Hi there! I am Laurence, a student, hobby photographer and travel enthusiast from the Netherlands. Bobby and I met in Iceland on a couple of occasions. As I recall correctly, first on the boat watching whales nearby Húsavík, after this at the great waterfalls of Sellfoss & Dettifoss and lastly at the sulfur springs. Although Iceland is huge (compared to the Netherlands), tourists can spot each other at different spots easily.
As many tourists do, my friend and I went to Iceland by plane. Flying to Reykjavik doesn't take that much time when you're flying from Europe or from the Northern East-Coast of the USA. You can easily rent a car at the airport and drive to the only long highway Iceland has: Road 1. This fameous road in Iceland brings you to almost all big tourist attractions on the island. We went clockwise and we did the complete road 1 (including the western part of Iceland with Hellnar, Kirkjufell and Stykishollmúr) within 8 days, but if you have more time I would advise you to use it here. On your trip to Iceland you should bring proper clothing (Iceland is cold, with lots of wind and low temperatures).
(Photo: Keriò crater, f 22, ISO 100, 1/2 s)
Photographing in Iceland is amazing. You can almost stop at every road to take photos of the beautiful landscapes and natural phenomenons, such as volcanos, geysers and hot springs. As a hobby photographer I do not like to take a lot of stuff with me when I travel. My gear consists of a Nikon D5300 and a AF-S DX Nikkor 18-300 mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR. I used a Joby gorillapod for stabilized photos. You should bring a rainproof bag for your gear since the weather in Iceland can be rainy. In some occasions an umbrella could be convenient as well if you want to avoid raindrops on your lens. All photos are taken in chronological order.
(Photo: Earth layers, f 5.3, ISO 400, 1/80 s)
(Photo: Icelandic horse, f 5.6, ISO 400, 1/400 s)
The rule of thirds is used a lot in photography and definitely helps you to make your photos of Iceland look more awesome. You should position the most important subjects of your photo on 1/3rd of 2/3rd of the picture. This will add more interest to the photo. The photo above is an example of this. The horse is centered at 1/3rd of the photo, not in the middle.
(Photo: Geysir, f 10, ISO 200, 1/400 s)
If you have enough time to take a nice photo, you should always look for the best viewpoint. Taking a photo from the right angle can complete change the look and 'feel' of the photo. Think ahead whether it would be better to take a photo from above or below. Also wait for the right timing, especially with moving objects. One of the biggest geysers in Iceland "Geysir" (photo above) bursts every now and then. It is essential to wait for the right moment to push the shutter and take your photo.
(Photo: Gullfoss, f 25, ISO 100, 1/5 s)
One of the ways to make your photo look more interesting, is to create depth. Photos are most of the time two-dimensional. With most cameras you can add focus to the foreground or background, simply to focus on a certain point in your frame.
If you don't have time to do the complete road 1 with all the different attractions, it is advisable to visit πingveillier, Geysir and Gullfoss. These spots are all relatively close to each other and are not far away from Reykjavik as well. I do recommend you to plan more time for your trip so you can also visit the other beautiful places in Iceland.
(Photo: Stones, f 8, ISO 200, 1/250 s)
(Photo: F-road in Iceland, f 9, ISO 200, 1/320 s)
Driving with a rental car in Iceland is an unforgettable experience. Outside of Reykjavik it is hardly ever crowded on the road, so you can enjoy the view. You should keep in mind that some roads may be closed due to weather conditions. You can check the status of all roads at road.is.
(Photo: Snæfellsjökull, f 10, ISO 200, 1/400 s)
(Photo: Vulcano stairs at Snaefellsjoekull National Park, f 9, ISO 200, 1/320 s)
An other way to make your photos more interesting is to make use of 'leading lines'. As human beings we always look for patterns in photos and the rule of leading lines makes use of this behavior. The lines will draw you into the photo and give you a feeling of giving you more detail of the journey.
(Photo: Waterfall, f 25, ISO 100, 1/5 s)
A side from the road 1 the Snaefellsjoekull National Park is also worth a visit. If you travel through the park from the south side you will end at the Kirkjufell and Stykishóllmur, two fameous spots in Iceland with some nice waterfalls as well (see above).
(Photo: Humpingback whale, f 9, ISO 200, 1/320 s)
(Photo: Humpingback whale, f 11, ISO 200, 1/500 s)
(Photo: Humpingback whale, f 10, ISO 200, 1/400 s)
(Photo: Humpingback whales, f 7.1, ISO 200, 1/800 s)
One of the best places to spot the various kinds of whales is Husavik, a small town at the northern part in Iceland. Make sure you will be one of the first to board the boat, so you can pick a nice spot for watching the whales. Mind that the temperature will be lower at sea. Most companies will proivide extra clothing, but it would be smart to take some gloves with you.
(Photo: f 7.1, ISO 200, 1/800 s)
(Photo: f 13, ISO 200, 1/640 s)
Apart from the beautiful nature in Iceland, the architecture is also interesting in some places. Especially the churches deserve some special attention since they are sometimes very old and still in use.
(Photo: Sulfur springs, f 10, ISO 200, 1/400 s)
(Photo: Sulfur springs, f 9, ISO 200, 1/320 s)
(Photo: Dettifoss, f 11, ISO 200, 1/500s s)
(Photo: Snow, f 11, ISO 200, 1/500 s)
(Photo: Sellfoss, f 25, ISO 100, 1/8 s)
(Photo: Reindeers, f 5.6, ISO 250, 1/500 s)
It can be worth it to travel early or late during the day, because it will increase the chance of spotting some of the wildlife in Iceland. If you are like me and do not like too much crowd at the top places to visit, you can also play with the timing when you visit these spots. Mind however that the days can be relatively short or long (# sun hours) in Iceland, depending on the season when you visit.
(Photo: Fjaðrárgljúfur, f 9, ISO 200, 1/320 s)
(Photo: Reynisgladar, f 13, ISO 200, 1/640 s)
(Photo: Skógafoss, f 9, ISO 200, 1/320 s)
(Photo: f 10, ISO 200, 1/400 s)
(Photo: Skógafoss, f 25, ISO 100, 0,4 s)
(Photo: Rock formation, f 5.3, ISO 400, 1/125 s)
(Photo: Seljalandsfoss, f 8, ISO 280, 1/250 s)
(Photo: Lambs, f 5.6, ISO 200, 1/500 s)
(Photo: Seljalandsfoss, f 25, ISO 100, 1/5 s)
(Photo: Flowers, f 9, ISO 200, 1/320 s)
(Photo: Eldfell, f 9, ISO 200, 1/320 s)
(Photo: Flowers, f 5.6, ISO 400, 1/500 s)
(Photo: Vestmannaeyjar, f 9, ISO 200, 1/320 s)
(Photo: Puffin, f 5.6, ISO 400, 1/400 s)
(Photo: Hallgrímskirkja, f 22, ISO 100, 10 s)
A photo with symmetry is always an eye-catcher for people. We tend to like symmetry in photos and also in other situations.
(Photo: Duck, f 5.6, ISO 400, 1/500 s)
Photo: Duck, f 7.1, ISO 400, 1/200 s)
(Photo: Blue Lagoon, f 8, ISO 220, 1/250 s)
The Blue Lagoon is a nice place to end your visit in Iceland. It is located between Reykjavik and the International airport. The Blue Lagoon is definitely not a cheap attraction, but is is worth the visit. You can relax and enjoy the warm and special water before you fly back home.
I hope you liked this preview of Iceland. I will post more blogs of my (photographic) journeys on Earth.