Mike Seehagel


Mike Seehagel lifestyle and commercial photographer, living in Iceland for three months. 

Slow Down Southern Roads

It's a little funny how in a place where you aren't necessarily "doing anything", how quickly time can pass. The days blend together, never really knowing what the actual date is because it kind of becomes irrelevant. Waking up early or late, having lunch at 3pm, staying up until 3am. A "normal" or fixed schedule basically has zero relevance right now, and it's a really interesting and liberating feeling. There aren't many times in life I can remember this actually happening, and it's a bit strange. Honestly I don't know if I have ever had a schedule like this before, other than when I was a kid and too young and naive to really appreciate it. That's a cruel trick of life. Being granted all the time in the world, but being too ignorant to realize it. 

Anyway, this is basically a long-winded way of me saying I have ended up being surprisingly busy lately and haven't written anything in much longer than I had hoped. 

Being in Iceland is a funny thing. It's an incredibly remote and isolated area, but since it's Iceland it is constantly filled with people and photographers that I know. I could easily spend every day I am here meeting up with different friends, travellers and photographers and never actually be alone. I'm not complaining about that, it's a great thing. But I like being alone, too. 

I had only been in the country for about a week, and got to go on a road trip down the Southern coast with friends that live an hour away from me in Canada, and I never see them. An hour from each other's doorsteps, and the only time we can find to hangout is in Iceland.  

How weird is that? Well, it's not actually that weird - more disappointing if anything. 

I'm kind of a slow person, I think. I don't know if I have always been this way or not, but I have a feeling it's a quality my wife really brought out in me. I don't necessarily mean slow in the literal sense (although if you have ever made plans to hangout with me, there is a pretty good chance I'm going to be late) but moreso slow in the sense of taking in an experience. I really need time to myself in an area for it to soak in, and allow myself to fully appreciate it. I have a tendency to forget a lot of things, to let moments or experiences pass me by, and unless given the time to really focus and take something in, this happens way too often. I never really realized that before I started traveling with Ginni 6 years ago, and now being conscious of that fact is something that I'm really grateful for. However in the literal sense of slow, she can be really slow. Sometimes I'll just lie about what time a movie starts so there is a slight chance we might actually make it on time. 

How does this pertain to going on a road trip with friends? Well, I'll tell you.    

Being on the road with friends (especially on a photo trip) looks a lot like this. Wake up before sunrise, get out as soon as possible and rush to the spot for the good light, shoot for a bit, rush to the next spot, then the next, coffee, next, gas station food, next, next, work on photos until late, and repeat. These trips are super fun, productive, exciting, tiring yet energizing, but one thing they are certainly not, is slow. No real time can be allotted for hanging out in a single area, taking it in as you please. It's just the nature of the work. Had those few days been my only time in Iceland, not being able to take my dear sweet time at every location to sit and stare, it would have felt like I wasn't even there. A complete blur. 

Right now I am incredibly fortunate to actually have the time to sit and stare. To travel around at my own leisure, and not worry about time or holding others back. So I am taking full advantage of that. But for the times where I don't have that luxury, photography has been a huge help. Cliché as it is, photography forces me to appreciate things under time restraints or pressure, and gives me a nice tangible image to actually remember an experience by. It's a nice companion to have, when time is not.   

While I jokingly say I'm "doing nothing" here, I've actually been a lot busier than I imagined I would have been. Our first month has come and gone and while that is a bit scary to realize, it's also comforting to know I have been focusing on time, or at least conscious of it anyway. Plus, now I have some pretty pictures of the South coast. 

Photographers that I joined on this trip: Callum Snape, Taylor Burk, and Alex Martin

Mike Seehagel