In Reflection

October 03, 2012

I’ve been meaning to write this post for the better part of a week since I got back. The thing that stops me all the time is the sleepiness that comes in like a tsunami and takes out my alertness so suddenly. Prior to this trip, I’d never really experienced jetlag. I knew very well that it could mess with you, but I never got how much, until now. Slowly i’m adapting back to the southern hemisphere, even a week later… I’ve been getting up around 430-530am and falling asleep not long after 10pm. Each night brings a new distraction, as I think to myself “I really need to write that blog post now…” and surely as the days have, they blend into many failed attempts and getting something up. Such is life. I’ve had the occasional apathetic thought in regards to this blog, my stat-read count wasn’t as high as I thought it may have been, and that’s deterred me from wanting to post, figuring that I’m just talking to myself half the time. But like all these things go, I’ve started something, time to finish it?

“Skogafoss And Little Red”

For the last few days I’ve slowly been feeding the internet with my pictures. Slowly as I process one and then the next, critiquing it, whether it’s good enough, whether it meets my standard, and throwing it into the snake pit of the online communities to be picked apart, loved or hated, seen by many but commented by few, but never really gaining the exposure for them that I had hoped. I’ve had a few requests through 500px for my work to be put “on sale” but with the choice of canvas art or HD download, I know that they probably all just want the image for their desktops. The problem lies in the fact that I’ve just spent considerable effort chasing up a copyright violation where the “artist” had downloaded my work and used it to augment poetry, without crediting nor linking back to my profile. This, coinciding with multiple requests for 500px to “sell” a HD Download for $2, of which myself, the artist, getting $1.50 for my effort, is a slap in the face.

“Sky Fire And Black Ice”

The ebb and flow of the publicity machine is cruel at its’ worst and kind at its best. Nights of activity vary greatly. Many photos may go unseen with the way the beast works. It’s hard to pick, and rarely do you get a second chance. This in turn is making me feel like nobody wants to see the photos I took. A bad inference perhaps. It just doesn’t feel as good as it used to, when sharing a new picture with the world.

To simplify, I’ll write in dot points for this list, it seems easier that way.

In hindsight, I wish that I:

  • Had spent the extra money on Goretex clothing. Even in September, which was “the end of summer” it was still bitterly cold for me – being a Queenslander, I’m used to all that’s sunny and warm, and warm and sunny. Cold temps and cold breeze was an entirely new phenomenon. I bought clothes from Mountain Designs and Kathmandu here in Australia and they did me no good, whatsoever. Sometimes I think going naked might’ve been warmer…
  • Had bought hiking boots that we’re at least slightly waterproof…
  • Had NOT listened to the guy in Mountain Designs who told me to only buy one pair of rain/wind proof pants. I wore the one pair for every day of the trip…
  • Had done a bit more research about what I wanted to see, where it was, and how to get there.
  • Had learnt place names and locations. Had been less of an “ignorant tourist” and actually tried to pay attention to the finer details, rather than just “in, out, NEXT!”
  • Had saved up for a new camera and bought it. You begin to notice downfalls when your main tool is failing on you.
  • Had taken more video footage – of everything. There comes a point where you don’t want to stand out too much, and just blend in. For the many first few days, I just wanted to take the backseat, blend in and observe. This is what I do in my own town mostly, but pulling out a camera and taking video means announcing yourself to the world that you’re a tourist and I didn’t directly want that. By this time I hadn’t gotten myself into the habit of taking video, and starting seemed a bit strange. I took mostly iPhone video here/there. Regretfully, if I ever get around to putting together a trip video, it will be composed of mostly iphone footage.

I’m sure there’s more, this is all I can remember for now (and from the list I wrote, else Id not remember them at all!)

“Arctic Sunset”

But, what did I love about the trip… wow… let me begin!

  • The drastically different landscapes. The icebergs, the colours, unique shapes and textures!
  • The abundance of waterfalls. Quite surprising considering how it’s covered in lava fields and an eerie moss, but then giant mountains and hills pop up out of nowhere.
  • The surprises. Freak awesome clouds. Roads disappearing into giant snow-capped hills. Rainbows on sunny days.
  • Some of the food surprises. Skyr. Icelandic Meat Soup, toppur (orange flavoured mineral water), convenience stir-fry packs, high protein snacks everywhere, a better tasting Coke!
  • The sheep (this is probably best left as a private joke)
  • The Aurora Borealis. BIG tick off of Bucket List.
  • Challenging myself in continuing to take photos for so many days in a row without getting too tired or sick of it. I think my camera gear got sick of me by the end of it.
  • Blogging so continuously despite low levels of energy and internet connection in some places!
  • Experiencing a new and different culture.
  • Exploring a new city and being helped by locals.
  • The things I learnt about travelling that I didn’t already know.
  • Chasing the next adventure.

Weather is one thing you can never control. I had shrugged off suggestions that I would freeze. Not really knowing, in hindsight, what “cold” actually was. The kind of cold that paralyses your fingers, stops you dead in your tracks. Freezes your nose but lets you sweat down your legs.

Trying to catch the Aurora was like winning a lottery. First you had to make sure it was active. Then check the rain forecast, the cloud cover forecast, and if all of those align to a clear night at your chosen location, congratulations, you go there and shoot it. If not, you may just find yourself snoozing off in bed having sighted what looks like the aurora, but until you take a photo, you’re not quite sure. (As this happened a few nights)

^ Currently untitled.

For now, that’s it.

I can feel the signature droop of my eyes getting larger, the edges getting more creased and the concentratin waning. Closing my eyes whilst listening to music is a dangerous undertaking, I’m not sure when, if ever, I’ll wake up without a drool-pool on the desk or a nonsensical blog post. (which I hope this isn’t.)

More on everything shortly! I’m still thinking of you!

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