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Photographer's Note

Merry Christmas to All!

This image is of Reyniskirkja – a small church some 5 km off the town of Vik, in south east Iceland. Taken using flash to freeze the snowflakes dancing in the air.

I spent the following night, same as all other seven nights during that trip, sleeping in my rental car in order to be able to catch the best light at any time of night (especially useful when shooting the aurora). It was the longest I had ever “wild” camped in a car in winter.

That experience really made me think of…

(“Oh no, not again”, I can hear people scream. “Can she not just say Merry Christmas, write a simple note once in a while, without mentioning death, war or at least poverty and social injustice??”)

…it really made me think of homeless people. I realised how quickly humans lose bodily warmth if left without sources of heat. I was wearing a down jacket, thermals, woollen hat, skiing gloves etc. But, unless I crawled into my sleeping bag immediately after I had switched the engine off, I was soon starting to feel the pinch.

It is a tradition in my country (Poland) to keep one seat (complete with a plate, cutlery etc.) free at the table during the Christmas Eve supper and, according to an old custom, that one special night of the year, we are expected to offer it to whoever knocks on our door, be it a family member or a homeless stranger. I wonder how many people would.

So, here it is to Peace, Justice and Hope. Let’s not forget the real meaning behind the commercial side of this beautiful holiday.

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Additional Photos by Kasia Nowak (kasianowak) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1101 W: 2 N: 1678] (11081)
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