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Library of Inspiration

Lights, Shadows and Landscapes

On a black sand beach in the fading light, Kelvin Chan sets up his camera. The strong Icelandic wind has finally died down, giving him a slight reprieve after five days of lashing rain. The surrounding landscape becomes tranquil. The turbulent waters become uncharacteristically still and smooth, with only a few ripples to break the illusion. The water’s shimmering surface acts like a mirror, reflecting the clouds and mountains beyond. Kelvin takes a minute to let this enthralling panorama sink in, bewitched by its incredible beauty. He focuses his camera and shoots.

Five days earlier, Kelvin set out from Reykjavik on a quest for the perfect shooting location. However, with the persistent rain, a location had yet to be found. Until, on the fifth day, the sun began to shine. Not one to miss an opportunity, Kelvin headed to Vestrahorn, an area by the sea known for its fabled black sand beach. Arriving just before sunset, Kelvin knew this was the place to capture the perfect shot. The bright blue sky and the setting sun helped to give the landscape a wonderful contrast of colours, while the black sand aided in creating a flawless reflection.

When your time comes to capture an amazing landscape, Kelvin advises that you should never rush the shot. Take the time to get a feel of the location. Truly examine it and find what aspects make it special. For the shot above, it was the thin layer of water on the black sand that created a reflection. To help balance the exposure of the shot, Kelvin added a GND and a ND filter. This helped enhance the overall colours of the composition.

Travelling to Iceland had been a dream of Kelvin’s for some time, so he wasn’t going to take any chances. Kelvin brought along his favourite ultra-wide-angle AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8G ED lens and the AF-S NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8G ED, along with his main camera, the D800E and the D750 as backup. However, equally as important is bringing along good wet weather gear. Rain and wind is common place, and even if you’re shooting near a waterfall you’re bound to get some spray, so make sure your equipment stays dry. Kelvin claims the most useful bit of kit was a humble lens cloth, used to get rid of water droplets on the lens.

When shooting in Iceland, many people immediately think about the elusive Northern Lights. Although Kelvin agrees that the lights are an incredible event, he says there’s so much more to Iceland. It has a stunning landscape full of waterfalls, glaciers and mountains that make it a photographer’s dream.

Kelvin’s photography journey first began years ago when he went trekking in Nepal. The shots he captured on that trip proved he was capable of capturing amazing photographs. Soon after that it became an addiction. Kelvin began travelling and shooting whenever he could get time off from his full time job in advertising.

As a photographer, Kelvin prides himself on capturing moments that don’t need to be altered too much in post-processing. He believes that a subtle scene of lights and shadows is more than enough to create an emotional composition. When asked what inspires him to be a photographer, Kelvin simply replied, “The ability to capture and preserve something whether it’s a unique culture or an awesome landscape, and being able to share it. That’s what keeps me going.” If he were to give advice, Kelvin says that the best way to improve is by sharing and learning with your peers.

About Kelvin Chan

Photography is all about sharing. As the world has so much more to offer than what most of us have seen or experienced, Kelvin likes to capture these images and share them for everyone to appreciate. Raising awareness through photography helps to preserve these unique cultures and places before they are lost forever. Through photographs, he is able to capture the sense of the place and emotion of a particular moment by keeping images as close to their original form as possible for the audience to experience the place as he has.