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Wandering Iceland

Story by Glenn Charles February 16th, 2017

Bucket List's

Iceland has always been one of my top ten bucket list trips. This amazing landscape truly needs to be explored multiple times. The size and scale of it reminds me that images can help one to remember, but can never truly do it justice. Below is a small selection of images that I hope helps convey the grandeur and beauty of this amazing location.

I will get the gear notes out first and then over time, add some additional thoughts and insight into what worked and what I would change. For the trip I carried two Sony A7rii bodies; the 18mm Batis; the 50/1.4 Sony-Zeiss; the Sony 70-200/F4; and my constant companion, the Leica Q. In addition, I carried 10 Sony batteries, although honestly, I never needed to change more than one-two batteries out on a given day. For the Leica, I carried two batteries. My Sony bodies used Really Right Stuff L-Plates and the Q had a JB Camera Designs grip. I brought my heavy duty RRS tripod and ball head which due to the constant wind was a must have item that justified the slight additional weight and bulk. Everything was carried in a Lowepro backpack.

I would like to thank my two travel partners, Brady and Jason for an amazing experience. I am truly blessed to call them friends and look forward to our next greatest adventure.

Peace --

Weather

The weather in Iceland, is exactly what I had heard - extreme, dramatic, and ever changing. We arrived from our overnight flight, picked up a car in the driving rain and headed into Reykjavik for some coffee and a quick trip to the big church. In early January, daylight is at a premium, even more so when it is raining.

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Waterfalls - they are everywhere

First up, as we worked our way to the hotel was the amazing Seljalandsfoss Waterfall. One that tested our abilities to deal with not only the rain, but the massive amount of spray and mist that this waterfall generates. Keeping cameras dry and lenses clear was a difficult challenge.

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Skógafoss

She did not disappoint

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Base camp

For this trip, I did not want to try and chase down every possible photo location that was accessible by car. Instead, we opted to base at two different locations and then work those areas as the weather and conditions permitted. Base Camp one was the Foss Hotel located in the South East a few short miles from the Glacier Lagoon and the Black Sand beach. We would spend the next four days chasing light and exploring the region to its fullest.

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glaciers everywhere you look

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Glacier Lagoon

One of the most famous places in Iceland is the Glacier Lagoon.

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the black sand beach

The Glacier Lagoon empties out into the open ocean where the chunks of ice battle the sea for an escape. In most instances they loose the battle and are washed ashore with the tide. The deep black sand provides a stark contrast with the ice that seemingly glows in the dark. The beach is covered in ice as far as you can see. A magical experience that changed each and every time we visited. Caution is the order of the day as the unsuspecting photographer can easily get caught up in taking pictures thus missing the impending large wave....

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the icelandic horse

We each had our own little list of 'must get' shots. Each of us wanted shots of the famed Icelandic Horse. What we did not know is how difficult it would be to find them; would we see them at all or would we need to hike out too meadows for that amazing shot... Well, I can tell you, the horses are everywhere and easily accessible from the highway. T

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Working to the North East

We explored as much as we could. Here we drove into the Skaftafell National Park (yes, this is why you rent a 4 wheel drive vehicle) where we were able to explore a completely different feeling glacier lagoon.

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Water is everywhere

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Cairns

Cairns are everywhere you look, but this roadside Cairn garden was something truly special.

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Vik

The storm that descended upon Iceland the day before we arrived was a gale blowing from the South. To say the seas were angry was an understatement.

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Base Camp 2

Our second base camp would be in the North West, a small town called Budir which is home to one of the famous Black Churches and lies on the peninsula with a Volcanic National park. One of the most difficult elements to photograph was the texture of the land. Here a green moss often grew on the lava fields that stretched for miles and miles.

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the black church

The church is black because it is painted with pitch to help protect it from the elements.

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whatever it takes

We finally got snow, instead of rain, and instantly the landscape was transformed overnight. This is a lava field that surrounds the Black Church with Jason working hard to find a new and unique perspective.

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Snaefellsjökull

The coastal drive around the glacier presented an abundance of amazing photo opportunities. We finally had beautiful sun and morning light to work with.

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an iconic scene

This is one of the most photographed scenes in all of Iceland. We lucked out and had some spectacular weather to work with. -- Kirkjufellsfoss

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the northern lights

Final night and we get another bucket list item, the opportunity to photograph the Northern Lights at the Black Church.

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obligatory group selfie

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Reykjavik

My final night was spent wandering the city and taking in all of the amazing graffiti.

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Footnote: All images are (c) 2017 Glenn Charles - No reproduction or distribution is allowed without written consent