Chris Burkard Creates “Living Pictures” of Iceland Using LYTRO ILLUM

by Chris Burkard using LYTRO ILLUM

by Chris Burkard using LYTRO ILLUM

Since Lytro entered the photographic scene in 2012, there’s been discussion among photographers about the Lytro technology, its application in the field and display capabilities. The LYTRO ILLUM’s light field technology and 30-250mm f/2 zoom lens capture the light, color and direction of every individual light ray in one shot, allowing the photographer to make focus and perspective changes to the image in post as well as interactive 3D ‘Living Pictures.’ (Read more about the technology used for the ILLUM in‘s article Capture The Light Field: Is the LYTRO ILLUM the future of photography?)

In October of this year adventure photographer Chris Burkard took the LYTRO ILLUM on a trip to Iceland to explore its abilities to tell a more vivid stories using the depth and dimension of Living Pictures. Check out Burkard’s image results with his own captions and a behind the scenes video:


Picture-perfect waterfalls like Seljalandsfoss line Iceland’s Route 1 (the Ring Road) with regularity. Off the beaten path, hidden gems abound among the country’s many uninhabited nooks and crannies (and there are many, as Iceland is home to just over 323,000 people).

When the conditions are right, the beach at Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon is an ideal surf spot, though there’s no denying the oddity of carrying a surfboard through icebergs. The LYTRO ILLUM’s ability to shoot images that can be refocused at several depths provides an apt canvas for a scene that is telling a completely different story at each layer.

It’s possible to explore many of Iceland’s hidden canyons by navigating winding streams and rivers. The group trekked through Fjadrarglufur canyon — an area that feels as though it’s been untouched by man for centuries — with the help of inflatable standup paddleboards.

The Northern Lights shimmer over the Vatnajokull icecap at Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon. Here, chunks of ice tumble from the glacier into the lagoon before drifting out into the Atlantic Ocean. The lights, a result of particles entering the Earth’s atmosphere, are a common spectacle at higher latitudes.

Professional arctic kayaker and Iceland native Elli Thor navigates the Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon. Boaters and kayakers give the icebergs a wide berth, as the massive chunks of ice often flip over without warning on warm days.

With the help of ice screws, the crew installed a hammock on icebergs that came to rest on the beach of Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon. As the Atlantic Ocean’s waves lap at the black pebble shores, the scene feels almost tropical, if only for a moment; in a matter of hours, the massive blue crags (the color is a result of compression over many years) will have likely drifted away.

The Skogafoss waterfall, with a 200-foot, unencumbered free fall, is one of Iceland’s most striking landmarks. Though it’s situated just a few hundred feet from the Ring Road, it is, like most Icelandic attractions, devoid of ticket booths, gates or guardrails. Its beauty is right there for the taking.

Thick, green moss covers the rocky slopes of a lava field called Tvibollahraun, just outside of Reykjavik, Iceland’s capital. Photographers relish the stark contrasts offered by the juxtaposition of Iceland’s green moss, black basalt, and white snowcaps.