Monday 27 June 2022

In Iceland, 36 years ago this month

In June 1986 I spent a week backpacking in Iceland, the only time I've been there, all intentions to return having come to nothing so far. The weather was stormy, there was still much snow from the previous winter, and rivers were in spate, so it was not an easy trip. Often conditions determined my route. I was though very impressed with the wild Icelandic landscape.

This was the first trip on which I carried a tripod so I took plenty of self-portraits and low light pictures  whenever the weather allowed. On previous walks I'd relied on balancing the camera on a rock and so didn't take many pictures of myself and virtually none in low light. However at times I was with others and so had people to photograph and people to photograph me. I met hardly anyone else on my Iceland walk so I was glad of the tripod as I wanted a figure in many of the images to show the scale. I've carried a light tripod on every trip since.

Thirty-six years is an odd aniversary. Mostly we think in five year intervals, with perhaps a break for 21st. It is in fact by chance that I'm posting these pictures. I hadn't even remembered it was the 36th anniversary of the walk. Only after scanning the slides did I check in my journals which month and year it was. And I only scanned the slides because they were the first ones that came to hand when I was trying out a new solution for holding films while you scan them called the Pixl-Latr

Previously I had just placed a slide on an old lightbox and then photographed it with the camera on a tripod. Keeping the slide still and positioning it correctly was difficult and I had many skewed images, resulting in my rarely bothering to scan anything. The Pixl-Latr makes this much easier. I think it will prove even better for negative film, which needs to be held flat. I will be scanning some soon.

The camera was a Pentax MX SLR - the same one I'd had on the Pacific Crest Trail in 1982 and the Continental Divide Trail in 1985. It was a tough little camera. The lens was a Tamron 35-70mm zoom. Film was Kodak Ektachrome 200.

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