Mark Iandolo

INSPIRING WANDERLUST AND SHOWCASING THE WORLD'S BEAUTY

Mapping Wanderlust is an ongoing project dedicated to documenting the natural and man-made beauty of this Earth – inspiring people to travel and rediscover the world around them. The goal: To create an archive of global wonders – UNESCO World Heritage Sites, stunning landscapes, iconic landmarks, historic and modern cities, and roads less traveled.

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RECENT PROJECTS


RECENT PHOTOS

  • Karlštejn Castle – Karlštejn, Czech Republic

    "To Guard the Crown" October 11, 2016: Sometimes, it’s the little things. Sometimes, a kernel of an idea, of inspiration, will stay with you long after it first comes to mind… When I was in Prague this October, I made a trip outside the city to a little village called Karlštejn. I wanted to see what was supposed to be the most impressive castle in the Czech Republic – indeed, it was supposed to be one of the most impressive in all the world. I got off the train and walked through the town; toward the end, a tower came into view. Soon, the whole castle rose up from the village and hills, its turrets mimicking Prague’s famous thousand spires. Once inside the fortress, a guide overflowed my brain with the region’s history. In situations like this, it’s hard to remember all the info, but a few gems sink in. For me, it was this: the castle’s knights were broken into two groups, lower knights and higher knights. While lower knights contributed to most of the castle’s defense, the higher knights – 40 devoted souls – had just one duty: protect the Bohemian crown jewels in the great tower. A single-minded mission, but a mission of the utmost importance. A mission to which they dedicated almost every waking minute of their lives. After visiting the castle, I stuck around the area for a while; there were dozens of paths through the forest to hike and a few shops and restaurants to visit. Afterwards, I headed back to the train. But before I did, I turned around for one last awe-inspiring castle view, and the moment will stay with me for a long time. I looked up at the keep – its great tower resplendent in the afternoon light – and thought about those knights and their noble directive.

  • Karlštejn Castle – Karlštejn, Czech Republic

    "Black Eagles Fly" October 10, 2016: Karlštejn Castle receives the late-afternoon sun with regality on an early-autumn day. --- The Chapel of the Holy Cross inside the fortress tells the tale through art of St. Wenceslas, the first Czech saint and patron saint of the Czech state. Included in the artwork is an image of a black eagle – the Bohemian nation's first emblem. The Black Eagle is an Asiatic species, not a European one. The Verreaux's eagle is also sometimes nicknamed the Black Eagle, but that species lives in southern Africa. Nevertheless, the emblem is fitting considering the house in which it lives. Karlštejn Castle’s turrets, towers and spires could very well be talons; the fortress itself a bird of prey. And just as the black eagle soars over forests and hills, Karlštejn peers out over the realm of Bohemia from high on its rocky, woodland perch.

  • Prague, Czech Republic

    "Fantasy Kingdom" October 7, 2016 The Church of Our Lady Before Tyn lights up in the foreground while the largest castle in the world lights up in the background during twilight in Prague. --- Prague is known as the city of a thousand spires, and the best way view those spires is to climb one of them. Many of towers are actually tourist locations, albeit obscure ones. Out-of-the-way entrance points make them go unnoticed by passersby, meaning you can often watch a sunset alone from the top – especially in the offseason. During one such sunset, while watching the sky turn shades of orange and red and magenta, I looked out at the skyline from the Powder Tower and noticed the hill on the opposite side of the Vltava River. Well that looks like a good place to hike, I thought. And so I spent the following afternoon wandering the area. I came upon a building that looked like an art gallery, but turned out to be much more. The three-story house, tucked away in the woods, was actually “The Magical Cavern,” a project created by Czech painter Reon Argondian. Inside, Reon used plaster and paint to create a cave-like setting; this became the backdrop for his otherworldly paintings (google Reon Argondian to check them out). Dozens of works line the walls, each one taking over a year to complete due to a complex development process. Well, I went inside and the only way to describe the experience is to say, “man that was wild.” And a fitting end to my stay in Prague. The Magical Cavern a microcosm of what Prague is to me: a fantasy kingdom.

  • Aldeyjarfoss, Iceland

    "Rage Against the Dying of the Light" September 28, 2016: During the last minutes of the day, as the sun’s last light hits it and the rocks beside it, Aldeyjarfoss waterfall still rages. --- “Do not go gentle into that good night, Old age should burn and rave at close of day; Rage, rage against the dying of the light.” – Dylan Thomas This is how my mind works: look at a photo, think of the place (Iceland). Think of the place, think of what inspires you about that place or stories you know that use that place (Interstellar). Think about that story and think about quotes from that story, because quotes are awesome (Dylan Thomas’ poem). Think, hey that’s a fitting quote for this photo (during the last minutes of the day, as the sun’s last light hits it and the rocks beside it, the waterfall still rages). Then end up in a Google rabbit hole about the poem’s meaning (an invocation for us to fight, to burn with life and passion). Think, hey that’s a relevant metaphor for travel, you should write a really poetic piece about it. Finally, get stumped while trying to create that poetic piece and instead write about the way your mind works.

  • Selfoss, Iceland

    "From the Dark Side We Can See a Glow" September 28, 2016: When I think of fantasy and science fiction, the top two stories that come to mind are “Lord of the Rings” and “Star Wars.” I felt vibes of both when visiting Iceland. And this spot feels like it could be Mordor or Darth Vader’s headquarters from Rogue One. Want to learn some fun nerd facts? Google “lightsaber colors.” There are apparently seven known colors of lightsaber in the Star Wars universe. Everything from blue to yellow to white to black (the mysterious Darksaber!). But the two most famous might be Vader’s red and Luke Skywalker’s green, which he used in Return of the Jedi. Fitting for this photo, where the green moss in the foreground contrasts the burning red sky. I’d like to imagine this as a metaphor for the force, for the light side versus the dark, for good versus evil. But I’m a nerd, so feel free to also just see it as a beautiful waterfall.

  • Jökulsárlón, Iceland

    "Cold Blue Ice, Fire In My Soul" September 26, 2016: Atlantic Ocean waves crash to shore in Jökulsárlón, swirling their way around chunks of ice that have made their way to the beach from a nearby glacier. --- There are few things that ignite as much fire in a photographer’s soul as being out on location, hunting for image compositions. And nowhere is that fire tested more than in Jökulsárlón. Because the ice moves constantly, you can’t pre-scout the location. When that great light arrives, you have just moments to find the shots you want. It’s chaotic and anxiety inducing, but it’s also peaceful and invigorating. Because there’s something about being lost in those few minutes, deep in a photographic trance. On this particular morning, I arrived late and saw approximately 189 photographers running around like chickens with their heads cut off trying to capture the perfect shot (and avoid getting soaked). Soon I was among them, getting lost in the ice and fire.

  • Seljalandfoss, Iceland

    "In a Strange Land" September 23, 2016: “You act like you’re all alone out there in the world, but you’re not. You’re not alone.” – Stranger Things Stranger Things, a Netflix original from this past summer, gets my vote for best story of 2016. The sci-fi show, with its horror and 80s vintage vibe, was on my mind while editing this photo, and provided the inspiration for the photo’s style. I found the quote fitting then, as it’s from the show that inspired me, and because of the story behind this photo. I traveled to Iceland alone and spent most of my time there alone, a stranger in a strange land (repping Robert Heinlein). But while shooting this photo on a bridge near Seljalandfoss, I met two fellow photographers. We chatted for half an hour about Iceland and about photography. I’d end up running into one of them three or four more times on my trip.

  • Bruarfoss, Iceland

    "Cherish the Journey" September 22, 2016: Cascading blue water and rich autumn tones create a dramatic scene in Bruarfoss. --- What’s that saying about the journey being more important than the destination? “Success is a journey, not a destination. The doing is often more important than the outcome.” – Arthur Ashe “It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.” ― Ursula K. Le Guin “Sometimes it's the journey that teaches you a lot about your destination.” – Drake, apparently A multitude of quotes exist, if you look for them, about the importance of focusing on the journey over the destination. These quotes act as metaphors, teaching us to focus on the here and now, the everyday moments in life, the steps toward our goals. Because there is beauty in each moment. Or something like that. But in the case of my hike to Bruarfoss Waterfall in September, the quotes became literal. I spent an hour walking along Bruara River attempting to find a waterfall with water so blue it would make the Caribbean jealous. Along the way, the wet bushes, the mud, and the rain that created them practically destroyed my supposedly waterproof shoes. Jeans weren’t the best idea and I probably should have worn my rain jacket. When I got to Bruarfoss – whose blue water lived up to the hype – I noticed that there was a carpark nearby and I hadn’t needed to make the hike at all. But I wouldn’t trade that hour for anything. I managed to evade tourists after seeing them in droves at previous stops. I walked alone, in silence, along an otherworldly landscape ripe with autumn foliage. I found waterfalls that I would never have known about. I spent 11 days in Iceland and saw glacial lagoons, northern lights, and “the waterfall of the gods.” But that Bruarfoss hike might have been my favorite moment from the trip. So I guess what I’m trying to say is, the quote makers know their stuff. Drake is a wise dude, apparently.


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