A journey from the lakes of Hallstatt to the mighty Dolomites with Harrison Candlin.
Harrison Candlin | AUSTRALIA
Leaving Australia with a rough itinerary of two unplanned weeks, my girlfriend and I were buzzing to see what we’d stumble across, wherever that may be.
We had explored Europe in the Summer of 2016 and the memories from this trip had set our expectations high. With it being winter, we knew from the start that it would be different, but we were ready to tackle anything. Winter time presents entirely different landscapes and lighting to other seasons which provides new photographic opportunities. I chased that perfect winter light through the snowy mountains and moody clouds, building some fond memories along the way.
Excited about having my feet firmly back on European soil, we set off for the Dolomites. Being in the presence of these famous mountains in South Tyrol, Italy was a dream come true. The dramatic vertical cliffs that the Dolomites are known so well for surpassed my expectations in every way.
I have never felt so humbled by mountains; maybe it was the size, the shape, the shadows and contours cast by the mammoth peaks, the grandeur… I’m not sure, but something fixated me, and I was hooked from the start.
You can’t blink an eye in the Dolomites without spotting a photo, so I was in paradise. Seeing a view so surreal can sometimes bring me to a halt. I pause, appreciate, reflect, imagine and think. Nothing else on this planet does that to me. This is why I adore nature and love to inspire people to explore.
We saw the Dolomites in all different lighting situations, from gorgeous pink sunsets to crisp mid-day light in Alpe Di Suisi. The winter scene of the Dolomites is magnificent, just look at the photos and I hope you’ll see why. If there was one place I’d recommend seeing, it would be the Seceda, accessible via cable car from Ortisei in winter. Such an iconic and breathtaking view.
Iceland has been a destination I’ve longed to visit ever since the Instagram community took off. With so much raw beauty and natural phenomena to marvel over… I just couldn’t say no when my girlfriend asked ‘Do you want to go to Iceland?’ I was already packed and ready to get on the plane.
A day after we arrived, our good friends from home flew in to join us. It was exciting chatting with them and sharing our travel experiences first hand, all the while in another country.
Que the unrelenting weather of Icelandic winter and you have yourself a rather temperamental situation. You can’t drive safely and you can’t stand upright outside from the gale force arctic winds.
Iceland being situated 66 degrees north means it’s just slightly out of Arctic Circle. In winter, the sun doesn’t rise until 11:30am, and up higher in the circle it doesn’t rise at all. The low light in the day was a wild and different experience to the norm at home in Australia, especially at the Reynisfjara black sand beach when the light was so low that 11am felt more like 6am. The eerie combination of low light with extreme wind, snow and ice honestly made this one of the most memorable experiences of my life.
The fleeting light added to the mood of the country and was unusual and unique to what I experience here in Australia.
We were messed around with a broken bus mid-tour trip and a cancelled bus due to cyclonic wind gusts. Hence, I was excited for a summer trip. If you’re heading to Iceland in winter I recommend hiring a car but be mindful of the conditions. If there’s one piece of advice I have, it’s to have back up plans for when the weather turns sour, which unfortunately happens very regularly in winter. Places I recommend you don’t miss are Skogafoss, Gulfoss, Reynisfjara and Vik.
As for the Aurora (northern lights), we were once again let down by the relentless weather and missed out on seeing the solar beauty. In conclusion, it’s an ultimate gamble on when to visit Iceland in winter because you just don’t know what you’ll get. That makes it an adventure though, doesn’t it?
From experience, persistence is key when photographing anywhere in the world. If you envision a certain shot at a certain time, then go for it, but don’t be afraid to compromise and re-evaluate sometimes.
Shoot something new, point your camera around and find a new scene. Clear your head and don’t just focus on the popular shots. For me, light creates a unique and memorable image that is distinct to you and what you were feeling at the time.
In Hallstatt, Austria, we stayed around for two extra hours to see if the light would improve. We were rewarded, it did! It was entirely different to what I had imagined, and I loved the final image I got even more. The blue hour glow cast itself across the lake and made for a colder looking scene that really highlighted the mid-winter season. Clouds lingering above were mirrored on the dead still lake below.
It’s moments like these that continue to inspire me to pursue my love of outdoor photography and the environment. I couldn’t live my life without the element of nature and environment and I’m so very grateful for it. I think as creators, designers and artists, we can change the world bit by bit. Thriving on nature and appreciating its splendour is at the core of what we do and what we stand for.
If there’s one thing at the end of the day that completes travelling, it’s who you spend it with. For some, travelling alone can feel spiritual and free; but for others including myself, travelling with my partner opens my mind and strengthens a bond that only travel can provide.
Creating memories and sharing experiences is probably the single most powerful thing on the planet. What is a life without memories and what is a life without sharing those memories with others? If you can travel with a friend, a partner or even a stranger, I guarantee your overall experience will be even better.
Harrison’s positivity and love for the earth shows in his work.
Son of wildlife photographer and environmental man, Harrison would pore over his father’s slides from the 70’s and 80’s. Photographs from the Flinders Ranges, Hinchinbrook Island and the Great Barrier Reef gave him a taste for exploring and a desire to capture it.
Fast forward to now and Harrison is driven entirely by his thirst for the next adventure and has developed a deep appreciation for nature and its wellbeing.
A recently graduated student of Industrial Design, Harrison and Urth have similar visions for photography and how important it is to our planet. We’re pretty stoked to be sharing a selection of his photographs and insights from his latest European sojourn.
Harrison is currently documenting his adventures with a Fuji X-series. Alongside his legendary father, he looks up to the work of Chris Burkard, Alex Strohl and William Patino, with salutes to his partner and the lifeblood of travellers, coffee.
His process is planned but forever changing as he pushes himself with every shot to look harder and capture something unique. He is addicted to photography as his creative outlet and the meditative state of mind he finds himself in when photographing nature.