Hi all! I’ve been super busy over at ON1 Plus, and kind of neglecting the blog a bit. But now that I’ve got some breathing room, I have some posts I’ll start sharing over the next few weeks.
But first, I figured I’d share my Iceland adventure with you. I had the chance to take a trip with my wife Diana and some friends this week. First, I’ll be posting images throughout the week on Instagram. Give me a follow here to join in. I chose it because it’s the easiest place to post photos on the go. It doesn’t have a desktop app and everything is meant to post from your phone. So creating blog posts to post here, or Facebook/Twitter posts isn’t quite as easy for sharing photos quickly. If you want to follow along with me, just follow my Instagram account right here.
Next, as far as the trip goes, here’s some quick info…
How the Trip Came Up
Earlier this year, some photography friends of mine saw a great price for flights to Iceland ($400 roundtrip!). So an email went out, and they started to get a group together. I initially had ZERO intentions of going. Right now, I’m crazy busy with training, photo critiques, editing and everything at ON1 Plus. Not to mention, just overall ON1 work, and family life is crazy right now. But as my wife and I talked about it, we thought it’d be a great trip for us. So she and I jumped in on the group, and booked our tickets.
I’m totally psyched. Not just because I’m going shooting, but my wife and I haven’t been on a trip like this in years and I’m really looking forward to experiencing this with her. She’s not a hard-core photographer, but she is interested and it’s been fun to help her along the way during our trip.
Everyone Needs a Good Friend
Part of the ease to jump in so quick, was because I know one of my buddies, John “the Snake” Barrett, was planning the trip. He plans details and trips on a level that I simply cannot. And I’m SOOO thankful for that, because he makes our lives so much easier when we travel. I’d probably never book this trip alone, but knowing he was taking care of us made it an easy “yes”. And I have to say that so far, it has been absolutely awesome! He’s planned out the perfect trip as far as photography locations, Aurora Borealis locations, good food, good friendship time, and overall vacation time (with even a little bit of relaxation time fit in). Remember, this isn’t a photo workshop – this is a bunch of friends getting together to shoot. And if this is any indicator on how good a time we’re having, we were at breakfast this morning and I actually forgot what day today is 🙂
I know when planning a trip that finances are always on people’s minds. So before we even get going, I figured I’d share how we pulled this off. We have a group of 9 people going (including my wife and I). We’re basically adding up the costs for hotels, car, gas, water, and any other group fees and splitting them 9 ways. We’re bringing lots of snacks to cut down on big meals during the day. We’ll do a quick breakfast in the morning and probably something better for dinner at night. So, it’ll be as economical of a trip as possible.
I wrote a while back about my switch over to Sony. I’m packing fairly light and only bringing the essentials to keep my bag easy to carry around. I brought the Sony A7R II, 16-35, 24-70, and 70-200. I also brought along some new ND and polarizing filters from Vu that are made specifically for the mirrorless lenses (meaning they’re a lot smaller). So far I’m absolutely love them!
Since this is a group of photography buddies I do have an advantage here. While my wife isn’t a hard-core photographer, she is interested in it, and she knows our primary purpose for going is shooting. But we’ll still want time to explore towns, museums and some areas in Iceland that aren’t totally about shooting. After all, this is a trip for her and I as well. So far, it’s been great. The two of us are actually sitting on some couches editing with some coffee as I write this since it’s snowing so bad outside.
Luckily though, since this is a photography trip, getting there for sunrise/sunset/northern lights won’t be an issue. However, I’m envisioning that while traveling from point A to point B during the day, we’re going to come across some amazing sights at non-golden-hour times. So I’ll have lots of chances to try to shoot whatever I can, whenever I can. That alone makes for some great blog posts and articles.
And Yes, We’ve Already Seen the Aurora Borealis!
I think anyone that comes to Iceland in the winter has hopes of seeing the Aurora Borealis. And I know so many people that have come out this way for a week, and never seen it. Well, I’m super excited to report that on just Day 2 of our trip, we saw the lights. And if you can believe it, we saw them the next 2 nights too. Tonight is actually forecast to be really good too, so maybe we’ll get lucky again. Here’s a few shots:
Camera settings: Sony A7R II, Sony 16-35 mm lens, f/4, 13 sec, ISO 1600 / Processed in Lightroom for basic exposure, noise, and ON1 for color and style.
My Wife Steals the Show
My wife Diana, borrowed a Sony A7 and has been shooting the whole trip. She’s been teasing me about how her photos will end up being better than mine. Now I’m starting to believe her. Here’s a couple of photos she took over the last couple of days. Keep in mind, this is her 3rd day with a camera! She’s got a great eye though. I absolutely love the one she got of me walking back from photographing in the ice lagoon. So cool! And the one below is one she captured of some one standing on the black sand beach at sunrise.
Well, thanks for checking in! I’ve got a lot of cool things to share when I get back so stay tuned. Have a good one! 🙂
Going in March 2017 for two weeks. Are you willing to share your itinerary? Would me most grateful.
So excited for you, it is truly spectacular!!! A friend of ours was kind enough to do all the planning, and really made it a fantastic trip! Wishing you a wonderful trip 🙂
Here’s our itinerary:
Feb 28 –
Arrive Keflavik / Reykjavik airport 06:30
Pick up car(s)
Drive to Vik stopping a lot along the way
Night stay at Guesthouse Steig
Feb 29 –
Drive to Jokulsarlon Ice Lagoon
2 Night stay at Guesthouse Skalafell
Mar 2 –
Drive back to Vik
2 Night stay at Volcano Hotel
Ice Cave tour (if Johann says it’s safe) It might be a bit pricy, but worth it. We’ll check with him before we leave Vik on day 2.
Day trips include waterfalls we missed, DC3 airplane, black sand beach.
Mar 4 –
Drive to Selfoss
2 Night Stay at an AirBnB
Golden Circle and Blue Lagoon. Tons of waterfalls.
Matt, thanks for all of the advise over the years. I am actually planning a trip there next year with my parents. My father and I both enjoy photography and will try and spend half of the trip taking some great shots. Any advise on the best locations to catch the Aurora Borealis – or do you just need to get out of town. Any recommendations would be appreciated.
Hello Matt. What bag(s) did you use to carry your Sony gear on this trip?
I’m going next January. Any recommendations on clothing or personal gear to manage the cold and weather?
great stuff..heading over in May for 2 weeks..doing the ring..first time doing the motorhome thing..
Awesome guys. Hope you’re having a great time! Coffee in Iceland while it’s snowing…that pretty much sounds perfect.
Looking forward to your awesome shots. Great for you and wife to get away with friends to a spectacular place.
“a bunch of fiends getting together”
Excellent typo! Was Dr. Evil there?
Very cool, glad you guys got to go on a *not work* trip.
P.S. Those two shots Diana are awesome!!
Iceland —–> Bucket List
Actually, it’s been there for awhile.
Matt thank your for sharing, I was there last week and this place is amazing, but I’m looking forward to go back in their summer time. The landscape is phenomenal , every turn you make you see something different.
Lucky you, timing and opportunity all at the same time. Looking forward to meeting you and your wife at TGSPS this fall.
Thanks Don. Can’t wait for October!
Love the photos and the commentary. We are going to go to Iceland in a few months and it will be our fist rime there. We will be driving around the entire island.
I’m jealous! It’s awesome and I already want to come back.
We were in Iceland last summer. What a beautiful country. I’m happy to see your winter
images and must congratulate your wife on her magnificent shots. Be sure to get a hot dog there, anywhere. My husband said they have the best hot dogs. Please keep posting those images and have fun!
Very Nice…..I would love to go there some day soon, stopping there on my way to Scotland 🙂
Matt, Been following you for years. I am intermediate. The great Nikon teaching and apps teaching has been awesome. I switched to Sony around the time you did because i get tired of carrying all that weight. I feel like we are running parallel. Thank you for continuing to do what you do best and that is get all the rest of us up to speed. Your adventure and share has to be incredible to be there with your wife how cool is that.. enjoy friend keep up the great troves and tips..