Iceland, Switzerland, France Travel Report for Friends
I recently took a European tour with two friends joining me for the first leg of it. Even though we were delayed 24 hours with the worst airline I’ve ever traveled (Iceland Express, make sure to travel Iceland Air), it was still quite worth it. We lost a day and a night in Iceland which made the more nervous/jumpy of us (Mike) almost want to cancel the trip. Fortunately we still ended up going and it was an amazing experience. The highlight for me was the Blue Lagoon, it was a singularly unique experience and makes all other thermal mineral spas seem quaint by comparison. The in pool bar and massages really bring the experience forward to another level.
I recommend renting a car like we did the first day, the rates are competitive. It’ll give you the freedom to explore the island. In the future, when I return I think a four wheel drive and more rugged vehicle might be a better choice. We took some paths that were clearly not meant for our little Skoda wagon. We drove in much farther than smart people would have given the isolation and cold. A helicopter tour to see the volcano and whale watching tour are also two things we missed that will be on top of the list for our next trip. We did manage to catch the aurora borealis though and that was the other major highlight for myself besides the other worldly beautiful landscape.
Photographically, I was carrying a lot of equipment. In my backpack were:
1. Sony A850 Full Frame 24mpx camera
2. Zeiss C/Y mount (Leitax adapted to Alpha) 35-70mm F3.4 (my most used lens of the trip)
3. Zeiss ZF.2 mount (Leitax adapted to Alpha) 21mm F2.8 (my second most used lens)
4. Tamron 70-300mm F4-5.6 (brought it for whaling but didn’t use it.)
5. Zeiss Sony ZA 85mm F1.4
7. Sony NEX-5N (APS-C) with LA-EA1 adapter
8. Contax G Zeiss 28mm F2.8
9. Contax G Zeiss 45mm F2
10. Sony 16mm F2.8
11. Giotto tripod system with Vanguard GH-100 pistol grip ball head
12. Sony TX5 Waterproof Compact Camera
So without further ado, some highlights of the trip:
Airport Bar, we became regulars. Unfortunately they didn't accept Iceland Express Vouchers for booze. We would have made it rain.
We finally made it! Mike could not believe it.
Downtown Reykjavik in our first morning. Used the auto HDR option on the 5N
More of Reykjavik
Curious what kind of berries these are.
We enjoy British cars, especially Mike.
The waters of the Blue Lagoon
It was quite minerally.
The Before Picture
It was a rocky alien place
Cheers to you my friends, wish you were here.
We all salute you.
I don't look at cameras.
The content look on his face is because that was that super hot place in the pool.
I told you I don't look at cameras.
Vnuk likes what is all over his face.
Mike looks like a condor
Vnuk trying my technique of not looking at the camera.
Way too cool to look at cameras.
B&W apparently makes every individual tooth very visible.
The Blue Lagoon is a very relaxing place
If I look at cameras, I do not smile.
The in pool bar
The Blue Lagoon Money shot, the little TX5 isn't bad with flare.
A must visit stop if you visit Iceland
After the Lagoon
Blue Lagoon Sign
Puffins, Whale Meat, Shark Meat, no big deal.
Stop copying my pose Vnuk.
Fermented shark meat makes you a little crazy. A little crazy awesome.
Mussels, shark meat, puffin meat, and whale meat (looks like tuna)
Make sure you eat here and when you order the fermented shark, finish the bowl.
First night shot of the trip.
We caught the Aurora and didn't even know it.
Woah okay now we see it. Who knew there were rainbows at night?
Sometimes it was very easy to see.
It was actually much darker than the photos imply. These were extended duration.
More Aurora Borealis
Some of the light pollution from Reykjavik
Nobody say Green Latern
In some ways, it kind of looks like we
I wish we could get these kind of starry nights in Manhattan.
And finally my favorite aurora borealis shot of the night
Driving along, we found some rock piles.
Mike and Vnuk decided to start making their own piles. Man's obsession with changing his environment, insatiable.
This is why it is amusing when man gets thwarted. Thankfully not our car but some other unfortunate tourists.
At least it happened on a main road. This would have been ultra bad not good disaster if it happened in some of the rock trails we drove in with our Skoda wagon.
How do you keep two idiots busy?
At least it was a bit scenic.
A change of pace for Vnuk. Mike delegating work to Vnuk.
Their final product after thirty minutes of work. I knocked it over right as we left. Why? Who knows why.
Vnuk was asleep in the car and refused to get up as we saw some of the most amazing scenery I've ever witnessed.
Mike was a faithful and useful photographer's assistant.
It was just jaw dropping to see it in person.
Lots of horses in Iceland
A somewhat trite shot of a road way to a farm.
Our faithful little Skoda wagon. Everywhere you looked were snow capped mountains.
Wild horses having a grazing time.
We visited some geysers
It was very excited to see us as well. Hurrah!
Tranquil... but deceiving
It was actually extremely cold and the wind was Biting.
Icelands biggest waterfall
It was actually pretty scenic.
Quite nice but the wind also drenched us.
Vnuk catching ZZs whenever he can.
Ninja Photo assassin
Some people for scale.
My favorite shot of the waterfall.
We ran into some curious sheep.
I think they would have made some great lamb chops.
yup its another road.
Evil plotting look.
Matt Vnuk Christian Rock Album Cover
Just another perfect sunset in Iceland.
One Final aurora
Okay folks, that ends Iceland. If you want to see more of Iceland a bit bigger, check here: http://jaegraphy.com/lightroom/icelandswiss/index.html.
I’ll be adding Switzerland, Swiss Alps, French Castles, and the Yoon-Lindauer family this week!
And remember you can always buy prints at www.jaegraphy.com