The term ‘Thetta Reddast’ is thrown about in Iceland all the time, and its meaning is beautiful. It translates literally to ‘that laid back’ but its meaning, believe me, is so much more. It means that it’ll all work out ok in the end. Life in Iceland can be bitter amongst the barren landscape and unforgiving climate and it’s from this origin that this phrase was coined. When faced with such difficulties as relentless winds and rains, ice cold temperatures, the constant onlook of naughty elves, and sleepless summers with months of seemingly eternal daylight, it’s easy to see why it was so important to the populous to remind themselves that it’ll all work out alright in the end. No matter the size or tenacity of the problem, a solution will always present itself.
I learned this phrase over an unfortunate set of circumstances in Iceland. I was shooting in November 2016, which retrospectively turned out to be a notable time, and my camera suffered an irreversible fate. I shot a selfie in the cavernous void of a mountain at the base of Gljufrafoss, reaching the end of its 130ft cascade. The waterfall had been on my list for a while and alongside its beauty, its name, ‘one who lives in the canyon,’ is pretty cool too. So here’s what went wrong: – I was totally unprepared for exactly how wet I was going to get. I mean, I knew I’d get wet, but I got soaked to the core. Every single layer. What it also did was find its way into every crevice of my Nikon D810. Then sit there. Then freeze. Then thaw. Then freeze again. Then thaw again. Then evaporate. Then freeze again. Then kill the camera! When I got back to the UK and sent the camera off I was told it was beyond economic repair, and let me tell you, that stings!
I was faced with a more immediate problem, however. I was due to shoot Ingi and Nori, a pair of Arctic Foxes up in the Westfjords near Sudavik. With a non-functioning camera I wouldn’t be able to do this, however I met the absolute legend who is Midge. Midge said to me, ‘Thetta Reddast.’ I had no idea what he was talking about, but what happened was this: –
Midge made me a coffee to have while I was on the phone to Nikon’s Nordic division. As a Nikon Pro they were prepared to sort me out with a replacement camera, which was obviously very nice of them, however the practicality of it wouldn’t have worked. They were going to fly me a camera out of Stockholm and into Reykjavik, then have an agent switch it to an internal flight up to Isafjordur for me to pick up. That would’ve taken about 18 hours, and I didn’t have 18 hours. The next thing Midge did was call around and track down the local photographers, who were kindly offering their help but circumstances weren’t right. Next up was the local tourist board who were also willing to help, however the right person to get hold of the gear wasn’t in town that day. This list of willing participants was growing. What ended up happening was that Midge gave me his camera to use, which I was able to get my lenses onto, and he let me keep hold of it until I left the country as long as I promised I’d have it flown back up to him when I left. Bear in mind that I’d known this guy for about half an hour… he gave me his camera. It was only due to this generosity that I was able to shoot Ingi and Nori and then go on to shoot Iceland from an aerial perspective with a flight in Nordorflug’s awesome red chopper.
It’ll all work out ok. Trust me.