Vestrahorn, Hofn, Iceland by Michael Pistono

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2017 was a year of great change for me. I needed to get away. I had wanted to photograph the Icelandic winter for some time so I decided to stop putting it off and make it happen. I boarded my flight on the now defunct Wow! air and made my way north from the east coast of the United States. When I arrived, there was a bad storm and the 110 mph winds had Route 1 closed. I was stuck in Reykjavik for the time being. Once everything settled, I continued on my journey east.

I slept in my car in sub-zero temperatures near this mountain for several days attempting to photograph the Northern Lights and a good sunrise. The weather was constantly changing and the shot was a challenge. In the same day, it snowed, rained, was sunny and completely socked in with fog. I didn't think I'd see alpenglow on the peaks at all! On the last day, I woke up just in time to see this beautiful sunrise lighting the mountains before me. I barely had time to get out of my sleeping bag, put layers on sprint to the spot I had scouted out before I missed the light. I am lucky I did as this ended up being one of my favorite shots of all time. The shot itself is a 5-frame, hand-shot panorama taken at 17mm and stitched together in Lightroom. The scene was just wide enough that a single shot at 17mm didn't get all of the foreground I wanted.

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