NEW COURSE: MATT K’s Guide to Bird Photography… Now On Sale

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 🙂

Finances 

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.

My Gear

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!

Shooting

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.

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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.

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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! 🙂

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