I seem to have a pattern in discovering my favourite places to travel to by finding them late at night. I have a habit of falling into one article about something and three hours later knowing everything about it including how and when I am going to get there. Iceland was my second favourite trip but it was tough. Most people are visiting Iceland in the summer when it's famous for endless light in the summers, natural hot springs and wild Icelandic horses.
When I decided to go, we went in the dead of winter. We didn't have a 4x4 and we were getting up an hour before sunrise to get in 6 hours of sunlight for the day but that's what made it so rewarding. Iceland with ice is something so uniquely beautiful- barely any tourists, beautiful sunrises and of course, the northern lights. Along our 10 day trip on the Ring Road, we trekked up mountains with snow so high, the markers were covered, swam in hot springs under the stars, and, in the morning, made breakfast beside waterfalls in our RV.
For my own photography, I had to be careful. It was easy within the RV for northern light time lapses and driving photos. However, as soon as we started a 3 hour trek over mountains and down snow ledges it was either too heavy to carry my camera on me or it would automatically shut off with the temperature. So, most of the time, I was on a 17-40mm lens on my 5D (the 24-105mm would have killed me!) or my charged iPhone ready to go.
Coastal photos are what I have loved to shoot since this trip. The winter coast around Iceland meant frosty harbour towns with ice patches on the water. Snowy mountains falling into the ocean. High contrast black beaches with pure white snow. What I was able to capture is truly how my trip progressed. From pulling over on the side of the road to pet some wild horses or park by a lava tube cave system for dinner as the sun set- it was an unforgettable trip.
ON THE RING ROAD FOR 10 days
Side Note: The photo with the two young backpackers has an interesting story behind it!
A few days into the trip, we picked up two backpackers on the side of Route 1. It was the middle of winter in Iceland and many people said we were crazy for even trying to drive at this time since it is so windy, cold and icy. These two gentleman were WALKING a portion of the Ring Road.
They are studying together in Germany and originally from India. They decided to take a week to hike and see the sights by foot. They camped outside at night and walk during the day. At this time of the year, there are only 5 hours of light a day. We even found it hard to see everything so imagine taking hours walking to each landmark. It was inspiring to hear their adventures thus far, the dogs and horses they met on the road, the kind innkeeper that let them stay for free and waking up in their tent on top of a mountain. They were kind, intelligent and committed to the adventure and they sure had to be if they were walking that much in sub zero temperature. After dropping them off at the waterfall, I took a portrait of them in their full gear, bags and all. What a pleasure to meet them!