by Nakul Sharma
Four years on the Road to achieve my dream.
JOB CAN WAIT, TRAVEL CAN’T
Yes, you heard it right. It took me four years to turn that dream into reality for myself. I had been keeping this dream alive and safe inside me since 2012, since I’d started photography and became more serious and passionate about it.
It was my dream to capture the beauty of Iceland with my camera and share it with the people especially those whose dream of going there one day, as I did.
I had seen the photos of Aurora Borealis and Iceland for years, so it became my dream destination. The one thing that surprised me most was that only a few Indian photographers had been there and captured the beauty of that paradise. I was more determined to make this dream a reality and capture the wilderness and nature of Iceland and share it with the people.
This is the first professional photo story by an Indian Guy on Northern Lights in Iceland.
I always asked myself, “What if a child dreams of something big? What if a person wants to be different from others, not what others choose for him, but make his own choices to achieve greatness in his life?
So after my dad died, I was left with only one thought. Life could end very soon or any day and I could decide if I would go like nothing or if I would leave some marks and examples for others before I leave this world. I preferred to change my life and my choices and this changed my life in different and difficult ways. It brought me more possibilities of happiness, success and wisdom and inspiration for others.
For me those ways are “ traveling and photography”
I made traveling my religion and photography my Bible.
I had mixed up both to make my path more enlightened and enjoyable. Photography is now my voice in this big lost world. I love sharing with people through my photos and my travelogues. I connect with them through my stories. I’ve lived and survived and oh how I traveled is my biography now.
ICELAND was the best way to prove to others and myself too that I could grow. That’s why I took off on that journey. But I never knew it would be one of the most challenging and toughest journeys of my life so far.
Iceland is in my words, beauty everywhere and the Northern lights are hard to describe. I never knew what the Northern lights were or what it looked like until I had started photography. I had only seen them in photos or on television or social media. In India I think 90% of the people are still not aware of what it is exactly, so I thought why not bring it to my people and make them aware of this natural phenomenon that exists somewhere in the corner of the World.
ICELAND NORTHERN LIGHTS EXPEDITION
I worked very hard day and night to make this dream possible for me and to buy the flight ticket for myself first, the cheap and the best way to travel in Iceland is to travel on sharing basis and that’s what I did it there, accommodation and car renting etc. Travelers shared everything with me.
I opted for the month of December to travel in Iceland as it was the best time for the Aurora (northern lights) but nature had its own ways and plans. I spent 15 days in Iceland to hunt down the Auroras (northern lights) but it wasn’t so easy as it looked like to me before this trip in the photos and stories of others. Now I know what it takes to capture the photos of these Auroras and how tough and challenging photography is this for any Photographer. I really keep huge respect and appreciation for the Photographers who had already brought this to us so that we could see and experience the other side of the nature.
I lived the same challenges and toughness while hunting the Northern Lights in Iceland, why I said that it was one of the most challenging and toughest journey of my life because in Iceland weather could change anytime especially in December when everything goes against Photography and travelling like heavy winds, freezing temp, snow storms and hail storms and even cloudy weather that would kill all the activity of Auroras.
Reykjavik – Grundarfjordur- Selfoss- Horsgland- Hofn- Raudaberg- Jokursalon- Raudaberg- Steig- Skogar- Grundarfjordur- Reykjavik.
I drove around 4000kms in 15 days to hunt down the northern lights and Capture the beauty of Iceland.
From the city of Reykjavik to the southeast coast, it was one hell of a trip for me; I had never ever lived under these kinds of conditions and weather before. All was memorable on this one trip from roads to snow storms, from aurora activity to Ice cave visit and at last from freezing temp to a near death encounter .
STORY 1 – DEATH.
Yes, you heard it right. I almost died during this trip while taking photos of Kirkjufell waterfall. I slipped on the ice while taking photos and went down under the waterfall . People ran toward me to help me and took me out. I safely came out and it was one of the most amazing memories of the trip. Photography sometimes cost lives too, I realized on that day.
STORY 2- LOSING HOPE.
Hunting Auroras was one of the toughest challenges of this trip. Weather was not in my favor most of the time. The first two days were really disappointing and finally the third day I got lucky and saw some activity. The fourth day was amazing with Good Northern lights in Horsgland village.
The next day we were stuck in a storm and spent the whole day at the hotel, hoping for good weather in upcoming days. Nothing was helping me get out the story and photos I was looking for from Iceland and I started losing hope and feeling negative in what I had put myself into.
Later on I realized photography in Iceland is all about patience and never losing hope, so I raised myself again with positivity and hope. The ice cave visit on the sixth day was the second biggest reason to come to Iceland in December. It was one of the most adventurous activities that one could live in his life, but there also my luck wasn’t in my favor. When I reached there it was full of tourists and people. Clicking photos in -7 degrees with people that I didn’t plan on, but I had to do it. It’s what I came for. I waited and waited a long time to get the shots I inside the cave under -8 degree. With the decreasing temp I had been losing my patience and hope too, but I didn’t give up so easily. I waited so long to come to Iceland and make this visit possible. I stood inside the cave until the last with decreasing temp and got the photos I wanted. It wasn’t easy, but I realized that sometime you need to be stubborn with your wishes and dreams.
STORY 3 – BURDEN OF TRAVEL PHOTOGRAPHER.
My biggest wish of that trip was to click the beautiful photos of Auroras and share it. It made my story more interesting, inspiring and successful. Sometimes I felt the burden of their expectations and hopes on myself. As a travel hotographer, it’s my duty now to bring something to the people that they have never ever lived and seen. What I live, they live. What I see, they see. And what I feel, they feel. No matter how far I go or how hard and tough it is for me, I have to keep doing what I am up to now. It’s my moral duty now to inspire people and leave something great for them. I want to make my life an example for others and help others to move forward in life and achieve their dreams too. I bring the world closer to them through my Photos and stories.
STORY 4- LAST LIGHT OF SUCCESS
After four days of bad weather and a snow storm, 31st December brought good, clear weather. My last hope of shooting the Auroras. Still, I didn’t know that I would be able to find them. I had to choose between a New Year’s party in Reykjavik or finding the Auroras. I knew what I wanted, so I skipped the new year celebration although in Reykjavik it’s one of the craziest and celebrations with great firework and parties. In – 12 degrees I went outside. After 45 min, I got lucky and saw activity and took photos.
The toughest challenge in Aurora photography is that one could never guess where it is and for how long. It could come out for five min to five hours, its very unpredictable and very small windows sometime. So I had to move all the time. All the dark places to look for them and driving the cars in all the direction with the hope to see some great activity. Finally the last light of success had appeared in the sky. The whole sky turned into green and lights came out suddenly, dancing, moving and changing colors. I set my camera and tripod and clicked all I could, only one feeling I got at that time “AWESOME “
That night was the most strong and memorable night of my Life. Watching these Auroras with your own eyes is one of the rare and most adventurous experience that one can Live. Despite freezing fingers and -12 degree temperature and cold winds, the joy of clicking those lights was warmer than cold winds.
So that was my story; a story of an Indian boy on the hunt of Auroras in Iceland. A story of a guy who believes in Dreams.
IT WAS MY STORY NOW IT’S YOURS…