Iceland: Stunningly beautiful
When is comes to practicing your photography skills, Iceland is a prime location to shoot. Everywhere you look, there are interesting subjects and backdrops to excite any photographer - whether you’re an enthusiast or professional. The famous ring road highway (Route 1) which encircles the entire island allows road warriors to witness changing landscape as you travel from barren desserts to icy glaciers. Here are some of the sights I saw during my road trip in Iceland.
Rise and shine
The Strokkur geyser is a very popular tourist spot and if you get there early in the morning before tour buses show up, you’ll get a chance to take some photos sans selfie sticks in every direction. Bring a camera capable of taking rapid continuous photos to capture the geyser erupting - which occurs every few minutes. Be careful to not get too close as the water is extremely hot and can cause burns.
All along the ring road highway, there are many waterfalls to visit. Gullfoss is the most famous waterfall in Iceland and fortunately it is a short drive from Strokkur. Seljalandsfoss is visible from the road and is unique since you can actually walk behind the waterfall. Skógafoss is also on the ring road and is a fantastic overnight stop as there are accommodations next to the waterfall. Svartifoss requires a short hike to reach it, but the unique lava columns around the waterfall is well worth the hike.
For the adventurous tourist, there is a hidden treasure on an isolated beach in the south. In 1973, a US Navy plane crashed on the Sólheimasandur beach. Fortunately, all crew survived but the remains of the plane still sits on the black sandy beach - providing a perfect opportunity for some surreal photographs. You'll need to park your vehicle at a gate (GPS 63.4912391,-19.3632810) and walk approximately 4km to the plane (GPS 63.459523,-19.364618). There are some markers to help point you in the right direction, but it is recommended that you have GPS along with snacks and water during the walk.
It is called Iceland for a reason. There are opportunities to take tours on glaciers and visit ice caves around Iceland. One spectacular location is the Jökulsárlón glacial lake on the southeast side of the island. The stillness of the water creates mirror-like reflections of the icebergs and surrounding scenery.
Middle of nowhere
While the south end of Iceland is the most popular area for tourists, there are many other sights all across the island. One location is the Snæfellsnes peninsula which offers some of the most magnificent landscapes. It is also home to the Snæfellsjökull volcano and national park. There are several areas for hiking including a popular hiking trail from Arnarstapi and Hellnar.
Fire in the sky
Due to the geographical latitude of Iceland, it is a prime location to view the northern lights, especially during the dark winter months. You can check the aurora forecast and cloud cover forecast online before heading out in the middle of the night. If you are lucky, aurora activity will be high with little to no cloud cover. In that case, dress warmly and drive out away from any city lights to witness the spectacular show. Bring a tripod and your DSLR if you want to capture the experience in some photos.
Iceland can really only be described as stunningly beautiful. Bring spare camera batteries and memory cards because you'll likely need them if you travel to Iceland.