I have heard many photographers talking about the magic of Iceland over the years. As both a photographer and an editor I have seen some incredible images that other photographers have returned with, and subsequently Iceland was firmly on my ‘bucket list’ of places to visit.
Last month I made my first trip to this beautiful country and I will freely admit that I was awestruck. I have visited many superb locations around the world but none have had such a great influence on me… until now!
We started our 12-day journey at Skogafoss (foss being the Icelandic word for waterfall) and it is truly the most impressive waterfall I have seen in my life. Once you have photographed it, you start dismissing all other waterfalls as insignificant. The sheer vertical drop, the volume of water and its thunderous sound are enough to keep you hypnotised. Although Skogafoss is extremely popular, and has a campsite right next to it, there was not a soul photographing it in the early morning hours. I had the whole place to myself; well, aside from my two friends.
Next on the list was Jökulsárlón, which literally translates as ‘glacial river lagoon’. At the other end of the lagoon, Vatnajökull (the largest glacier in Iceland) was emerging through the mist and clouds, desperately seeking the attention it deserves. The amount of icebergs that become disconnected from it on a daily basis is unbelievable, and you can see them floating and drifting majestically around the lagoon. They can be found around any of the shores depending on the direction of the wind and, as luck would have it, they were floating within yards of the shore where we were standing.
The views were mesmerising but eventually it was time to start heading towards the highlands. I wondered what on earth the highlands could possibly offer to top what we had already seen on the south coast!
We hired a local guide for our adventure, which proved to be a wise choice. The vehicle he was driving us around in can only be described as a monster on steroids. At times it made me wonder if there is a place on this planet that this vehicle couldn’t go! We crossed deep rivers, we climbed hills and we reached some of the most inaccessible places in Iceland, and all that as passengers. Sometimes I felt like climbing on its roof and shout… “freedom”!
Of all the beauty I came across during my time in this remarkable country, I believe the highlands made the greatest impression on me. It is the highlands where one can feel truly isolated and in touch with nature – there are very few tourists and a lot of wild country.
Besides the extraordinary scenery, the vast waterfalls, the volcanoes and the breathtaking beauty of the highlands, there is one more thing that I will never forget – the night we had whiskey on the rocks. These were not just any rocks, however, these rocks were more than 3000 years old and originated from Jökulsárlón. Our guide had lifted a piece of ice from the beach and put it in the trailer – never has whiskey tasted any better than that!
Flying back home to the UK was bittersweet, but I know I will be booking my next visit back to this magical place very soon. In fact, my next workshop will be at the highlands of Iceland and Pall, our Icelandic guide, will be the one who will help us explore this extraordinary country even further.
If you wish to join me on this breathtaking adventure, you can pre-book your place now, and guarantee a space for yourself in our monster vehicle.