Trip to Iceland: Who's Gone? Help with planning?

Discussion in 'Photographic Discussions' started by Destin, Jan 3, 2018.

  1. Destin

    Destin Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Hey guys! Super excited to be in the planning stages for a trip to Iceland this June/July to take photos. Very likely going by myself and renting a small camper van to road trip around the country. Maybe bringing a friend if I can find someone to go. Planning to be there 5-7 days, maybe longer if I can afford it.

    Has anyone here been there? Must shoot destinations? Advice on the area?

    I'm just trying to start getting a plan together. Going to book everything in a couple weeks once I've figured it all out.

    Anything you all can contribute to the planning would be incredible. And if anyone wants to tag along, my van sleeps two but I'm alone as of now. It's so hard to find people willing to rough it for a few days to take photos.


     
  2. SquarePeg

    SquarePeg Nevertheless... Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Someone recently posted some gorgeous photos from a trip to Iceland. Was it you @anonymouscuban ?
     
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  3. JoeW

    JoeW Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I'd like to go to Iceland in the next 2-3 years. The single best piece of advice I got was: the weather is very unpredictable and local. So you're better off renting a car than being part of a tour group. Create plans but then each day, get up and check the weather and then go where you've got a break in the clouds or a little sun.

    As for "must see" locations--it depends upon what you want to shoot. Tons of great options. I know one photographer who went with his wife (and then posed her in a series of elegant gowns in the wild raw countryside--really terrific stuff).

    Here are a couple of links I saved that I thought would help me on my trip:

    Iceland Debrief – What Worked and What Didn’t

    Photographing Iceland - One Photographers Trip Tips and Advice

    And here's the work by the photographer (Jonathan Zuck) with his wife and the rugged background: http://www.jonathanzuck.com/gallery/delicate-iceland/

    Depending upon the time of year, you've also got a good shot at the Northern Lights.
     
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  4. anonymouscuban

    anonymouscuban TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    I did post some images from my Iceland trip that I took back in June. My wife and I spent 9 days there. We camped at various spots while travelling the Ring raod. Sounds a lot like the trip you're planning. ;-)

    So first off, camping is the way to see Iceland. June/July time frame is perfect because the weather is mild. Lows were roughly 40 and highs about 65. We only had one day that the sun shined most of the day. The rest of the time it was overcast with occasional light showers. However, Iceland weather is very unpredictable and can change quickly so go prepared for temps in the 30s. Layers is my best advice so you can adjust. Make sure to bring water proof shells.

    Hmmm... Booking your rental. Do it at soon you can. I waited till about 2 months before and I had a hard time finding a 4wd for a decent rate. Definitely get a 4wd. The Ring Road is paved and you can see a lot but there are some areas that require a 4wd. Nothing to crazy so don't be worried. I rented a small SUV that had a roof top tent. Really comfortable to sleep in and easy to deploy and put away. Literally 2 minutes. A little unnerving when the wind kicks up and your trying to fall asleep with the car shaking though.

    Time of year you're going is Midnight sun so literally 24 hours of daylight. You won't get any Northern Lights but you have 24 hours of day to explore. It wasn't unusual for us to be hiking and check my watch to realize its 11pm. So strange for a southern Californian. The sun does set, sort of, but it's not until about 1am. It dips below the mountains and within a few minutes it's rising again. The great thing is you have very beautiful light for several hours. Imagine Golden Hour x 4. Hopefully you will be a little luckier than we were and you'll have more days with the sun out.

    As for gear, definitely a wide angle but also take a long lens, something at least 200mm range. Tripod for sure. And batteries and a way to charge them. Especially since you'll be camping. If you don't have weather sealed pro gear, a rain shield is highly recommended. Let's see... ND filters. Don't be a dummy like me and forget them. So much flowing water in Iceland so you need at least a 3 stop ND. If you can swing a 5 stop and 10 stop, I also recommend them. The 10 stop will come in handy for some super long exposures to really get movement in the clouds scraping the mountain peaks. I could kick myself for forgetting my pouch with all my filters. Again, it's daylight 24 hours so without NDs, you can't drag the shutter.

    I will make another post when I'm on my computer with more info about locations and other tips in the next hours. Please feel free to ask any questions and I will try my best to answer them.



    Sent from my SM-G930F using Tapatalk
     
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  5. jcdeboever

    jcdeboever TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    Wow, some great recommendations in this thread.
     
  6. Destin

    Destin Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Holy cow, great information guys. Some of those articles are super helpful! Thanks a bunch! If I have any questions I'll definitely post them back on this thread.
     
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  7. anonymouscuban

    anonymouscuban TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    Part 2 of my ramblings...

    I recommend the first thing you do is head to Reykjavik and stop by the Visitor Center there. Very nice people. They have maps available and can give you suggestion on routes to choose and places to see. Also, they can tell you if there are any road closures or any other issues that may alter your plans. Whatever every you do... DO NOT buy a camping card. It is not accepted at all the campgrounds and, at least for us, we only found one campground during our trip where we used it. Over a hundred dollars down the tubes. And that brings me to camping.

    Dispersed camping is no longer really allowed in Iceland. With the millions of visitors they are getting every year now, and the fact that most of them are not responsible campers, they have relegated overnight camping to campgrounds only. I almost stepped in human poop at least 3 times so that give you an idea of the problem they're facing. Now.... that doesn't mean you can disperse camp. We did about 4 of nights we were there. But it was out in the boonies where there weren't many tourists and there was no one else around.

    Almost every town has a public pool. They all are nicely appointed with clean, hot showers and bathrooms. Most have spas and some even have saunas. They will run you roughly $8 US per adult. We used these to shower instead of the campgrounds. They were cleaner and less crowded. They open early, about 7AM. Shower, spend 30 minutes in the spa or sauna, shower again, get dressed and you're ready for the day.

    Hmm.... trying to share things that I learned while there that I didn't find on the web beforehand. What else?

    OK... as I said, millions of visitors. Things are changing. Becoming a bit more restrictive. They were already starting to put barriers up around the more popular sites. Some were just stakes with ropes. But other places had railings. It kind of sucks to be honest. But, seeing the really stupid **** people were doing to get that perfect selfie, I can't blame them for setting boundaries. That said, there are no park rangers or staff, at least when I was there, to stop you from crossing these boundaries. Of course, please use common sense. What I am referring to are the small ropes so people don't just go trampling all over everything. I would wait until there was a lull in the number of people and trek off path. Again, be responsible and be smart. I had asked and was told that these boundaries are guidelines to keep the masses from going off path. It's OK to do so if you want though.

    OK... I will share more again later. I will eventually get to my favorite places but I am waiting to share that last since there is a ton of information on the web to be found about that.
     
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  8. Destin

    Destin Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    You rock. Seriously.
     
  9. qmr55

    qmr55 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I've never been, but a friend has, and she was infatuated with the ice caves.
     
  10. Shuiyin

    Shuiyin TPF Noob!

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    Make sure you have a decent budget while you're there. Everything in Iceland is extremely expensive but it's a photographers paradise there. The landscape there is unlike anywhere in the world. Truthfully it's pretty easy to find locations for photography. Almost all of the main tourist spots are very scenic. When I was there I would just go on google maps and look for any notable areas to visit. Waterfalls and thermal pools galore. Depending on the time of year your visiting you may be able to catch the northern lights. The weather can be very unpredictable though. I was there for 2 weeks and caught the northern lights maybe 3 times just because it was very cloudy and rainy most of the time. If you can I would recommend renting a 4x4 vehicle. There are lots of great spots that are only reachable with 4x4.
     
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  11. kap55

    kap55 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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  12. NancyMoranG

    NancyMoranG Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    As Shuiyian mentioned above about expenses..my brother has gone multiple times (not a photographer ) and says it's cheap to get there but expensive once you do!
    Maybe we can take up a collection for the showers for your trip. :)
     
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