Benjamin Hardman and Alex Strohl are impressive photographers in their own right: with a combined following of nearly 400K on 500px, to say creatives are interested in them and their work is an understatement.

Bring the two together, and it makes for a truly-incredible educational opportunity. Benjamin and Alex have done just that, teaming up to launch a workshop with the aim of helping fellow photographers find their style, master post-processing, and more, set in one of the most alluring photography landscapes du jour—Iceland.

Benjamin chatted with 500px about moving to Iceland, his relationship with Alex, what photographers can expect from their workshop, and more.

Q: Tell me a bit about your upcoming workshop with Alex—why did you decide to embark upon this project together?

A: The Hardman x Strohl workshop is an online photography tutorial series that breaks down the core principles I use to shoot and edit my images in Iceland and the Arctic. Alex joins me in Iceland, and we unravel the steps involved in helping you to find your own photographic style, and what that can mean for you in your craft.

Alex and I have been friends for years, and when he first pitched the idea, it gave me the opportunity to move my teaching into the online space, which is really exciting.

Scattered islands. by Benjamin Hardman on

Q: You say you felt a connection to Iceland on your first visit. Was there a specific moment that you remember that made you want to live there?

A: One of the best memories I have is of the first time I experienced a blizzard. I had ventured down a snow-covered track in search of a waterfall I had heard about. There was no one around, and I was definitely feeling intimidated by the remoteness of the landscape.

Whiteout. by Benjamin Hardman on

All of a sudden, the snow started to fall in all directions and the wind picked up, almost sweeping me off my feet at one point. I grabbed my camera and started to photograph the whiteout—it took me a minute to realize this was what they call a blizzard!

Q: Tell me more about where you shot the FURTHER video that’s embedded as a preview on yours and Alex’s page.

A: I shot a video with 66 North, in which we went on an aerial photography mission to capture a specific dream image I’d been planning for quite some time. It tells the story of my move to Iceland from my home country of Australia, and what it’s like to see such remote parts of the country with your own eyes.

Summit Landing. by Benjamin Hardman on

Q: What was it like going to that secluded section of Iceland for the first time?

A: It was an incredible moment to look out and see the valley that I’d been scouting on a map for so long. Hundreds of icebergs locked into place in an area that has barely ever been visited by humans, I find that just amazing to see.

Q: What was the specific image you had dreamed of capturing?

A: It ended up being a real challenge to photograph the ice valley, as the conditions were not good for flying during the shoot. We had to stay quite far away, so I was using my tele-lens from the plane, but out of the flight, I ended up with a collection I’m really happy with, including a shot of a mountain peak I’ve never been able to reach on foot.

The Peak. by Benjamin Hardman on

Q: Can you tell us more about what it’s like to document such extreme changes in climate, landscapes, etc. with the seasons there?

A: Lately, I’ve been in some pretty extreme situations, thanks to the unpredictable Icelandic weather. It’s really hit home for me how much you have to adapt here, both in your photography and simply just to survive.

Documenting these extremes has become the crux of my work, and is one of the things that made me want to live in Iceland. If you can handle the cold, the extremes can become quite addicting!

Perspectives of the ice. by Benjamin Hardman on

Q: Why were you fascinated by glaciers, specifically?

A: I think because I’d never seen a glacier or an iceberg growing up in Australia. When I first saw an iceberg in the southeast of Iceland, I was instantly drawn to the textures and the fragility of the ice—there are so many ways to compose an image of one.

Also, the principle that you are documenting something that will unfortunately disappear—that really gives a sense of urgency to being out there and photographing these structures. Each photograph can help to raise awareness for the changes that are happening to the climate.

Isolation. by Benjamin Hardman on

Q: You mention being drawn in by Iceland’s darker days. This is something that fascinates a lot of people about Iceland: their ability to embrace darkness and cold in long winters. What’s that experience been like for you, as an expat there?

A: The winters are harsh, that’s for sure. Some days, we are snowed under completely in the darkness, and the weather won’t let you leave the house—but somehow, I find it quite cozy!

The extremes of the long winter bring an incredible opportunity for unique photographic scenes, especially in the beginning and the end of the season, when you can see the volcanic textures of the mountains through the snowfall.

The Cave. by Benjamin Hardman on

Q: What’s your go-to gear for shooting in Iceland’s extreme settings?

A: I mostly use a Sony Alpha a7R III and a 135mm lens. I always pack a few towels in my bag, as it’s usually quite wet out in the mountains. You just have to accept that your gear is going to take a beating, sometimes!

The search. by Benjamin Hardman on

Q: Can you give an excerpt or sneak peek of some of the tips and advice you and Alex discuss in your workshop?

A: We’ll be covering five scenarios in-depth, from the field shoots to the final, processed images:

  • Wildlife: seals and reindeers;
  • Mountains: a misty landscape and a scene with a mountain climber;
  • Abstract: working with a macro lens to photograph ice textures;
  • Aerial photography: using a drone to find bird’s-eye perspectives

One thing that you’ll find deep in the editing modules is how I use a stack of radial filters in Lightroom to sculpt the light in my images. It might seem slightly unconventional to use them in place of the brush tool, but it’s a method I use on almost every shot to bend the light and direct the viewer’s eye to the focal point in the frame. It works really well!

Lone peak. by Benjamin Hardman on

Q: What do you hope people take away from yours and Alex‘s workshop?

A: I really hope that the workshop can help people to refine their photographic style, to break down and understand what their strengths are, and to help understand how to use consistent framing and editing techniques to turn your strengths into something unique—a style that can help you to stand out in your craft.

Green Haze. by Benjamin Hardman on

Q: Anything else you’d like the 500px community to know about the workshop and / or your partnership?

A: I’ve spent the last few years teaching workshops in person, and it’s really something I love to do. I’m stoked that now everyone will have access via the Internet to learn the skill set that I have built over the years. I’m really proud of what Alex and I have created!

Also, that Alex is a coffee nerd to the highest degree, and I’m sure he’d love to hear that you’ve got your aero press or cortados fired up while watching the workshop. Cheers!

For more information on Benjamin Hardman and Alex Strohl‘s workshop, and to claim your spot, visit!

Self Portrait by Alex Strohl on

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