Benedict Brain is a UK-based photographer, journalist and artist. He is an Associate of the Royal Photographic Society and sits on the society’s Distinctions Advisory Panel. He is also a past editor of Digital Camera Magazine, and the author of You Will be Able to Take Great Photos by The End of This Book.
I have a little Flir One Pro camera that I pop into my camera bag now and again. It’s a cool little thermal camera that connects to my iPhone and visually records the temperature of things. I won’t go into any scientific detail as I’m out of my depth and don’t know what I’m talking about. Suffice it to say, it’s a gadget mainly used by engineers for engineering things that I also don’t know anything about. However, I do know that the images it makes are super-cool and I love how the world is rendered in psychedelic colors as it captures and visually renders the temperature of things.
I took it with me on this trip as I knew I’d be visiting some exciting places in the north Atlantic, including parts of Iceland and Greenland, and I hoped the camera might prove a useful addition to my creative toolbox. To my delight, the thermal hues beautifully rendered the landscape – in particular, Kirkjufell mountain on the north coast of Iceland’s Snæfellsnes peninsula, near Grundarfjörður (the top-left image).
Finding yourself in front of such an iconic mountain is a challenge; it has been photographed so often and from just about every angle that it feels like there’s nowhere to go creatively. So I was thrilled to make an image using the thermal camera that had an original twist. Other scenes from my trip also came out beautifully through the thermal eyes. One of the many glaciers I witnessed while sailing through Prince Christian Sound in Greenland (the bottom-right image) looks amazing. Just look at the contrast in temperature between the land and the glacier spilling into the water.
Aside from the cool look and funky vibe the camera creates, I also like the story it adds, especially in this area of the world. Against the background of the climate crisis, revealing the melting glaciers takes on a different meaning altogether. These images might deliver a more poignant message – and some food for thought.
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