Gone Up Knörth: Icelandic Adventures With Christian McLeod

Christian McLeod for Up Knörth | Icelandic Ventures

Q. Firstly; Tell us about what it is like being an adventure photographer? How did you end up doing what you do?

CM. Waking up, half knowing what I want to do, and always ending up being somewhere I didn't expect to be or doing something I never thought I would do, that what it's been like being an adventure photographer. 

It just slowly stumbled into this genre of photography. I picked up a camera lying in my room during my 2nd year of studying engineering in college, and started taking little photos of friends, and bringing it with me surfing, and it just progressed from there to where it is today.

Christian McLeod for Up Knörth | Icelandic Ventures

Q. What drove you to travel to Iceland? Is it true what they say; Photographer's haven?

CM. It's hard not to be overwhelmed by images of Iceland, in both magazine adverts, TV commercials and everywhere on the internet. It has laid at the top of my travel list for the past 3 years, and when a friend through Instagram, Mark Clinton, asked me if I wanted to come with him, I couldn't say no, even though I was looking at a steep flight price. 

Iceland is phenomenal and I will definitely be going back. It's beyond a haven for photographers, it just blows me away.

Q. What was the most inspirational place to shoot? Was there a specific spot that claimed the title or 'favourite spot for photography'?

CM. Hmm, in Iceland, the Landmannalaugar hike was pretty inspiring. Rolling hills, ice covered rivers, surrounded by volcanic rubble, it's a stunning place.

Christian McLeod for Up Knörth | Icelandic Ventures
Christian McLeod for Up Knörth | Icelandic Ventures

Q. On second thought, do you have a favourite spot for photography in general? 

CM. Outside of Iceland, I find it just amazing coming back home to Ireland and seeing the beautiful scenery all around me. I don't think I could pick a single spot, but Ireland holds a little spot in my heart.

Q. After seeing your photos (and they sparked some serious adventure-envy here in Vancouver) it's clear you covered some extensive ground in Iceland - What are some of the highlights of the trip? Hikes, cave-camping, icebergs?

CM. The whole trip was a massive highlight. From the sulphur pits to the glacier lagoon, it was gorgeous. I only put down my camera down when I went to sleep and even then I think I left it on just in case. It was pretty cool (no pun intended) seeing the glaciers and icebergs. It's something I've never seen before in person, and it's just crazy thinking in depth about how they were formed and ended up where they are now.

Q. Everyone it seems is lusting for Iceland; How are the people there? The food and (most importantly) beer?

CM. Why would you not.. Haha!

The people are beautiful and genuine. The food is interesting and the beer is average (sorry Iceland... )

Christian McLeod for Up Knörth | Icelandic Ventures
Christian McLeod for Up Knörth | Icelandic Ventures
Christian McLeod for Up Knörth | Icelandic Ventures

Q. Let's just say what they lack in beer they make up in scenery? Ha. So, what's next? It seems like there are almost no limitations for adventure photography. Any dream locations?

CM. I have an expedition I am planning right now, which I'm sure you will see towards the end of the year, but right now, I am actually being filmed by an Irish television crew on my work in adventure and my dream job.

As for dream locations? That's tricky, there are so many places I want to go, Patagonia, Philippines or BC. Maybe we will have a trip around Vancouver sometime soon! 

All photos taken for Up Knörth by Christian McLeod. Find him on Instagram.