In December last year I reviewed a map produced by French Photographer Michael Levy titled ‘ Where to Go and What to See‘ in Iceland. This map was produced specifically for photographers and Michael was selling limited edition copies (limited to 1000) via his website. Curious for all things Iceland and photography related I contacted Michael via email and after some brief correspondence he kindly offered to send me a copy of the map for review.
Michael has subsequently released a new and revised 2nd print edition of his Iceland map for photographers, titled ‘Where to Go, What to Photograph’. The first edition of the map reportedly took two years of work from concept to printing and was created entirely by hand (not from a database). This new edition is now the culmination of three years of work. From the International Photographer website: The map shows essential route information, detailed descriptions of all areas of interest (volcanoes, waterfalls, lighthouses, monuments, fauna, flora and curiosities) as well as national parks and nature reserves. Not only can you now prepare your trip in detail, thanks to this handy map, but there’s no chance of missing anything exciting once you get there!The first, most noticeable and immediate improvement in the 2nd edition is that it is now printed on a tear proof, waterproof substrate. This is a big improvement and advantage over the original map in that it is now far less likely to be irreparably damaged in the field (especially in Iceland, where it rains a lot). Michael has also fixed a small number of typos and inaccuracies that emerged from the first edition and there are various other improvements and additions. From Michaels website:
We have kept all the elements that made the first edition so successful, while adding innovative improvements based on your many comments:
• 50% more information and sights to see, thanks to the expeditions we undertook to Iceland in 2012 and 2013.
• Travel times for the main routes on road and track, by car and by boat.
• Increased legibility through greater visual contrast and the use of high quality paper and inks.
• Map key now in four languages: English / German / Spanish / French.
• Road network updated and improved.
• Tearproof and waterproof paper.
This map is the ultimate tool. It has been created entirely by hand (not from a database), and will be updated regularly. At a glance, you can see all of the areas to explore and photograph in ICELAND. The map shows essential route information, detailed descriptions of all areas of interest (volcanoes, waterfalls, lighthouses, monuments,fauna, flora, and curiosities), as well as national parks and nature reserves.
The 2nd Edition is a significant improvement over the 1st edition map. The use of a tearproof and waterproof substrate alone makes the upgrade worthwhile if you already own the 1st edition and plan to return to Iceland. If you had been waiting for a revised edition then now is the time to purchase. My original grip remains in that there is still currently no digital version (especially given the Iceland e-roadbook Michael offers is available as a digital download). I would like to see a digital download version for photographers who do not wish to carry a traditional map with them into the field. As I wrote back in December, photographers are some of the fastest adopters of digital technology and I don’t think there is a serious photographer out there who does not own a tablet device (or phone) of some description that cannot store and display digital map files in the field. I would also like to see GPS co-ordinates added to the map in a future digital edition for photographers who prefer to work with a digital map and a set of co-ordinates for finding a given location. Geo-tagged maps are starting to become quite popular with photographers and there are now a number of photographers producing (and selling) geo-tagged maps of iconic locations in America as an example.
With that said, this remains a hand crafted labour of love and it is important to remember that this map is printed in limited quantities (2000 in the 2nd edition) in the photographers home country of France. It is to my knowledge a unique effort to provide a single map of photographic locations in Iceland and should be considered as such when deciding whether to purchase.
For the photographer travelling to Iceland for the first time this 2nd edition map will likely prove invaluable as it provides sufficient information to plan a self drive tour and covers virtually all of the major iconic locations you are likely to want to visit as well as ensuring you don’t miss the ones that are somewhat harder to find. In combination with something like the Lonely Planet Guide to Iceland and Michael’s e-roadbook to Iceland it will provide a great launching pad for an exciting photographic tour of discovery. It is worth noting that no map can replace local knowledge when it comes to reading the weather and light so I suspect even photographers travelling in groups or with guides will find this map useful as it provides an easy to read and follow reference as you drive around the island. I have personally carried and used it on my own workshops and expeditions so that I can easily illustrate where we are in Iceland to those in the group.
Producing a map for photographers of a country so rich in photographic locations and subjects is a daunting challenge and Michael is to be commended for his hard work and dedication in continuging to upgrade and produce new versions.
For all the international-photographer content visit the International Photographer