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Birds of Jokulsarlon

Ryan Longnecker


Behind the Shot

Ryan visited Iceland in late July as part of a photo workshop excursion. “We traveled around the country finding the best locations. On this day, we set up camp about 20 feet behind where I took this picture. We were right by the water, and this is probably among the top-three worst nights of sleep I ever got in my life! It was windy, it was cold, and there were so many bugs. There’s a lot of still water, which attracts the bugs, and the bugs were attracted to us.

“This photo was taken around 11 p.m. The sun ‘sets’ around midnight and rises around 3 a.m., hardly dipping below the horizon for the nighttime. My internal clock was all screwed up for the two weeks we were there.”

Then there were the birds. “There are these birds that flock en masse by the side of the road. Usually when you approach a group of birds, they will fly away. But not these birds. That’s not how Iceland birds react. They just fly up and then dive-bomb and attack. There were a lot of people there who were getting attacked by the birds. You don’t mess around with Nordic birds; they will mess you up!”

“But all in all, I was sitting and enjoying this view from the camp, and the birds were flying through. The pink clouds and sky and the framing of the ice and water all looked perfect with the birds. I got some shots and was really happy with how everything came out despite the camping experience.”