This weeks guest blog is by Johny Cook, Scottish Photographer. Johnny tells us all about his trip to Iceland to photograph the riders racing in the epic endurance marathon, Glacier360.
After two years away from Scotland I arrived home, spent 48 hours catching up with family and then caught a flight up to Iceland to chase bikers around the Highland's of Iceland. This was a last minute job that came up and, with it being in one of my favourite countries and it was centered around mountain biking, I was up for it!
Glacier360 is a 290km endurance race that goes around the Langjökull Glacier, Iceland's 2nd largest glacier. The first evening was a recce, which ended up with us driving ATVs around the first stage for 50kms and staring at the scenery - not bad at all! My mind was blown, I was continually stopping and taking photos of the landscape, it was bitterly cold in the Icelandic summer, volcanic rock everywhere and with a humongous glacier as the backdrop.
Something I didn't think about too much was that there would be areas where the ATVs either weren't able to go or weren't allowed. This happened on the final stage.
"Can you ride a bike into the stage and shoot riders for 32kms along The Old Kjalvegur Road?"
Of course I said "YES!" this was riding in Iceland! Myself and another photographer were given bikes that were too small, not set up for our weight or camera gear. We also didn't have any riding shoes - instead we only had our big, chunky hiking boots. We didn't care. This was the job we were after!
I dropped in on the first and only descent of the road. It was loose as the rocks pinged me around but my face was full of delight. The scenery distracted me, although thankfully I didn't end up face first on the volcanic rock. Riding in hiking boots wasn't great however, it did benefit me in the boulder fields as I would have struggled to negotiate these in clipped shoes.
Sometimes I will see a shot and know that it is my banger, shot of the day, portfolio piece or even shot of the event. I found the spot, and waited for some riders to come. I had worked hard to get past them and despite all the flies bugging the hell out of me, I waited patiently in the grass. A rider finally came by and I got what I wanted - the background was filled with the glacier; all of its crevasses and might dominating the rider. And that was it. The energy to get ahead, being frustrated with swarms of flies - it all came down to this. Hoping the shot in my head is what I get. Click! Then the preview shows you your screw up, or your shot of the day... I got mine and suddenly the 32kms were all worth it.
See and read more about Johny on his Instagram @johny.cook or his website http://www.johnycook.com/ If you're feeling inspired for more check out The Journal for more epic adventures and stories. Use code GET20 for a welcome discount.