4K time-lapse video captures the drama of Iceland’s gorgeous landscapes

Iceland is a bucket list destination for virtually any landscape photographer. From the expanse of active volcanoes to the famous plane crash on Sólheimasandur, the Nordic island nation offers up plenty of striking photographic subjects. Greek photographer Nick Kontostavlakis wanted to do more than capture Iceland’s unique beauty in his latest time-lapse film, so he chose to focus on the dynamic contrasts of the landscape.

The internet is chock-full of gorgeous time-lapse videography these days, but Kontostavlakis’s Whispering Iceland adds a dimension of drama that helps make it unique. Fast camera motion mixed with rack zooms and quick cuts work together to show Iceland as equal parts beautiful and desolate, a landscape that is somehow welcoming and inhospitable at the same time. This theme is echoed in the music, which punctuates every shot. Kontostavlakis also recorded ambient sound while shooting, which is often left out of time lapse videos but adds another layer to this film.

To create the film, Kontostavlakis spent 15 days in Iceland with a small team, traveling around the country and battling the different elements at each location. “The hardest part for shooting were the weather conditions, not for us but for the equipment,” Kontostavlakis told Digital Trends. “Rain, strong winds, humidity, freezing lenses during night shots. We used sturdy tripods, heaters to keep lens surface dry and clear, and sometimes rain covers for the cameras.”

Kontostavlakis writes in the video’s description that time-lapse photography was the perfect technique for illustrating the “dynamic forces of nature” in Iceland. “Iceland is the place where there is light and dimness, where long summer days with almost 24-hours of daylight are counterbalanced by short winter days,” he writes.

In addition to its numerous active volcanoes, Iceland is home to Europe’s largest ice sheets, a contrast that has earned the country the nickname of “the land of fire and ice,” according to Kontostavlakis. It also offers unrivaled views of the Northern Lights, which comprise the grand finale of Whispering Iceland.

Available in 4K resolution, the video was shot primarily on the Sony A7R II with a Nikon D810 and D800e playing a supporting role. Mostly wide angle lenses were used, including the Zeiss 16-35mm and Nikon 14-24mm. A Nikon 24-70mm zoom was also used. The smooth camera movement is thanks to motion-control rigs from DigiSlider and eMotimo. A variety of software was used in postproduction, including Final Cut Pro X, Adobe After Effects, and the LRTimelapse plu-gin for Adobe Lightroom.

The locations featured in the video include the capital city of Reykjavik, the Black Sand Beach, and, yes, the site of the Sólheimasandur plane crash — among many others.

Kontostavlakis told us he didn’t have a favorite location in Iceland, noting that there was alway something interesting to shoot and that lighting and conditions changed constantly. “Every moment is different. So if you are on a place that doesn’t trigger your imagination, just wait a few minutes and this may change,” he said.

Updated December 16 to add equipment details and comments from Kontostavlakis.

Photography

Grit and gear: How Chris Hershman went from retail clerk to music video director

How did Chris Hershman go from working a music retail job to working with bands like NEEDTOBREATHE and Switchfoot? The music video director and filmmaker talks to us about video, tech, and Nikon's new mirrorless.
Photography

Camera crop factor: What it means and how to use it

If you're in the market for a new camera, chances are you've heard the term "crop factor" thrown about. Here's what you need to know about how crop factor effects everything from equivalent focal length to light sensitivity and depth of…
Photography

2018 was a terrific year for new cameras. Here are our favorites

This year, we saw the unveiling of several exciting new cameras. We look back at our favorite models -- each delivering something unique, yet all are powerful and feature-rich. Camera fans, rejoice!
Photography

From DSLRs to mirrorless, these are the best cameras you can buy right now

From entry-level models to full-frame flagships, many cameras take great photos and video. The best digital cameras, however, push the industry forward with innovative sensors and improved usability, among other things. Here are our…
Photography

Canon holiday sale features the Rebel T6 2-lens kit for just $449

If you have a budding photographer in your life in need of a real camera, the Canon EOS Rebel T6 could make the perfect gift. Canon is currently offering the camera in a two-lens bundle for just $449 through December 29.
Emerging Tech

Light, speed: Lighting kit for DJI Mavic 2 lets you fly and film in the dark

Lume Cube, maker of small battery-powered LED lights for mobile photography, has announced a new lighting kit built specifically for the DJI Mavic 2 -- the first of its kind. Already our favorite drone, this makes the Mavic 2 even better.
Mobile

Leave the laptop at home, the iPad Pro is the travel buddy to take on vacay

The iPad Pro is a powerful tablet that's perfect for creatives and professionals. How does it fare when traveling with it as a laptop replacement? We took it on a two week trek in Japan to find out.
Social Media

Instagram’s 2018 year in review shines a light on where our hearts are

What did Instagram users share the most in 2018? A lot of heart emojis, heart face filters, and heart GIFs. The platform recently shared the year's top trends, including hashtags like #fortnite and #metoo along with a few surprises.
Deals

Want a fun, affordable instant camera? The Fujifilm Instax Mini 7S is just $49

Instant cameras have had a surprising resurgence of late, and no brand is better recognized in the instant photo space today than Fujifilm Instax. Walmart is currently offering the Instax Mini 7S for just $49.
Photography

Not just for Lightroom anymore, Loupedeck+ now works with Photoshop

Loupedeck+ can now help photographers edit in Photoshop too, thanks to physical controls for swapping tools, running actions, and more. The photo-editing console expanded to include Photoshop in the list of compatible editing programs.
Emerging Tech

The best drone photos from around the world

Most of today's drones come equipped with high-end cameras, which are quickly revolutionizing the world of aerial photography as we know it. Here are some of the best drone photos from around the world.
Computing

Need a monitor for professional photo-editing? These are the very best

Looking for the best monitor for photo editing? You'll need to factor in brightness, color accuracy, color gamut support and more. Fortunately, we've rounded up the best ones for you, to help you make an educated purchase.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Booze-filled ski poles and crypto piggy banks

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Photography

User-generated GoPro Hero7 Black highlight reel has all the feels

It still features plenty of death-defying stunts, but GoPro's new user-generated highlight reel has plenty of feel-good emotional moments. The two-minute supercut is the official reel of the Hero7 Black camera.