Sunday, June 7, 2015

Iceland, Final Thoughts

Londrangar
Now that my trip to Iceland is over, and I had time to reflect on the experience and edit all my photos these are my final thoughts on the trip.  In general it was a good vacation, have I had better yes; was it an experience, definitely.   Over the course of the trip, we found Iceland is not ready for an influx of tourists, and in not a luxury destination. We found many of the accommodations outside the two major cities were basically bed and breakfasts, which backpackers would consider luxury accommodations. I’m sorry but having to squeegee the bathroom floor because there is no shower stall, does not say upscale or classy accommodation to me.  I’ll grant many of the rooms were nice, it was always just little things that would catch you off guard, like the squeegee.  I also recommend getting use to the smelling like sulfur after your shower, because most of the hot water in the smaller locations smells heavily of sulfur.  Also, be prepared to drive on gravel roads, even though you are on a main road.  The country is great if you have aspirations of becoming a rally car driver.  Finally, taking the following items: a windbreaker, hat/ear muffs, gloves, and wraparound sunglasses helped immensely on the trip just to stop the chill from the consent wind. Would I go again, possibly for a stopover on my way to Europe.

video
Driving on dirt road in Iceland


Hraunfossar
Now for the photography break down.  On this trip, I used a Canon 70D, with an 18 – 200mm lens. I also carried a few neutral density and graduated neutral density filters.  I also carried a lens cleaning kit, which was useful for cleaning sea spray from my lens. For most of the trip, the sky was cloud covered and stormy, it was not until the last few days did I have blue sky, thus I shot mostly at ISO 200.  I did change to ISO 1000 inside the ice cave.   My shutter and aperture varied depending on the subject, but I mostly stayed around an f/8 or higher aperture and 1/60 second shutter speed or higher for the shots.  While my husband used a tripod for some of his shots, it was difficult due to the strength of the wind. I’ll admit in some locations, it was just hard to shoot handheld due to the wind blowing me backward.  Iceland is an interesting place to photograph, if you have good light. Overall, I’m not happy with several of my shots, not because the location was bad but because the lighting was just not great.  Sadly, I cannot control the sun and clouds.  Was it as great a photography trip as I hoped; no.   Nevertheless, it was still a good experience. 

You can see all the edited photo galleries here:  http://munchkinphotos.smugmug.com/Vacation/Iceland

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Snowmobiling, on a glacier!


Today was our last day in Iceland, we fly home tomorrow.  We capped the trip off with an hour snowmobiling ride on a glacier.  We were picked up at the Gullfoss visitor center, by a Mercedes off road van, it had really big tires. Think jacked up pickup truck with monster tires. It was a thirty minute drive on an “F” road (mountain dirt road requiring 4 wheel drive, actual 4 wheel drive not AWD).  They are serious about the “F” roads, regular passenger cars on them can get fined, they don’t really plow them, and the snow can be several meters deep.  So after the bumpy thirty minute drive we arrived at the shack to suit up into snowsuits suits and get on the snowmobiles. We had new four stroke, bright red snowmobiles, the handle bars were even heated to keep your hands toasty.

When we started I was leading then was passed by my husband because I wasn’t going fast enough. It was interesting riding because there was a thin crust with snow underneath, very different then what I am used too.   I eventually started to speed up to about 50 km/hour. I did end up losing the leader briefly but the backup guy got me back on course and back with the rest of the group. It was windy up there and I lost the tracks a few times, but was mostly able to spot the bright orange suits we were wearing.  I was able to stay on my snowmobile and upright unlike my husband who ended up flipped his going over a hill, he was helped back up, and put back on course.  We stopped briefly for pictures then headed back.  I was right with the leader on the way back finally getting a feel for the snow.   It was a great hour long ride.   After that it was back to the visitor center to get our car and head back to Reykjavik.   We fly out tomorrow morning.


It will be nice to get back home. 

Monday, June 1, 2015

Waterfalls heading South


Husafoss

Today we traveled from the northern area of Iceland past Reykjavik to the Golden Circle area.  It is about a 4 to 5 hour drive without stops, but we made several stops along the way.  Our first stop was at Husafoss to see two waterfalls. One of which comes out of lava rocks from underground rivers.  The second stop was at a point of interest which had a bunch of little cairns. The third stop was at ├×ingveller, which is a national park and was the location of the Viking Althing. We did a little bit of light hiking there, to a waterfall.  Then we headed up to Geysir, before heading to our hotel.  The Geysir was not as impressive as I hoped, especially after being at Yellowstone.  The Geysir area is small little cluster of geysers with one that erupts about every 10 to 15 minutes.  It was cute.

Little Cairs before ├×ingveller
Waterfall at ├×ingveller

Our hotel seems rather old; at least the furnishings make it feel that way. Thankfully we are here only one night. Tomorrow is snowmobiling on a glacier and then back to Reykjavik. 

Waterfalls and Parachutes

Bonus image: Focal length 18mm, Apeture F7.1, Shutter 1/200s I went up to Ohio a few weekends ago for my class reunion, and figur...