Tag Archives: Falkland Islands

Gearing Up for Iceland #2

One of the plans for the Iceland trip is to spend more time at the extremes of the day – dawn and dusk. I’m used to dusk photography and ‘blue hour’ photography – so-called due to the colour of the sky between full daylight and the total black of night – has been something that I have captured on every trip I’ve made.  But, to be honest, I’m no fan of early starts.

However, I’m going to make an effort on the trip and that leads me to a new consideration: In order to get to a location to take photographs at dawn, I have to leave wherever I am staying pre-dawn. Aside from the unholy thought of that, it’s going to be dark. Very dark. I’m going to be away from population centres and much of Iceland’s beauty stems from the almost total lack of invasive civilisation and so any pre-dawn activity is going to require some kind of illumination.

After an experience in the Falkland Islands in 2010 getting a torch was a must. I was out on Cape Pembroke – a peninsula on East Falkland – at the long since retired lighthouse. The lighthouse is not too far outside of the capital Stanley – around five kilometres – but it is uneven, boggy ground with no roads or paths and so I had a local 4×4 taxi drop me off with specific instructions on how to head back; “Head for the radio antenna and when you get there head right until you find the path.” Simple.  Anyway, it began to get dark and so I started to head back whilst I could still see the antenna. Then I got totally side-tracked by a stunning sunset. For half an hour. By which time it was dark – the kind of stormy night, cloud covered with no lighting for miles, dark. So there I was on a peninsula in the middle of winter on one of the southern most points of land in the World in the dark. The only thing separating me from the warm comfort of the hotel was several kilometres of boggy, uneven, ankle-twisting ground. In the dark. And it was at that point that I decided it would have been really nice to have a torch.


Getting distracted by an amazing sunset is easy. It's what happens next than can be a problem....

Getting distracted by an amazing sunset is easy. It’s what happens next that can be a problem….


Since then most of my travels have been urban and so the need for a decent torch has not come up, but Iceland now requires me to address that.

Well, it’s probably no surprise that there are literally thousands of choices. However, I did have some requirements:

  • Weight. It had to be lightweight as (1) it has to get to Iceland and back in a 23Kg allowance and (2) I have to carry it all day.
  • Battery Lifetime. I may need to depend on the torch for a variety of reasons, not least of which would be to see where I am going.
  •  Bright. Whilst the main purpose of the torch is to be able to see well enough to avoid the perils of an uneven ground, I may need to use it go get the attention of a passing car. In Iceland, that passing car may be a long way off.

Google ‘lightweight torch’ and one brand pretty much dominates the search result: Lenser. Now, I’m not going to declare Lenser to be the best, or the only brand, but I really did not want to spend days researching torches and the reviews I did read were all very positive so they seemed to be a good bet. One of the things I like about them is the use of LEDs as the light source which tend to be far more resilient to drops and knocks. They also tend to be far more battery friendly. Reading around  there appears to be a couple of different ranges on offer; the L series being lightweight polycarbonate, the H series being head torches and the P series being a professional, or police, range. There were other ranges too, but at that point price started increasing quite dramatically and so I discounted them.  In the end I decided on the Lenser P7 which provides 200 lumens of illumination or, in terms I can understand, about a 200 metre range. I also like the ability to go from narrow beam, handy for attracting the attention of distant cars, to wide beam which will be a great asset in seeing where I’m going. I’ve used four lightweight but long-lasting Energizer lithium AAA batteries and the total weight comes in at 174g. Very nice.

So, the second of the new purchases has been made. Next, keeping warm…

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