Iceland is a country full of wonder. Of all the splendid locations in Iceland, my favorite without a doubt is the highlands of Landmannalaugar. Colorful mountains as far as the eye can see. Patches of snow create a pattern amongst the blues, red, greens, and every brown and yellow tone you can imagine. An interesting aspect of the highlands and most of Iceland is the lack of trees. Moss is about the only thing you will find growing on the highlands of Landmannalaugar. This presents us with an interesting opportunity to use people in our landscapes in order to show scale. The mountains are photogenic on their own to be clear, but adding a hiker gives that extra element of scale, turning a pretty scene into a jaw-dropping scene. Let’s take a look at some examples, starting with “The Hiker”.
The hiker on the ridge is entering this endless wilderness. The light in the image highlights the subject and we see the journey ahead. Imagine this image without the hiker, void of the story and sense of wonder.
In this example, we see a hiker paused to take in the epic view, just as the viewer of the image is doing. A connection is made with the attempt to bring the viewer closer into the scene by putting you, the viewer, on the ridge itself. The title of this image is based on a client and friend of mine who is on that ridge. “The Legend” is his nickname and it seemed a fitting title here.
It can be difficult to view these images small on the web. Imagine being able to view them printed large? In this example, titled “Almost Home”, we see a hiker on the lower right about to make their final descent into camp. They came, they saw, they conquered. The journey is almost done.
In this final example, “Laugavegur Trail”, we see a hiker on the most famous trail in Iceland. Having experienced the hike myself, this image brings back fond memories. Every time I view this image it puts a smile on my face.
As a landscape photographer I’m not one to photograph people, pretty much ever. I have zero interest in it. But as you can see here, sometimes it can actually improve your landscape imagery, and that is something I’m always striving for. I encourage you to give it a go when the situation arises.