Iceland - April/May 15' - PART 3

28th April 15 - Day 5

We slept in a little bit that morning, we didn't have much planned and also we had to look for a last-minute lodging between Höfn and Snæfellsnes as our cabin in the West only starts the day after. I was looking at either heading back to Hvolsvöllur or the nearby towns of Selfoss/Hella. 

I found a pretty awesome listing on Booking.com for this farmhouse stay that looked pretty promising and we decided to share the booking with my friends Raenor, Joel and Rupert. They had 4 Double Bed rooms on the upper level, a pretty roomy living area and the kitchen/dining area on the ground floor. It was perfect for the 6 of us and we booked it, checked out of the hostel, stopped by the supermarket in town, got a couple of hotdogs (legendary btw) and were off towards Skaftafell for our hike. 

We stopped by a couple of spots during the journey, one to Jökusárlón for the morning light and breakfast, the other on a hunt for a lighthouse that we couldn't find. But we did chance upon a charming little toilet in the middle of nowhere.

iPhone 6, Processed with VSCOcam, 28th April 2015

iPhone 6, Processed with VSCOcam, 28th April 2015

iPhone 6, Processed with VSCOcam, 28th April 2015

iPhone 6, Processed with VSCOcam, 28th April 2015

There are a couple of hiking trails at Skaftafell, we chose the 2hr one as we weren't prepared for a long trek, but i might head back again for the 10-20km hikes someday! 

S2: Svartifoss - Sjónarsker - Sel

Distance: 5.5 km (round-trip)
Walking time: 2 hrs.
Route difficulty: 1 (easy)

The trail starts next to Skaftafell Visitor Centre and is well indicated. The first 250 meters go through the campground but the trail then turns right and uphill. Follow the signs until you arrive at a viewpoint above the waterfall (140 m ascent in 1.5 km). Continue down into the ravine, across the footbridge, and climb up the basalt column steps on the other side of the ravine. Continue on this trail to the viewpoint at Sjónarnípa, then head back towards the old turf house at Sel and then back to the visitor centre via Lambhagi.

Rolleiflex Automat MX, Kodak 400TX, 120mm, developed with Kodak HC-110 (Dilution B), Epson V700, 28th April 2015

Rolleiflex Automat MX, Kodak 400TX, 120mm, developed with Kodak HC-110 (Dilution B), Epson V700, 28th April 2015

Rolleiflex Automat MX, Kodak 400TX, 120mm, developed with Kodak HC-110 (Dilution B), Epson V700, 28th April 2015

Rolleiflex Automat MX, Kodak 400TX, 120mm, developed with Kodak HC-110 (Dilution B), Epson V700, 28th April 2015

Rolleiflex Automat MX, Kodak 400TX, 120mm, developed with Kodak HC-110 (Dilution B), Epson V700, 28th April 2015

Rolleiflex Automat MX, Kodak 400TX, 120mm, developed with Kodak HC-110 (Dilution B), Epson V700, 28th April 2015

Rolleiflex Automat MX, Kodak 400TX, 120mm, developed with Kodak HC-110 (Dilution B), Epson V700, 28th April 2015

Rolleiflex Automat MX, Kodak 400TX, 120mm, developed with Kodak HC-110 (Dilution B), Epson V700, 28th April 2015

Rolleiflex Automat MX, Kodak 400TX, 120mm, developed with Kodak HC-110 (Dilution B), Epson V700, 28th April 2015

Rolleiflex Automat MX, Kodak 400TX, 120mm, developed with Kodak HC-110 (Dilution B), Epson V700, 28th April 2015

We arrived to the farm around evening and the owner was kind enough to show us around the house and also a little history about the place, it was the house that he was raised in and there is a stable out back with his horses that he rides in the highlands during summer. Made dinner and had an early night that day, I wanted to wait for the night to fall to catch some stars but it was just way too bright so near to May. 

29th April 15 - Day 6

For Day 6, we stopped by Vík for petrol and also a Bónus on the way up to the West for groceries for the next 2 days in the Cabin. But it was mostly driving that day, we didn't really make any stops. We did have an interesting experience going in the tunnel that went under Hvalfjörður, the toll costs 1,000 Kr ($11) for one way in but saved us an hour from going around it. Once we've reached the Snæfellsnes peninsula, the beauty sunk in. My favourite route to drive was Route 56, the roads went up, down and winding through the snow covered mountains and also through some beautiful farm land towards Grundarfjörður, where our Airbnb Cabin beneath Kirkufell was. We were really excited for this cabin, hot tub, in the middle of nowhere underneath an iconic Icelandic Mountain that landscape photographers love. The cabin is almost always in the shot. Here are some shots during a couple of stops we made.

iPhone 6, Processed with VSCOcam, 29th April 2015

iPhone 6, Processed with VSCOcam, 29th April 2015

Nikon D800E, Nikon 70-200mm F/2.8, Adobe Lightroom, 29th April 2015

Nikon D800E, Nikon 70-200mm F/2.8, Adobe Lightroom, 29th April 2015

Nikon D800E, Nikon 70-200mm F/2.8, Adobe Lightroom, 29th April 2015

Nikon D800E, Nikon 70-200mm F/2.8, Adobe Lightroom, 29th April 2015

We reached the cabin and it was true to its description, mostly wood, a lot of hand-built furniture, No Wi-Fi (which was alright we had 3G and mostly travelling), nice little kitchen and 2 rooms with bunk beds. It was here that i noticed a particular mountain that i said i wanted to name my future daughter after, Mýrarhyrna, Mýra. Beautiful mountain, beautiful name. I wanted to wait for the sun to set to take some landscapes but the sun never really did set. 

iPhone 6, Processed with VSCOcam, 30th April 2015

iPhone 6, Processed with VSCOcam, 30th April 2015

Kirkjufell, from another angle.

Nikon D800E, Nikon 70-200mm F/2.8, Adobe Lightroom, 29th April 2015

Nikon D800E, Nikon 70-200mm F/2.8, Adobe Lightroom, 29th April 2015

30th April 15 - Day 7

We started off day 7 with a soak in the cabin's hot tub, with a view of Kirkjufell. Janelle and Haziq were slightly apprehensive about stripping in the cold for this but i assured them it would be beautiful. I kinda like the piercing cold of the winds in the morning, perks you up and the soak that follows would relax you right down. The sun was beautiful too, a great combination with the 7 degree weather.

iPhone 6, Processed with VSCOcam, 30th April 2015

iPhone 6, Processed with VSCOcam, 30th April 2015

The agenda for the rest of the day was a tour of Snæfellsnes, starting with Dritvik Beach, Djupalonssandur, Svörtuloft Lighthouse and bird cliffs, Hellnar-Arnarstapi Hike and lastly the Saxholl Crater that we happened to chance upon on the drive back to our cabin. 

Djúpalónssandur and Dritvik Beach

In this area surrounded by volcanic rock, you can find the remnants of a shipwreck from the 40s laid across the entire beach along with lifting stones which were used by fishermen back in the day to test their strength and qualify them for work on the fishing boats. The stones are named; Fullsterkur ('full strength') weighing 154kg, Hálfsterkur ('half strength') at 100kg, Hálfdrættingur ('weakling') at 54kg and Amlóði ('Useless') at 23kg, and fishermen had to lift at least the 'weakling' stone to hip height to be eligible. I tried the stones and only managed the 'Weakling' stone up till chest level. Heavy stones indeed.

Rolleiflex Automat MX, Kodak 400TX, 120mm, developed with Kodak HC-110 (Dilution B), Epson V700, 30th April 2015

Rolleiflex Automat MX, Kodak 400TX, 120mm, developed with Kodak HC-110 (Dilution B), Epson V700, 30th April 2015

Rolleiflex Automat MX, Kodak 400TX, 120mm, developed with Kodak HC-110 (Dilution B), Epson V700, 30th April 2015

Rolleiflex Automat MX, Kodak 400TX, 120mm, developed with Kodak HC-110 (Dilution B), Epson V700, 30th April 2015

Rolleiflex Automat MX, Kodak 400TX, 120mm, developed with Kodak HC-110 (Dilution B), Epson V700, 30th April 2015

Rolleiflex Automat MX, Kodak 400TX, 120mm, developed with Kodak HC-110 (Dilution B), Epson V700, 30th April 2015

Rolleiflex Automat MX, Kodak 400TX, 120mm, developed with Kodak HC-110 (Dilution B), Epson V700, 30th April 2015

Rolleiflex Automat MX, Kodak 400TX, 120mm, developed with Kodak HC-110 (Dilution B), Epson V700, 30th April 2015

Rolleiflex Automat MX, Kodak 400TX, 120mm, developed with Kodak HC-110 (Dilution B), Epson V700, 30th April 2015

Rolleiflex Automat MX, Kodak 400TX, 120mm, developed with Kodak HC-110 (Dilution B), Epson V700, 30th April 2015

Rolleiflex Automat MX, Kodak 400TX, 120mm, developed with Kodak HC-110 (Dilution B), Epson V700, 30th April 2015

Rolleiflex Automat MX, Kodak 400TX, 120mm, developed with Kodak HC-110 (Dilution B), Epson V700, 30th April 2015

Now we haven't had much luck with lighthouses because they are always so out of the way to drive so we were pretty excited to visit the Svörtuloft Lighthouse by the bird cliffs. I remembered a driving onto the turnoff from the main road into this one lane path in a valley of volcanic rock and eventually seeing the lighthouse from afar. The silhouette stood out from a distance away.

Rolleiflex Automat MX, Kodak 400TX, 120mm, developed with Kodak HC-110 (Dilution B), Epson V700, 30th April 2015

Rolleiflex Automat MX, Kodak 400TX, 120mm, developed with Kodak HC-110 (Dilution B), Epson V700, 30th April 2015

Rolleiflex Automat MX, Kodak 400TX, 120mm, developed with Kodak HC-110 (Dilution B), Epson V700, 30th April 2015

Rolleiflex Automat MX, Kodak 400TX, 120mm, developed with Kodak HC-110 (Dilution B), Epson V700, 30th April 2015

Rolleiflex Automat MX, Kodak 400TX, 120mm, developed with Kodak HC-110 (Dilution B), Epson V700, 30th April 2015

Rolleiflex Automat MX, Kodak 400TX, 120mm, developed with Kodak HC-110 (Dilution B), Epson V700, 30th April 2015

Rolleiflex Automat MX, Kodak 400TX, 120mm, developed with Kodak HC-110 (Dilution B), Epson V700, 30th April 2015

Rolleiflex Automat MX, Kodak 400TX, 120mm, developed with Kodak HC-110 (Dilution B), Epson V700, 30th April 2015

Nikon D800E, Nikon 70-200mm F/2.8, Adobe Lightroom, 30th April 2015

Nikon D800E, Nikon 70-200mm F/2.8, Adobe Lightroom, 30th April 2015

Nikon D800E, Nikon 70-200mm F/2.8, Adobe Lightroom, 30th April 2015

Nikon D800E, Nikon 70-200mm F/2.8, Adobe Lightroom, 30th April 2015

Rolleiflex Automat MX, Kodak Ektar 100, 120mm, Epson V700, 30th April 2015

Rolleiflex Automat MX, Kodak Ektar 100, 120mm, Epson V700, 30th April 2015

Hellnar-Arnarstapi Hike, now we only walked up the route for like 10-20 mins because we were getting tired by then and didn't fancy a hike but it had a beautiful view nonetheless, also we managed to see a giant whale from afar in the ocean just chilling around surfacing every couple of minutes, it was too far for photos though.

Nikon D800E, Nikon 70-200mm F/2.8, Adobe Lightroom, 30th April 2015

Nikon D800E, Nikon 70-200mm F/2.8, Adobe Lightroom, 30th April 2015

Nikon D800E, Nikon 70-200mm F/2.8, Adobe Lightroom, 30th April 2015

Nikon D800E, Nikon 70-200mm F/2.8, Adobe Lightroom, 30th April 2015

Nikon D800E, Nikon 70-200mm F/2.8, Adobe Lightroom, 30th April 2015

Nikon D800E, Nikon 70-200mm F/2.8, Adobe Lightroom, 30th April 2015

Rolleiflex Automat MX, Kodak Ektar 100, 120mm, Epson V700, 30th April 2015

Rolleiflex Automat MX, Kodak Ektar 100, 120mm, Epson V700, 30th April 2015

Rolleiflex Automat MX, Kodak Ektar 100, 120mm, Epson V700, 30th April 2015

Rolleiflex Automat MX, Kodak Ektar 100, 120mm, Epson V700, 30th April 2015

Rolleiflex Automat MX, Kodak Ektar 100, 120mm, Epson V700, 30th April 2015

Rolleiflex Automat MX, Kodak Ektar 100, 120mm, Epson V700, 30th April 2015

We called it at day after Hellnar and was heading back towards the cabin at Kirkjufell when we chanced upon a road that leads to this little crater and had to check it out, i drove up to the description sign and read about how we can climb it. I remembered mixed feelings in the car about climbing it but some fear of heights got to be conquered. The Saxholl Crater.

Nikon D800E, Nikon 70-200mm F/2.8, Adobe Lightroom, 30th April 2015

Nikon D800E, Nikon 70-200mm F/2.8, Adobe Lightroom, 30th April 2015

Nikon D800E, Nikon 70-200mm F/2.8, Adobe Lightroom, 30th April 2015

Nikon D800E, Nikon 70-200mm F/2.8, Adobe Lightroom, 30th April 2015

After Snæfellsnes, we packed up the next morning and left for Reykjavik for our last night before a 6am flight back to Helsinki-Singapore. I would've liked to explore the city a little bit more if we had more time but we only managed a meal at Icelandic Fish & Chips and walk along the harbour which was pretty sweet.

Rolleiflex Automat MX, Kodak Ektar 100, 120mm, Epson V700, 1st May 2015

Rolleiflex Automat MX, Kodak Ektar 100, 120mm, Epson V700, 1st May 2015

Rolleiflex Automat MX, Kodak Ektar 100, 120mm, Epson V700, 1st May 2015

Rolleiflex Automat MX, Kodak Ektar 100, 120mm, Epson V700, 1st May 2015

Rolleiflex Automat MX, Kodak Ektar 100, 120mm, Epson V700, 1st May 2015

Rolleiflex Automat MX, Kodak Ektar 100, 120mm, Epson V700, 1st May 2015

Kirkjufellsfoss2

There were many things we wanted to do on the trip that we could not, due to the weather and also the month that we went (off peak, ice melt) but in winter there will be ice cave visits and other cool stuff, for summer you can go up into the highlands and visit Landmannalaugar. But even then the pure beauty of this country was enough to satisfy for this trip and entice me for a few more down the years. 

Some tips that i have for Iceland?

- Rent a Car (4x4 will be effective if you're planning to visit the Plane Crash site), fill up that car so costs can be shared along with Airbnb for your lodging preferably those with kitchens and bring some ramen or buy groceries and cook your meals.

- Biscuits and jam are good on the road, leave your Haribos overnight in the car and when they become solid gummies they are insanely effective at keeping you awake for all them long drives.

- They dont use cash here much at all, so bring a credit card. (really read up on that, plus our farm house owner pulled out a portable cash machine for me to pay for our night's stay)

- Have some fish & chips in reykjavik, pretty good!

- Bring some plastic covers for your cameras when you're near the waterfalls, or at least a handy cloth after that to wipe it down because it WILL be wet. 

I cant think of much more but if you guys have any other questions feel free to drop me a message. That's all folks! hope you've enjoyed the photos here.

Nikon D800E, Nikon 24-70mm F/2.8, Adobe Lightroom, 30th April 2015

Nikon D800E, Nikon 24-70mm F/2.8, Adobe Lightroom, 30th April 2015


Iceland - April/May 15' - PART 2

27th April 15 - Day 4

Now at this point of time, we've been monitoring the weather conditions for our route to the East towards our Airbnb cabin near Egilsstaðir (East Iceland), there is a snowstorm in the north that lead to roads being closed and deemed impassable. 

We had to make a decision to either head to the East through avalanche warnings and terrible road conditions and be stuck in the the North or turn back through the south to reach Snaefellsnes Peninsula in the West in 2 days. We decided to give up our lodging in Egilsstaðir, refund our Airbnb in Akureyi and turn back. We booked ourselves a room at Höfn Hostel in the South-East that a couple of my friends from unit were staying at too. 

So after that's settled we left our lodging in Hvolsvöllur for our drive through the majestic South towards Höfn as our end point, the furthest east we will be travelling.

Our first stop would be to reach the town of Vík to hit the gas station as the next 350km would probably be scarce of any manned stations so always fill up when you have the chance. Prepaid gas cards are useful when the machines are unmanned and they dont take your credit card. 

Reynisfjara Beach

Reynisfjara is a black pebble beach and features an amazing cliff of regular basalt columns resembling a a rocky step pyramid, which is called Gardar. Out in the sea are the spectaculary shaped basalt sea stacks Reynisdrangar. The area is rich birdlife, including puffins, fulmarsand guillemots.

According to folklore, two trolls attempted to drag a ship to land but were turned to stone as daylight broke, turning them into into the Reynisdrangar stacks.

Rolleiflex Automat MX, Kodak Ektar 100, 120mm, Epson V700, 27th April 2015

Rolleiflex Automat MX, Kodak Ektar 100, 120mm, Epson V700, 27th April 2015

Rolleiflex Automat MX, Kodak Ektar 100, 120mm, Epson V700, 27th April 2015

Rolleiflex Automat MX, Kodak Ektar 100, 120mm, Epson V700, 27th April 2015

Rolleiflex Automat MX, Kodak Ektar 100, 120mm, Epson V700, 27th April 2015

Rolleiflex Automat MX, Kodak Ektar 100, 120mm, Epson V700, 27th April 2015

Rolleiflex Automat MX, Kodak Ektar 100, 120mm, Epson V700, 27th April 2015

Rolleiflex Automat MX, Kodak Ektar 100, 120mm, Epson V700, 27th April 2015

The view of the North Atlantic Ocean.

Rolleiflex Automat MX, Kodak Ektar 100, 120mm, Epson V700, 27th April 2015

Rolleiflex Automat MX, Kodak Ektar 100, 120mm, Epson V700, 27th April 2015

Now i wanted to capture as much of Iceland on colour film as possible but i have to say my favourite photographs from this trip has got to be the Black and whites i shot on the 400TX (favourite b/w stock to push/pull/all-rounder) I processed these b/w rolls with Kodak HC-110 (Dilution B) - Ilford Ilfostop - Ilford Rapid Fix. 

Rolleiflex Automat MX, Kodak 400TX, 120mm, developed with Kodak HC-110 (Dilution B), Epson V700, 27th April 2015

Rolleiflex Automat MX, Kodak 400TX, 120mm, developed with Kodak HC-110 (Dilution B), Epson V700, 27th April 2015

Rolleiflex Automat MX, Kodak 400TX, 120mm, developed with Kodak HC-110 (Dilution B), Epson V700, 27th April 2015

Rolleiflex Automat MX, Kodak 400TX, 120mm, developed with Kodak HC-110 (Dilution B), Epson V700, 27th April 2015

Rolleiflex Automat MX, Kodak 400TX, 120mm, developed with Kodak HC-110 (Dilution B), Epson V700, 27th April 2015

Rolleiflex Automat MX, Kodak 400TX, 120mm, developed with Kodak HC-110 (Dilution B), Epson V700, 27th April 2015

Rolleiflex Automat MX, Kodak 400TX, 120mm, developed with Kodak HC-110 (Dilution B), Epson V700, 27th April 2015

Rolleiflex Automat MX, Kodak 400TX, 120mm, developed with Kodak HC-110 (Dilution B), Epson V700, 27th April 2015

Svínafellsjökull, is a breathtaking outlet glacier of the Vatnajökull glacier, Batman Begins and Interstellar (Dr Mann's Planet) were filmed here too. Here are some beautiful textures i shot of the Glacier.

Nikon D800E, Nikon 70-200mm F/2.8, Adobe Lightroom, 27th April 2015

Nikon D800E, Nikon 70-200mm F/2.8, Adobe Lightroom, 27th April 2015

Nikon D800E, Nikon 70-200mm F/2.8, Adobe Lightroom, 27th April 2015

Nikon D800E, Nikon 70-200mm F/2.8, Adobe Lightroom, 27th April 2015

Nikon D800E, Nikon 70-200mm F/2.8, Adobe Lightroom, 27th April 2015

Nikon D800E, Nikon 70-200mm F/2.8, Adobe Lightroom, 27th April 2015

Nikon D800E, Nikon 70-200mm F/2.8, Adobe Lightroom, 27th April 2015

Nikon D800E, Nikon 70-200mm F/2.8, Adobe Lightroom, 27th April 2015

Nikon D800E, Nikon 70-200mm F/2.8, Adobe Lightroom, 27th April 2015

Nikon D800E, Nikon 70-200mm F/2.8, Adobe Lightroom, 27th April 2015

Nikon D800E, Nikon 70-200mm F/2.8, Adobe Lightroom, 27th April 2015

Nikon D800E, Nikon 70-200mm F/2.8, Adobe Lightroom, 27th April 2015

Jökulsárlón is a large glacial lake in southeast Iceland, on the edge of Vatnajökull National Park. Situated at the head of the Breiðamerkurjökull glacier, it developed into a lake after the glacier started receding from the edge of the Atlantic Ocean. The lake has grown since then at varying rates because of melting of the glaciers. It is now 1.5 kilometres (0.93 mi) away from the ocean's edge and covers an area of about 18 km2 (6.9 sq mi). It recently became the deepest lake in Iceland, at over 248 metres (814 ft), as glacial retreat extended its boundaries. The size of the lake has increased fourfold since the 1970s. It is considered as one of the natural wonders of Iceland.

Also check out the less popular but equally mesmerising Fjallsárlón that is nearby. Make your way down to the edge of the lake and put your hands on some century old glacier melt ice and just.. chill for a second... It was definitely my favourite spot of the entire trip, see it at both sunset and sunrise for a different experience, the following shots are actually shot on 2 different days as we stopped by it the next morning on our way back. I would recommend the sunrise or the mid day sun.  

Rolleiflex Automat MX, Kodak Portra 160, 120mm, Epson V700, 27th April 2015

Rolleiflex Automat MX, Kodak Portra 160, 120mm, Epson V700, 27th April 2015

Rolleiflex Automat MX, Kodak Portra 160, 120mm, Epson V700, 27th April 2015

Rolleiflex Automat MX, Kodak Portra 160, 120mm, Epson V700, 27th April 2015

Rolleiflex Automat MX, Kodak Portra 160, 120mm, Epson V700, 27th April 2015

Rolleiflex Automat MX, Kodak Portra 160, 120mm, Epson V700, 27th April 2015

Rolleiflex Automat MX, Kodak Portra 160, 120mm, Epson V700, 27th April 2015

Rolleiflex Automat MX, Kodak Portra 160, 120mm, Epson V700, 27th April 2015

Rolleiflex Automat MX, Kodak Portra 400, 120mm, Epson V700, 27th April 2015

Rolleiflex Automat MX, Kodak Portra 400, 120mm, Epson V700, 27th April 2015

Rolleiflex Automat MX, Kodak Portra 400, 120mm, Epson V700, 27th April 2015

Rolleiflex Automat MX, Kodak Portra 400, 120mm, Epson V700, 27th April 2015

Rolleiflex Automat MX, Kodak Portra 400, 120mm, Epson V700, 27th April 2015

Rolleiflex Automat MX, Kodak Portra 400, 120mm, Epson V700, 27th April 2015

Rolleiflex Automat MX, Kodak Portra 400, 120mm, Epson V700, 27th April 2015

Rolleiflex Automat MX, Kodak Portra 400, 120mm, Epson V700, 27th April 2015

I've gotten questions from people and friends asking me what my favourite camera is, well this is my favourite camera, there's just nothing like the experience of shooting with my Rolleiflex. This is the object i'd save in a fire, this is the camera i'd bring on all my travels if i only had one choice. Rolleiflex Automat MX, Schneider Kreuznach Xenar 3.5/75mm

Plus if you have a couple hundred bucks (got mine for about $500 on KEH bargain grade what a steal) lying around and you want a great TLR, this is it, check out KEH.com for deals or maybe even your local eBay.

Nikon D800E, Nikon 24-70mm F/2.8, Adobe Lightroom, 27th April 2015

Nikon D800E, Nikon 24-70mm F/2.8, Adobe Lightroom, 27th April 2015

Nikon D800E, Nikon 24-70mm F/2.8, Adobe Lightroom, 27th April 2015

Nikon D800E, Nikon 24-70mm F/2.8, Adobe Lightroom, 27th April 2015

Nikon D800E, Nikon 70-200mm F/2.8, Adobe Lightroom, 27th April 2015

Nikon D800E, Nikon 70-200mm F/2.8, Adobe Lightroom, 27th April 2015

Nikon D800E, Nikon 24-70mm F/2.8, Adobe Lightroom, 27th April 2015

Nikon D800E, Nikon 24-70mm F/2.8, Adobe Lightroom, 27th April 2015

 Fjallsárlón - The wind was crazy here, i could barely stand still but i managed to get a couple of shots and also some through the car window.

Nikon D800E, Nikon 70-200mm F/2.8, Adobe Lightroom, 27th April 2015

Nikon D800E, Nikon 70-200mm F/2.8, Adobe Lightroom, 27th April 2015

Nikon D800E, Nikon 70-200mm F/2.8, Adobe Lightroom, 27th April 2015

Nikon D800E, Nikon 70-200mm F/2.8, Adobe Lightroom, 27th April 2015

This was our last stop for the day, according to the plan, we were supposed to fuel up in Höfn and drive up to the East but we booked with Höfn Hostel instead, Snowstorm is still not letting up. I was kinda disappointed that we were going to give up the North as i was really looking forward to Goðafoss but i shall save that for the next trip. 

Did i also mention how beautiful the rest stops and viewing spots are?

Nikon D800E, Nikon 70-200mm F/2.8, Adobe Lightroom, 27th April 2015

Nikon D800E, Nikon 70-200mm F/2.8, Adobe Lightroom, 27th April 2015

We checked into a 4-bed private room with Höfn Hostel that night, which was pretty affordable considering we booked the last remaining room in that morning. We met up with my Army friends there for a little bit, made some noodles and crashed for the night. It's going to be a long day of driving for me tomorrow, the only stop being a hike at Skaftafell up to Svartifoss in between the 370km drive from Höfn to the Hella where we will be sharing a farmhouse stay with said army friends.

Iceland - April/May 15' - PART 1

It has always been a dream of mine to see Iceland, when i caught The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty i got so catalytically inspired and it catapulted the idea from a fantasy into reality as i started researching routes, costs and details about Iceland. I will share some of them here for those who have the same interest in self-driving Iceland.

For our trip we didn't make the whole Ring Road as we had to detour from the South-East back to the West as a snowstorm had deemed most roads impassable through the East and North during our dates, but ill get into that in detail later. It was hands-down the greatest trip i've had driving 1,900km (1,180mi) in our 4x4 Volvo XC60, the raw and pure beauty of Iceland gets to you, how colossal everything was compared to ourselves, how wild, scary and thrilling nature can really be. 

“We need the tonic of wildness...At the same time that we are earnest to explore and learn all things, we require that all things be mysterious and unexplorable, that land and sea be indefinitely wild, unsurveyed and unfathomed by us because unfathomable. We can never have enough of nature.” 
― Henry David ThoreauWalden


Here is a topographical map of Iceland with the route that we drove, what a massive place and I feel i've only scratched the surface, currently planning another trip there for January 16, definitely visiting the North this time. Winter Is Coming.

My travelling partners on this trip were 2 of my closest friends, Janelle and Haziq. We flew Finnair from Singapore with a long layover in Helsinki so we could also explore a bit of the city before moving on to Iceland, so we made use of the 6-8 hours we had to soak up the city, not much really, Cafes, stores, european architecture, cool churches, amazing Scandinavian product design stores but that's about it for me for Helsinki, I was prepared for the gritty raw nature.

Rolleiflex Automat MX, Kodak Ektar 100, 120mm, Epson V700, 24th April 2015

Rolleiflex Automat MX, Kodak Ektar 100, 120mm, Epson V700, 24th April 2015

Rolleiflex Automat MX, Kodak Ektar 100, 120mm, Epson V700, 24th April 2015

Rolleiflex Automat MX, Kodak Ektar 100, 120mm, Epson V700, 24th April 2015

Rolleiflex Automat MX, Kodak Ektar 100, 120mm, Epson V700, 24th April 2015

Rolleiflex Automat MX, Kodak Ektar 100, 120mm, Epson V700, 24th April 2015

We left Helsinki for our Icelandair connection and we were rewarded with a mid-day aerial view of the Icelandic highlands from the plane. So on April 24th, it was actually the first or second day of Summer, we got off the plane to SNOW. I think it was 3 Degree Celsius if I remembered correctly. That was very interesting to see, most of the asian passengers ran through the doors and were putting on more layers (hilarious to watch) so a tip to wear a couple more layers if you can, weather is very unpredictable. We got through security pretty quick there weren't that many people around, we went straight for the duty free shops for some supplies for the road but it ended up being Gum, Gummies and mini alcohol bottles. Haribos were immensely crucial to my driving on the roads, I was the only driver so frozen sweets definitely kept me awake.

We went out of the gates and a couple of guys from Thrifty.is were waiting for us to give us a lift to their office where the Volvo we were renting would be. Thrifty was pretty awesome and they had good reviews so i went with them, there are a couple of dogdy rental companies around so i would recommend a thorough google session for this. Reached the office, paid for the car and the insurance and we swiftly got our keys. Now speaking of insurance, it still is the thing you dont really need until you need it, theres the basic package, premium package and also the additional sand and ash add-ons. Read the fine print carefully! Basic package that is usually included doesnt really cover much, premium's got better coverage and sand and ash would save your ass. We were in sandstorms, covered in Volcanic Ash and we drove on gravel and sand that pummelled the car hard, by the end of the trip I had a good cleaning session just trying to get sand/ash and diesel stains off the surface of the car. 

iPhone 6, Processed with VSCOcam, 24th April 2015

iPhone 6, Processed with VSCOcam, 24th April 2015

So apart from getting the car, the only other plan we had for the day (it was probably about 5-6pm) was to go to the ultra touristy Blue Lagoon or Bláa Lónið. This is the lagoon where Björk and her son was photographed by Juergen Teller way back in 1993. The entry fee for the lagoon was 30 Euros for entry and the use of the showers which was highly recommended/mandatory. It was fairly pricey but i just wanted to enjoy it and experience it at least once. The silica mud was great, the temperature in contrast with the air was so comfortable, the mist that encapsulates the whole area was magical in the sun too which was a visual bonus. We stayed in there for a good 1-2 hours before plucking up the courage to get into the cold and back up into the showers. Overall a very wonderful and memorable experience, Highly recommended! We were on our way to Reykjavik for our Airbnb lodging for the night shortly after. Reykjavik had cosy streets and was fairly easy to drive/navigate with the GPS and we had no problems getting there. Met our host's sister who let us in and showed us our room which had 1 bedroom with a queen bed, a sofa bed, attached toilet and a kitchen, pretty awesome for the price. Sofa beds never felt so good after a long day.

GoPro Hero3, Processed with VSCOcam, 24th April 2015

GoPro Hero3, Processed with VSCOcam, 24th April 2015

25th April 15 - Day 2

Rough plans for Day 2, getting a couple of SIM Cards from Vodafone, Icelandic Hotdogs and the Golden Circle tour where we'll stop by Þingvellir National Park where we'll check out the Silfra Rift, heading up to Geysir, Gulfoss and end it off at the Kerið Crater before moving on to Hvolsvöllur where we'll be spending our next 2 nights in. This would mark the start of our drive onto the larger roads of Route 1, we had to stop at almost every rest stop to just breathe in the raw beauty of the views. 

Nikon D800E, Nikon 70-200mm F/2.8, Adobe Lightroom, 25th April 2015

Nikon D800E, Nikon 70-200mm F/2.8, Adobe Lightroom, 25th April 2015

Nikon D800E, Nikon 70-200mm F/2.8, Adobe Lightroom, 25th April 2015

Nikon D800E, Nikon 70-200mm F/2.8, Adobe Lightroom, 25th April 2015

Rolleiflex Automat MX, Kodak Ektar 100, 120mm, Epson V700, 25th April 2015

Rolleiflex Automat MX, Kodak Ektar 100, 120mm, Epson V700, 25th April 2015

First Stop, the Thingvellir National Park, there's a great deal of history of this area as the Assembly location of Iceland's parliament from 930 up till 1798. We took a little walk around the area, towards the top where the visitor's centre was located.

Rolleiflex Automat MX, Kodak Ektar 100, 120mm, Epson V700, 25th April 2015

Rolleiflex Automat MX, Kodak Ektar 100, 120mm, Epson V700, 25th April 2015

Rolleiflex Automat MX, Kodak Ektar 100, 120mm, Epson V700, 25th April 2015

Rolleiflex Automat MX, Kodak Ektar 100, 120mm, Epson V700, 25th April 2015

"The formation of Silfra and the Þingvellir valley is a consequence of the tectonic drift of the Eurasian and the North American plates. Every year, the plates drift about 2 cm further apart, which builds up tension between the plates and the earth mass above. This tension is released through a major earthquake approximately every ten years. In these earthquakes, cracks and fissures are formed in Þingvellir. Silfra is one of the largest cracks and started with a deep cave where most of the underwater wells feed it."

Rolleiflex Automat MX, Kodak Ektar 100, 120mm, Epson V700, 25th April 2015

Rolleiflex Automat MX, Kodak Ektar 100, 120mm, Epson V700, 25th April 2015

Nikon D800E, Nikon 70-200mm F/2.8, Adobe Lightroom, 25th April 2015

Nikon D800E, Nikon 70-200mm F/2.8, Adobe Lightroom, 25th April 2015

Nikon D800E, Nikon 70-200mm F/2.8, Adobe Lightroom, 25th April 2015

Nikon D800E, Nikon 70-200mm F/2.8, Adobe Lightroom, 25th April 2015

Strokkur, a fountain geyser in the geothermal area beside the Hvítá River that is still regularly erupting amongst many others that are less active.

Nikon D800E, Nikon 24-70mm F/2.8, Adobe Lightroom, 25th April 2015

Nikon D800E, Nikon 24-70mm F/2.8, Adobe Lightroom, 25th April 2015

Nikon D800E, Nikon 24-70mm F/2.8, Adobe Lightroom, 25th April 2015

Nikon D800E, Nikon 24-70mm F/2.8, Adobe Lightroom, 25th April 2015

Rolleiflex Automat MX, Kodak Ektar 100, 120mm, Epson V700, 25th April 2015

Rolleiflex Automat MX, Kodak Ektar 100, 120mm, Epson V700, 25th April 2015

After Geysir, we headed up north towards Gullfoss, one of the most popular tourist attractions in Iceland. As one first approaches the falls, the crevice is obscured from view, so that it appears that a mighty river simply vanishes into the earth. If you're lucky you would be able to see the rainbow in the falls on a sunny day.

Rolleiflex Automat MX, Kodak Portra 160, 120mm, Epson V700, 25th April 2015

Rolleiflex Automat MX, Kodak Portra 160, 120mm, Epson V700, 25th April 2015

iPhone 6, Processed with VSCOcam, 25th April 2015

iPhone 6, Processed with VSCOcam, 25th April 2015

Now after Gullfoss we were supposed to go back down south towards the Kerið Crater, with some research of its coordinates and also the GPS device itself, we were pointed to the area where its supposed to be. There was a turnoff into an unpaved road but the path got rougher the deeper we went, the car got stuck a couple times in holes and deep drops but the Volvo handled it well, thank goodness for 4WD. After countless close shaves of actually damaging the car, we gave up and went back around, giving up on the crater as it was getting pretty late. Really gotta get used to that 8pm Sunlight.

We drove for the next hour or two to this Airbnb in Hvolsvöllur, Björg, our host was extremely helpful over the phone. She runs an adventure company in South Iceland and gave a lot of tips for our travels and also advice on weather. Do check out her listing if you're ever in Hvolsvöllur, sick spacious place with an outdoor Hot Tub.

iPhone 6, Processed with VSCOcam, 26th April 2015

iPhone 6, Processed with VSCOcam, 26th April 2015

26th April 15 - Day 3

The morning of day 3 started off with a solo dip in the Hot Tub with a nice pear Skyr, which is an amazing Icelandic Yoghurt with a very different texture compared to normal yoghurts. We made some eggs, ham and toast that we got from Bónus (an affordable supermarket) for breakfast and was on our way out, aiming to go as far as the DC-3 Plane Crash site before returning back to Hvolsvöllur for a second night. 

Nikon D800E, Nikon 70-200mm F/2.8, Adobe Lightroom, 26th April 2015

Nikon D800E, Nikon 70-200mm F/2.8, Adobe Lightroom, 26th April 2015

Nikon D800E, Nikon 70-200mm F/2.8, Adobe Lightroom, 26th April 2015

Nikon D800E, Nikon 70-200mm F/2.8, Adobe Lightroom, 26th April 2015

First stop on the route was Seljalandsfoss. There is a route that leads behind the waterfall itself but the path was still frozen and a slippery hazard, but definitely check that view out when you're there in the summer.

Rolleiflex Automat MX, Kodak Portra 160, 120mm, Epson V700, 26th April 2015

Rolleiflex Automat MX, Kodak Portra 160, 120mm, Epson V700, 26th April 2015

Rolleiflex Automat MX, Kodak Portra 160, 120mm, Epson V700, 26th April 2015

Rolleiflex Automat MX, Kodak Portra 160, 120mm, Epson V700, 26th April 2015

Nikon D800E, Nikon 24-70mm F/2.8, Adobe Lightroom, 26th April 2015

Nikon D800E, Nikon 24-70mm F/2.8, Adobe Lightroom, 26th April 2015

Nikon D800E, Nikon 24-70mm F/2.8, Adobe Lightroom, 26th April 2015

Nikon D800E, Nikon 24-70mm F/2.8, Adobe Lightroom, 26th April 2015

Nikon D800E, Nikon 24-70mm F/2.8, Adobe Lightroom, 26th April 2015

Nikon D800E, Nikon 24-70mm F/2.8, Adobe Lightroom, 26th April 2015

Skógafoss is one of the biggest waterfalls in the country with a width of 25 metres (82 feet) and a drop of 60 m (200 ft). Due to the amount of spray the waterfall consistently produces, a single or double rainbow is normally visible on sunny days. According to legend, the first Viking settler in the area, Þrasi Þórólfsson, buried a treasure in a cave behind the waterfall. The legend continues that locals found the chest years later, but were only able to grasp the ring on the side of the chest before it disappeared again. The ring was allegedly given to the local church. The old church door ring is now in a museum, though whether it gives any credence to the folklore is debatable. Oh and scenes from Thor: The Dark World and The Secret Life of Walter Mitty was also filmed here. 

Nikon D800E, Nikon 70-200mm F/2.8, Adobe Lightroom, 26th April 2015

Nikon D800E, Nikon 70-200mm F/2.8, Adobe Lightroom, 26th April 2015

Nikon D800E, Nikon 24-70mm F/2.8, Adobe Lightroom, 26th April 2015

Nikon D800E, Nikon 24-70mm F/2.8, Adobe Lightroom, 26th April 2015

Nikon D800E, Nikon 24-70mm F/2.8, Adobe Lightroom, 26th April 2015

Nikon D800E, Nikon 24-70mm F/2.8, Adobe Lightroom, 26th April 2015

Nikon D800E, Nikon 24-70mm F/2.8, Adobe Lightroom, 26th April 2015

Nikon D800E, Nikon 24-70mm F/2.8, Adobe Lightroom, 26th April 2015

Rolleiflex Automat MX, Kodak Ektar 100, 120mm, Epson V700, 26th April 2015

Rolleiflex Automat MX, Kodak Ektar 100, 120mm, Epson V700, 26th April 2015

Rolleiflex Automat MX, Kodak Ektar 100, 120mm, Epson V700, 26th April 2015

Rolleiflex Automat MX, Kodak Ektar 100, 120mm, Epson V700, 26th April 2015

iPhone 6, Processed with VSCOcam, 26th April 2015

iPhone 6, Processed with VSCOcam, 26th April 2015

I have dreams about climbing/summiting mountains someday, maybe the 3776m Mt Fuji, 4096m Mt Kinabalu, 5885m Mt Kilimanjaro or maybe even one of the 8000m giants someday... So to actually semi struggle with this climb of 60m to the viewing deck proves that i definitely need much more training to actually reach those goals/heights.... I DIGRESS.

Rolleiflex Automat MX, Kodak Ektar 100, 120mm, Epson V700, 26th April 2015

Rolleiflex Automat MX, Kodak Ektar 100, 120mm, Epson V700, 26th April 2015

For our next stop, some of you may have seen this on Instagram or online, a carcass of a plane in the middle of a black sand beach. The story behind it was that on Nov 24, 1973, a United States Navy Douglas Super DC-3 airplane was forced to land on Sólheimasandur’s black sand beach in the south of Iceland after experiencing some severe icing. All crew members survived the crash, but the airplane’s fuselage was abandoned and now it is one of Iceland's most haunting and iconic photography locations. Do research on how to actually get to this location, there are several articles and Google Maps also have it logged as a place of interest. It is about 9.3km towards the shoreline driving through a black sand beach to actually get to the plane, it is easy to get lost but make sure you follow the tracks that are left there by several jeeps that run tours to the plane. But just in case, these are the coordinates of the plane. 63.459523, -19.364618

There is a sign at the turnoff from Route 1 into the black sand that indicates you'll require a 4WD vehicle to actually drive on this road, people have driven in with normal 2WD cars but i could see why a 4WD would be good. you'll be vulnerable to gravel damage or getting stuck while driving up a dune. Also, never ever drive off-road (off a path, track or road and over vegetation) We almost got in trouble with some locals when we got lost and was driving across some Moss towards the road as we lost the path in the dunes. They take that very seriously there as the growth of vegetation could be hindered by years from our damage. (we sincerely apologized)

Nikon D800E, Nikon 70-200mm F/2.8, Adobe Lightroom, 26th April 2015

Nikon D800E, Nikon 70-200mm F/2.8, Adobe Lightroom, 26th April 2015

Nikon D800E, Nikon 70-200mm F/2.8, Adobe Lightroom, 26th April 2015

Nikon D800E, Nikon 70-200mm F/2.8, Adobe Lightroom, 26th April 2015

Nikon D800E, Nikon 24-70mm F/2.8, Adobe Lightroom, 26th April 2015

Nikon D800E, Nikon 24-70mm F/2.8, Adobe Lightroom, 26th April 2015

Rolleiflex Automat MX, Kodak Ektar 100, 120mm, Epson V700, 26th April 2015

Rolleiflex Automat MX, Kodak Ektar 100, 120mm, Epson V700, 26th April 2015

Rolleiflex Automat MX, Kodak Ektar 100, 120mm, Epson V700, 26th April 2015

Rolleiflex Automat MX, Kodak Ektar 100, 120mm, Epson V700, 26th April 2015

Rolleiflex Automat MX, Kodak Ektar 100, 120mm, Epson V700, 26th April 2015

Rolleiflex Automat MX, Kodak Ektar 100, 120mm, Epson V700, 26th April 2015

Rolleiflex Automat MX, Kodak Ektar 100, 120mm, Epson V700, 26th April 2015

Rolleiflex Automat MX, Kodak Ektar 100, 120mm, Epson V700, 26th April 2015

This was the furthest we got through the South before turning around and driving 60km back to Hvolsvöllur, Tourists who are often in Iceland for a Layover would also travel this far on a day trip before going for their layover flight so that could be a consideration. 

Now this post is getting pretty long and i think i am going to publish this for now and continue Day 4-8 on a seperate post. Do leave me some comments on what you think or if you have any questions i could answer. Im really new to this blogging thing and i can imagine myself posting some really technical and geeky posts on Film Photography and such. But i hope all of you would enjoy this and maybe someday visit this beautiful country too!