One of the best trips we have been on. We plan to return to Iceland since there is so much to see. Perhaps in the winter.
We will be sure to use Nordic Visitor again. They did a great job of customizing our trip, booking our rental car, and making all the B&B bookings (all of which were great). Their package is very complete with lots of maps and information. It made everything worry free. Very professional and also very friendly. Check out their website: www.iceland.nordicvisitor.com
Photographically I feel that I did a much better job from a technical perspective. Using a tripod, f14 (or the sweet spot for the lens) for sharpness and depth of field, and 2 second mirror lock up all make a huge difference. As for composition and the "eye" for the image, well, I still have much to learn from the master.
Thanks for all your positive and encouraging comments.
4:30am came early but with it being so light one did not have the same sensation of getting up really early.
We made it to the airport and our flight left on time. When we arrived at Manchester our bags were already out by the time we got to the luggage carousel so we headed for the train which is a 10 min walk within the airport. Turns out that there was a train in 10 minutes which we got with 8 minutes to spare after buying the tickets.
We arrived at Oxenholme Lake District station at 1:30 pm where Maggie's brother, Rob, picked us up and drove us to a local farm where we store our car while away.
And the weather? It was rubbish (as the English say) almost the entire time we were away. They have had torrential rains and flooding in many areas in the UK (fortunately not in Kirkby Lonsdale). Remarkably, by the time we arrived at Oxenholme, the skies had cleared and we had fluffy clouds and blue skies, and the warmest temperatures in the past 3 weeks. What a perfect end to our trip.
Another brilliant weather day but sadly it was time for us to head back to Reykjavik, return our car, and get ready for a 4:30am rise the next morning for our flight back to Manchester.
We did manage to stop a number of times to grab some quick shots, but had to turn a blind eye to many others.
We arrived back in Reykjavik in late afternoon and although the skies were blue we did not have much time for more photography. We did go back up the cathedral to get some more shots in late day light. While there, we could hear the organ playing inside so went in and enjoyed listening to the organist as he rehearsed for some later event. A delightful respite.
There was a jazz trio playing at our hostel which we would have loved to listen to but alas had to retire for our early start the next day. Unfortunately we could hear them playing so ended up having a late night in the end. We were so happy with our trip that it didn't seem to matter.
Today we awoke to, you guessed it, clear blue skies.
We spent the entire day driving around the Snaefellsjokull glacier, a total distance of less than 100 km. There were just so many photo opportunities that we made many many stops, including one we stumbled upon to a dead humpback whale on a remote beach. It was sad to see such a magnificent creature dead on the beach. It looked like it had been there for months and it could be years before there are only bones left. In Iceland, there are only birds and bacteria to do the disposal work.
Maggie and I each took about 400 photos today.
Today was our first truly wet and misty day. Since it was largely a travel day with several hours on the ferry, it was perfect timing. When we arrived at Snaefellsnes peninsula, we saw nothing above about 50 meters as we drove along the north coast to the fishing out port location of Rif where we were staying for the next two nights.
Puffins, puffins, amazing puffins (after a hair raising drive on gravel roads around fjords and over mountain passes in excess of 500 m). Maggie was hanging over the cliff edges on her side of the car and having some scary moments to say the least!!!
This was our second day in Isafjordur. We started by driving through a 5 km tunnel to the next village called Bolungarvik to see the Osvor Folk Museum (depicting traditional life of fishermen). The museum is a well presented reproduction of fishermen huts filled with original artifacts. A guided tour was given by a local person in traditional Icelandic sheepskin leather clothing used by fishermen in the past.
The pleasant and knowledgeable attendant, Loi, commented that this summer has the driest in many years. Lucky us, 15 days and virtually no rain (not so good for the farmers). She also encouraged us to visit Bolungarvik which turned out to be a delightful village well worth the visit. The village is one of Iceland's oldest fishing outposts.
Later in the day Maggie went on a 3 hour boat tour to Vigur, an island were she photographed birds and saw how eiderdown was collected and processed. While Maggie was on her tour, I hiked up the mountain next to Isafjordur and was rewarded with amazing views.
Today we had sun until late in the day, the opposite of the usual pattern. Shortly after leaving Drangsnes we traveled over fairly high pass and then dropped down into the western fjords region. The distance to our destination was not long as the crow flies, but of course, it was much longer as we drove in and out of numerous fjords. What a lovely drive it was.
Photography always involves some luck. We had just started our journey and had made several stops in the first 5 km. As we drove along, we debated stopping once again as we saw a fishing boat heading out the misty fjord. Just as we stopped a humpback whale came up right beside the fishing boat. It would have been a great shot had we stopped 20 seconds sooner.
We arrived at our destination, Isafjordur, in mid afternoon. We had lots of time to explore and photograph this delightful fishing port, the largest in the western fjords.
We now start 4 days in the northwest fjords area. Travel is a short distance from point to point but long distance when you have to travel in and out of the fjords. Each a beautiful vista on its own.
Our first major destination involved a 60 km detour to Hvritserkur - and boy was it worth it. Nature is a wonderful sculptor.
After that we had a lovely drive in and out of the fjords. The east side of the northwest fjords region, the Strandir coast, receives a lot of driftwood from Siberia and Norway. Collecting this wood was an important industry in the past. Although still collected today, it is not a major industry.
At our destination, Drangsnes, we met a friendly Canadian couple, Howard and Amy, and their son who were camping wild around Iceland. They were warming up in the local hot tub.
Our first major stop today was the magnificent Godafoss waterfalls. It was just off the main road so we thought it would be a quick stop. An hour later we were on our way again.
Then we arrived in Akureyri, the main city in northern Iceland. We enjoyed looking around this colourful and interesting city. Had a great lunch at Bautinn's - a real salad bar (other than lettuce and tomatoes) so it was a treat. Unfortunately the Art Gallery was closed but we saw some wonderful installation art in the street.
Then we stopped at an old turf church and farm museum on our way to our destination for the day of Saudarkorkur. There we discovered the most extensive fish drying racks we have ever seen.