Iceland Mag

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Iceland Mag

Photography

Italian photographer destroys his car door in a storm, but captures an award winning photograph

By Staff

  • Battling the storm Groups of geese and swans battling the elements near the town of Vik. The photograph was one of 100 finalists in the Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2015 contest. We recommend clicking on the photo and viewing it full screen. Photo/Vincenzo Mazza.

The unpredictable and often inhospitalbe weather, including storms like the one which swept over Iceland on Monday, are an integral part of what makes Iceland a fascinating destination. Winds like the one on Monday can not only create destruction, but also beauty.

Vincenzo Mazza, an Italian landscape and nature photographer got to experience both of these sides of the violent weather as he captured an beautiful glimpse of the beauty of Icelandic nature, caught in a violent storm, while destroying the door of his car. The story behind the photograph is published on on the photography website 500pxISO.

Vincenzo was travelling in Iceland photographing at the Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon in South East Iceland. On his way back he drove through the town of Vík.

Going through the town of Vik, the road stretches alongside a costal lagoon. As we were passing, the lagoon was being lashed by very strong gusts. The scenery was surreal: wind was pulverizing the water and creating a white/blue fog, while a pale winter sun was setting!

Vincenzo has been travelling in Iceland on numerous ocasions, so he is no stranger to Icelandic weather. But the moment caught him by surpise: He topped by the roadside and instinctively opened the door to jump out and take photographs. Which is not a good idea:

Immediately the wind separated the door from my hand, opening it violently, breaking the hinge, and slamming the door against the car’s bodywork!

Of course, you need to take extra caution when you open car doors in strong winds, like the one we experienced earlier this week: Check from which direction the wind blows before you open the door! And keep a firm grip on the door while you open it, ensuring the wind doesn’t rip it from your hand.

Vincenzo's description of what happened next shows that you must be willing to see the opportunities in disasters like this one - because the photograph he managed to capture was selected among 100 winning images in the Natural History Museum Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2015 contest.

At that moment, my first thought was to fix the door and drive the car to Reykjavik as soon as possible. But, after several minutes of work on the broken hinge, I suddenly changed my mind. In an instant it was clear to me that going away without trying to photograph this amazing scene would have been even stupider than breaking the car door in the first place!

So I got out of the car with my camera, and what I saw was totally sublime to my eyes! A group of whooper swans was swimming in the lagoon, immersed in the water spray, moving against wind direction.

There was also a little group of greylag geese, coming one after the other, that were flying very low, close to the water, moving in the same direction of the swans. Because the wind was so strong they were flying more or less at the same speed the swans were swimming.

Vincenzo Mazza was born in Velletri (Rome area), in 1974. He is a former computer graphic and photography trainer for the National Institute of Architecture and the Institute of photography in Rome, but has been working as a full-time landscape and nature photographer since 2011. As such he has travelled to and photographed in 15 different countries. He is currently running workshops and photo tours in Italy and Iceland.

He’s been a Dreamerlandscape team member (the most important Italian landscape photographers group) since 2012. He’s also a member of the Italian Nature Photographer Association (AFNI), and one of the founder of Focus in Iceland, a travel agency for which he’s have been working since 2015 in Reykjavik where he now lives.

His work can be found on 500px, or on his website, or Facebook page.

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