In 2013 I was accepted for a one month artist in residence at the Baer Art Center in northern Iceland. After a wonderful month the other four artists and myself were taken on a boat trip up the coast, right past where we were staying, to the see “Cape” just north of Hofsos, a large land mass of mostly stone with a huge cliff at one end. I don’t know that I’ve been the same since.

Although I’d been told to bring what gear I had I was totally unprepared for what we saw that day. The geological phenomena of these rock columns of basalt being thrust up in ancient times from a violent volcano was just unbelievable, both beautiful and horrific at the same time.

I am writing this for DPReview while back in Iceland, as I was asked back by Baer to teach a photo workshop. Last week we repeated the boat trip up the coast of the fjord and I found myself again in front of the remarkable cliff face of the “Cape”. It was magic once again.

The job was, vey simply, not to screw up. Working to hold the camera steady on a rocking boat, to keep shutter settings fast enough, to make sure I was focused best for my subject and aperture setting and to “get everything”, as there was no going back that day.

To get to the Cape you’ll need to hire an excursion boat in the harbor in Hofsos, in northern Iceland.

Not to be missed.


Neal Rantoul is a career artist and educator. After 10 years teaching at Harvard and 30 years as head of the Photo Program at Northeastern University in Boston, he retired from teaching in 2012. You can find out more about him and see more of his work by visiting his website.