Whether you’re a travel lover or nature enthusiast, chances are you’ve already stumbled upon thousands of breath-taking images of Iceland’s majestic landscapes that make you want to buy that one-way ticket, get your camera and head straight to the airport, no questions asked…
From icebergs to waterfalls, sulphuric fields to geysers, it seems that Iceland has it all, and lets face it, it truly does! One moment you’ll be admiring those ever so powerful waterfalls and next minute you’ll be entering a whole new world surrounded by crystal-like icebergs and if you’re lucky, even seal or two.
Rest assured, this absolute utopia certainly has its challenges, the weather being one of the major difficulties that you’d encounter along your way. You might think that I’m a bit over-exaggerating however; picture yourself going out on a 20 degree sunny summer day and coming back from your trip soaking wet with snowflakes covering every inch of your body!
Weather troubles aside, lets talk photography. The lenses you’d definitely want to have with you vary on the landscapes you want to shoot. From personal experience, as you’re surrounded by beauty all around (consequently shooting anything unsightly in your frame is impossible) I’d recommend you take a wide-angle lens. In my personal opinion, the more depth of field you have, the better: The majority of pictures that I’ve shot have been with a 11-16mm lens.
If you’re lucky enough to come at a time when the Northern Lights are around, that is in between October and March, then you’ll also need a lens with a wide aperture in order to let as much light in as possible to successfully capture the dancing sky above. Shooting the northern lights is practically impossible without the help of a tripod therefore a sturdy one is essential / my lightweight travel tripod got blown away within the first 5 minutes so this piece of equipment is definitely worth investing in /.
After you’ve sorted your equipment out, next thing is to locate places to photograph. Iceland’s fairly small, and has only one main road referred to as “Route 1”, or the “Circle road”. As its name suggests, it goes the whole way round the island and takes to all the major touristic attractions and infamous spots although bear in mind that some sections could be closed during the winter.
Some places are definitely worth a special mention:
One of your first stops of the south shore, that is if you’re traveling anticlockwise, will be Seljalandsfoss waterfall located only about an hour and a half from Reykjavik. What makes this waterfall so treasured apart from its obvious beauty is a path leading all the way behind it, something definitely worth a mention!
A short ride further down you’ll go past Skogafoss waterfall. The waterfall itself isn’t that spectacular however, the rainbow just beside it would make your friends wonder whether you’ve photoshopped it or not!
The same road will lead you to some amazing black sand beaches that are definitely the picture perfect representation of surrealism in my opinion. And last but not least, you’ll finally get up-close and personal with Jökulsárlón and its seal inhabitants. That won’t be the only Icelandic word you will not be able to pronounce, trust me on that : ) !
Donna Tzaneva is a twenty-something year old globetrotter that was born in Bulgaria, grew up in Australia and now resides in Iceland. After finishing her BSc in Equine Studies, a severe horse-back riding injury made her take a step back from that career and take up photography. She hasn’t stopped ever since..