Adventurer of the Week: Nicolas Sees Land

adventurer of the week
Three people with ice-axes standing in front of snowy ice
Nicolas Devienne
With Tryggvi

Nicolas had a movie in his sights, and nature would take the leading role. A childhood growing up on the islands of the Pacific left him with a penchant for islands, and so he chose Iceland.  What he produced was pretty awesome, and a glacier walk on the blue ice of Svínafellsjökull topped it all off! This is his story.

What motivated you to visit Iceland?

I wanted to make a road movie in winter where nature is the main character. It wouldn’t be original if I say the beauty of the scenery is the main driver to pick my destination, but it is deeply what I feel I am attracted to when I travel. When I was a kid, I used to live in Tahiti where nature is so colorful, with the lagoon, the flowers, the volcanic islands like Moorea, Bora-Bora. All of this is printed in my mind like paintings. As I never got back to Polynesia, I eventually spotted the perfect (affordable) adventure destination to experiment outdoor sensations and shoot great colorful nature: Iceland.

On our way back, we stopped and took a walk on Svínafellsjökull. This is one of my best memories.

Nicolas Devienne

How long was your stay? Did you travel solo or with a group?

I travelled with my girlfriend Juliette, who supported the project to make a film and was patient enough to allow me to shoot serenely and not being in a rush. We stayed 11 days, mainly in the South-East during winter time (February).

man photographing a big rock on a black beach with snowy mountains and blue sky in the background
Nicolas Devienne

Which tour did you take and why did you choose it?

We started by the Thingvellir National Park and went down to Vik. It is amazing to see the landscape unfolding in front of the car, from Seljalandsfoss to Dyrhólaey. Then we pushed to Jökulsárlón but couldn’t go further because of the threatening weather. On our way back, we stopped and took a walk on Svínafellsjökull. This is one of my best memories. Tryggvi our guide was very good at keeping the group climbing effortless with his good sense of humor. Here we are, standing at the top of the glacier around 4 pm as the sun was going down already, this appears in the last part of the film by the way.

Nicolas Devienne

What is one thing you will always remember about your tour?

I will always remember how Icelandic people were nice and welcoming to us. It is so important to feel the warmth when you travel in winter time, often in harsh driving conditions! But as you see in the film, we were very lucky with weather.

Nicolas Devienne

What is something that you learned about Iceland that surprised you?

I basically learned what it is to live with short daylight, even though it was lengthening in February. You really try to make the best out of your day, it gives you energy. The weather and driving on snow was also quite an experience. In Iceland, you have to check the forecast several times a day since it changes very quickly! In France, that’s something you never do.

Nicolas Devienne

If you had more time in Iceland, what else would you like to see and do?

We plan to go back during summer and go North and East to see all the Island has to offer. If I had time and money, I would do the entire tour of the Island counterclockwise (why counterclockwise? I don’t know, I feel like it!). But we would love to go back in winter to see Northern Lights, because we missed them last year.

Nicolas Devienne

What tips do you have for people who want to visit Iceland?

I would advise to go in winter. There are fewer people around and you can enjoy beautiful lights, Northern Lights and long, I mean long, golden hours for shooting. And my tip to drivers: don’t rely in the GPS or you can end-up buried in snow in a dead end. We didn’t take one, and stuck with the good old map and never got lost.

Nicolas Devienne

If you describe your tour in two words, what would they be?

Wow Trip!

Nicolas Devienne

What adventure are you off to next? What is your next dream adventure?

Our next adventure is to take the Trans-Siberian train from Moscow to winter time! And of course make a road movie about that too!

Nicolas Devienne

Adventurer of the Week Bio:

Nicolas Devienne is a French independent filmmaker living in Avignon, in the heart of Provence. I work as a professional cameraman for internet and TV documentaries. For the movie “I SEE LAND” which has just been released on Vimeo, I used a cinema camera to be sure to capture the most colorful pictures of unique Iceland landscapes.

You can check more of Nicolas’ work on Facebook and his Vimeo Channel

The soundtrack for the video is from musical composer Guillaume Oger , check his Facebook page here.

Cheeky Selfie
Nicolas Devienne
Cheeky Selfie

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About the Author

Joseph Mattos-Hall

Joseph Mattos-Hall

Hailing from London and born into a British/Brazilian/Italian household, Joseph came to Iceland originally to complete a master’s degree in Environment and Natural Resources from the University of Iceland: the rest is history.

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