I didn't know quite what to expect returning back to Bolivia. Would I create the same kind of work as I did in 2009, or would I have a new way of looking at the same landscape?
I'm pleased to say that I didn't have an answer to this until I was back home, working on the new images from this trip.
I now see, that my first trip to Bolivia in 2009 opened up the door towards simple compositions and this recent trip allowed me to see how far I've come down that road.
It's been a beautiful journey so far and the altiplano is a great place to simplify, and think about tones and shapes only.
Vibrancy & Hues
On the altiplano, and particularly so on the Salar de Uyuni salt flats, one is forced to think about tone and colour only, because that's all there is to work with.
It really does make for a great lesson in 'less is more'.
But I feel that it's not just about improving craft.
The clarity of the light really does make for a very intimate experience. I do hope to continue to come here, as there is so much more that I have yet to explore.
Like an Arctic Tundra
Visiting the south coast of Iceland in January, was like seeing a familiar friend in a very new way.
We saw icelandic ponies, set like black silhouettes against the white backdrop of nothingness, and I often wished I could have made images of them. But it was not to be.
We had snow drifts and oftentimes the sky was inseparable from the ground that we were driving on.
The landscape still provided. I think in some ways, Iceland remains one of my best friends.
I took along a recently acquired hasselblad 500CM camera that I'd aquired from a dear friend. I love the square aspect ratio and I think it was great to come to Iceland, and see new compositions - suggested to me - by working with a new aspect ratio.
I think square has more of a graphic-art suggestion to it. I think this lends itself to influencing you to look at the landscape in a more abstract way. It's certainly something I wish to continue to explore. Sometimes, new (old) equipment can lead you in a new direction.
Arctic Circle Home
I have so many places I call home now. Each time I come back to Lofoten in Norway, I spend time with my good friends who live here.
There is an extended curcle of expats living in the Lofoten Islands. It seems to be a place where strangers can come and be at home.
I believe that we all have a perfect place to be.
Some of us have always found home, while some of us have to go searching to find it.
I think Lofoten is home for many people who aren't from there originally. There is a magnetic pull that draws certain people here.
Rorbu and Snow
Lofoten to me, is an idyl. It holds a lot of dreams for me as a landscape, particularly so in winter.
With little red fishing huts (known as Rorbu), dotted around the landscape, and towering mountains jutting out of the sea, it is a place where I feel I can explore the possibility of making very romantic landscapes.
Black & White, in Colour
There's something to be said about shooting a fairly mono-chromatic location on colour film.
Returning to south Iceland, I found lots of black beaches and glacial ice. I also found foreboding landscapes such as Reynisdrangar's sea stacks. And then of course, Skógarfoss waterfall, which never seems to be without tourists, demanded to be shot in the middle of the night around 1am. That kind of light brings a mood and also a reduced colour pallet to work with.
All this I felt, made my return trip to Iceland an exercise of shooting black and white subjects in colour.
Internalising a Scene
When I make images, I'm aware of feeling a connection to the landscape. If I'm in good spirits, then I believe that connection should work really well. But what if I'm not so well?
I came down with a chest infection the day I arrived in Iceland, and at the time, I felt it really hampered my creativity and enthusiasm. But looking back at these pictures now, I think the only thing it hampered was my willingness to carry out the full trip. Coming home early to rest, I had a chance to see these images sooner than I'd anticipated, and I'm really pleased with them. I guess, despite an awful cold, I was able to be objective and still make that connection.