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Dispatches from Land's End

In Iceland with the Hasselblad X1D

Photography is often the pursuit of something beyond the everyday, the commonplace. Even when capturing scenes that occur in our daily surroundings, we’re often trying to freeze a moment that may never happen again. Taking on the challenge of Iceland, an entirely new environment for him, Hasselblad Chief of Strategy Ming Thein chose to pack the Hasselblad X1D Field kit.

Location:  Iceland, Camera: Hasselblad X1D-50c,Shutter Speed: 1/160 sec, Aperture: f/8 , Focal Length: 90mm (XCD 90mm), ISO:100| © Ming Thein

Speaking about his decision to use the Field kit, Ming said, “Portability, weather resistance of the whole system (including lenses) and no compromises in image quality. A small Pelican case with a footprint no larger than a 15” laptop held the camera, four lenses, spare batteries and accessories, kept everything dry – and never left me wanting for something I didn’t have."

Location:  Iceland, Camera: Hasselblad X1D-50c,Shutter Speed: 1/5 sec, Aperture: f/11 , Focal Length: 45mm (XCD 45mm), ISO:100 | © Ming Thein

“Keeping things light and compact also means you can explore further without getting tired and can save some weight on your tripod and other ancillaries.”

Iceland presents many challenges, not least because of its bitterly cold winds and highly changeable environment. But also because Iceland has become a photographer’s paradise in many ways. In recent years, tens of thousands of people have travelled to Iceland to take pictures, making it one of the most popular exotic photographic locations on the planet. Taking on Iceland pushes photographers to the limits of their creativity in order to find new perspectives of its numerous iconic and breathtaking features.

Location: Iceland, Camera: Hasselblad X1D-50c, Shutter Speed: 1/10 sec, Aperture: f/8 , Focal Length: 45mm (XCD 45mm), ISO:100 | © Ming Thein

“Finding something new isn’t easy, even though there’s an abundance of fantastic locations and scenes to work with. At the same time, it’s challenging from an environmental standpoint. The conditions can transform without warning, allowing for fleeting opportunities to capture something unique as light and weather changes – it’s quite possible that same configuration will never occur again.”

Location: Iceland, Camera: Hasselblad X1D-50c, Shutter Speed: 45 sec, Aperture: f/3,5 , Focal Length: 30mm (XCD 30mm), ISO:800 | © Ming Thein

Shooting along Iceland’s rugged coastline, contending with crashing waves and freezing spray from waterfalls, Ming and his team found themselves drenched. However, the weather-sealed X1D and XCD lenses continued to perform well throughout and shooting was only halted when the crew ran out of dry cloths to wipe the lenses. Speaking about the experience of trying to capture the epic natural beauty of the Icelandic coast, Ming said, “I was particularly pleased – as always – with the X1D’s very accurate rendition of the subtle tones and colors in the landscape, especially under overcast conditions. During the polar opposite – hard sunlight – the camera’s wide dynamic range ensured that we didn’t lose either end of the scene.”

Location:  Iceland, Camera: Hasselblad X1D-50c, Shutter Speed: 4 sec, Aperture: f/11 , Focal Length: 30mm (XCD 30mm), ISO:100 | © Ming Thein

Offering some guidance for photographers planning a once in a lifetime trip to a location as wonderful as it is challenging, like Iceland, Ming said, “Dress properly, scout beforehand to tell you where not to go – if there are a lot of images of that place, it probably means it’s too easily accessible and you’ll run into a lot of other tourists.

Dispatches from Land's End

“The harder it is to reach somewhere, the higher the chances you have of getting a unique image. Once you’re there, be prepared to wait; the chances of you being in the right place at precisely the right time for the perfect light is unlikely, but it certainly improves with some patience. Lastly, you might want to bring a drone, not just for aerial stills, but also scouting to determine promising locations without having to hike there first.”

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