About 3 years ago, I decided to dedicate my time to photography. I quit the two jobs that I had then and headed out into the creative world. I was in bad shape both physically and mentally, so at the time, I really needed a change of pace in my life!

Aerial photography in Iceland - Photo by Gaui HAerial photography in Iceland. Photo by: 'Gaui H'.

It was not easy for me to make the decision of putting all my trust in myself… especially seeing as there are so many great photo and videographers out there already. So I had to find something within myself or to create a special style for my work to be noticed in the humongous sea of photographs and videos that were already out there.

The thing with that was that I had to be consistent!

The Breath of Iceland. Video by: 'Gaui H'.

I guess my style came about without me trying too hard to find it. In my opinion, that is the best way for you to find your own style… to let it come to you. Don’t force anything, just let it flow to you naturally and then it will become “your style”. In addition, I watched A LOT of videos, documentaries, “how to” videos, landscapes and photography tutorials, taking parts of what I liked from each one to create something new.

Skogafoss - Photo by Gaui HSkogafoss. Photo by: 'Gaui H'.

In my work, I try as hard as I can not to copy others. But of course, I find some people’s work very inspiring, which in turn has a huge influence on what form my own work takes and where it ultimately goes.

Even now, after being neck-deep in photography and videography for 3 years, I still look for ways to learn more and to be inspired by others to find new ways to shoot. I think it is the only way to move forward and to be better in what you do!  

Mouth of a glacier - Photo by Gaui HAt the mouth of a glacier. Photo by: 'Gaui H.

The years following the moment when I decided to jump into the deep end have been incredible. I have been travelling a lot with my better half, Lilja Dögg, and we have been shooting both photos and videos in the amazing landscape that Iceland has to offer. Over the past two years, the videos have been coming a bigger part of what we do and more recently, we have been shooting them mostly with drones. There is just something about it that appeals to me – flying above and seeing the landscape from up high is simply a breathtaking experience!


See also:  5 Reasons Iceland is the Best Destination for Aerial Photography


Highlands waterfalls - Photo by Gaui HHighlands waterfalls. Photo by: 'Gaui H'.

Flying drones in Iceland has become a big thing with people visiting Iceland, so it’s a good thing that our country has finally put in place some rules and regulations surrounding their use. Now when we hit the road and want to shoot in national parks and areas that have a lot of people hiking or sightseeing, we have to apply for a licence in advance with a few days notice. So if you guys are thinking of coming here with a drone and want to catch the good stuff without getting fined, then I strongly recommend that you look up all of the information before you visit… so your trip can be as smooth as possible!

Waterfall in Iceland - Photo by Gaui HExploring waterfalls in Iceland. Photo by: 'Gaui H'.

In relation to our videos, I edit all of them myself and choose the soundtrack for them very carefully! It depends a lot on how I want to make people feel with that particular footage. Sometimes, I want people to feel relaxed and to “zone out” when they watch the videos, whereas other times I want them to be excited in anticipation of what is coming. So when you make your own videos, keep in mind that the music has to fit!

I usually put the video together, cut and edit it, then watch it a couple of times before I decide what kind of music suits it best. Then I put the music in and edit it to the beat of the song.

Each video has a special “feel” to it… some are more upbeat and and happy, whilst others are slower and more dramatic. Some end up being almost like a trailer for something bigger… which always gives me ideas for future work.

When I have finally settled on what kind of music I would like for a specific video, I go online to a website called Epidemic sound. This website contains basically every genre of music and sound effects that you will need to make great content even better!

However, sometimes I hear an Icelandic song, like Himinhvel with the Icelandic band Árstíðir, and I just HAVE to make a video to fit that song. When that happens, I contact the artists directly to discuss the use of their music within my videos. It’s often not too difficult of a process, as I also make music videos, which can sometimes appeal to the artist! I actually just finished a video for Árstíðir, so they were kind enough to let me use that song for one of my latest works.

My other half - Photo by Gaui HMy other half. Photo by: 'Gaui H'.

My main project with Lilja, The breath of Iceland, started out about two and a half years ago. We had decided to hit the road with my cousin Addi and ride around the south coast with our cameras. I had no drones at that time, so we only shot with our Sony cameras. We ended up staying out there for a weekend and after that, I felt the urge to start something that could represent Iceland… to show my country through our lenses. So when we finished up our trip, I began to put this idea together to create a non-profit group that would travel around Iceland and make material that we could proudly show the world.

The Breath of Iceland - Photo by Gaui HThe Breath of Iceland. Photo by: 'Gaui H'.

A few weeks later, the title “The breath of Iceland” popped up in my head. So I started to get images, videos and stories together. I contacted my nephew Bjöggi and asked him if he could put together a website for me in a hurry, as that’s basically how I work. Everything has to happen when I get an idea… maybe that’s a good thing because it means that the ideas come to life faster, but sometimes it’s not. That’s when my fiancée steps in and tells me to cool off for a bit and think it through!

A few days after the website went live, I started our Facebook site and we opened our instagram account. Finally, The breath of Iceland was alive!

Standing on the Edge - Photo by Gaui HStanding on the edge. Photo by: 'Gaui H'.

My hope for The breath of Iceland is that it will keep on growing. I hope that more and more people will follow us on our journey and that in the future, maybe they will join us on the road!

I want the world to see how pure Iceland still is. There are so many amazing places around the country that are not overrun by people and are just as, or even more beautiful, as the sites that are easy to get to on the south coast.

Vestrahorn - Photo by Gaui HVestrahorn. Photo by: 'Gaui H'.

My favourite part of Iceland is the Westfjords… I was born and raised there, so I am a little bit connected to that area. Not to mention that I lived there for the most part of my life. To grow up in a tiny village with about 400 people is a privilege!

It was in the Westfjords that my interest in photography started… I was 9 years old and my grandparents took myself and my cousin on a summer vacation in the south. Just before we left, they gave us 2 cameras to document the journey. I was thrilled! I think I finished 3 rolls of film just that weekend. As such, I always think of my grandparents when something in the creative world works out for us and I am forever grateful for their gift, which set me out on this amazing path. They were always such an inspiration to us, helping us as much as they could to reach our goals.

Westfjords - Photo by Gaui HWestfjords. Photo by: 'Gaui H'.

Today, we have four videos of 20 minutes duration on the entertainment system in all Icelandair planes. They are called North, South, East and West. The names basically speak for themselves, but they were shot during our journeys to those parts of the island. We are currently working on Season 2 of the series for Icelandair, and it looks EPIC if I do say so myself! In the meantime, we have over twenty videos on our YouTube channel for you to enjoy.

I have dreamt of being a photographer for a long time… and it took me way too long to go after this dream! However, when I finally went for it, I was able to make the dream come true. Many of my smaller dreams are coming true as well and that is just because I go after them… I do whatever I can do to move closer to those dreams so they will come to life!

One of my dreams these days is to inspire. I want to inspire others… I want you to know that you can do what I do… that you can achieve whatever your dream is.

It is truly never too late to go after the life that you want to have. In my experience, it is ok to fail… I have failed so many times in life, at work, in being a person… but I decided not to let that stop me in following my dreams and in making them come true. To put things into perspective, I was literally a nobody in the video and photography world only three years ago. Now, I have worked with some amazing people, made material for some awesome companies and at the moment, I am working on the two biggest projects that I have ever come close to!

So my advice to you if you’re a budding landscape photographer is to go after your dream. It’s never too late! “Never stop exploring” is a line that I use a lot.. and I think it fits to basically everything you decide to do in life.


For more information on Gaui's work, visit him on Instagram!

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