Epic Beach Destinationslatest issue of AWAYN magazine
Andy Spencer Walk in Reynisfjara Beach
Forgetting that Game of Thrones put this view on every fan to do list, it is still absolutely worth the trek if you're on the Southern Road.
Reynisfjara Beach is the South Coast of Iceland's most famous black sand beach. Its beautiful black sand, powerful waves and the nearby maritime stacks of Reynisdrangar make Reynisfjara a unique place to visit. While the sands found on most of the world's beaches are colored white or golden, the specifics of their formation make black sand beaches much rarer. Sand is created by eroding rocks into small fragments (by definition, a beach is merely a collection of many small stones).
According to the folktale, these rocks are the remains of two trolls who tried to tow a ship to land, but were caught by daylight and turned to stone. The black sandy beach is treacherous if you do not take reasonable precautions, and many have drowned there. It is well signposted to alert you. Caves formed by row upon row of tall basalt columns are a highlight, and everyone clamors up on them for photos. Parking can be a challenge at peak times but it is free, and there are bathrooms and a coffee shop if you want to enjoy a bevy on the sand while puffins cliff dive above your head. Go at sunset and see the glistening light hit wet black sand and sea birds swarming to nest.
Glass beach is probably Fort Bragg's biggest attraction. The concept of the beach is both odd and intriguing, and once you see the beach, you will fall in love with its beauty.
Glass Beach gets its name from the smooth, colorful pieces of glass on the pebbly beach. The site was once a trash dump so broken bottles are now little treasures to be found and photographed (and left behind) from local residents ' garbage cans. Removal of any glass from Glass Beach is illegal. This is an excellent place for children to explore around but watch them close to the water that can be dangerous. From the parking area on Glass Beach Road, a few blocks west of Highway 1 down West Elm Street, there is a full beach path.
This beach has two sections where you can view the glass. The first section, and visibly the more popular one, really didn't have that much drink. You will find yourself hunched over, searching for the tiny shards. The second section is off to the left of the first, and to get to it, you must climb down a small cliff. The area has a lot more of the glass to see. Large pieces of glass too. I would recommend not walking around barefoot though because sadly people seem to think it's O.K. to add to the beach by discarding their broken bottles to it. The glass is lovely, and the beach also has a lot of beautiful shells and sea plant life. If you continue walking on the trail past glass beach, you will find more areas of the coast, with even more beautiful views. If you make it to the end, you will also come to the Pudding Creek Trestle, which is a sight itself. Everything about this beach is beautiful.
Few photographers work harder than the legendary Russell Ord. While other photographers shoot from the safety of a boat or ski in the channel, this Western Australia’s most prolific photographer shoots from the water. Russell Ord’s has indeed taken the art of big wave surf photography to a new level.
Russell, how did you got into surf photography?
I injured my knee surfing (1999), and instead of just sitting on the lounge I picked up a camera and started taking photos of mates (surfing). The passion grew from there, surfing had become quite competitive and crowded so being reunited with that feeling of freedom especially when your swimming out alone was more of an incentive than jostling for waves. The learning curve was steep especially at the start being self-taught and using film, so I gradually progressed my camera skills, and I was lucky enough to have 20 years of ocean experience to call upon which I have always said is the hardest skill to learn regarding surf photography.
As a huge fan of your work I always wondered how do you find your subjects?
I have been patient over my career and understood it takes time to build trust, develop skills and be in a position where athletes, clients etc. want to work with you because of your work. Surfing wise, I started shooting my mates for practice, the local surfboard riders club and worked on my portfolio. I never felt I deserved to be trusted to do a photo shoot until skill level had significantly increased, like doing an apprenticeship. Today you will see photographers, buy a camera and expect to be shooting topline athletes the next day?
What makes the good picture stand out from the average?
I like to look at photos and see skill level or photos that are very creative, photos that make me wonder "how did they do that". I feel people including judges in photography competitions look at images and only see the moment in time and don’t take enough time to understand "what level of skill or knowledge is required to capture the picture". As an example: A beautiful mountain climbing image captured with a drone vs a mountain climbing image that would have taken years of knowledge and skill just to be in that position to press the trigger, I know which one I would choose as a good vs average.
What is the most memorable trip you have had in recent memory?
My most memorable trip has been to work on "projects of purpose"; Environmental, Humanitarian, Educational, The art of giving, such as the Wunambal Gaambera People / Uunguu Rangers in the far north of Western Australia. Apart from being a huge learning curve and experience, my imagery is being used to "make a difference".
What equipment do you use to captures your footage?
I have been using Fuji Film mirrorless cameras for the last three years they have indeed brought that "feeling" of photography back into my work. I remind myself that all the best photos in history were probably taken with a worse camera than mine to stop me thinking that I need this and I need that. A lot of photographers dwell far too much on equipment and not focusing on the art of photography and their client's needs. Lifestyle images - Fuji X100F / Surf images Fuji X-T2 with Aquatech housing, the only challenges I face is with myself and how to overcome what I think some shortfalls may be.
Closing Thoughts … How do you think photography and traveling has changed your view of the world?
The more you travel and experience the world the more of an understanding you have for other cultures, people and their environments plus you learn a lot about yourself, the positives and negatives.
Follow Russell on Social Media
More ADVENTURES highlights
Tyson Kochel Benagil Sea Cave
Praia de Benagil is a beautiful beach close to Lagoa. The beach is most famous for its Algar de Benagil, a sensational cave. This cave has in the ceiling a round hole that frames the inside of the beautiful blue sky. You can find Benagil and his cave on many lists of' places you have to see in your lifetime.' Without a doubt, one of the best things to see in the Algarve is this wonder of nature.
Praia do Ancão is the place where locals in the know and the Portuguese upper-crust go to enjoy the time on the beach.
In spite of its secluded status, there are still plenty of restaurants and bars nearby to enjoy, and water sports are quite popular. You can enjoy stylish tapas, salads or seafood at "11 na Praia", with a view of the sea.
About the first picture... this is the famous sea cave Benagil at the coast of Algarve, Portugal. I went there by canoe.
In case you wanted to swim thou no one will stop you swimming into the cave but also no-one might be around to rescue you if there's a problem. The tides here can be very strong. Do get some detailed advice locally.
Daniel Fedor Dive down to Underwater Temple Garden (Taman Pura)
The Underwater Temple Garden is also known as Taman Pura, is an incredible and unique dive site in Pemuteran.
Pemuteran is a lovely fishing village on Bali's northern coast. It would be a beautiful refuge from the crowds, considering that most people rarely venture further north than Ubud. I would highly suggest a visit to Bali Sea Rovers, especially given the shallow depth of the Ceningan channel Buddha. There you can have a fantastic diving experience in an underwater garden once in a lifetime.
The Buddha is facing North and is located at the entrance to the Ceningan channel. To arrive there, take a local boat from the mangrove forest on Lembongan Island. Having said though, I think cenigan Channel should be dived by experienced divers only. The currents change like the wind from smooth, calm glass-like seas to whirlwind currents, which can only be described as being like a cork in a washing machine where you are being dragged to the bottom rapidly. Extremely experienced divers have lost their lives here never to be seen again. It is as deadly as it is beautiful.