I have been dreaming of seeing Iceland for many years. However, living in Australia did not make it easy to reach. I was always drawn by the epic landscapes, its northern location and the crazy weather. Today, Iceland is a tourist Mecca, but it wasn’t always so. Iceland used to be very poor, and struggled to develop. Some of that final frontier feel remains, but mostly its just a fantastic place to be.. a real photographers paradise.
Living in Germany, I finally had the chance to visit. I decided to visit in winter, and combine my love of photography with my love of nature, and it turned out to be a real battle against the elements. I camped under the stars and northern lights for a week, putting up with the deep cold which drained my phone, froze my camera and nearly gave me frostbite. Being in nature, alone gives time to think, slow down and be more creative. I had a blast.
I rented a car and drove the ring road circling the island. I took around 1500 photos in all sorts of weather from 5 degrees to -22. I saw many of the famous sights, and to my surprise it was actually quite busy, especially from Reykjavik to Höfn. Most other places it was rather quiet. Iceland has a funny feel. Part hip-Scandinavia, part wild-west. It feels a little Canadian perhaps.
Photography wise, its hard to beat. The only issues for me was that I usually like colour and in winter its mostly shades of grey. I worked the files a bit harder than usual to get them interesting. The other issue was the cold. It was down to -22 and taking landscapes with filters and liveview was tough. Liveview uses a lot of battery. Any water droplets would instantly freeze to filters and lenses. You really need to be well prepared. By the time you pull out a beer, its frozen before you can drink it. My boots were frozen in the mornings and I had a hard time getting them on, never mind heating them up. And then there was the wind..
I loved it though, and I think the photos are worth a little discomfort. Comfort = Lazy Life.