choose to drive to the top via the single track road or head for the beach. Either is spectacular in its own right and if you have the chance then go for both!

In the afternoon it was back to Skogafoss. However rather than do any of the main waterfall it was all the way up the falls and carry on to the less visited falls further upstream. It's amazing to see the drop of of people once you get to this point. I had 1 walker go pass me whilst shooting in the whole time I was there as opposed to the thousands at the tourist spot. 

It is quite a walk and you can choose how far you go. If you wanted it is a full walk that people do and takes around 8 hours! Not that I was looking to do that but for the walkers it's a good place to go.

Getting upstream gives you some glorious panoramic sights and this is just one of the sights there. I chose a wider perspective on this shot to show the surrounding area rather than just the waterfalls.

Again changeable weather spoiled the sunset but happy to get what I'd got today. To do the unknown sometimes gets the results and pays off. Whilst there are many iconic shots of Iceland that I wanted to get I also wanted some unique ones that others may never had seen before.

Back at the hotel I had decided that our next move in the morning was going to be further inland and trying the interior for a couple of days. The area of Landmannalaugar is spectacular and an area less visited to to it being off the beaten track and inaccessible to non 4x4 vehicles. 

Again with the WiFi back at the hotel generally good it was time to update back home with the trip so far, catch up with goings on and edit a few shots of the day.

DAY 13

Looking through the window upon waking didn't fill me with excitement. Weather is everything and unfortunately it was bleak and dull grey. Not great for photography. Leaving skogafoss in the morning and heading for our next stop to the southern interior region. It's a couple of hours drive up to the guest house I was staying at. This was apart I had not done last year. This year I decided that I would spend a couple of days in this area. It's vastly different and a lot of tourists choose to skip this as it's a little harder to access.


I visited the waterfall Thjofafoss. This gives a few shooting points. You can either shoot from the top where to where you park the car. Or you can carefully navigate your way to closer to the falls taking care on the way down.  Lighting for this wasn't great and probably the worse I'd had since stepping foot off the plane. You have to cope with what you are dealt with and the way to go with dour light is mono in my opinion to try and get some life and contrast in to the image. You can see from the sky how bleak it was. I couldn't be down hearted as I had been pretty lucky with the weather so far on this holiday. I am greedy though and still wished for it to change which wasn't to be.

Next up was Gjain. Gjáin Gorge is a great example of the contrasts of Icelandic nature. Amidst the old lava fields of the southern Highlands is this work of nature, beautiful waterfalls, columnar basalt rock, ponds and peaceful springs. The colours that are all mixed together bring out a staggering scene. 

Choosing to wear the fashionable green wellies here proved invaluable. I managed to get across the river just. The water was literally coming up the the edge of my boots and had to be careful not to get water in and then cope with soggy feet for most of the day. It was also quite amusing to watch a mini bus of tourists try to get to the location where I was. They could see me but were unable to work out how I had got to where I was. For about half an hour I watched them like wildebeest at the migration trying to find a decent spot to cross the river.

As you can see off the pictures. The terrain and landscape change considerably to the coast and surrounding area. Iceland is so diverse that its hard to keep up with the ever changing scenery...Not that I was complaining.

Luckily I got round Gjain for a couple of hours until the rains appeared and we headed off to check into hotel - The Hrauneyjar Highland Center  http://booking.com/a3f018f08f438. There are not many places to stay around this area and this guest house is one of the closest to Landmannalaugar. It's well spec'd with it's own fuel pump which is convenient. 

As with a lot of guest house in Iceland this one had been refurbished some what so all the facilities were of good new standard. 



Dining facilities were excellent and the large order they were about to receive off me for dinner was well catered for. Wifi was very good for saying we were in the middle of nowhere. It always staggers me when I am in areas like this that you have good Wifi and phone signal. it was the same when I visited the Masai Mara in Kenya and I had full phone signal most of the time there. Back home I struggle to get any signal at all in places like Wales!

An evening of watching films and editing beckoned and I'd resigned myself by looking at the forecast for the next few days that my Aurora nights were done with. My friend had gone for some fresh air and came back into the room with a directive of "bring your camera". Not knowing what to expect (Maybe northern lights) I gathered my camera and made my way to the front of the guest house. This is what I found!


Now by 4x4 standards the duster isn't the largest but this thing was ridiculous. I got chatting to one of the rescue workers who was also staying and he told us that whilst it being large, there were bigger vehicles. He aptly told us that come winter time this machine is where it's at. Designed for travelling over the glacier and the like. I can quite imagine that wherever that machine is pointed it will go regardless. The word "inadequate" was muttered a few times and I almost felt like asking for a refund on our own "little" beast.

DAY 14
 

Day 14 was to be my last day of photography and again the weather was largely uninspiring. I was travelling around the Landmannalaugar area. Four routes lead to Landmannalaugar and one of them is accessible by regular car, though the road is rough. stones the size of fists are not uncommon as well as washing-board style sections of the road which feel like they are shaking the car to pieces. As previous said a 4x4 is essential when wanting to enjoy these areas safely....and legally. 

I shot a few areas but without great light the place didn't feel as special as I'd hoped. It is an area I would like to revisit as you can see the potential it has.



I was happy with this shot however with a dramatic long exposure after a sneak of nice light had appeared through the clouds:
 

Settings as follows:

Exposure:  204 seconds, ISO: 100, Length: 16mm, Aperture: f/11


The roads are quite challenging to drive down and you have to put trust in your car. Once you've driven on certain F roads in Iceland you will moan about a pot hole again.

Making my way to Haifoss hoping to get a shot of this beautiful waterfall and it's surrounding landscape I was met with this:

I can tell you now that a few swear words were uttered at this moment as I couldnt even see the waterfall (If you look hard enough you can see a glimmer of white). I waited around for a while but this weather wasn't shifting. If anything it got worse and that was that for the day and time to return to the guest house.

The night mirrored the previous one with a hearty meal and then a chilled night in front of the laptop.

 

Days 15

This was to be our last day in Iceland and I duly packed our equipment and headed for Keflavik to where I had booked my last nights accomodation: The Bed & Breakfast Hotel http://booking.com/ce0840f05228d

I did stop and try at Haifoss again only to be met with the same conditions and I'll save posting an identical picture (See above). With that done that would be my last opportunity to take any images. All what was left to do was clean the duster of it's 2 weeks travels and fill it back up with diesel for it to be returned at 6am the next morning. It had once again served us well and gave us no problems and took us everywhere where I had asked it. 

Arriving at out hotel it was time to pack the cases and organise them so that they were equally weighted to avoid any conflicts at the airport again. After tea and watching the rugby on TV it was time for bed for a 4am wake up call.

DAY 16

A short drive to the airport. I dropped the car off and then checked in for our flight home. A few items from the duty free for people back home a I treated myself to a 66 North hat as I did last year. They are quality hats and are highly recommended for cold conditions. 

Then it was time to say good bye to Iceland for the flight back to Manchester.

Summary

Iceland is an unbelievable place that you really have to visit. The diversity that it throws round every bend is second to none. From the basalt rock formations to the volcanic areas, Geysir's spewing steam from the ground to the magnificent waterfalls.....Then there's the Northern Lights. Iceland is a magical place that really needs to stay that way. It is easy to spend days in just one area as there are hidden gems everywhere! Even 2 weeks is no where near enough and I don't think you would scratch the surface even if you spent a year road tripping round here. The natives are friendly and welcoming also. Even on this trip which exceeded my first trip in 2014 I still instantly want to go back again and again. 

If your planning a trip there and would like any information check out my Facebook or Twitter page.

Thanks for reading

Damian Black

 


 


Iceland - October 2015 Days 1-6

February 16, 2016  •  1 Comment

After being stupidly busy I have finally got round to writing my blog for my recent trip to Iceland.

After many requests I'm going to write this not only as an account of my trip but also featuring some tips and advice for people who have asked.

This trip to Iceland was largely inspired by the trip there in 2014 with my friend James https://www.facebook.com/refinedlight (Take a look a some of his work also) There were lots of unexplored places and locations that I hadn't done in 2014 due to a few reasons that mainly included time and weather.

On the whole I underestimated the amount of things to do in Iceland and 2014 was a little whistle stop. Whilst getting to see many locations the chance to revisit and spend more time at them were sparse.


For 2015 I said that we would spend more days in locations and this would enable me more chances of images we wanted (weather depending)

After a photographic trip to Wales earlier in the year I decided that Iceland would definitely have to be booked after a typical wash out trip once again due to the British weather.

I decided that October again would be the best time to book as the tourists have died down, the aurora is then visible and the accommodation and car hire is also cheaper due to it being off season.

After checking out flights with Easy Jet I booked from Saturday 4th October - 18th October. This again would gives me 2 full weeks to explore and plan to a good extent. The flights were around £230 each. About half of the cost of the flight cost was adding extra bags. We decided on 3 suitcases so this would enable us to fit in the clothing and at a squeeze the amount of camera gear (I did have to pay for extra weight allowance also) I'll go into equipment later.


I also booked our car hire. A 4x4 is pretty essential in Iceland. It gives you the freedom to travel on the bumpy and sometimes waterflooded F-roads as well as being equipped to hold our equipment and clothing. Last year we opted for a Dacia Duster and went with this model again this year. These 4x4's are basic but do the job well as I found no trouble with the one from 2014. In fact I was impressed with what the duster was like. As a Diesel as well the travelling costs were quite good and the MPG generous for the size of car.

Dacia Duster

As last year I booked with Blue Car Rentals http://www.bluecarrental.is/ . I found they are the cheapest and were happy with the service I received from them.


The Duster cost us around £800 for the 2 weeks duration of the trip. I would pick up and drop off at the airport as they have a depot there. If you are going to hire a car in Iceland then make sure you get full insurance with everything covered. It's an unpredictable place so be on the safe side.

With the 2 main elements booked I set upon equipment. Last year I took 2 camera bodies with one being mainly as a back up only. This year I had 2 new additions to the camera family A canon 7D2 and a 5D3. Last year I waited in vain hoping that the 7D2 would be out in time. Unlucky for me the release date was a month too late meaning I was riding with my older Canon 7D. Anyone who knows the 7D will know its stronger points were never high ISO's. This is one thing that I struggled a little with in 2014. Not to be outdone this time I treated myself to a Canon 16-35mm f/2.8 to accompany my new 5D3.

One of the the other new additions of kit this year was a electronic Dolly/Slider. After searching round the internet and also debating whether to make one I found myself one that would fit in my suitcase and was designed for the purpose of travelling whilst having a long enough travel to be effective.

Timelapse is something I've been thinking of doing more for a little while and so saw this a perfect opportunity. Another £350. I put the cost as you'll see this creeping up more and more.....and more as the trip arrives!

Clothing wise I pretty much had everything and added just a few base layers. Spending a lot of the time up mountains in Wales teaches you to get correct equipment for all conditions. I also go with the line...Buy rubbish buy twice.  In outdoor equipment THIS is the case and don't let anyone tell you differently.

Clothing essentials for Iceland

I`ll give a list of clothing below with most of it being bought at some time at one of my favourite stores - Go Outdoors. I've found they have a good variety, price match and the one local to me in Manchester has great staff who are knowledgeable and take time with their customers.

  • Warm down coat - Obviously Iceland can and will be cold (especially at night standing round)
  • Waterproofs - Coat and Bottoms - Make sure you get good quality waterproofs. If they fail then they are useless and will expose you to the elements
  • Fleece - Again good makes like Rab, Montane, Mammut and other brands will serve you much better than lesser brands that say they will do one thing but in reality do little (refer to the buy rubbish buy twice)
  • Baselayers - You don't want to be walking around in t-shirts that will hold sweat so good quality baselayers will prevent this.
  • Boots - Again good quality walking boots that are not only comfortable but also waterproof. Iceland will involve walking off the beaten track and the least thing you want to be is uncomfortable.
  • Hats, Gloves, Scarfs  - A good hat that wont blow off down a mountain/into the water is also a good idea. I also take two pairs of gloves. A thin type that takes an initial chill off with itips so phone operation is still available and a thicker pair for standing around in. A scarf can not only keep the chill off around your top half of your body but it can also be wrapped around your camera at night to avoid condensation from building up on it and fogging up the lens.
  • Wellies - The single, cheapest best piece of equipment you will purchase. Not only will they feet your feet dry but they will get you into shooting positions that you would be unable to get into with normal footwear. DO NOT FORGET THESE.


Ok clothing out of the way I'll move onto equipment. This will include camera and general.

  • Camera's - Canon 5D3, 7D2 & 7D - You may wonder why I took 3 bodies. Well for doing time lapse I didn't want to load up humongous amounts of actuations on both new camera's so for daytime time lapse sequences the 7D is perfectly adequate and the fact it doesn't take up much space meant I could just put it in there without thought. I opted for the 5D3 because of its low light light capabilities and full frame. My 7D2 whilst not being disastrous in low light cannot match the 5D3 and is better for action and sports.

  • Lenses - Canon 16-35 f/2.8, Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8, Canon 24-105 f/4 - As I was pretty much going for landscapes these were my main lenses needed. They are all fast lenses and will do a good job for aurora shots and night time shooting.  
  • Tripods x2 - 1 main 1 travel - This enabled me to shoot time lapse sequences whilst then still shooting with the other body. Take tools for these as should a leg or head become loose then you can fix it.
  • Filters - Anyone who shoots landscapes will know that filters are essential. Yes a lot these days can be done in post processing but essentially getting it right in camera in the first place will stand you in good stead rather than relying on software and trickery. Also a ND or polariser effect cannot be replicated in post processing. My filters of choice are Hitech Firecrest and Lee filters and I keep all these in a Lowepro filter pouch so they are all easily accessible. Filters can cost from a few pounds to a few hundred. Again there is a reason for that. I chose Firecrest grad filters due to them having absolutely colour cast. I also use Lee filters and all filters fit into my Lee filter holder that mounts onto the lens. My polariser is also a Lee landscape one.

Screenshot

  • Memory Cards & Portable Hard Drives - You can never have enough memory cards. Timelapse sequences will eat memory cards as a snack. Always get genuine well branded cards. I tend never to buy off ebay as there are that many fake ones that it's simply not worth saving a few pounds when the likes of Amazon are relatively the same price to be sure of genuine goods. Don't forget your images will be going onto these little things and after spending lots of money on equipment and travelling you don't want this ruined by one of these becoming corrupt - Choose wisely. The same can be said on a portable hard drive - Western Digital are a strong brand and their portable USB powered hard drives are perfect for travelling and storing & backing up the trips images.

Screenshot Screenshot Screenshot

  • Batteries - Luckily all 3 of my camera's use the same batteries so I have plenty to go at. I have found third party ones from 7dayshop work equally as well as the originals getting the same amount of actuations with no loss through usage.
  • Intervalometer - I had 2 of these for both cameras. These will help you out no end and are vital for landscape photography. A cheap one from Amazon can be sourced and is adequate.
  • Head Torch - Shooting aurora means shooting in low light pollution areas your surroundings are going to be pretty much pitch black. A head torch keeps your hands free and enables you to set up without struggling. 
  • Chargers - I tried get chargers that will enable you to charge in the car also. As at times we were on the road quite a bit and so keeping things charged on the move was needed. I bought a adapter that plugged into the cigarette lighter and this had 4 USB ports so perfect for charging phones, sat nav etc
  • Camera Bags - I had a Lowepro Slingshot 300 for trekking my equipment in. Unfortunately the zip broke on the first day and I had to do a bodge repair and be careful with it for the rest of the trip. I did have another smaller bag but this was more comfortable and has a waterproof over lining so I made do with that. 

 

A running theme in Iceland is to double up on everything essential. Iceland is not the place to lose or have something to break. There are little shops out of the bigger towns and cities but these have basic stuff and are not well equipped so replacing something is not an option.




So the trip had come around and all things packed ready to go. I'd ordered my Icelandice Krona the week before. I only ordered £200 as the majority of Iceland takes card. The exchange rate at the time was 190.000 to 1GBP. 

My friend James had made the trip up as we were flying from Manchester at around 8am. Upon arrival to the airport at 4.30am we scraped in on the baggage allowance but was accepted after a few niggles about whether we'd paid the extra allowance.

Getting through border control with the hand luggage has always been no problem with the equipment carried for me. My pal James however always seems to get singled out though. Again this was the case and he was subjected to a full body search and numerous swab tests much to my amusement.

The flight of 2 1/2 hours seemed to pass quick quickly with a bit of a nap as I'd not slept since the night before and a bit of music from the iPhone. You do get what you pay for and Easyjets seats arn't that comfortable with minimum leg room for someone my size. 

I'd been looking at the forecast building up to the trip and noticed the weather wasn't great. On landing though we wernt expecting it to be this bad!!

 



The weather was literally monsoon like. The car hire depot was where the far buildings with the lights on are and as you can imagine I got drenched on the 5 minute walk to pick it up.

With the Duster picked up I loaded the bags and set off from the airport. The main route that connects most of Iceland is route one and the majority of the driving is spent on this road. With cruise control set you can go for literally hours without the needing to touch the pedals

The first stop I did was to the nearest fuel station to pick up a Icelandic sim card. The rates and data you get from one of these far outweighs using your provider from back home here in the UK. Just make sure your phone is unlocked to be able to take one. The best sim card to get over there is Siminn. They have the best coverage and best tariff. Don't be talked into getting a different provider ie - Vodafone etc. The coverage isn't as good.

A link to Siminn's website is here to have a look at: http://www.siminn.is/english/

Next stop was to one of the many Bonus supermarkets for some supplies. These are more like an Aldi or Lidl stores but have everything you will need shopping wise.


 

Day 1

My first accommodation was named Laxarbakki Guest house near to the town of Akranes. It's about 2 hours from Keflavik so far enough for a first days driving. I'd booked one night here as a way point to our next destination. 

http://www.booking.com/hotel/is/laxarbakki.en-gb.html

Whenever I do a trip like this our quota for accomodation is simple:

  • Clean
  • Good Location
  • Decent amenities
  • Wifi  (those that know me will know it's the first thing I check ha)

The rooms are relatively cheap but as I am out most of the time day and night, fancy amenities are of no use to me. On this day it was of some use that premiership football was on and I was able to watch Man United unfortunately get beat by Arsenal. I had hoped of visiting Glymur that day but it was a complete write off due to the weather.

A lot of the guest houses are quite dated in their decor but as above they are clean and serve the purpose.

The weather for the rest of the day stayed dull, rainy and gloomy so after a brief organise of my equipment it was a night watching the TV.

Not the start I'd wanted but this is Iceland and I fully knew I would have days like this...

Day 2

After yesterdays wash out today started with grey skies but thankfully cleared and gave some nice light in places.

I was up early so I could make a start on travelling up to Snaefellsnes which is about 2 hours away. This area contains lots of opportunities for photography including one on my bucket list "Kirkjufell". I missed this one last year due to the weather and once again it has threatened to get in the way this year. 

On the journey to there lies the Gerduberg basalt columns which were a short distance from the road so we decided to try these first. I had 2 bodies running (one was timelapsing and the other for normal exposures)



As with some places tourists can and do get in the way. The trouble you get is that when you do long exposures or timelapse you aren't actually looking into your camera so it doesn't look as though you are taking any shots to Mr Joe Average who duly obliges and walks into your shot. This happened to James on more than one occasion which can be frustrating but just the way it goes......Patience is very much needed.

I was staying at the Old Post Office in Grundarfjordur. http://booking.com/8d66270477de27c2

Again the accomodation well spec'd and perfect for what I wanted with its own kitchen and you could come and go at will. I was greeted by the owner on reception who was only too willing to give advice on locations around the area so if you are struggling on places to go then this nice chap is the person to ask. The Post Office is perfect for shots of Kirkjufell as you'll see from the pics below it is overlooked by it. Perfect for Aurora shots I was hoping for.

Whilst it was early afternoon I decided to head for Grundfoss. I'd seen this waterfall on the way into Grundarfjordur where I was are staying and I went back to check it out. After looking at maybe a short walk I ended up going to the very top which was quite a way. It was well worth it and the panoramic views with a huge waterfall within feet was a great experience. 





Going down was a little easier than the trip up and I decided to head for Kirkjufell for sunset. Thankfully the weather shaped up enough to get some nice light on the mountain from a couple of different angles.

 

Settings as follows:

Exposure: 3.2 seconds, ISO: 100, Length: 27mm, Aperture: f/11

Settings as follows:

Exposure: 10seconds, ISO: 100, Length: 16mm, Aperture: f/11



I returned back to base after these and cooked tea hoping for some aurora later. The aurora forecast was reading a 3-4 and the weather was forecast mixed. 

I headed out later on and the weather wasn't the greatest but some aurora could be seen through the clouds. From walking the short distance from the car to the spot I needed to be the weather have gone decisively worse. I kept camera and lens protected from the elements until hopefully an opportunity came to get some images. This moment didn't come and I decided to call it as the weather wasn't clearing.

End of the night by then and I chose to back the days images up and edit a couple on the laptop back at the old post office.

 

DAY 3

With the weather not shifting until mid morning an early start wasn't required. The weather did start to be more accommodating at around 11am. One thing you cannot get frustrated at with Iceland is the weather. It changes quickly sometimes for the worse and you just have to be prepared to bite your lip and be patient.

Today was going to be spent touring the sites of the Snæfellsnes Peninsula. There are lots of sights round the area. Heading west from Kirkjufell the first area I went to was Djúpalónssandur beach. A black sandy volcanic area. 

On the beach there are iron remains from the British trawler, The Epine GY7, which was wrecked east of Dritvík on the night of 13th March 1948. The beach is strewn with the iron remains of the boat iron DO NOT TOUCH THESE. As with most things in Iceland they are untouched and this preserves the islands beauty and should be kept that way.

I spent a good few hours here as there are different rock formations and the beach is great for long exposures. The sea creeping up and around the rocks makes for a great image against the black sands.

Settings as follows:

Exposure: 0.3 seconds, ISO: 100, Length: 16mm, Aperture: f/16

Settings as follows:

Exposure: 0.4 seconds, ISO: 100, Length: 22mm, Aperture: f/16

Next stop was Lóndrangar. Lóndrangar are 2 cliffs on the coastline. Parking up in the public gives a short walk where viewing platforms have been installed for tourists. You can shoot from here and get quite an interesting shot of the sea crashing into the cliffs.

 

Settings as follows:

Exposure: 75 seconds, ISO: 100, Length: 22mm, Aperture: f/14

Further round and on the south coast of Snæfellsnes lies Arnarstapi. The beautiful columnar basalt and cliff formations are breathtaking in beauty and one of Iceland's most beautiful harbours.

 

Settings as follows:

Exposure: 40 seconds, ISO: 100, Length: 23mm, Aperture: f/16

After the drive back round the coast it was time for some tea back at the guest house. The weather by this time had closed in and had started to rain. I had visioned trying Kirkjufell again for the sunset as it was literally in sight. I decided to chance my luck as my friend was having none of it as it didn't look like I was going to get anything. 

I waited for a good half an hour before a clearing started to appear and I decided to take a walk round the falls which is a 5-10 minute journey.

The cloud was moving quite fast due to the wind as as the sunset was not glorious I decided on a ultra long exposure to create some drama. I was rewarded with this!

 

Settings as follows:

Exposure: 420 seconds, ISO: 100, Length: 16mm, Aperture: f/11

Getting back to the guest house gave me a chance to clean my gear and edit a few shots. I deliberated on whether we should do another day here and decided against it. Originally wanting an impressive Aurora shot over Mt Kirkjufell meant a waiting game that didn't look as though it was happening. The weather forecast for the next day around this area wasn't good and we decided to take a bold step to Akureyri as the weather and Aurora forecast was looking very good. We quickly looked for accommodation to book and decided an early start tomorrow was the best choice.

DAY 4

On waking up at 5am having packed up the night before I was pretty sure I had made the right choice. The weather around Snæfellsnes was awful. Not only was it raining but the fog had descended leaving visibility useless for any kind of photography.

I set off on what was (with a rest break) a 6 hour journey. I'm a willing driver so thought nothing of doing this if it meant getting the images I was wanting.

The road to Akureyri is a long but impressive one. The terrain changes regularly and I passed areas I'd done the previous year. One further thing that was changing ever more as I headed east was the weather. The further I got the clearer it became.

Arriving in Akureyri at around 1pm to glorious weather, for October I hadn't expected T-shirt weather but that is what I had . I checked into the Apotek guest house that I had booked the evening before. http://booking.com/ed89786e380df

This was in the heart of Akureyri. I really like Akureyri. Whilst being quite large (for Iceland standards) it retains that Icelandic charm. More so in my opinion than Reykjavik which bows down to the tourists that are frequent visitors. The only draw back to the Apotek was that parking outside of it wasn't allowed during the day so had to be parked at the cultural and conference centre then. (A five minute walk but worth bearing in mind if that poses a problem)

The Apotek had recently been refurbished and was a good standard hotel with good Wi-Fi. I set about planning the next couple of days knowing Goðafoss would be a good place to start for the sunset later.

I also checked the Aurora and weather forecast. The best forecast is Iceland's met office Vedur http://en.vedur.is/ To my delight it had got even better than the forecast from this morning. I'd read that there was was going to be a solar storm for the next few nights which meant one thing......GOOD AURORA!

What I had done the mammoth drive for!!! A KP of 6 is very high and clear skies were forecast. Would this be the Aurora night I had hoped for!

I packed the car up with our camera gear and supplies for a long night ahead. Aiming to be at Goðafoss (The Waterfall Of The Gods) waterfall a couple of hours before sunset would give me time to take some nice images of this awesome waterfall. I'd been here last year as it is easy to get to being straight off route 1. There are plenty of shooting opportunities for this waterfall from both sides and they are building a viewing platform on the east side which wasn't there last year (So maybe the last chance to shoot it in the position I wanted)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA I'd tried for Aurora shots here last year and it was tough going as the wind and spray in pitch black conditions were challenging to say the least. 

A shot I'd failed to get last year from the base of the falls. A lot of spray is produce from the falls and generally comes in the direction where you are shooting from. This time I was helped by the wind direction and whilst spray was still working its way over it gave brief moments to capture the shot I was after.

 

Settings as follows:

Exposure: 2 seconds, ISO: 100, Length: 25mm, Aperture: f/18

With sunset out of the way the attentions turned to the evening. The skies were crystal clear. It was going to be cold but with the correct clothing that wasn't going to be a problem.

Whilst waiting for it to go completely dark a quick snack was in order and already I could see glimpses of the Aurora.

Taken by my phone off the back of the camera. This wasnt long after sunset and already strong Aurora was starting to show.

A slight hiccup to the evening was the workmen doing work on the new viewing platform. Expecting them to finish at darkness the carried on with huge spot lights! I drove to the other side where they were slightly less obscuring. Unfortunately the light pollution from their lights meant shooting at the falls including them (Not good)

A quick check of the Aurora forecast and it said the next few hours was going to be a LEVEL 8!!. This was unbelievable and the show from the northern lights for the next few hours was breathtaking!

You see videos of the Aurora on YouTube and always wish you could be that lucky to get a show like that. Here I was right in the centre of the biggest light show on earth! Everywhere I looked in the night sky was alive with green and blue.

 

Settings as follows:

Exposure: 4 seconds, ISO: 6400, Length: 16mm, Aperture: f/2.8

After getting what I could at Goðafoss I headed for Aldeyjarfoss. Goðafoss was unfortunately getting a little too many tourists and they were shining torches everywhere and getting in shots. Not Ideal when trying to shoot timelapse sequences and normal shots getting spoiled. So after a 45 minute or so drive I arrived at Aldeyjafoss. The walk down to this waterfall can be hazardous especially in pitch black so a head torch is essential. When I arrived down there there were a handful of photographers who were very courteous. One thing that hits you when you go to heavy tourist spot that is easy accessible is the sheer lack of courtesy by some people so do be prepared for that. You just have to shrug your shoulders and move on....you do get use to it. Hence the move away from Goðafoss at the moment I did.

The lights dazzled the rest of the night and I think we eventually called it a night at about 5am after a stop at Goðafoss again and then at the Laufás Museum houses. These didn't work out as planned due to the museums bright lights lighting up the church polluting the surrounding houses. These are located north of Akureyri on the way back from Goðafoss and are quite picturesque

A 20 minute drive got me back into Akureyri at the end of a long but unbelievable day. 

Day 5

Day 5 started after a long lie in. After being on the road quite a long time yesterday and having a late night with the fantastic aurora it was a good time to have a late morning and reflect on the previous days events. 

I decided to head out around 2pm and headed to the tongue twister Hrafnabjargafoss. This is situated just south of Aldeyjarfoss and is very isolated with little visitors as it's quite out of the way. As I'd visited Aldeyjarfoss the previous year I decided on a new challenge.

 


 

In my time there Iceland had suffered record flooding and therefore this meant that the F26 road from Aldeyjarfoss onwards was closed. I had to park up at the Aldeyjafoss parking area and walk from there. Taking the road it was about a 2 mile walk to Hrafnabjargafoss. At the time it didn't seem that far but with camera equipment and uneven terrain it was harder and a little bit further than I had reckoned on. Regardless I made it there and set about taking some images. My friend and I split up to give us a chance of obtaining different images. (Its always good to see others perspectives and visions at the end of the day).

I chose to concentrate a little further downstream from the major falls and found this spot of which I especially liked the framing and the contrasting colours the water and rocks gave.
 

Settings as follows:

Exposure: 13 seconds, ISO: 100, Length: 16mm, Aperture: f/10

Hrafnabjargafoss gives plenty of shooting opportunities and angles and after shooting a few of these and the light now starting to fade I decided to get some images of the main falls.

The spray coming up from the falls makes it almost impossible and after banking a few shorter exposures decided to chance my luck on a longer exposure to get some cloud movement also. After a good few attempts and the blood pressure rising the perfect 3 minute exposure was obtained. Still to this day I don't know how I managed it but luck favours the brave.
 

Settings as follows:

Exposure: 178 seconds, ISO: 100, Length: 16mm, Aperture: f/16

After packing up my equipment and heading back to the car in failing light I headed back to the hotel for tea.

A favourite with me on the trip are the delicious hot dogs that the Bonus supermarkets have. They are easy to cook, convenient and not too pricey. I normally eat very well but when on the road and travelling it's a hard task after a days shooting to come back and start cooking a masterpiece and would prefer to spend the time doing what I actually came to do.

After tea I headed out west of Akureyri to see if we could find any spots to shoot Aurora. The spots we had in mind didn't come to fruition and the cloud scuppered any chance of any northern light shows on this night. I was not downhearted after the previous nights events I had been spoilt and it was good to get a early night compared to the night before.

I'd only planned to stay in Akureyri for 2 nights and decided that next day we would head to Stokksnes on the southeast coast.

DAY 6

Another early start proceeded the 6 hour drive to Stokksnes. Last year one of our gripes was that I near enough travelled everyday so I felt by doing big journeys and then spending 2-3 days in each area was better. Again I was up for the long drive and targeted the break in Egilsstaðir which is on the east side of Iceland and about half way to our destination. It was also familiar to me as I'd stayed in the town last year (and knew there was a subway!).

I painfully drove through the Myvatn area which is a whole area to be discovered in itself. Again because I'd done this area last year and still having great memories of flying over the Bárðarbunga volcano I decided to skip it this year.

I also stopped off at a couple of waterfalls on the way and got some images of those. I won't pin point them as there are plenty of opportunities and lots to choose from on the journey that are in simple reach from the car.


Reaching Egilsstaðir meant a refuel not only for the Dacia but also for myself.

Subways are a weakness and I wasn't missing this opportunity to grab one. They are rare in Iceland. Considering there isn't one McDonalds at all in Iceland this tells a story. Belly full and car refuelled I set off again for Stokksnes. I decided to mount the GoPro to the top of the duster and time lapse part of the journey.

You can find the footage on my facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/damianblackphotography/videos/vb.216688861875781/413942775483721/?type=2&theater

The scenery going through the east fjords of Iceland is breathtaking. I was lucky to have such glorious weather going through this area and it was stunning. It's an area which often gets overlooked but I would like to spend more time in this area.

On arriving to Stokksnes you are greeted with the Viking Kaffi. A small cafe bar as a stop off before the road for the classic view of Vestrahorn shot. You are asked to pay a small fee to go down the road. This goes towards the upkeep of the area so I had no qualms in paying this. The land owner is quite friendly and was quite happy to point out spots of interest. It was also quite funny to watch him go and chase the drivers who hadn't paid whilst having a coffee before heading out to get some shots. If you wanted to there is also a mock viking village that you can also visit.

I headed down the road and parked up. I'd seen many iconic images of this mountain range with the distinctive plantations as the foreground. As well as shooting that I went for a different shot from the black sandy beach. Due to the uneventful sunset and sky I used the water to get the image with some interest in it. 

 

Settings as follows:

Exposure: 2.5 seconds, ISO: 100, Length: 16mm, Aperture: f/11

Content with the sunset images I'd obtained I needed to check in and then head for some tea. I was staying at Seljavellir Guesthouse http://booking.com/09c1e4b5ea6c5dfe . This is a 5 minute drive from Hofn and the guesthouse is brand new. It had lovely panaramic views from the rooms of the landscape.

Already as I settled in and prepared to go for tea I could see the Aurora and took a quick snap. I was in no hurry as the forecast said clear skies all night and getting stronger as the night went on.

I popped into Hofn for tea as our guesthouse had no cooking facilities and had looked up Hofn's equivalent of a fast food restaurant Hafnarbúðin. I've got to say the food there was sublime. They obviously had heard of my eating exploits as the portions were huge. Definately a place to stop at and I ate here both nights I stayed here.....as well as lunch it was that good!

It was then time to head out to Stokksnes for the Aurora. As I arrived there we could see a huge wave of green heading our way. The forecast was at a level 6 for most of the night and again it wasn't wrong! Camera's out quicker than you could imagine in pitch black conditions is harder than you think. Finding the correct focus point in these conditions is hard enough so I'd advise marking the sweet spot for your own lens before hand.....It saves a hell of a lot of messing around. Another problem you`ll face when shooting out in the cold is the lens fogging up. Try to acclimatize your equipment before heading out. Leaving the camera bag open in the boot of the car is usually a good idea. What not to do is have it in your nice warm hotel room and then head out. There's nothing more frustrating than having to wait for your lens to "defog" or even worse taking a lot of images to find out they are ruined by condensation or a fog spot on the lens without noticing. Also wrap a scarf round the lens. Again this will prevent moisture and dew from buliding up on the lens.....Little tips like this will enable you trouble free shooting in the chilly conditions!

 

Settings as follows:

Exposure:  13 seconds, ISO: 1600, Length: 16mm, Aperture: f/2.8

As there was no moon present it was nigh on impossible to get great detail on the mountain side. A silhouette of the Vestrahorn with the backdrop of the Northern lights is what I went for here. The jagged line of the mountains work well as a good foreground. Once again we had luck on our side and once I'd got what we wanted from this location I headed east down the road and got some more shots of the aurora over the southern coastline. Again I was out until about 3am before deciding to call it a night happy with the images I'd taken. Again this had been a long day with the long drive. One thing that is a problem when you have nights like this is deciding when to end the night. As the longer you stay out then the less of the day you end up having the day later as some sleep is needed. 



 

 

 



 


L&CPU Individual Annual Presentation Awards

June 28, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

I went to collect my award from the L&CPU at Stockport this afternoon. There was some wonderful work on show in the gallery. The work was top quality. It was good to put some names to faces also.

Here I am receiving my 2nd place award in the nature print section for my image "The Pride Of Africa" with L&CPU President John Smith

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