Weren't you just there last year?
I got this question a lot. Yes, I did go to Iceland last year on a last minute trip with Scott Kelby. You can see that story here. It was not only last minute, but it was only a few days. It was a whirlwind visit. We had great weather, got some awesome pictures and video and had a great time. So why go back so soon? Because you can't see Iceland, I mean really see Iceland in just three days. When we went last year we made sure to hit as many of the iconic spots as we could. Even then we didn't see them all.
This time would be different. This time I'd be going for a full week with a day on each end for recalibrating. Also this year I'd be going with the awesome Victoria Pavlov and leaving my entire itinerary in the hands of Einar Endleson.
I know that many of you are short on time. That's why I put together the short video above so that you can get a quick highlight from the trip. However, if you want to know the details you can watch the video and then scroll and keep reading.
Last year I took my old DJI Phantom 2 Vision+ drone more as an afterthought. I had never traveled with it before and I was due for a new drone anyway. All this to say that I considered it expendable. I didn't expect anything to go wrong, but if it fell into a waterfall (as this would be the first time I flew it over water) I wouldn't shed any tears. Nothing went wrong and the footage I captured last year only made me want a better drone/camera. This trip was different I had upgraded to the DJI Mavic Pro the minute it came out. Instead of having to carry on a separate hard case just for the drone, I was able to put the Mavic Pro in my camera backpack with the rest of my gear.
Just one body and two lenses?
This question came up a few times when I shared the load out pic above. Several photographers were shocked and dismayed that I would only bring one DSLR body and two lenses.
The DSLR is a backup to my iPhone 7 Plus
I made the joke that the DSLR was a backup to my main camera, the iPhone 7 Plus. I wasn't too far off. I really wanted to test the limits of not only drone photography/video, but also iPhoneography and Lightroom mobile. Sure there were times when the Nikon 28-300mm lens allowed me to capture images that the iPhone just couldn't do, but I used both cameras pretty much equally. However, most of my shots this trip came from the Mavic Pro including the cover image above. Last year I captured the bulk of my images with my Nikon D810, 28-300mm and 14-24mm lenses. Those two lenses pretty much covered everything I wanted to do. It was no different this time either. Could I have carried more lenses? Yes, but it just wasn't necessary.
Day 1 - July 7
Food to go
Much of our time during the day was spent driving from location to location and shooting along the way. Therefore when it comes to food it's either gas station restaurants or bring your own. With that in mind we made a grocery store stop to stock up the vehicle with things we could eat on the go.
More from Haifoss
Day 3 - July 9
Last year we saw several mountains off in the distance. However, this year I got to really get up close and enjoy them in all their glory. I'm not much of a hiker, but this is one of those times you have to hit the trail even if it's just for a few minutes.
There's something about an old ship that begs to tell a story. I'm automatically drawn to them and can only wonder the tales it would tell if it could talk. This old fishing boat from the 1940's is resting in dry dock as the more sophisticated and larger boats have long since replaced it.
A photographic museum
This is one thing that I never expected to be a part of my trip. Tucked away in this small town is one of the most comprehensive photography equipment museums I've ever seen. Saga-Fotografica museum at Siglufjordur town in northern Iceland. A tremendous museum and collection of photography related items. Even if you're new to photography this is a must see if you're in the area. Baldvin Einarsson has everything nicely organized by brand and then by age.
Baldvin is an extremely nice guy. He does this out of passion and love for photography. He created this museum not to make a lot of money, but to simply give people a way to see this history.
Skoger, a 580-ton Norwegian ship caught fire 1936 in Siglufjordur harbor. It was full of wooden barrels, some empty and some with processed herring. The harbor was also full of fishing boats and other ships. When it was obvious it would not be saved, the blazing ship was pulled away from the harbor to prevent it from sinking there. It soon sank in the fjord.
It was a bit challenging launching the Mavic Pro from such a tight small location. However, it was worth capturing this piece of history from above. The Zodiac gives you an idea of its size.
I was fascinated by these old lighthouses. I always wanted a traditional lighthouse shot for my portfolio. I never thought I'd be capturing ones like these.
I usually enhance my water shots to make the water look more blue. It wasn't necessary for these. This is just how clean and blue the water is naturally.
This abandoned farm town can only be reached by water or horseback. There were never any roads built to this place.
Another view of this abandoned farm town.
This old bulldozer was parked and never used again.
On the way back, the golden hour had arrived.
Where are the rest of the pictures from Day 12? That's it. Believe it or not it does rain sometimes in Iceland. OK, it rains a lot in Iceland. I have spoiled you on this trip thus far because we had amazing weather. We got to our next hotel stop and just chilled for the night. Enjoy the dinner pic above.
Day 7 - July 13
There is only one "hotel" on this very small island. In the US this would be considered a bed and breakfast with a few exceptions: No WiFi. No TV. One bathroom per floor. Take your shoes off to preserve the hardwood floors. The staff was nice and the restaurant that was attached.