Landscape Photo Project Iceland

Arved Gintenreiter photo project iceland

After I have left Venice heading for Iceland more than a month ago you might wonder: what is Arved doing up there?

Well, basically I am traveling and shooting Iceland crisscross, around popular ring road, in the hostile highlands, in the rough west fjords and east fjords, and so on. But this project is not a classic travel photography trip.

The Photographic Approach

I think we all can say to have seen too many snapshots, too many repetitive pictures in our life. Snapshots captured by amateurs, semi-pro, and even a bunch of professional photographers, yes, even worse: by myself! In modern travel photography people often head to a destination and try to capture the best photo under the circumstances they are facing. Goal is capturing a somehow big amount of beautiful images of a travel destination, totally unrelated just bracketed by the name of the destination. That is called travel photography in the end.

Just imagine a documentary photographer, a storyteller to follow this approach.

Traveling with family, little time frame given by the client, and so on – a bunch of good excuses. For amateurs this is totally fine! All their photography is about showing a few nice pictures of their holidays. The more serious amateurs will want to show above average pictures of their holidays. But for pro photographers in my eyes this approach is a no go in most cases.

Sure one cannot always wait for everything to line up perfectly, photographers have to meet deadlines, travel budget has to be kept in mind. But why did we opt for being professional photographers if not for telling something beyond “It’s a nice place”? To shoot pics which have been taken trillions of times already?

Having been fed up with this kind of travel photography I decided to start an own project where the image itself and the story around are all it is about. Hundred percent focus on the photographs means taking time to develop a plan, a story, to scout “new” places to be photographed in their own way suiting the story.

Hundred percent focus on the image means taking any effort needed to achieve the result which already in advance I have pictured virtually. In contrast to achieving the best possible result under given circumstances.

Then there is another level. In my eyes too many things in photography are done because they CAN be done. Technically photography has advanced to a stellar level within just a few years. The basic components of photography are of course still all the same – aperture, shutter speed, film or sensor sensibility (ASA/ISO).

Contrasts are too bright? Why wait for better light conditions if we can quickly shoot an HDR? The subject is too far away? Why hike half an hour if we have a 8mm-600mm lens mounted (exaggerating – at least I hope this lens does not exist yet). The subject is boring? So let us shoot it as a long exposure or with a drone – everything seen from top has to be somehow interesting.

Don’t get me wrong, there is a very good reason for all of these things to exist. I honestly love interesting drone photography. I have no problem with extending the dynamic range technically if necessary. Nothing wrong with all these technologies themselves. It is the misuse of capabilities for show by us photographers I sometimes cannot stand, even though they might be selling well.

We should not just think form the selling side.

So part of the project is taking photography back to its basics again. I will shoot digital because it suits the story I want to tell. But all the rest is down to zero. A simple tilt shift camera, the Alpa 12 Max, an analog lens, a medium format 40mm – full frame small format comparison 16mm about, and a light meter. No fuzzy elements, no distractions. And the project is going to be all black and white.

For many people I already know this kind of photography will be seen as boring. We got used to all the “show” part in photography business. But this project is about taking out all of this. The resulting photographs shall (hopefully) touch the emotional side of the viewer straightforward, photographs to be viewed for the subject and the story, but not for the never-seen incredible technique of capture.

Phase One – Planning

Shooting a project in contrast to taking holiday pictures takes a lot of preparation. In my case about a year of planning with online research and visiting the country in advance helped getting an overview for giving the basic idea better shape. Once here the planning had to be deepened.

Shooting a photography project in Iceland not necessarily means taking as many beautiful pictures of Iceland as possible, that’s the classic kick and rush approach. ‎It is about having a story in mind and best telling the story in photographs. Images suiting the story and taken in conditions suiting the story. The amount of images is not the main issue. I have no problem finally ending up with 10 to 20 captures, taken over a period of half a year about – or longer if necessary.

Phase Two – Scouting

Therefore the first month was set apart for intensely driving and hiking the country, searching for subjects suiting my story. Pure internet research cannot be sufficient for creating something new or rarely seen. All you find online has been photographed already.

So how to find new places, especially in case of maybe travelling a new country? First, online you get a rough idea how the landscape looks like in different areas. Second, drive there and walk, walk, walk. Walking is the only way of truly experiencing nature and landscapes.

As last, anywhere in the world I try to speak to as many people as I can: travelers, locals, traveling locals. Asking them for their favorite places seen you will end up with ninety percent crap information, but five or ten ‎might be killer tips in the end.

So now here in Iceland a couple of interesting places are noted, including the favored circumstances which kind of light and weather, sky is preferred for telling the story. When conditions were perfect right away past weeks, noting was exchanged by immediate shooting, of course. Just happened once.

A couple of areas still have to be explored due to extremely harsh weather conditions this year in Iceland. Parts of the highlands are still not accessible. Of course the interesting ones, spoiling my initial plans. Murphy’s law.

Phase Three – Shooting

Touring the country while closely following the weather forecasts and watching the clouds has a great side effect. It makes you kind of a weather expert for the region, giving a good feel ‎when to head where. Once the creative part is finalized taking the final photos is a more technical path to follow.

The rest is patience, setting up the camera and waiting for the conditions to turn out perfect. Sometimes it takes just a few hours for an image, sometimes it takes days and weeks before the camera is triggered. Good reading as well as absolute independence of where to be when in my working, living, sleeping converted Land Rover Defender ‎help standing the long wait.

Phase Four – Publishing

The success of such a project in my ees highly depends on how the images are presented to the viewer. To drag the viwer into the scene, to make transfer of feel to the viewer, nothing is better than an exhibition. There are plenty of ideas for a concept of showing the images. So if you know a good exhibition place in your country or anywhere else for conceptual but classic giga-scale black and white photography feel free to let me know. I am open for any ideas.

In case you wait for seeing the exhibition photos online soon I might have to disappoint you. They probably won’t be shown before being exhibited first. So plan with 2017 or so.

Can a photography project be woth worth all this effort? Is it worth all the high risk of failure? If things turn out as I have pictured in mind, including a new style of exhibition concept, for sure yes!


PS: I can virtually already seethe complaints filling my mailbox: Therefore: Don’t get me wrong – not take this kind of shooting for general. It is the path of this single project, not of all of my photography, which often is very spontaneous. It is not better than other approaches following a specific goal and not worse. It just suits my personal project idea.



We love to believe in the value of change.

Destruction gives place to new.

New often mistaken for better.

Nature, monuments, traditions – nothing sacred.

No questions. No balance.

Emotions and senses vanish.

Lost vocabulary: dignity and respect.

Priceless universal goods traded for profit.

Temptations plentiful.

Consequences ignored.

Our grandchildren will hold us responsible.

Acting today impacts the future.

We shall better preserve.

We shall better take care.

Irreversible destruction is everlasting.

Send me a message and I'll get back to you shortly. Please double-check your email address entered!
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.


Arved Gintenreiter Limited
20th Floor, Central Tower
28 Queen’s Road Central –
Central, Hong Kong, China
Phone: +356 79342250
BR/Tax ID: 67772696

Cameras, lenses, and accessories are tools for creating visions, not more and not less. Each tool has pros and cons in handling and capabilities, each has its raison d’être for different projects; no ideology wars. The following selection simply reflects personal preferences for my photographic workflow, style, and philosophy.

Large Format

Medium Format



The materials displayed on this site including all photos, text, graphics, software, advertisements, names, logos and trademarks (“Content”) are protected by copyright, trade mark, and other intellectual property laws unless expressly indicated otherwise.

You must not modify, copy, reproduce, republish, frame, upload to a third party, post, transmit or distribute this content in any way except as expressly authorized in writing by me, Arved Gintenreiter, personally.

This site is owned and operated by Arved Gintenreiter. Your access to this site is conditional upon your acceptance and compliance with the terms, conditions, notices and disclaimers contained in this document.

Your use of, and/or access to, this site constitutes your agreement to be bound by these General Conditions. Arved Gintenreiter reserves the right to amend these General Conditions at anytime.

Privacy Policy

Arved Gintenreiter is fully committed to safeguarding your privacy on the website by having implemented the high standards of the European GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) directive. Respecting your privacy this website also does not place any tracking cookie on your device.

Nonetheless some information is shared with Arved Gintenreiter while using the website. Please read the following policy to understand how your privacy is ensured and how given information will be treated. This policy may change from time to time so please check back periodically.

This Privacy Policy is effective as of April 15, 2018.

What information may be collected?
Information is collected in several ways. For example, some personal information is gathered when you checkout for payment filling in shipping and billing information. You may as well be asked for your email address. If you contact me I may keep a record of that correspondence.

For analytical purpose data such as approximate location (country, city), visited pages on the website, and technical data about the devices visiting the website can be collected. Using anonymized and aggregated data ensures that a single user will not be singled out.

In case you believe that any inaccurate or inappropriate information has been obtained or disseminated through your use of this site, you should please contact

How is the information used?
Primary goal in collecting information is to manage the shipping, billing, and communication process. Only if you agreed on, this information might also be used to notify you of other products or services available in a newsletter.

For shipping reasons your address information can be passed to a delivery service. In case other companies are hired to provide limited services like packaging and processing only the information needed to deliver the service will be provided, and any partner is contractually prohibited from using that information for any other purpose.

Beyond that no information will be disclosed except having your permission or under special circumstances, such as when believing in good faith the law requires, or under the circumstances described below. The following describes some of the ways that your information may be disclosed.

For increasing your privacy instead of using Google Analytics the user behavior on the website is monitored with a locally hosted analytics software where just Arved Gintenreiter has access to the data. No monitoring data is ever shared with a third party. When leaving the website, the tracking stops until you return to the website. Your user behavior not related to the website is not monitored.

How can I control my personal information?
Arved Gintenreiter offers you choices for the use and sharing of personal information. You may contact if you wish to view, edit or delete your personal information from the database. Commercially reasonable efforts will be made to accommodate your request.

How is my financial-related information protected?
Keeping your personal financial information private is vitally important. As a matter of policy, information provided by you is never ever sold under any circumstances. With payments through the paypal interface (credit/debit cards) for safety reasons Arved Gintenreiter does neither see nor receive any of your banking data, which can be seen by paypal only.

Because of the global nature of the Internet, when you give information, that information may be sent electronically to servers outside of the country where you originally entered the information. Unfortunately, no data transmission over the Internet can be guaranteed to be 100% secure.

Therefore, information disclosed by use of this site (as with any site), by posting a message or using e mail, potentially could be collected and used by others. As a result, while protecting your personal information, we cannot ensure or warrant the security of any information you transmit to Arved Gintenreiter Photography, and you do so at your own risk.

Once I received your transmission, commercially reasonable efforts are made to ensure its security in my systems.

Questions regarding the privacy policy, or other policy related material can be addressed by clicking the “Contact” button in the side menu and filling in the contact form. Or you can email to directly.