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Iceland: Land of Fire and Ice

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Iceland has so much to offer that even the scenes alongside the road are little jewels. It is of no surprise it is the most inspirational destination for Nick Page

Iceland is one of the most entertaining, diverse landscape for the landscape photographer. What could be better than an easy to navigate land filled with green moss, waterfalls, glaciers, seascapes, volcanoes, midnight sun and Aurora Borealis?

Best time to visit
Fall and summer. Fall in Iceland produces the nice blend of extended golden hours due to the low angle of the sun, days that are not too long or too short, and nights that are dark enough to allow you a chance at photographing the Aurora Borealis. In the summer, Iceland becomes the Land of the Midnight Sun, where you get about 6 hours of spectacular light during the nights, and you can avoid the tourists as they sleep in their cozy beds.

Time allowed
As Iceland is larger than you might think, and the weather can be very hit and miss, allow yourself 7-10 days. This way you have the most opportunity for good light lining up with your time at your favorite locations.

Town of arrival
You will fly into Keflavik, which is actually close to several nice shooting locations. As the days are long and the time zone is different than what you are used to, I suggest staying your first night in Hafnarfjordur, to get a good night’s rest and gear up for your adventure.

Favorite location while visiting
Jokusarlon and ice beach. The south eastern part of Iceland deserves its accolades. Jokusarlon and Ice beach are two of the most fun, and fruitful places to photograph in the world. It’s a place where every image is different, and a photographer can be an artist. Jokusarlon (the Iceberg lagoon) is filled with huge chunks of ice that have fallen off the glacier, and float around in the lagoon until they slowly work their way out to sea. The amount of ice can vary greatly, but its always an amazing place for telephoto abstracts and colorful reflections during sunrise, twilight and sunset. Ice beach is where all of these chunks of ice end up. They flow out into the ocean, then wash up on the black sand beach. Each piece of ice is a piece of art in itself and photographing them as the waves and water interact with them is one of the most endlessly entertaining subjects.

Physical activity needed
Most of the shooting locations require very little hiking or scrambling. Iceland has so much to offer that even the scenes alongside the road are little jewels. There are, of course, places where a little hiking effort pays off, as in the interior, or the beautiful Ice caves, but effort is always rewarded in Iceland.

Area’s favorite location
Aside from the more photographed southern coast, the West Fjords is one of my favorite places. It is remote and holds one of the largest, most massive waterfalls you have ever seen, Dynjandi!

Physical activity required
The hike at Dynjandi is moderate. With a climb of 200 feet or so it is easily accessible by most visitors.

Besides photography
The history and sagas of Iceland are fascinating. You can visit the home of Eric the Red (Leif Erikson’s father) and other early settlements. The Icelandic people are very proud of their Viking heritage and evidence of that can be found at many of their historical sites.

Exciting discoveries
There are so many waterfalls in Iceland that they don't bother to name them all. If you are looking for a unique picture that no one else has, then photograph some of the smaller waterfalls that litter the Icelandic landscape.

Do not miss this
It has been shot to death, but there is a reason. Kirkjufellfoss is one of the most photogenic locations I have ever photographed. You see a million photos of it. This is because it is very, very hard to take a bad picture there.  Waterfall in your foreground, perfect conical mountain in the background!

Best advice
Because Iceland’s tourism is booming right now, visiting in the summer is a great way to avoid the tourists at your locations. While they are sleeping in their hotels, you are out getting the shot!  Go in the summer, and shoot all night!

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