Between heaven and earth exists all living things. Natural forces like light, wind, heat, cold, and water shape our existence just as they have the breathtaking landscapes in China's Zhangjiajie National Forest.
During rainy season, the moisture turns into fog which flows among the rock formations as if islands of rock and trees were floating in a sea of clouds. And light rain won't do it. You need a downpour. Then, you need to be fast, as the fog doesn't stay around for very long. The right conditions don't happen often but when it does, it is an amazing sight to behold.
I was lucky to have been able to shoot these conditions for a week. However, the adventure starts before hand. Getting here isn't easy, which is why I didn't see many westerners. It takes an overnight train to get to the closest city, then another 2-3hr drive to the entrance of the park. From there it is an hour or more to get close to the locations. A lot of preparation, luck and patience!
The light during midnight sun is a surreal and unforgettable experience. Hues of pinks, purples, reds and oranges that you may be lucky to see for a few minutes during a normal sunrise/sunset can explode for hours in an epic display of nature's masterful artistry.
Shot over two weeks from late June through early July in Iceland, finding the best spots to experience these conditions was not easy. We had to navigate Iceland's fickle weather. The southern half of the island was storming most of the time. Knowledge of the island's various micro climates and scenic locations were important in figuring out where to go for any given night. So was staying mobile and keeping all options open. Each day was a new and unexpected adventure.
Over the course of the trip, we covered most of Iceland's varied landscapes, traveling a complete loop on the ring road as well as spending time in the central highlands in the middle of the island.
You'll see scenes from Snaefellsnes peninsula in the west and various mountains and coastal areas in the north, to the fjords in the east and the Vatnajökull glacier region in the south. Perhaps the most unexpected of all was catching the large plumes of clouds being generated by the cooling lava from last year's volcanic eruption in Bárðarbunga.
In the end, the odyssey is about the journey and its experiences rather than about the destination.
Ethereal is my first aerial film that was 2 years in the making. It is an experimental film shot in the remote, breathtaking Icelandic Highlands that combines aerial cinematography with timelapse. The accelerated movements is just fast enough to reveal changes in nature not normally noticeable to the naked eye, while not too fast as to be frantic or unrealistic.
Each frame is a raw photo shot with the DJI Inspire 1. The individual photos were processed using LRTimelapse, Lightroom and After Effects. The film was then edited in 4K60 in Premiere Pro.
A joint collaboration with rock / ambient / experimental band MONO (monoofjapan.com), Legend takes you on an epic 12 minute visual and aural journey through Iceland's breathtaking landscapes during the time of the midnight sun.
The film travels across Iceland, from the floating blue icebergs of Jokulsarlon's glacial lagoon to the steaming geothermic vents of Myvatn, the colorful mountains of Landmannalaugar to the breathtaking sunsets on Snaefellnes Peninsula, and the barren volcanic landscapes of Askja to the vast fields of lupin near Husavik.
Legend was shot over a 2 week period in June 2012 when the sun barely sets below the horizon and you never see darkness. It was filmed completely in 5K resolution using Canon full frame DSLRs on motion timelapse equipment from Kessler Crane.
Mono's score of the same name, Legend, is from their upcoming album "For my parents". Its edgy cinematic and epic quality helps describe Iceland - a breathtakingly beautiful yet unforgivingly dangerous place.
Special thanks to Egill Agustsson and Adalsteinn Petur Karlsson of Husavik for their help with my car problems on Iceland National Day. It's the country's biggest holiday and they helped me get back on the road so I could continue filming.
Last but not least, a big thank you to fellow filmmaker Joe Capra (scientifantastic.com) for his guidance and inspiration. His tips and advice were invaluable in helping me prepare for this trip.
A 4K version will be released soon! Please follow or subscribe to us to receive the latest updates.