Calgary-centered vacation spot marriage ceremony photographer Gabe McClintock knew he uncovered the great adventurous few when they agreed to hike correct towards an energetic volcano in Iceland to develop the most one of a kind set of elopement images they could imagine.
Right after possessing shot locally in Calgary, Canada, for 10 decades, McClintock had started to sense the itch for adventurous vacation spot weddings and elopements. The lack of inspiration came to a halt in June 2014 when McClintock experienced an chance to travel to Iceland for an elopement. That session absolutely transformed his lifestyle.
“I realized from the very very first photo I took that day that these were going to seem great, but I had no idea the focus they would receive just a month later,” McClintock tells PetaPixel.
The photographs from the elopement ended up showcased by PetaPixel and various other publications. Following that, the media ongoing to aspect the story, putting millions of eyes on McClintock’s visuals. The couple in the shots, Sarah and Josh, were even interviewed for The Nowadays Exhibit.
Even though the media notice didn’t instantly outcome in bookings, about five months afterwards through the peak period for engagements, emails began pouring into McClintock’s inbox. Faced with the surge, McClintock transitioned to turn into a destination wedding ceremony photographer and has not seemed again since.
In 2021, McClintock been given an inquiry from Nina and Rand who have been seeking to elope in Iceland and had been flexible on their date they wanted to plan a session somewhere involving September and Oct 2021. The plan was to begin with a ceremony at Reynisdrangar, a set of rock formations positioned on the coastline in southern Iceland. Just after that, they would make their way up to Dyrhólaey Lighthouse — a castle-like lighthouse and a well-liked tourist attraction in Iceland — and then head back again to Reykjavik, halting along the way to shoot.
Less than a month absent from the elopement, McClintock asked the couple if they ended up eager to improve up the itinerary and just take a hike up in direction of a volcano rather. While McClintock was not entirely sure on what they would see out there or how very long it’d take to get to the most effective viewpoint, he needed to talk to them even so.
Just a working day just before flying out, McClintock noticed on the web that the volcano, idle because April, commenced to clearly show indications of a probable eruption. Soon after some exploration, he observed out the finest climbing route was also the longest — about 1.5 to two hrs. He requested Nina and Rand if they were being eager, and they replied they were up for the experience. Nina experienced even brought a backup costume if the volcano’s hike was too hard in her primary elopement gown.
The elopement ceremony went as prepared, followed by a couple of moments of taking pictures the few along the beach front nearby in advance of continuing the journey Skógafoss, a picturesque waterfall.
“Just minutes into capturing, Nina was tripped up functioning from a wave, slipped and fell into the water, finding soaked,” claims McClintock. “She simply just obtained up, laughed it off, and we ongoing taking pictures. It was pretty unbelievable!”
In the course of their travel to the waterfall, Iceland’s news and social media webpages began to report that the volcano experienced erupted, wiping out a person of the mountaineering trails and leaving several others shut.
“I could see the plume of smoke and ash up in advance and referred to as Nina and Rand to say that we need to nonetheless go and meet up with at the trailhead and see if it is closed,” claims McClintock. “My thought was, ‘how can they shut a volcano?’ I needed to see for myself if others had been coming down or generating their way up.”
McClintock identified a trail that was even now open up, and the trio begun packing up their baggage in the parking lot — masks for the air quality, food and drinking water, and headlamps for the hike back again down.
For his gear, McClintock had packed two Canon 5D Mark IV bodies with 3 lenses — Canon 35mm f/1.4L, 50mm f/1.2L, and 24mm f/1.4L. He also brought a GoPro, which he mounted to the camera’s scorching shoe.
“The shoot was practically nothing short of remarkable. There have been many moments throughout it that I was simply just in awe. I could not think that it was seriously taking place and that we happened to be way too up there as the lava started to flow yet again.”
Despite the fact that the ensuing photos are breathtaking, it was clearly a demanding shoot. The air was chilly in general and based on the route of the wind, it would blow freezing or scorching air from the lava up on to the land.
Sulfur dioxide gas did not make it any less difficult possibly — “a gust of wind in our course would make our eyes h2o and take our breath absent.”
Fortunately, the wind continually adjusted directions which gave them time to shoot. The session concluded all over 8:30 at evening, when the wind picked up and the rain started to tumble, adopted by a dense fog rolling in.
“Definitely not excellent circumstances to hike down a mountain in the darkish, on an unmarked trail in the center of Iceland,” McClintock recollects. “The problems acquired worse and worse as we created our way back. With the relentless wind. We lastly arrived back again at our vehicles a few several hours soon after leaving the volcano — fatigued, freezing cold, and soaking wet. But, what a way to conclusion an unbelievable experience!”
Image credits: Shots by Gabe McClintock.