Cinematographers Keaton Nye and Steve Jones spent a week taking on Iceland's incredible terrain and captured it all in their clip 'Seven Days in Iceland'. Here, Keaton gives us a rundown on how it all came about, from his passion for travel to how a joking conversation between friends to make the trip happen "soon" turned into reality.
From a young age, I’ve had a passion for traveling the world. In fact, to this day, I’ve visited nearly 30 countries. Fast forward a few years. When I was 18, I was diagnosed with a brain tumor. While undergoing a couple of surgeries and several weeks in the hospital, my perspective on life shifted and my passion stoked to travel and to live life to the fullest. (As of now, no signs of regrowth and with the exception of some hearing loss, everything is normal — praise God).
A few years after the tumor, my (now) wife and I got married, and the passion to travel didn't diminish. We’ve been to a few places in the Caribbean, as well as several incredible places around the States. When traveling, we tend to stray a bit off the beaten path and explore what many tourists don’t. That’s because we’ve learned that some of our favorite moments are the spontaneous stops on the road such as small towns, glacier lagoons and pristine hidden beaches.
The Iceland trip came about as a fantasy, but it quickly turned to reality. Being a cinematographer based in Oklahoma City, I’ve gained a lot of friends through the common love of film. I was at lunch with one of my good friends, Steve Jones, and the idea of a trip to Iceland came up. Jokingly we vowed to make it happen “soon,” and talked about all the things we might see there. We didn't realize how quickly everything would fall into place, but just a few short weeks later, we had our airfare and lodging booked for our seven day Icelandic adventure.
Travel to Iceland from Dallas was a bit extensive but, when we arrived in Reykjavik, it was worth the effort. We arrived early Monday morning and hit the ground running. We loaded the 4x4 with all our gear and headed directly to our vacation rental to build cameras and make sure nothing had gotten damaged during the flight.
Our house was at the base of a mountain, and the den overlooked a river flowing with massive glacier chunks (talk about a scene to wake up to every morning). Our first full day, we woke up before sunrise and set out to see a few of the most famous Icelandic waterfalls as well as the Black Sand Beaches of Vik.
The next few days we ran on little sleep. Our days began before dawn and lasted well after midnight. One of the most awe-inspiring stops was the Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon. The lagoon sits at the foot of a glacier, along the base of a mountain ridge, that connects with the ocean. It was eerily quiet and peaceful, allowing us to appreciate the scenery and natural sounds that filled the air.
Two other favorite places were an unnamed moss covered mountain and Kirkjufell. Although unplanned, the moss covered mountain was a wonderland of natural streams, hot waterfalls, and breathtaking views. Kirkjufell was another incredible mountain that stood tall, jutting out of the bay. Kirkjufell is a perfectly sculpted mountain, which dominates its’ surroundings and looks over a small town and waterfall.
Ultimately, Iceland is the most photography rich environment I’ve ever experienced. With caves, waterfalls, beaches, snowcapped mountains, glaciers, and extremely wooly wildlife, it is a photographer’s paradise. Uncrowded and unspoiled, Iceland provides many opportunities to capture the photos you desire. If you plan to visit Iceland, I suggest renting a car and planning your excursions prior to your trip. (If interested, I have the GPS coordinates of all the spots we visited — even the hidden gems). Lastly, never hesitate to explore the road less traveled. They are moments I cherish the most.