Here we go: Iceland, Part 1.

We booked our tickets nearly a year in advance, my wife and I. We rented a small apartment on a horse farm (there were sheep too…so many sheep) in West Iceland, booked a Dacia Duster 4×4 and waited patiently for the date to come.

Who am I kidding? There was very little patience involved. Iceland is one of the most beautiful places in the world, and I was itching to be there. I’d been watching all the amazing work photographers I admire were doing in Iceland and I wanted try my hand.

We took a red-eye with WOW Air and arrived just after 5:00am, bleary eyed and hungry. By 5:30 we had picked up the Dacia, a relatively awful meal at the 24-hour Subway just south of Keflavik (only thing open) and were off to Valahnúkur to catch the sunrise. While the sunrise was beautiful, Iceland leaves a photographer spoiled for choice:

day-1

And just to the left:

crashing-waves

And just behind:

lighthouse

That is the lovely Reykjanes Lighthouse, built after the first lighthouse on Valahnúkur mountain suffered damage in a series of earthquakes leading up to 1905.

Back on the road, which is where we spent most of the first day. We put nearly 400 kilometers on the rental car in the first day and saw landscapes as varied as you can imagine. One minute, we felt as though we were on the surface of the moon. The next, it looked like New Mexico. Then Montana. Then back to the moon. In point of fact, we didn’t stop much for Serious Photography. I just wanted to see. To be in the place. Catch some of the more tourist-y sights:

gulfoss-xl

Gulfoss

And then, settle down and enjoy the light and the size of the sky. In the week we were there, the weather ranged from warm to brisk, sunny to rainy, but the light was always amazing. Just look at the play of light and shadow on some distant hills:

distant20hills-xl

The view heading toward Þingvellir, before enjoying some of the finest dirt roads Iceland has to offer (F338, to be specific).

Next up: Some of the Serious Photography, sheep, horses, and, as is always the case in Iceland, more sheep.

–Brent

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