Iceland is Cool!

Tony Sweet

Tony Sweet

Iceland is cool….really cool! In fact, Iceland is our absolute favorite photography venue, and we go to many very cool places! First off, the people are great: smart, instantly multi-lingual, gentle sense of humor, and really fun! In fact, one of our favorite Thai restaurants in right on Reykjavik’s rainbow row!

Upon leaving Reykjavik, the landscape gets more and more interesting: patterns, myriad waterfalls, other worldly feel, glacial lagoons, huge ice blocks sculpted by the ocean washed up on black sand beaches. Aside from the incredible color photography, there is ample room for B&W interpretations, which can actually capture more of the austere feel of this wonderfully photogenic Island.

We will be working out of several strategically placed hotels throughout the country making the most of the incredible photo ops that are readily available. Our vehicle will have on board wifi, and each person will have two seats for maximum comfort!

We just booked our flight and are very excited to work with Einar and the Focus on Nature team to get you to the best places in the best conditions to capture the unimaginable Icelandic landscape. Of course, there will be help in the field available and a critique session or two!

– Tony Sweet

One can see clearly that Tony Sweet is a musician and even further I can see his background in music is jazz. That’s why Tony is so open minded to take many of his images and give them their own jazz solo look. That’s why I love working with Tony and running his workshops in Iceland with FocusOnNature. With Tony Sweet we don’t just get outside the box, we throw it away when we can. Now we are adding Ragnar Th Sigurdsson at and we have an explosive creative team; an imaging jazz band.

– Einar Erlendsson

Tony’s Iceland workshop,  An Icelandic Odyssey,  June 26. to July 5.  Two seats available

Sean Duggan: Creative Discoveries in Iceland

For photographers, I think that it’s vital to cultivate the habit of looking and seeing and finding images wherever you are, even if you don’t have a camera with you. And while finding images in the familiar places close to home is always important, there’s nothing quite like going on a journey that is devoted solely to your photography for super-charging your creativity and taking your image making to a whole new level.



It’s a commitment to your art and craft, to something you really love. It’s an investment in yourself, and in the possibilities that art and creativity bring into your life. Most photographers love nothing more than going out to make images. It’s one of the things in life that makes them feel the most alive and connected to the world around them. And traveling somewhere just to focus (pun intended!) on your photography can be a transformational experience…. part road trip, part vision quest, part adventure.



That’s what my “Creative Discoveries in Iceland” workshop is all about: traveling to an island of stunningly beautiful, majestic landscapes and amazing light, and going on a creative adventure. Learning to see images in new ways, improving your camera work and digital processing technique, becoming a better photographer. It’ll be an incredible week of wonderful sights, memorable experiences, good company, and excellent image-making opportunities. Take a look at the video below to get a small sense of what the trip will be like.

Discover the wonders of Iceland through the creative lens of photography with fine art photographer, author and digital imaging expert Seán Duggan. On this inspiring trip you’ll explore the varied and spectacular landscapes of Iceland, learning to improve not only your camera technique, but also your photographic vision, and understanding of how to get the most from your images in the digital darkroom.

Information and registration for Sean’s incredible Iceland workshop, June 29 – July 6, 2013



Controlling Tonality and Color with Selections on our iPhones

By Dan Burkholder

There aren’t many things that are more fun than making fine art photographs with our iPhones. It’s easier than ever to adjust the color, contrast, saturation, sharpness and even the composition of our images. But we can only go so far making global adjustments. By global I’m referring to applying these editing changes to the entire image. Though we certainly start our image workflow with these overall adjustments, we soon run into a roadblock. The real “iPhone Artistry” comes into play as we work with selected parts of the image. These selections let us do things like darken skies, increase the saturation of grass, and even blur the background in a portrait shot.

In this following video I show you how to make selections using one of my favorite apps. PhotoWizard (for both iPhone and iPad) excels at this type of selected adjustment. Watch and learn! Of course, this is just the tip of the iceberg (a good metaphor considering the upcoming Iceland Workshop in August). We’ll be delving deeply into shooting and editing techniques this summer. Hope to see you there!

The Art of iPhone Photography in Iceland, August 1-7, 2013

About Dan’s workshop in Iceland where persons interested in combining iPhoneogrpahy with outer worldly experience of the Icelandic landscape and culture which is pure candy to the guests eyes.

This is a high class all inclusive workshop with Dan and the best locals. A golden blend of learning, field work, discussions, critique and fun.

The goal is that you work, win, and have terrific fun as you create images that make you proud. You’ll leave this workshop with lots of new techniques and insights for ALL your photography!

About Dan’s Iceland workshop and registration



Tony Sweet – My Iceland Workshop 2012

Tony Sweet

We will cover:

    1. fantasy locations
    2. striking architecture in Rekyjavik
    3. long exposure opportunities
    4. creative compositions
    5. illustrations of the vastness of Iceland using scale
    6. Software pre-visualized images
    7. and whatever presents itself during our wanderings!

Aside from the remarkable landscape of Iceland, we also have various very interesting and uniquely Icelandic structures that are really fun to photograph and to include in this incredible landscape.

















The hillsides on the southeast coast are like something out of a fantasy movie, like Harry Potter. But, the size is only perceptible when this small shack is placed in the foreground.

One of the coolest new structures in Reykjavik is the Harpa Fine Art Center. Aside from the interesting small monoliths outside, we are allowed the shoot inside with tripods where the light play is fantastic!

When shooting this very cool small Icelandic church, the rain became a bit much to deal with. After returning to the vehicle, one of the windows was covered with heavy water drops. We all took turns shooting various versions of this image. Afterwards, the image was optimized using Nik Color Efex Pro 4, including the addition of the graduated blue filter.

















Composition is always paramount in image creation. Many of the farms have their own sanctuaries. In this case, the opening was used to frame the structure, more dramatically pulling the viewer into the picture space.

I am a huge fan of long exposures, especially in bright conditions. The thermal power plant gave a perfect opportunity to use my 10 stop neutral density filter to achieve a 10 second exposure to create the surreal look of the steam against the blue sky.

The vastness of Iceland is perfect for illustrating a sense of scale and the small blue farm house was the perfect juxtaposition color-wise and scale-wise. I waited for the shadow, created by the setting sun, to get low enough to balance the composition.

Then, there’s always just driving around to see what presents itself. On a post workshop trip up the west coast, Sue and I came across a small fishing village. Upon driving down a ramp to get to the dock, we looked back and saw this unbelievable scene! We photographed this in subdued light as the sun rose, lighting the house and the rocky shoreline, leaving the background hill in the shade for the greatest visual interest.

This street scene in Reykjavik was of interest to me during both of our visits and I finally decided to create an HDR stitched pan to get the look I was after. Later, optimizing with Nik Software, Lucis Pro, and Flypaper textures to finish off the image.

As you can see, this is just the tip of the iceberg, so to speak!

During our August workshop, we will be on the look out for:

  1. fantasy locations
  2. striking architecture in Rekyjavik
  3. long exposure opportunities
  4. creative compositions
  5. illustrations of the vastness of Iceland using scale
  6. Software pre-visualized images
  7. and whatever presents itself during our wanderings!

We look forward to sharing our favorite photography location on earth during our August 19-25 workshop.

– Tony Sweet –

More information and booking here.

Only couple of places left.

Playing with Adobe Lightroom 4 Beta

Today I decided to take a break and play.

Music during image processing: “Riding with the King”, an album with B.B. King & Eric Clapton.

I have spent since last December working on the upgrading of my website, both for my international workshops program and my local seminars, lectures and event program. I hope those who remember my old website notice the difference from my printed like one fixed template on the old web and the new multi-functional website. Anyway, it was time to get a bit careless and play during part of a day.

I have used Adobe Lightroom since the first version and included seminars on it in my program for the local market in Iceland for few years. So studying any new developments of the software is always high on my list. But during a part of a day one can just play a little.

Following is a straight Raw image shot with my Canon 5D Mark II and exposed to give me good information in the Raw file. I overexposed the frame as the subject was bright and flat. I could see on my camera histogram how far I could overexpose without losing any clippings of the highlights.

Sailing on a Zodiac and turning in all directions I wanted to be safe with my exposures, but still use the highlights part of the histogram as much as possible to gather maximum information in the Raw file. Afterwards I could possibly have overexposed 1/3 or 1/2 stop more, but the exposure is still good.

Before any processing

Iceberg original

Original unprocessed Raw file exported from Lightroom 4 Beta as Jpeg, sRGB and scaled down 

Histogram original iceberg

The histogram for the unprocessed file in Lightroom 4 Beta.


After processing

Iceberg LR4 processed

After procession in Lightroom 4 Beta, exported and rendered in Adobe Camera Raw 7, saved as Jpeg, sRGB and scaled down

Histogram processed iceberg

The histogram for the processed file in Lightroom 4 Beta

It will always be individual preferences and matter of taste what is good image processing, realistic one or something exaggerated like the image above. It is also the question of the final use.

I opted this time for the exaggerated version as outdoor in Iceland, things have been gray for weeks. Therefor I wanted some color and contrast in this image.  “Juice” the image up and see what information the original file did have for me to pul out and play with in Lightrom 4 Beta.

And under the influence of the blues from B.B. King & Eric Clapton in the speakers doing this in Adobe Lightroom 4 Beta was so easy, the feeling from their music going through my head to my fingertips with the Wacom pen, where most things I do on my computer happen.

What makes me so pleased is that I can now with Adobe Lightroom 4 process images with the quality the Raw image theory has been telling me up to now in numbers like bit depth and ProPhoto color-space.

I am looking forward to the final version of Adobe Lightroom 4 and the new Adobe Photoshop 6, which will be running the same ACR engine for image rendering of raw image files.

Adobe Lightroom 4 is expected to be released during the summer.

– Einar

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3 Software for Mac & Windows

Canon EOS 5D Mark II Digital Camera (Body Only)