ok.. that’s an exaggeration, but i was looking thru pictures of myself from the past year and realized i look like completely (well, almost) different people on them…this is quite possibly my most pointless blog entry so far, but im a sucker for comparison pictures.. the funny thing im realizing, is that despite this tendency of mine to keep altering the appearance of my head, so often im referred to as a blond.. hmm.. maybe im just invisible when im not doing the blond thing..
and also november (after removal of braids..if only i could get it to stay this way.. only lasted til i had to wash it)
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This has been one amazing summer! I was a bit glum at first about the prospect of turning 35 (this happened May 25th) but since then I’ve tried all sorts of cool new things and never felt better. Thus I’ve decided more firmly than ever that I’m actually not getting any older, the number’s just getting higher for some reason. And my kids are getting mysteriously tall (the 15 yr old is 6’1″ and showing no signs of stopping).
While by brain is brimming with all sorts of things I’d like to share, I’m going to start with a much needed update about the Weather Experience project, especially for those generous people who donated funds to help make it possible, and might be wondering if the book will ever actually see the light of day. (For those not familiar with it, this is a huge-scale project I’m working on with my boyfriend Óli, started in April 2011). In my last update I mentioned we had all the most difficult locations yet to do. I’m happy to say that since then we’ve managed to cover four of those hard-to-reach spots, which is a huge relief. This means we now have completed 46 locations out of 60, with only four locations remaining that need to be reached by boat. In early May we made a trip up north to get the island of Grímsey out of the way. As the red dot shows , its a good ways offshore:
So we reserved a ride with the Grímsey ferry, which we learned would be leaving at 9 am from the small northern town of Dalvík. We were told to be there by 8:30 am at the latest, so we left the previous evening from our home in Hafnarfjörður, and drove all night.
The trip was uneventful aside from the goose we accidentally hit with the car – I became a little hysterical that we’d killed it and wasn’t at ease until Óli had turned the car around and driven all the way back to see if its lifeless (or worse, hideously injured) body was lying in the road. It wasn’t, so apparently geese are tougher than I thought, which came as quite a relief. I’d rather complete this project without any animals getting killed in the process. On a happier note, we also passed a field of horses, where a newborn foal was taking its first steps with the help of its mama:
Once in Dalvík, we hurried to the ticket office and spent a few minutes debating wether or not to spend an extra 10.000 króna (80$ or so in addition to the 160$ it cost for just the two of us) to bring the car with us. Since we had a bunch of camera stuff and no backpacks, we decided it would be a lot more convenient. At that point we were also under the impression that we’d have 4 hours on the island. So I drove the car on board, all the way as far back as it could get (as i was instructed). Then the dock workers proceeded to load a new dock (partitioned into several huge pieces) onto the boat behind my car. This did not bother me at the time.
And off we sailed. As you can see, there was still an amazing amount of snow around Dalvík in May:
Now, the boat ride itself was 3 hours, and since I’d been driving all night, I promptly fell asleep on the floor of the main passenger area and snoozed for an hour. (We were the only passengers, so this wasn’t as awkward as it sounds). The highlight of the trip was when the captain let us know there was a group of humpback whales ahead, if we wanted to take pictures. He actually swerved off course to get us closer to them, which I thought was very awesome of him.
Once we arrived in Grímsey, we were told the boat would only be staying for an hour. It then dawned on me that my car wasn’t going anywhere until the dock had been unloaded from behind it. I figured they meant we’d have an hour once we got the car off, but I was wrong. It took half an hour before we could finally get going, and we were told we had exactly 30 minutes to get our work done. (Even though Óli had helped with the unloading of the dock. That should have bought us at least 10 extra minutes)
We’d never been to the island before and had no idea where we should shoot the photo, so we asked one of the dock workers where we’d be most likely to capture the “essence” of Grímsey. She gave us directions and off we raced. I threw the dress on in a hurry, and then we spent a maximum of five minutes figuring out the best angles to try.
Once we were sure we had at least one usable picture for the book, we noticed the puffins nesting all over the cliffs below us. I figure we managed a maximum of five minutes to take some puffin pictures – something I would happily have spent half the day doing.
I did this while wearing the dumb dress (no time to waste changing back), the cold wind tangling it around my legs, my hair blowing in my face, feeling amazingly frustrated that we’d come to such a beautiful place with all the camera equipment we could possibly need, and had to leave again right away. We raced back to the boat exactly 30 minutes after we left, to find the ferry guys waiting for us. (Seriously, after a three hour trip, would it have killed them to go get some coffee and waffles or something??) I have to say, 30.000 kr for 30 minutes in Grímsey (about 8 bucks a minute) is probably the worst deal I’ve ever gotten in my life.
To their credit though, the ferry guys were very nice and let us sleep in bunks without paying on the way back, since we were still the only passengers.
Side note: On our way back home from this trip, we got a phone call telling us that the dog we were interested in adopting was ours if we still wanted her. The next day 6-yr old Spíra was brought over for a visit, and she’s been with us since.
Here she is on the right, with our other dog, 12 year old Sámur. He’s had mixed feelings about her arrival, she’s a bit pushy and boisterous for his taste, (like an annoying little sister) but they get along. Such a joy to have them both
Anyway, donations are still welcome to help complete the book. As before, anyone donating 15$ or more gets a free PDF of the completed book, which is now this far along:
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I have a little favor to ask..
I’ve never before resorted to asking for donations to support my work. However, I’m faced with a bit of a dilemma. I’ve recently undertaken a vast new project, which I can’t realistically fund out of my own pocket. I was all set to use Kickstarter, until I found out I can’t use Amazon Payments because I live in Iceland and only have an Icelandic bank account. Rather than give up on the funding idea, and since I do happen to have a Paypal account, I’ve decided to outline the project here, and invite anyone who enjoys my work and finds this idea worthwhile, to contribute a little to help it along.
Before I continue, here’s a sneak peek at some images from the project so far:
Allow me to explain:
There’s a saying in Iceland: “If you don’t like the weather, wait 15 minutes”. There are probably few places in the world as unpredictable in this regard. This is probably why Icelanders talk about the weather so much.
For as long as I can remember, the weather report on Icelandic National Radio has been an unchanging , somewhat comforting background noise, heard but never really listened to. Certain place names have become familiar from hearing them repeated over and over again, but until recently I never really gave much thought as to where these places are, exactly. Some are well known, but the majority are obscure, out-of-the-way spots few people have much reason to visit or think about.
Now let me back up a little bit:
Late last summer, when photographing a field of long grass blowing in a strong wind, I was struck with the idea to create a costume that would behave in a similar way, i.e. a dress covered with strips of cloth to catch the wind. I created three different versions of this outfit in white, and made some cool photos in the process. (see this post for pictures) But I wanted to take this further, to create a series tied together in some coherent way. (seriously, there are only so many random selfportraits one can take wearing a dress outdoors in Iceland before it begins to feel a little redundant)
Anyway, to make a long story short, I decided that I’d photograph myself in a new, black “wind gown”, in the vicinity of all the weather stations scattered around the country.
I soon realized that this undertaking would be a lot more work than I first imagined. I had no idea there were so many weather stations, (over 200 in all) or that some of them are located in places only reachable by boat. So, I figured I’d limit the spots to the ones actually mentioned on the radio forecast, which narrowed the field down to “only” 62. And still a few only reachable by boat. A challenge, for sure, but I seem to thrive on those.
Once the photographing process is complete, the resulting photos will be made into a book, along with little stories from the creation process, behind-the-scenes photos, and a map detailing where each image was taken.
Rather than attempt to do this all by myself (which is how I’ve stubbornly worked in the past) I gladly accepted my boyfriends offer to join me in a collaborative effort. In April we set out in a Land Rover, accompanied by one happy dog:
to tackle the first leg of this project, running into a few minor inconveniences along the way… like almost sinking the truck near Vík before noon the first day..
(we needed a bit of assistance getting out of that one..)
and spending an hour driving almost all the way along a mountain road called Dynjandisheiði, (which we heard was open) only to be forced to turn around and go back, when the tracks we’d been following, and with them any visible road, disappeared completely..
3200 km and one week later, we’d only managed to cover 22 spots. (Reduced to 21 when I realized that one of the farms we visited, making an hour detour to get there, was the wrong one with the same name).
All in all, the results are very promising so far, and we’re both extremely excited to continue. On this first trip, we spent roughly 900$ on gas and acommodation (as cheap as we could find, we spent 3 nights out of 6 in a tent in sub-zero temps). Realistically, we’ll need at least three more trips to cover all 62 locations, and for a few spots we’ll need to hire a boat. We’re also both putting other work on hold while driving around working on this. So any donations, from 1$ and up, will make a difference.
To make this more worthwhile, anyone who donates 15$ or more will recieve a PDF version of the finished book. As soon as I’ve received the donation, I’ll put your name and email down on the “cool people who get an e-book for helping me out” list.
Furthermore, donations of 50$ will be rewarded with a PDF of the book, plus five 12×17 cm (5×7″) prints of any 5 images featured on my website (from all categories except “people”)
Obviously, you’ll have to trust me on this, but I assure you I have nothing to gain by not keeping my word. I would however have a lot to lose, since then people would just start telling everyone that I’m a liar and not to be trusted, which just isn’t productive to ones career in any way
Thanks in advance to anyone that decides to help out.
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I had an unexpectedly cool evening yesterday. I was offered, at the last moment, a free ticket and backstage pass to a concert with french band Air (i hadnt planned on going, though Moon Safari is one of my favorite albums.. haven’t really followed their more recent music) because the warm up act, norwegian singer Kate Havnevik (shown above) needed a photographer to document her performance. I agreed, tho i’d never heard of her before, and had only an hour or so to get ready, and have never taken a concert photo in my life:)
Im glad i did, as the woman in question turned out to be not only hugely talented , but extremely likeable and friendly as well. In addition to photographing the show, i managed to squeeze in an impromptu and slightly silly photoshoot in a shower stall after she’d finished.
I was a bit nervous about my gear (or lack thereof), seeing as the only lens i have in my small arsenal that can in any way be called “telephoto” is my small 100mm f/2 portrait lens, and surrounded by press photographers armed with canon 1D mach II cameras (or whatever those things are called) with ridiculously huge telephoto lenses , i felt a bit intimidated. However, this lens proved itself to be more than up to the task at hand, and the 2.0 aperture came in very handy, the constantly changing light was a nightmare to deal with and even at iso 1600 the highest shutter speed i could manage was 25. Challenging to say the least. But fun.
Im rather pleased with the outcome, considering..
And, after Air had finished playing, Kate snuck me up to their dressing room and i got this last one. All in all, not a bad evening:)
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