Sea Stacks Assignment Winner • Andy Gray

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DIMITRI VASILEIOU, EDITOR

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Reynisdrangar, Vik, Iceland

We were on holiday in Iceland and this was our penultimate stop off point. I had seen so many photographs of this location before but no two images are ever the same, especially with the ever-changing Icelandic weather conditions.

I arrived just after sunrise and, not surprisingly, it was blowing a gale. The two main challenges were tourists and the waves regularly crashing up onto the beach, right up to the foot of these basalt columns.

This is a notoriously dangerous place for people to linger, so you need to be prepared to run back up the beach quickly. Setting the tripod up and keeping it stable in the sand is not easy, so long exposure attempts become difficult, hence the relatively fast shutter speed. You don’t have time to get out the big stopper, otherwise your tripod may end up in the sea before you know it.

No filters were used in this image as is mostly the case with my photography. I used the cloud cover and dynamic range of the camera to take a single exposure. This particular morning the sky was quite menacing but the sunlight was low on the horizon, nicely silhouetting the distant sea stacks. The bonus of some light hitting the basalt columns added to the foreground, together with the highlighted texture of the black sand.

Overall, this was a worthwhile visit and worth the wet feet. For me, if you like winter and Aurora photography, the best time to visit Iceland is October or March as you can get snow, Aurora and the temperature – although cold – is not as severe as in mid winter.

Andy Gray, UK

Most of my images are captured under lowlight either at sunrise or sunset. I have a particular preference for winter landscapes. I hope to transport the audience to the beautiful locations I have visited so they can experience the atmosphere for themselves.

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