I wanted to bring back this Crashed Douglas C-47 Airplane near the town of Vik in Southern Iceland.
It was easily the most rewarding photo shoot I've ever been on in my entire life. No Joke.
To find this beast of a plane on the black sand beach in Southern Iceland is like trying to find a needle in a haystack - blind.
You may be thinking how difficult could it be, its a large plane on the beach? But believe me, it took us 2 days on many separate outings to locate it.
Even in researching the location, we learned of many other travelers to Iceland who wanted to photograph it, but gave up because they just couldn't find it. Its in a very remote area, and it somehow has blended in with the black sandy beach.
From a distance, it looks like large rocks, which are also very common on the landscape which it sits. So it truly is a master of disguise.
It took me 30 min of continuous searching to actually find the location of it on Google Earth. So please check out the "Map View" to see its exact location.
And even knowing where it is on a map doesn't really help in real life. Our 4x4 jeep almost got stuck several times, we were super lucky we didn't get stranded ourselves. We had to cross rivers and streams on foot, feeling the jeep wouldn't make it through the thick sand - so we got out and just walked aimlessly looking for it.
You can see in the "Map View" the river located to the right of the plane. We decided to leave our jeep on the other side of that river as driving through it or certainly around it was NOT going to happen.
I've added a couple of WS photos aswell, one of which is taken from the inside. I didn't know how sturdy it would be, and the floor boards were completely ripped apart so it was a bit tricky but well worth the effort.
The short-story-basic-history of the crashed plane is that of a 1972 US Army Pilot who deliberately crashed the plane on the black sand beach because he read the fuel gauge as being empty. Knowing he had to fly back to the US, he certainly didn't have enough fuel.
Upon further investigation, there was actually plenty of fuel left, the gauge was just malfunctioning.
The US Army decided to strip the plane of its important elements and leave it abandoned.
It still sits there today, 41 years later.
(this image is HDR)
Critiques | Translate
chawax (16525) 2013-09-18 10:54
I confirm this plane is very hard to find ! Our icelandic guide who knows very well Iceland of course had never heard about this place and it took a lot of time for us to find it while we had its GPS position ! We had grey weather there so not very good conditions to take photos. And, hemmm, I had some small gastric problems that day, so I took 2 (poor) pictures and sit back in the bus :( Your photo is very nice. I love the POV and the good details on the plane. Sharpness is absolutely perfect. Thanks for the interesting note !
pyffepa (623) 2013-09-18 11:19
An interesting story about the determination of the photographers ;o)
You fulfill the goals of trekearth, making members discover beauties and curiosities of the world.
Nevertheless your picture is of good quality, very sharp and contrasted. A pure bright sky too.
ktanska (22686) 2013-09-18 12:31
There's something wild on this wing PoV, even though we know that this will not be airborne again. Perfect direction of light, showing those bullet holes clearly. Simple colours fit well on this theme.
ourania (18672) 2013-09-18 13:09
your note is an absorbing narrative, the research and adventure behind this photo are really fascinating! A marvellous composition that divides the frame diagonally and features an irresistible perspective that darts forward and suits so well the shape and past history of the plane. The landscape is eerie and suggestive, the place and the experience are absolutely unique. The light touches the old textures in a superb way giving them a velvety feel. The pitch black interior offers an intriguing graphical effect and the colours of the vast land and sky scapes interact with the soft grey tones excellently. Congratulations on all the work done and thank you!
All the best, have a lovely day,
krzychu30 (12719) 2013-09-18 13:41
I remember your previous shot of this plane you posed few months ago.I didn´t know you had such problems to find it.But again your efforts paid off!The scene looks amazing!The wreck against typical Iceland´s landscape and ...blue sky.Eye-catching combination and really superb POV!
Gigidusud (10298) 2013-09-18 13:58
You really are a very stubborn adventurer! Your patience has been awarded with the photos report. The only problem is that I have to fly in a few days ...:)
jcpix (6590) 2013-09-18 19:46
So good to see this again. You're previous shots were impressive no doubt, but I think this one takes the cake for me...what an incredible perspective! Hard to think it would be so difficult to locate, especially after so much research ahead of time...but the pay off for being so determined to find it was well worth the effort! The WS pictures are just as cool, glad you've given such a detailed look at this plane.
41 years old, hard to believe it actually looks this good being out in the natural elements...not to mention she's taken some shots along the way. Loving the minimal colors here, plain and simple...grey, blue and white..and it works to perfection. A good example of presenting the most interesting facets, keeping it simplified and letting the plane do all of the "talking" in conjunction with your notes. Really sweet shot, this is...well, awesome! :) Enjoy the rest of the evening.
Cheers from Az.,
carlo62 (19455) 2013-09-18 23:17
avevo giá visto foto di questo aereo, ma questa prospettiva è nuova e originale.
Fa un certo effetto osservare i particolari dell'aereo confrontati con la natura circostante.
jjcordier (67270) 2013-09-18 23:31
Quelle histoire! Je suis surpris que l'épave n'ait pas été découpée et enlevée mais cela t'a permis de réaliser une photo vraiment très originale.
mjw364 (6142) 2013-09-19 2:42
Hello Craig - great story!
What I like about this image is the shapes. The grey monolithic shape of the aircraft then the sweep of dark sands curving in from the side atop which sits a sliver of snowy hills then the negative space of the sky. It all seems like a layered graphic design to my eye that makes it slightly abstract and a little surreal too.
dkmurphys (42527) 2013-09-19 2:46
Interesting capture, a fine detail. I'm glad you were so satisfied.
snunney (72728) 2013-09-19 2:53
The things you do for your art:-) Never mind, it was all worth it in the end. The composition is superb looking along the fuselage toward the snowcapped mountains. Excellent rendering of the tones and textures in the weather-worn metal. The wonderful blue sky sets everything off perfectly. Top class photography.
timecapturer (37124) 2013-09-19 5:28
as you will see from my posting today I am old aircraft fan too! This shot gives us a great idea of its illustrious past whereas the workshop image is probably not so flattering, although both images are just wonderful. Love the lines, texturing and sense of its isolation and setting in this stunning image. You did well to find it!
emka (64150) 2013-09-19 22:25
Hi, Amazing story about how crazy are the photographers. How you knew about it before? Fascinating that you had the dream to photograph it and finally achieved it. Ans the weather was on your side. Stunning shot. fantastic sharpness and compposition. Did you stay on wing?
I had also some plans for photos but the bad weather ruined most of them. But I made a lot of shots, you were quite rtght about it. Regards MAlgo
olive224 (2553) 2013-09-19 23:58
Nice and very interesting subject ;)
There is a "end of the world" mood in this picture ;)
The POV gives a lot of depth to the image and a good contrast against the blue sky (too bad there is not a little white cloud ;) )
Very good job
Noel_Byrne (13376) 2013-09-20 10:39
As difficult as the journey was, it was worth it to my eyes, this is a brilliant and rather unexpected scene. I dont use the words "ghost plane" very often, but I honestly thought from the thumbnail that this plane was actually in mid air, and bringing back the dead in a very literal sense.
Its a wonderful mix to see this well beaten and hard lived plane set against this almost lunar landscape, and your choice of angle enhances the sense of movement perfectly well. I would love to see this myself, but am more than happy to enjoy your excellent capture of the scene in place.
All the best
gus72 (3400) 2013-09-21 3:27
Hi Craig !!
interesting story.... almost like going hunting ..... and a Super shot.
This is my favourite POV for planes....... last X`mas w visited a Museum of old war planes and I experimented a bit.
Crystal clear day..... yes it was a memorable day.Thanks for your effort.
annjackman (15541) 2013-09-21 3:34
What a fascinating note and how interesting that it is not easy to find. The battered, grey body of this plane suits the stark grey and white landscape. The blue sky was real bonus and perfect for the rather monochrome elements of the rest of the picture. A great view point too with just part of the plane nice and close-up.
Kind Regards, Ann
ChrisJ (91290) 2013-09-24 19:04
Yes even in the thumbnail it seems to be camouflaged against the similar toned black volcanic sand. A good photo-journalistic shot with excellent sharpness and composition, using the diagonal line starting in th bottom right corner. Tfs!
cak (4835) 2013-09-29 9:37
old plane is like ready for landing
- Copyright: craig macintosh (macjake) (45588)
- Genre: Places
- Medium: Color
- Date Taken: 2013-03-16
- Categories: Ruins
- Camera: Pentax K7, SIGMA 8-16mm
- Exposure: f/7.1, 1/200 seconds
- Details: Tripod: Yes
- More Photo Info: view
- Map: view
- Photo Version: Original Version, Workshop
- Date Submitted: 2013-09-18 10:27