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Paintings from the Sky: Aerial Photos of Iceland


Everyone knows that Iceland has amazing landscapes throughout the whole country. But Iceland doesn’t only look beautiful from the ground — it also looks incredible from the sky. On a recent flight, I had the opportunity to expand my aerial portfolio and focused on mostly top-down images.

Photographing top down is not easy. The landscapes look completely different than you’re used to. It’s like seeing a whole new world. New views go by every second and you have to be quick to capture them properly. All these top-down views really look like paintings, hence the name of this series: “Icelandic Paintings from the Sky.”

Rivers, ground textures, valleys — they all look very different from a top-down perspective. The advantage of using a plane is that you can quickly fly everywhere and your perspective is much higher as opposed to using a drone. Special thanks to Haraldur (aka Volcanopilot) for being a great pilot!

Swirling glacial rivers
The autumn red combined with the blue of the rivers make for a beautiful complimentary color palette.
Different colours of different mud and glacier streams coming together out of the mountains.
This flight was late autumn with lots of autumn red covering the valleys.
An abstract view from the bottom of a glacier stream. I can spend hours taking pictures like this. They
all look like paintings.
Black and white abstract of river flows.
A river formed like a smoke finding its way into the ocean.
Harsh light on a bunch of streams. It looks like they’re forming the roots of a tree.
Flying next to the Icelandic coast with interesting textures in the water. The colour of the water almost
looks like its tropical here.
Top down abstract of the bottom of a wide river. The bottom texture looks like blue flames.
Sunlight hitting the greens in a valley in the Icelandic Highlands.
Rivers along the coastal areas with lots of different textures combined. It looks like a water painting.
Simple top down view of the waves on the black of the Icelandic beach. The black sand with the
white waves makes up for a great contrast.
Another close up abstract in the form of an arrowhead or an organ. Whatever you want to make of it!
Big rivers mounting into smaller streams. The excerpts are like organisms on their own.

About the author: Albert Dros is an award-winning Dutch photographer. The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author. His work has been published by some of the world’s biggest media channels, including TIME, The Huffington Post, The Daily Mail, and National Geographic. You can find more of his work on his website, or by following him on Facebook and Instagram.