Continuing our #ThinkProject recap, we’re looking back at the exciting adventures and mindful activities we were a part of this year. We wanted to encourage our fans to get outdoors with a competition to win an amazing prize experience. We gave our audiences the chance to win an outdoor photography tour, a British festival or to learn the art of light painting. The second prize of the year was the light painting tour in Thorsmork, Iceland. Our lucky winner, Yuyang Liu, from China, and his girlfriend experienced a photography tour like no other, exploring the depths of the Icelandic terrain in October. Their playground, Thorsmork, also known as the “Valley of Thor” was nestled in the Icelandic highlands amongst glaciers. After the magical trip, we spoke to Yuyang to hear about their journey, capturing the country’s incredible landscapes by day and lighting up the night sky below the Aurora Borealis, followed by some relaxation spent at the phenomenal blue lagoon.
What was your motivation to enter our #ThinkProject competition to take part in the light painting tour?
As a photographer, I often need to work outdoors and it is especially important to know how to work well in a variety of weather conditions, so GORE-TEX is the preferred fabric for my clothes and shoes. Gradually, I became a loyal supporter of this fabric and began to focus on some activities of the brand. In the first half of this year, I tried my luck and enrolled in the outdoor activities of the light painting tour, because I wanted to try painting in places like Iceland. Of course, I have tried to paint in the forest at night before. Once, when there was an abandoned seesaw in the woods, I painted two children on both ends with the flashlight.
Who did you bring with you and why?
Iceland always gives you a sense of independence. For those who have never been to northern Europe, myself previously included, the country seems like an imaginary paradise. I took my girlfriend with me on this trip because she likes Iceland. In her teens, she read everything about Iceland in magazines.
What else did you explore whilst in Iceland?
We painted near the Thorsmork valley on the south coast of Iceland. After we climbed up the hill, looking down we could see the distant stream between the staggered mountains. Standing at the edge of the foot of the mountain, we saw the abyss of aperture, so sunny you could see the sunset glisten off every leaf. The landscape, like the name of the valley, shimmers with Nordic mythology.
What was the highlight of your experience?
In the evening, we went down the mountain and waited for a long time in the cabin. That night the Aurora Borealis (the Northern Lights) happened to burst into a spectacular display of light, and we had the privilege of painting under the Aurora, a particularly special trip. Experienced photographer Benjamin shared his light painting tips with us. We all tried to hold the rope in the middle of the grass, so we were holding the rope and tying the torch to the end of the flashlight to create a circle. Of course, the final photos were very nice, and everyone was immersed in the process of making their creation with the beating of the Aurora Borealis, and having a wonderful evening.
What challenges did you face, if any?
Iceland's weather is notoriously fickle, and particularly in October, you feel the cold of Reykjavik. In the world's most northern capital there is always freezing rain and winds to remind you of its unique geographical location. If we hadn’t been wearing excellent performing waterproof and windproof clothing, our amazing trip to Iceland might have been ruined. Fortunately, we were all wearing GORE-TEX jackets and GORE-TEX hiking shoes which ensured we never got wet and no cold air got through our clothing. For my girlfriend, the biggest challenge she faced was the huge rock climb to reach a hidden waterfall in the valley. The path meant you needed to step on some slippery stones in the brook. For this, she needed a little courage.
What do you love most about being outdoors?
It’s the fun of being outdoors, and you know it's all worth it when you take the plunge and see the beauty of it all. This may be the reason why I enjoy working outdoors so that I feel more fulfilled.
How did your GORE-TEX apparel help you during your tour?
The quality of outdoor equipment is of particular importance, as I said above. Before this light painting tour, the GORE-TEX team provided each of us with a thick climbing jacket, a thin mountaineering jacket, waterproof climbing pants, and a pair of mountaineering shoes. Our encounter with brutal winds and freezing rain demonstrated the high function of the gear. The GORE-TEX hiking shoes especially protected my girlfriend when she accidentally stepped into the water several times. As long as the water was not higher than the boot, her feet did not get wet inside.
Get the right shoes and garments
When planning your next adventure, be prepared for cold weather and slippery paths like our winners during their light painting tour, with GORE-TEX products.