Photographing Iceland in 6 Days
In June of 2017 we took the trip of a lifetime.
Mission: Go all around Iceland in 6 days, driving on route 1 (the famous Iceland Ring Road which goes around the entire country) and photographing the most famous and some not so famous natural wonders this picturesque country has to offer.
Day 1 : Reykjavik - Akureyri
Day 1 took us from Reykjavik the capital of Iceland, driving north on route 1. We stopped at Borgarnes (a petrol station with one of the best views in the world) for a some fuel and coffee and then headed over to the Grábrók crater. Our next stop was the small fishing village of Hvammstangi which provides some good photo opportunities. After a quick lunch, we drove to our next destination Víðimýrarkirkja stopping along the route to grab some quick photo ops. A visit to the historic turf church and some friendly meet and greet with the local Icelandic horses and we were off to our stopover for the Night - Akureyri (the capital of North Iceland).
After leaving our hotel in Reykjavík around 8:30 AM (and missing our first breakfast of the trip), our first stop was a petrol station in the small town of Borgarnes which is located 60 km north of Reykjavík. This is undoubtedly the most picturesque petrol station I have ever seen. Located next to a lake with snow-capped mountains in the background, it makes a nice setting for a quick photo stop (although a little expensive, the coffee wasn't bad either).
Our next stop was the Grábrók crater. Well you cannot go to Iceland and NOT see a crater, can you?
Grábrók is the largest of three craters within the same volcanic fissure. There is an easy walk way which goes up and around the crater. The climb is quite easy with wood walk ways and it takes about 20 minutes to go up and around the crater. The view from the top is spectacular. One one side you can see a river and a small village (just a couple of houses) in a valley surrounded by towering peaks and on the other side you can see the smaller but fascinating "Smábrók".
After the climb (on an empty stomach) and running around to make the most of our time (there is just so much to photograph), hunger finally struck!
Our next destination was the small fishing village of Hvammstangi. Here we visited the Icelandic Seal Centre which has some nice specimens and information on Icelandic Seals and their relationship with the people of Iceland.
Thankfully , the village was also our lunch stop. It is a small yet well equipped village and a good stop over with a well stocked supermarket to buy any anything you may need.
The village also is a good destination for Seal watching with daily boat tours.
After a hefty meal and a great scenic drive we were headed towards Víðimýrarkirkja and Icelandic Turf church. But as I said earlier, Iceland is so beautiful that you cannot drive more than a few miles without spotting amazing photo ops.
And sometimes when the photo op is -A deep and gorge with water rushing ferociously and a wooden bridge overlooking the gorge at the exact point where it forms a waterfall, you absolutely have to STOP and get the camera out.
Víðimýrarkirkja church is one of the few preserved turf churches in Iceland. It belongs to the National Museum. The church was built in 1834 and has turf walls, but timber gables in the front and back.
The church sits on an amazingly photogenic location with snowy flat top hills in the background and is painted in a combination of contrasting colours which add to the overall image. I was there not at the best time light wise which is a common symptom when travelling and trying to photograph a place in a limited number of days, and is usually the case when travelling to another country. So, long story short, I had to use AEB (Bracketing) to deal with the contrast in the image.
As we came out of the church, we got a welcome surprise. The local farmer who owns the land next to the church, had just gathered his horses. These Icelandic horses are amazing. Very friendly, great looking and have a rich history. Honestly, they deserve a blog post of their own.
The low evening north sun was casting a beautiful warm light on the horses and a beautiful backdrop of snow capped mountains and clouds made this a scene worth capturing.
After I took this picture, the farmer, an awesome person, noticed us and brought the horses right to the gate to meet us. Icelandic people are great, the time we were there, we notice time and again how nice and helpful everyone was.
We were able to pet the horses and one of them even got a good nibble on my wife's jacket. Luckily, the jacket held.
This was the best end to an amazing first day of photography in this brilliant country filled with natural beauty. From here we drove to Akureyri, the capital of North Iceland and Iceland's second largest town. We stayed the night in Akureyri. It is a charming little town with a nice high street market with some great places to eat. The harbour also has some great sea food options.
The church is the most prominent feature of the town which sits on a hill top over looking the town. Akureyri also has a botanical garden which is worth a quick visit.
It was a great first day. Check out the next part for Day 2 of Photographing Iceland in 6 days.
- Canon EOS 6D Mark II - My Full Frame DSLR for Landscape Shots
- Canon EOS 80D - My Crop Sensor DSLR for Wildlife and Backup
- Canon Lens EF 16-35 mm f/2.8L Mk III USM - Super Sharp. My Ultra wide angle and Astrophotography lens
- Canon EF 24-70 mm f/4 L IS USM - My primary Landscape lens
- Tamron SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD G2 - My Wildlife lens. Great range and sharpness.
- Tamron AF 16-300 mm f3.5-6.3 Di II VC PZD Macro - Great lens for its versatility
- NiSi 100mm System V5 Filter Holder with CPL - Filter system with built in CPL. Simply Brilliant.
- NiSi 6-Stop ND Filter - Great for slowing down the stutter. No colour cast.
- NiSi 10-Stop ND Filter - My Big Stopper. No colour cast at all.
- Tiffen Variable Neutral Density Filter - Extremely versatile ND filter for 2 to 8 Stops
- Manfrotto Befree Tripod - Light but sturdy. Very compact.
- Manfrotto XPRO Ball Head - Brilliant Tripod head. Great for Pano shots.
(Click the links above to check out the best online prices right now!)