Phew! What a trip I’ve had during the last week! On my previous post I mentioned that I was going to Iceland for a photography workshop (Land of Ice – South Iceland winter photo workshop, lead by Erez Marom), from which I have just returned today. I enjoyed it a lot, and I had a great time getting to know new people and learning new things I can use in my photography.
The trip started on Wednesday morning on the 6th. For some reason I had remembered that my flight would leave Helsinki around noon, but no. It was an early morning flight to London first, and then from there to Reykjavík so that I arrived at Keflavík airport a little after 14:30. It was a little confusing to walk around a new airport, but in the end I found the passport control line and went to wait for my suitcase. They had some technical difficulties with the bags, so I had to wait for over an hour to get my bag. It made me really happy that I didn’t need to go to the store in the city for my ice spikes or winter rubber boots, as I would had only 10 minutes to get to the store from the hotel before it closed for the day. Phew, talk about good luck for getting everything in advance!
I was really nervous before meeting the group, because it was all new and I didn’t know what to expect, but luckily it all turned to be okay. We went out to dinner as a group, and it was one of the funniest dinners I’ve had in a long time, especially considering that we were all pretty much strangers to each other at that point. But we shared some stories and got to know each other, so at least there was lot to talk about! We also talked about the days ahead, which gave us a pretty good idea what to look forward to. I was really looking forward to visiting the ice caves and seeing Jökulsárlón. Ice! Lots of ice! And snow! Yay!
On the second day of the workshop, we left the hotel after breakfast, and well before sunrise. Our first stop was at Seljalandsfoss, a beautiful waterfall that is one of the best known waterfalls in Iceland (pictured above). I had been hoping to see it surrounded by snow, but no such luck. It was still a very pretty sight, and we also managed to go behind it to see if we could shoot there. There was a lot of spray in the air, though, so we couldn’t really do that. It was still fun to see! I don’t think I’ve ever been behind a waterfall before, so there’s that at least! I also got reassurance that yes, my winter pants really are waterproofed, as I doubted them a little, haha 😀
The second stop was at Skógafoss, another waterfall. It was really impressive! Here we went into the river to get a better picture, and I got to see if my boots were really waterproof or if they would leak already 😉
Last stop of the day before heading to our hotel in Vík was at the black sand beach near the village. The plan had been to photograph the beach and the basalt seastacks, but because the wind was going crazy, it was too dangerous for us to do. We had fun trying to walk straight at the beach, though. We went to the other side of the beach (the village side) for sunrise the next day, and it was maybe a little better. Still very windy, but at least we got to do some shooting as long as we kept a careful eye on the waves. I had thought that Erez had exaggerated a little when he said that the waves/splashes can reach up to our waist if a really big one hits us on the beach, but yeah. Turned out to be true, haha! At least I didn’t get water in my boots just yet then. The waves were really strong sometimes. You really needed to stand your ground not to be swept back into the ocean with them!
Most of us went back to the other side again for sunset (some silly people stayed at the hotel – I mean, come on, you paid to be here!), but the wind was still very strong, over 40 meters a second, so we didn’t shoot. We had some fun again trying to walk. My roommate actually fell down because it was so windy. I also almost lost my beanie to the wind and had trouble advancing when we were getting back to the bus. The rocky sand was hitting my face and I had to pull my beanie down to my eyes, but it was a lot of fun.
On the fourth day we had our super jeep ride to the Mýrdalsjökull glacier. FUN! SUPER FUN! The views were also amazing. We were very lucky, I hear, that we got to visit 3 ice caves that day. The first one easy to get to, just walking. The second one had a very narrow passage on the top, after which we had to use a rope for help as we walked down and jumped a little river. There really wasn’t much level ground to stand on, and not much space at times, but it was a very pretty cave nonetheless. The last one we had to climb up to. It was a bit nerve-wracking as the fall would have been quite long, haha. But we got in and out safely, mostly thanks to our mountain goat of a guide, haha. For lunch we went into a big cave and had some really good lamb soup and homemade bread. Yummy! After that we got back to our little bus and started towards Hali and Jökulsárlón.
Read Part Two here.