Iceland trip
July 2005



Two adults, one camera, a three year old and about 3000 km in nine days were the ingredients of our trip to Iceland. The point of the destination was to try out the best camera we've owned so far, our new Canon EOS Digital Rebel. Still, it was a far cry from the rugged, 4WD, trek-across-the-interior-and-shoot-all-night expeditions usually favoured by real photographers. Instead, we ended up with a VW Polo, which confined us to the outer regions of Iceland, slept in proper beds and did most of our shooting between 9am and 7pm.

For us, this turned out to be a much better option than waiting another decade or so, though this photograph has to stand alongside the serene landscapes of the 'official' gallery, as an indication of what the trip was also like. Contrary to our travel agents advice, Iceland turns out to be as great a place for a family holiday as it is for photography, though only the Scandinavians seem to show up with their kids in force. Our daughter had a fine time exploring this new environment, as you can see. I was thinking of using this image of three year old eccentricity to mount an anti-global warming campaign, but in fact, it was pretty cold, and her clothing five minutes before and five minutes later consisted of a snow-suit, boots and mittens.

Speaking only for myself, I found the driving on this particular trip a bit much. Now I know my way around Iceland a bit, I have different plans for next time, which I hope will be soon. I would simply head straight to the Myvatn area in the north-east and make my base there for a week or so, in some nice self-catering accomodation. Apart from being a well-equipped and pleasant place in itself, it seemed to me that from Myvatn it's possible to access a wide variety of the different Icelandic landscapes from a single base without too much driving. Deserts, port towns, fjords, volcanic areas, birch woodland, classic green hill and farm landscapes… Akureyri, the second biggest city in Iceland is close and excursions to the interior are possible with a 4-wheel drive. I also had the opportunity to admire photographs taken of this area in spring, under snow or with autumn colours, and would happily attempt a trip earlier or later in the year, despite the increase in organisational level involved.

Though Iceland is fantastic, nobody is likely to call it inexpensive, and in the end we were just glad to get out of there not having lost too much weight due to skimping on meals. This led directly to the biggest photographic screw-up I made whilst there, which was to not purchase the book, Faces of the North, by Ragnar Axelsson, apparently unavailable outside Iceland. If you'd like to see some seriously interesting photography of Iceland and other northern climes, you can check out his site.