A moment from the spring season. After coming across this beautiful bear playing around on the sea ice, I ended up in such a trance while focused on creating images that I forgot my golden rule - always take some time to put the camera down and process the moment with your own eyes. Thinking back on it, it feels like I wasn’t really ‘present’ in the memory, almost like trying to remember a dream. Out of all of my experiences in Iceland and the Arctic over the years, it’s always those times when you’re locked in with your eyes, aware of your surroundings and being totally immersed in the moment that have the most meaningful memories attached. Really excited to be back in Svalbard this week. The plan is to head to the north of the archipelago. There shall hopefully be lots of these moments! Back online in a week, cheers ✌🏼
The valley where it all began.
Not Ok. After a rocky climb to the summit of Ok yesterday, I stood amidst a vast field of newly exposed volcanic rock, staring at this icy blue puddle in the central crater. It was hard to fathom that just a few years ago, a glacier named Ok (pronounced ‘awk’) existed right here in the surrounds of this crater. In 2014, Okjökull was first Icelandic glacier to officially lose its glacial status as a result of human induced climate change, and is now considered only as a mountain. A new memorial plaque will soon be placed at the summit with the following words: ‘In the next 200 years all our glaciers are expected to follow the same path. This monument is to acknowledge that we know what is happening and what needs to be done. Only you know if we did it’.
A portrait from the North. Seeing these two beautiful Polar bears playing peacefully at the edge of the sea ice, it was hard to imagine how dangerous they could be. Though I must admit, looking at those sizeable canine teeth through the viewfinder at 500mm, the danger quickly became apparent. @visitsvalbard
One from the archives. Summer memories from an underwater ice photography project that I worked on with my good friend @donalboyd back in 2017. Good times.
Nearing midnight in the highlands, the darkness is slowly returning. Heading up onto this mountain pass last week, the fog was so thick I was forced to navigate with my gps to keep on the track. Being in such a remote area with minimal visibility in the dark, it felt like driving into a Stranger Things episode. Here in Iceland we face the same issues every summer with visitors driving their cars onto delicate and unspoiled ground outside of marked tracks, usually out in the highlands. I really don’t understand the urge to rip up the ground in a car, but it happens almost every day and it’s taking a heavy toll on the highland landscape. Many incidents have left a permanent scar in the land, impossible to cover up by our National Park rangers. If there’s one rule I would love for you all to abide by while travelling here, it’s to please stay on the tracks and don’t drive off-road 🙏🏼 @vatnajokull_national_park
After spending a lot of time in West Greenland where the land is relatively flat around the glaciers, it was a huge contrast to head south and see these towering peaks appear in every fjord we visited. I found the shapes and textures in the mountains to be really unique from what I’be seen elsewhere. After arriving back in Narsaq, we crossed paths with a group of geologists. They’d spent the last six weeks camping on an island to collect rock samples from the landscape - serious dedication right there. We learned that the South West of Greenland contains very rare types of rock and minerals. It was interesting to hear of future plans for mineral mining in the area, it sounded like many of the local farmers were not too happy with the idea. #greenland
A portrait of the bluest iceberg I’ve ever seen. For a brief period of time, glacial ice that has recently flipped over will usually display extremely vivid hues of blue on its underside. #greenland
The disappearance of ice. On the same date in July for the last two years, I’ve photographed the Qaleraliq outlet glacier in South Greenland. This year I had the opportunity to travel with a local captain named Jørgen, born and raised in the nearby town of Narsaq. On our approach the glacier, he stopped the boat in the middle of the fjord. We sat floating in open water, puzzled by why he’d stopped. He then shared a childhood memory from this area, drifting along the edge of a towering glacial wall that once existed in right there in that open water, almost 5 kilometres further out from where it sits today. It was almost unimaginable to hear how much the glacier had retreated in his lifetime, from one huge outlet in the fjord to what is now three smaller and disconnected outlets, two of which are now considered as dead-ice. He told us that the retreat has accelerated drastically over the last few decades, and that this year was the first time he’d heard the ice cracking in the middle of winter, a clear sign of rising temperatures. As we left the area, he made a note that we were potentially documenting the final years of existence for this glacier. That thought hasn’t left my mind since.
Back online after a few weeks off the grid in Greenland and Icelandic highlands. Before I left for this trip, I teamed up @inspiredbyiceland for their #kranavatn project. Collectively we are raising awareness about Iceland’s incredible tap water, known here as Kranavatn. By opting to fill up your own bottle with Icelandic tap water instead of buying water at the store, you are helping us to minimise the usage of single use plastic bottles in Iceland, which has surged with the rapid growth in tourism. The water that comes from our taps is some of the purest on earth, sourced through both glacial and ground water that naturally filters down through lava rock over many years before eventually arriving in your bottle. One of the best feelings about getting home is filling up my water bottle, and I encourage you to do the same while you’re here 💧 Skál! #iceland
A local onlooker at the edge of the fast ice in Svalbard. Always an incredible experience to be in the presence of a Polar bear and quietly observe as they roam the Arctic landscape. @visitsvalbard
Waking up to a dark and cloudy day over Greenland’s icefjord will be a disappointing sight for most folks in town. For me, the diffused light that falls through the clouds will produce the absolute best conditions for photography, leading to the most vivid blue ice conditions one could find. Excited to head back to Greenland in a few days, this time to sail around the South. #greenland
Stoked to announce that I’ve launched an Iceland road guide for all of the students in my online photography workshop. To celebrate, @alexstrohl and I are offering the whole course at 45% off and we’ve reopened access to our community forum for all new students for the next five days. For those who haven’t checked out my workshop before, it’s a 5 hour educational video series about finding your own style and aesthetic in the photography industry. Throughout the series, you’ll join me and Alex on six shooting assignments, showing you what gear I use most and heading deep into the post-processing phase to break down my editing techniques. It’s been amazing to hear such positive feedback from our hundreds of students who’ve already taken the course, thanks to all of you! Head to the link in my bio for all the info and to enroll in the course 🤙🏼 #HardmanXStrohl
East Greenland ↠ Sailing Expedition. There are just two seats remaining on my upcoming Arctic photography workshop with @fursty and @hannes_becker this August. Over the course of seven days and living on board a wooden sailing vessel, we’ll be exploring the worlds longest fjord, Scorsbysund in the East of Greenland. We’ll spend our days surrounded by icebergs, towering granite mountains and the resilient Arctic wildlife that live around the fjord. Head to the link in my bio if you’d like to check out the details on how to join us 🤙🏼 #greenland
A glacial pool emerges from the volcanic ash covered surface of Kötlujökull. Exposed sections of ice reveal what lies beneath, a vast outlet glacier that exists in a relentless battle against our changing climate and the giant volcano known as Katla. #iceland
Late winter in the high Arctic. After two days of intense wind and blizzard whiteouts, these Greenland sled dogs in the small settlement of Uummannaq finally woke to calmer weather. With a well deserved feed for the dogs in hand, the sled mushers made their way down to the ice. The dogs quickly picked up on the action and their howls echoed across the fjord, making their presence known to all. #greenland
Approaching cloud level with @localguide high up on a Nunatak, a ridge between two outlet glaciers. Documenting this rarely traversed area with my friend @snorrisv, we reached a small plateau just under the clouds and discovered a huge crack in the mountain, a potential cause for concern in the future. He turned to me at one point and made note that we may have been the first people to ever stand there. That was a pretty special moment. #iceland
Planet perspectives. After my recent project with @bbcearth to showcase otherworldly images from my archives for their new series The Planets, I’m feeling really inspired to continue this theme into the summer months. Living in such a young volcanic country, less than 20 million years old, the landscape of Iceland is filled with scenes that truly make you feel like you’re standing on another planet. Here’s one I captured a few days ago, it’s an aerial view of a volcanic crater row in the Fjallabak region. #iceland
Glacial Layers. Join us this August for a remote sailing expedition and workshop in the East of Greenland. Hosted by @fursty, @hannes_becker and myself, we’ll be exploring one of the worlds largest fjord systems, Scorsbysund. Whilst sailing through the fjord in search of unique Arctic imagery, we’ll be mentoring our five guests on board with our combined knowledge on photographic techniques and how to build your personal brand in the industry. Head to the link in my bio for all of the info and the application page. Stoked for this one 🤘🏼
The Svalbard reindeer. This one appeared from above the snow line, glancing over while digging down to the ground beneath. I captured this one at 300mm, using an aperture of f/2.8 to create some depth where the snow meets the reindeer. It can be quite tricky to shoot in these whiteout situations, though I must admit I’m a huge fan of minimal scenes 🤘🏼 @visitsvalbard
An unforgettable moment at the edge of the fast ice. Two Polar bears had been playing together at the waters edge, a mating couple we soon learned. Leading up to this image, the female had fallen into the water as the ice cracked beneath her, the male soon followed. They were diving down to fetch some kelp from the seabed beneath, and bringing it up to investigate. Soon after, the female bear looked towards our zodiac, swimming nearer as I captured the scene at 500mm. We swiftly gained some distance, and left them to continue their ways. @visitsvalbard
Standing on the summit of Iceland. Earlier this week alongside @summitexplorers, I climbed to the highest point in Iceland, Hvannadalshnúkur at 2,110m. Whilst our mountains are relatively small in comparison to other countries, getting to the summit requires a 25km round trip climb from just above sea level, navigating around the outlet glaciers that run down to the valley floor. The view from the top is just incredible, giving a visual over the whole of Vatnajökull, the biggest glacier in Europe. We had super nice weather for the climb with clear skies and no wind the whole way to the top. Then right as I started to shoot on the summit, a wall of cloud rolled in, creating a nice dynamic atmosphere in the background. So stoked to have finally made it up there 🤘🏼 #hvannadalshnúkur
East Greenland Workshop ↡ Stoked to announce that this August alongside @fursty and @hannes_becker, we’ll be hosting a seven day sailing expedition to explore the Eastern side of Greenland. Along with five of you, we will be living on board a wooden schooner named Hildur, while spending our days sailing and shooting within Scorsbysund, one of the worlds biggest fjord systems. Really excited for this one as it will a first for most of us to visit this side of Greenland, and I’m delighted to invite you to join us for it. Head to the link in my bio or swipe up in my story for all of the info 🤘🏼
A moment in between. I’ve always found drifting clouds to be a peaceful thing to watch, especially as they interact with the landscape in the high mountains. Looking up at these frozen peaks in Svalbard, I tracked the clouds as they drifted past, waiting for that swift moment where a wall of cloud sat right above the summit. It almost lined up in the end! #svalbard
Midnight light over the mountains of Bellsund. On the first night of my expedition around the archipelago, I spent the evening adjusting to the endless daylight. I couldn’t sleep, so I layered up and spent a few hours just sitting out on the deck of our ship as we drifted through this incredibly still water. @visitsvalbard #svalbard
Days out at sea, a battle against gloomy ocean swells persisted as we pushed towards the East, ice charts in hand. Reaching the fast ice, we were met with a view I remember vividly as a vast and empty abyss of white. No wildlife in sight, it seemed the locals had already ventured North. With our crews morale at its lowest, I couldn’t have imagined what we’d soon experience, for what was coming would be my most profound encounter with a Polar Bear in Svalbard.
Home from the Arctic. Spending time aboard an expedition ship earlier this month, I set out with an amazing team to capture images along the remote coastline of Svalbard. The expedition opened my eyes to the diverse range of resilient wildlife that call this archipelago home, and the threats they face amidst our changing climate. Diving into the post processing phase this week, I’m feeling inspired from what I’ve seen and the shots I’ve created, though quite shocked from the facts I’ve learned along the way. There are so many insights and images to share with you all, but to begin let’s start with a landscape. One day I woke up to see this interesting mountain peak passing by the window in the South West. It’s shaped like this only from one angle, so later in the trip we returned and took some time to stop the ship at this position and appreciate its form and textures up close. #Svalbard | #Arctic
Stoked to be back in Svalbard ❄️ Currently I’m aboard a ship helping to co-guide an expedition around the archipelago. We’ll be following the spring season sea ice and wildlife heading North. I’ll be back online soon with updates! For now, here’s an Arctic Fox portrait that I captured in Pyramiden last year. #Svalbard | #Arcticfox
Evening light over the mountains of Tindfjöll. Looking back on this moment, I was scoping in on the summit with a 400mm lens as the light cut across the mountain face. while capturing this image, I’m pretty sure it was the moment I first realised this was my favourite mountain ridge in Iceland. Earlier this year, I was trapped in a storm up there while on a ski mission. My friends and I then faced a 12 hour battle to get off the mountain. Freezing cold and completely wet we eventually made it down, and what an experience it was. In my ‘Iceland’ highlight story you can see the full day unfold. I learnt a lot on that trip, as with every mission to the mountains 🤘🏼 #Iceland
It’s live! Thank you to each and every one of you who has enrolled in my online workshop so far. It’s an overwhelming feeling to experience so much interest in my work and I really hope that you can gain some valuable knowledge from the tutorial series. Photography started out for me ten years ago as a fun way to travel locally with my friends in the surfing community back home in Western Australia. I could have never imagined that it would take me where it has, discovering a love for cold-climates and a deep connection to Iceland, moving across the world and now devoting my life to documenting the North. If you haven’t yet had the chance to check out my online workshop, head to the link in my bio to see what it’s all about. Thank you again everyone, I wouldn't be where I am without all of your support! #HardmanXStrohl | #Iceland
Sea ice travel around the remote settlement of Uummannaq. The Greenland dog has long been a staple part of Greenlandic culture and their way of life. The dogs work in teams to haul both people and supplies across the sea ice during winter. The bonds between mushers and their dogs are incredible to witness, especially in remote regions such as Uummannaq where your survival literally depends on your dogs. If the pack somehow gets away from you on the ice and doesn’t return, you can freeze and die, it’s often as simple as that. As the sea ice thins and the often snowless summers get longer, the dogs struggle to survive. As the local people rely less and less on the dogs due to these changes, their population is in sharp decline. Changes to the global climate not only have an effect on the ice, but also the people and wildlife that live in these remote polar regions. #Greenland | #uummannaq
Today is the last day to pre-order my online workshop! If you are thinking of ordering, this will be the last chance to secure it at the special pre-order price before it goes live. During the filming of the online workshop, photographing the wildlife in Jökulsárlón was our first field project. We came across a group of 17 seals all while the camera was rolling, it was the most I’d ever seen together. In the end, the image I chose to edit had a relatively flat exposure and made for a great canvas to breakdown of my most used functionalities in Lightroom and Photoshop. As the episodes progress, we dive deeper into my post processing methods, working on several shots to sculpt the light through the selective adjustments and bring to life my vision for each scene. Head over to the link in my bio to check it all out, and remember it’s the last day for our pre-order pricing! Thanks everyone. #HardmanXStrohl | #Iceland
Winter Updates - Greenland and beyond. Today I uploaded a new video over on YouTube! I thought it would be cool to fill you guys in on what I’ve been up to over the last few months and share some thoughts on the upcoming workshop release. You’ll also see a few drone sequences in there from my 40 days in the Arctic this winter. Swipe up in my story to check out the video and leave a comment if you’d like to see some more video logs this summer! #Greenland
Happy earth day everyone! We’re getting really close to the release of my online workshop with @alexstrohl, I’m feeling super excited to share this with you all. This coming Wednesday, we will be opening a limited quantity of pre-orders that include some special additions. If you head to the link in my bio and save your place, you’ll also get access to two free episodes of the workshop straight to your inbox in the morning. In the meantime here’s an outtake from the first day of filming, looking up at the clouds forming around Hrútsfjall in southeast Iceland. This view has always been one that makes me stop in my tracks and admire the beauty of the mountains, I thought it was fitting for today✌🏼 #HardmanxStrohl | #Earthday
Winter camouflage. Whilst no one is certain of their origin, it’s thought that the Arctic Fox first travelled to Iceland during the time of the ice age, when sea ice created a land bridge between Europe, Iceland and Greenland. As the ice retreated however, the foxes became trapped in Iceland, making them the first and only native land mammal to exist here. Over thousands of years, the isolation of the icelandic Arctic Fox has given them unique traits from those found in other regions. Unlike other areas where the white morph Arctic Fox dominates the snow covered landscape of the Arctic, most of the food they find in Iceland is coastal sea derived. Due to the dark and rocky coastline of Iceland, devoid of snow all year round in most areas, the blue morph Fox, brown in colour, is the by far the most dominant colour morph found here. In the early 90’s, they became a protected species on the nature reserve of Hornstrandir, where they flourish under the watchful eye of scientists and the amazing team at the @arcticfoxcentre, where I learned of these incredible facts. Captured for @icelandair. #MyStopover | #Iceland | #ArcticFox
First signs of Spring. Towards the end of winter, the first storms above zero degrees begin to hit the highlands. Heavy wind and rain work to clear away the thick layer of snow and ice that has buried the landscape for months on end. Hundreds of glacial lakes and braided rivers will begin to flow once again, giving us the first true signs of the vibrant spring and summer seasons ahead. Shot for @icelandair. #MyStopover | #iceland
Drifting through silent snowfall. Over the course of the winter this year, I’ve spent quite a lot of time sailing amongst the fjord ice in Disko Bay. The changes I’ve witnessed just in the last few months alone have been immense. The biggest change being the lack of sea ice. Many years ago it would be frozen solid out there, but now as the ocean temperatures slowly rise and fluctuations in the weather become more sporadic, the sea ice cannot freeze thick enough to remain solid against the ocean currents, leading to a cycle of cracking apart and refreezing to a thin surface layer. On a few occasions, I noticed the ice completely vanish in the wind over the space of just one evening. Even more alarming however, was to see satellite images from the fjord systems further north. The sea ice in some cases had cracked and disappeared much earlier than expected, even putting my own expedition plans to a halt this season. Some of the fjords were ice free all the way to back the furthest end, where the outlet glaciers meet the fjord waters. Hearing the locals talk about these recent occurrences, I could feel an underlying sense of shock around the town. If no measures are swiftly put in place by the world’s large scale industry leaders to prevent further damage to our climate, things will undoubtedly get much worse out there. #greenland | #climatechange
We’re just over a week away from the pre-order drop date for my online photography workshop with @alexstrohl. I’ve been watching the video series come together over the last few months and I’m elated at all the topics we’ve covered on photography, from the steps involved to find your own style in the industry, to refining your editing skill set. In my story you can see the third trailer on editing, where I’ll be covering my process in depth by working specifically with images we captured during the filming of the workshop. To sign up for free episodes and get early access to the April 24th pre-order window, head to the link in my bio 🙏🏼 #iceland | #reindeer
Where the wall once stood.
Cloudy late night skies in the East. As the wind picks up, clouds drift across the mountains, enshrouding them from view. For a brief few minutes, a new perspective of the peaks will likely be revealed from within, often met with a flock of birds passing through. After a long winter, I must say I’m looking forward to the bright nights ahead. They give a window into the nocturnal world, from Owl sightings to cloud inversions, the midnight light in Iceland holds a unique atmosphere of its own. #iceland
First light. Good memories from the first day of shooting my online workshop with @alexstrohl. We were on our way to the east of Iceland in search of wildlife, when we noticed the morning light popping over Dyrhamar and the surrounding mountains of Öræfajökull. All of a sudden the cameras where rolling, the first shot of the workshop was in the bag and months of planning became a reality. Head to my story to see some insights into the vibe of the online workshop and stay tuned for the pre-order window - it will begin on the 24th of April. Super excited for this! #iceland
High up in the icefall. It’s been a huge winter this year, I thought I’d share some updates for those interested. It started off with the filming of my upcoming online workshop in Iceland alongside @alexstrohl. We’ll be covering all there is to know about my editing and curation process, while breaking down some interesting shooting scenarios back in Iceland. We had some really interesting conditions for the shoot, and I’m proud of the images we covered in the workshop modules. Excited to share this with you all later this month! Then began my winter season of travel in the Arctic, where I’ve spent the last 2 months between Greenland and Svalbard, shooting for a long term project I’ve been working on about the North. Right now I’m in Ilulissat waiting to fly home to Iceland, though a storm has cancelled my flights for the last two days - a classic scenario in Greenland. Looking forward to heading home to defrost and start to prepare for the next expedition in Svalbard in two weeks time. That’s all for now, cheers everyone!
A distant wanderer on the fjord ice. After finding some distinctive footprints on our track and scouting the area with binoculars, we came across this Polar Bear laying down on a mountain in the distance. Eventually the bear woke up and walked down onto the ice, stopping at this point and staring out into the abyss of the fjord before laying down again. I followed along at 600mm, trying to keep stable against a rock with my frozen hands. Shooting through the haze, it was difficult to get an image of this scene, but I’m glad to have at least been able to document this beautifully quiet and serene moment in time. Captured on my way to the east coast with @poliarctici on assignment for @visitsvalbard. #svalbard
Back in connection today for a few moments here in Greenland and I thought I’d share with you all an awesome opportunity to travel with @donalboyd and I this June in the mountains of Iceland. We’ll be heading into the southern side of highlands, accessing some of our favourite areas to shoot and sharing our knowledge on photography and post processing along the way. Head to the link in my bio for the application page and check out all the info over on Donal’s website. Flying further north in Greenland today. Will be back online next week with updates, cheers✌🏼
A reindeer in Svalbard, enduring stormy weather along the coastline of Longyearbyen. They are such resilient animals, digging down through the snow in search of winter supplies and surviving through the arctic freeze. #visitsvalbard | #svalbard
Earlier this year @alexstrohl joined me in Iceland to begin creating an online photography workshop together. Through field and studio sessions, we worked to break down my style in photography and dive into the core elements I use to process my images - here’s an image from one of the modules! Now we’re getting closer to the launch next month and the @strohlworks team has just put together a webpage that gives you the the inside scoop and info on how to sign up for exclusive access on the drop date. Really excited to share this with you all, it’s been a wild journey! Link in bio. #HardmanxStrohl
Looking down from the boat deck at a scaly pattern in the sea ice over Disko bay. This month has been a huge one, travelling in remote regions across both Greenland and Svalbard. Really excited to now spend a few days tucked away at home in Iceland and start to look through all of the photographs. Stay tuned friends!
One from home. Fjallabak is an interesting area to observe the seasonal changes of the landscape in Iceland. I photographed this scene a few weeks ago from the sky with my buddy @volcanopilot, where a section of a river on Mælifellssandur survived the winter freeze. With the path hidden under the snow at either end, it’s almost as if the exposed section came to the surface for a breath of fresh mountain air before returning to the depths. #iceland
A swirl of ice drifting with the wind at the edge of a glacier, deep in the western fjords of Svalbard. Excited to be returning here in a few days time to continue shooting one of my long-term projects on the Arctic. @visitsvalbard
Really stoked to announce the upcoming release of my online photography workshop together with my good friend @alexstrohl. Earlier this year, Alex and his team joined me in Iceland to head into the field and begin to break down my entire creative process in photography. I’ve worked for years to refine the style and aesthetic of my images, and by far the question I get asked most is how I edit to achieve a unified appearance in my work. I’m thrilled to finally share my process with you all, we go deep into my editing workflow and how and why I compose the way I do when out in nature. I’m confident that there will be some useful insights for you all upon the release! In the meantime I’ve made an email signup page on my website, where you will be get early access to the pre-order release phase as well access to our favourite episodes straight to your inbox for free. The signup link is in my bio! ✌🏼