Iceland from above

The highlight of our Iceland trip was definitely the flight with a Cessna over the island. Seeing from above what nature has created in shapes and colors was an impressive experience.

But it was not easy to take photos either. Holding the camera out of the window of a flying airplane while taking pictures is what I call difficult conditions.

But as you can see, the photographer and camera reached the safe ground again unharmed. :wink:

Can you spot the seals resting on the right side?

Type of Critique Requested

  • Aesthetic: Feedback on the overall visual appeal of the image, including its color, lighting, cropping, and composition.
  • Conceptual: Feedback on the message and story conveyed by the image.
  • Emotional: Feedback on the emotional impact and artistic value of the image.
  • Technical: Feedback on the technical aspects of the image, such as exposure, color, focus and reproduction of colors and details, post-processing, and print quality.

Specific Feedback and Self-Critique

When I look at the pictures from this flight, I regret that I had not taken a CPL with me. There are many shots where the reflections in the water cover almost all colors. But in this example, I liked the reflection at the top part of the image.

In post-processing, I increased the contrast quite a bit. But I tried not to overdo it. I have pushed the green colors somewhat in the pastel direction because in my opinion, it fits well with the soft shapes.

What do you think about the images regarding composition, contrast, and color?
As always, any feedback is welcome.

Technical Details

ISO 640, 34mm, F/8, 1/2000s


Impressive indeed, Jens! The flow of the lighter areas mixed in with the darker forms . . .well, IMHO, only nature could truly accomplish. I do like how you have handled the post processing and wouldn’t change a thing.

Absolutely gorgeous, Jens. The muted colour and deep shadows give this image a sense of depth and volume. The “s” shaped flow of the image serves to draw my eye. It really is an abstract to the extent that, except for your back story, I would have no idea as to the scale of what I’m looking at. My only nit is a personal bias - I mostly don’t like 2x3 aspect ratio in the portrait mode. It always feels “too long” to my eye and often over accentuates the top or the bottom of the frame. In this case, the black at the bottom feels like a bit too much visual mass and a slight block that pulls my eye. Again, this is a bit of a nit compared to the beauty and originality of this composition. I did do a 5x7 crop just to see what it would look like and I’ll post it here for the heck of it. Outstanding work, Jens.

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Jens, this is truly a winning image. Awesome. Glad you made it back to the ground too.

I wouldn’t change a thing. If it were mine, I would definitely get it printed, framed, and hanging on my wall. Well done.

Fantastic abstract Jens! The shapes and color are amazing.

I’ve come back to this image multiple times and studied it, trying to discern what I’m looking at and I’m still not sure I’ve got it figured out. Not a complaint, at all. I LOVE this image. The tones and muted colors, the patterns and even textures…all fantastic. Such a wonderful abstract!


This is one incredible landscape and image. Never in a million years would have been able to identify this without the reference to Iceland and even more so pointing out the resting seals on beach… The immenseness of nature of clear diplay. You’ve captured an amazing scene. Wow!

I was at a loss as to make any suggestions… but will make a comment that I think @Kerry_Gordon 's edits elevate this to the next level!

This image pretty much resides in the speechless category. Thank you for sharing!


Truly an elemental abstract. I can look at it as a pure abstract, and then, learning about the seals, can admire it very differently, realistically, as a beautiful mix of water, rock and ice. I do prefer the balance of @Kerry_Gordon’s crop, but it’s great anyhow.

@linda_mellor @Kerry_Gordon @David_Bostock @Bret_Edge @Lon_Overacker @Mike_Friel
Thank you all for your feedback. I really appreciate your kind words.

That’s really interesting. I never thought about that.
I didn’t crop the image at all. I kind of liked the fact that the line points exactly toward the LLC.
That having said, I really like the effect of your crop, @Kerry_Gordon. Wow, thank you for pointing that out.

@Bret_Edge, seems to be a good abstract image. Simply put, the photo shows an Icelandic river from above. This island offers incredible things that you can only see from a bird’s eye view. Bright orange and blue flow through winding channels in the volcanic sand, eventually emptying into the sea.
Just to give a sense of what I’m talking about, here is a video of the pilot we flew with:

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Excellent image. I see it as a suggestive abstract. Are these dunes? Are these clouds? They’re neither of course and much of the appeal is the mystery. There seems to be a faint green tint to it and I think that adds to the image. I would make that more uniform because it’s absent near the very top of the image. This image is also better presented with a frame because the bottom right darkness bleeds into the NPN background and the shape is lost, which affects the composition.

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Thanks for including the link to the video, Jens. Fantastic view of Iceland.

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Had you not mentioned that this was shot out of an airplane window I never would have guessed. I really didn’t know what it was but it appeared to be small in nature like a stream with water flower through it or a stream with snow in it. This is terrifically abstract! Glad you made it back to the ground. Any air sickness with this flight?

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@Igor_Doncov @David_Haynes
Thank you for your feedback.

Good point, Igor. I’ll have to take a look at that.

No, we were fine. Even though the pilot showed us some tricks. It didn’t hurt to have just a light breakfast. :rofl:

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This is simply fantastic, Jens. I originally thought that I might be viewing rocks in a riverbed until I read your description. I find the graceful lines and shapes to be very captivating and they compliment the muted tones in this abstract perfectly. No suggestions from me as this is amazing!

Hi Jens! What a magnificent photo. I found the seals. What I always like about abstract landscapes such as this one is trying to figure out the scale and they give you a clue as to how immense the area in this photo is. I was seeing a number of your responses this AM so I took a look at your website. You have a fantastic portfolio.

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Hi Cameron,
thank you for your feedback and your kind words. I really appreciate that.

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This is fabulous, Jens. I like the icy white to green, but I can see the value of making that a less prominent color difference. FWIW, I like Kerry’s crop as well. I wouldn’t have thought of it myself, as you fill the vertical frame well here, but it feels more balanced and (I think this is good) easier to process visually. In other words, it’s more enjoyable to explore it in the shorter portrait crop.

I had a plan to fly also in Iceland, but we got rained out. I’m sure I would have had motion sickness though.