August 4, 2021
fotoVUE Photographing Iceland Book Review
fotoVUE have just released a two-volume guide by James Rushforth to photographing Iceland
fotoVUE has become established as the leading publisher of photography location guides. Their portfolio of guidebooks includes locations such as Scotland, The Lake District and the Dolomites. They have a reputation for great photography and detailed explanations of what you can expect when you arrive at a location. The latest addition to the fotoVUE stable is two volumes of Photographing Iceland. A guide to one of the most photogenic countries in the world.
What can you expect?
I have travelled to Iceland to take photographs several times. Whenever I go to a new location, I like to quiz the locals, and as a result, I have managed to discover a few hidden gems. James Rushforth must do the same thing but in overdrive to produce a book of such outstanding quality and breadth.
The first volume is just a few pages short of 500 and covers the exterior of Iceland. If you’ve never visited the country, it is circled by Route 1. Many famous photography spots such as the black beach at Dyrholaey near Vik, the Seljalandsfoss waterfall and the Glacier Lagoon at Jokulsarlon are all just a short walk off the road. Within the pages of the volume are over 100 locations that traverse the outer edge of the island, including the peninsulas of the Westfjords and Snæfellsnes.
Many people travel to Iceland to photograph the Aurora Borealis. The best time of the year to see this spectacular occurrence is from late September to March. Most visitors flock to Iceland during these months, and as a result, they miss the opportunity to visit the vast majority of the Icelandic landscape. Volume Two covers the Highlands and Interior, which is only accessible for a few months during the summer months each year.
Both books feature stunning photography by the author, who took over five years to produce these vast tomes. The copies I received are the hardback versions which make brilliant coffee table style books, but at over 3kgs, I am not sure that they would slip easily into a photography backpack. Thankfully, as well as the two books, there is also a free fotoVUE Iceland and Adventure Travel Map worth £16.95 when you buy the books directly from the publishers’ website.
The fotoVUE books have established a successful format that gives plenty of information to a photographer. Each location starts with a description of the place, including a bit of history of the site or details about the geology. The chapter then goes on to describe in more detail the best viewpoints. There is a section explaining the best time of the year or day to shoot for each spot, a description of how accessible it is, and a ‘how to get there’ guide. It’s great that you can scan a QR code to open Google Maps. Alternatively, you can also find the start point with the latitude and longitude coordinates or the What3words positions. Specifically for the Iceland books, there is an additional description of the road type, whether you’ll need to use a 4WD or 2WD vehicle and whether the roads are open all year round or just during certain months.
Iceland isn’t the easiest place to get around. Each book starts with a section called Iceland Logistics. There is handy information about driving on the island, types of accommodation, ways to save money and most importantly, a section on personal safety. As well as being beautiful, Iceland can be a dangerous place with exposed cliff edges, strong winds and creeper waves, particularly on the south coast.
Where to buy
Both volumes are available to buy from good bookstores, as well as Amazon. However, if you buy direct from the fotoVUE website, you’ll also receive the free map. Volume 1 and the map costs £49.95, with Volume 2 costing £29.95 as it is slightly smaller at 208 pages. You can get a great deal by buying both books together for £75, a saving of £5. If you are thinking of making Iceland your first -post-COVID photography trip away then these two stunning books are an invaluable and beautiful addition.
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About the author
As well as running Edinburgh Photography Workshop, Rich Dyson is a professional photographer. His photographs are regularly used in newspapers such as The Times, Guardian and Daily Telegraph. He also had two solo exhibitions and was featured in a members sponsored exhibition in the Scottish Parliament. You can see and buy his photography at richdysonphotography.com