Iceland: Day 2

We rose at 4 this morning, and were out the door by 5. The fabulous people at Ranga actually had coffee waiting for us in the lobby! Heaven! I filled up my cup with as much milk and sugar as coffee… cuz that’s the way I like it… and we were off! We stopped by Seljalandsfoss – a huge waterfall that thunders down from a cliff-top far overhead. We didn’t shoot because of heavy rain, but we did take some time to scout the area. Gorgeous!

The plan was to drive out to Vik and get some breakfast – but not a single restaurant was open. Instead, we stopped at a tiny supermarket and picked up a few essentials to add to our random collection of edibles. Today’s weather is pretty bad – gale force winds are making photography difficult. We took a look at the beaches at Vik and then headed for Laki. We found some lovely waterfalls along the way – and we drove out to take some shots. The rain wasn’t making photography easy, and our gear was starting to get pretty wet. I wiped my lens so many times that my lens cloth wouldn’t hold any more water. In the end, I fired off one last shot despite the thin coating of water on my lens… and the results are actually a bit dreamy. Maybe that shot is worth keeping. I’ve called it “Singin’ in the Rain”… and by “singin'” I actually mean “swearin’ “. Ahem. :)

The sun came out briefly as we finished shooting the waterfalls, and we decided to capture some shots of the beautiful mossy landscape nearby. The moss is incredible. It is growing on top of lava rocks. Every step leaves a footprint in the cushiony growth, and it feels like walking on pillows. In some places, the moss is 12 inches deep! You never know what’s underneath that billowing green, though – it’s difficult to keep your balance out there! It was so tempting to just lie down and take a nap… but you start to worry that the Elves or Gnomes might come out and fill up your memory cards with photos of you looking foolish in your sleep. It’s not much of a stretch to imagine all kinds of fantastical creatures living in a place like this!

I could have spent another day or two losing myself in green, but eventually, we had to leave. We drove out to catch a few shots of the beaches at Vik… but once again, the weather didn’t cooperate. Extremely high surf kept us off the beach – and the wind made photography pretty difficult.

As the sun dropped lower in the sky – not that it ever goes that high at this time of year in Iceland – we headed toward the Mýrdalsjökull glacier. In the valley beneath it, the ground was covered with tiny, brilliantly colored leaves. The rich color contrasted beautifully with the heavily overcast skies. Autumn is a beautiful time, here. Can you believe the variety of colors we photographed throughout the day?

I took one last shot and then headed to the car to put away my gear – with my camera and lens still mounted on the tripod. And that’s when I got stupid. I set the tripod on the road for a moment while I put my bag into the car… and a sudden gust of wind knocked it right over. I wasn’t even surprised. I’m still kicking myself for that one – I should have known better. No. I did know better… I’ve been shooting in difficult weather for years. Anyway, my wide-angle lens took a direct hit, and the lens has gone all funky… serious damage to the focus ring. I won’t be able to use it any more on this trip. I’ll have to wait until we return to the US and see if it can be repaired. The good news is that the camera survived the impact. I suppose I should consider myself lucky, but right now I’m kinda busy considering myself stupid.

We returned to the hotel Ranga for dinner – and went straight to bed. Other photographers in our group captured some beautiful shots of the Aurora during the night – but we slept right through the best of it. (They did try to wake us… but we thought a bunch of drunk hotel guests were knocking on our windows, and just ignored them! Can you believe it?) Darn! Well… there’s still plenty of time. Maybe we’ll get another chance!

8 replies
  1. Dennis McDonnell
    Dennis McDonnell says:

    You two move fast…just caught your “Raw Editing” talk in Cleveland on the weekend…looks as though you’ve got plenty to keep you occupied up north for a while, best of luck there (now that you’ve had the bad luck)…a few months back I dropped my newly serviced D300 with a 300 mm f4 lens onto the asphalt as I swung the tripod over my shoulder…we always know better…af on both now need repair…got the feeling stupid part down pat! Very much enjoyed the presentation at North Chagrin.

    • Varina Patel
      Varina Patel says:

      I’m so glad you enjoyed our talk at North Chagrin last weekend! Thanks for coming out to see us, and for the kind words!

      And actually – we were in Iceland the week before that talk. The trip is actually already over. :) I write up the trip reports when we return… since internet access is spotty at best when we are on location, and it’s tough to find time for it while we are there. I also like to include images, but I can’t do any post production when I’m away from home. I write using the present tense because the past tense starts to feel stilted if I use it too much. :)

  2. Stephen
    Stephen says:

    I feel that pain. I was a bit more lucky two weeks ago at the Grand Canyon when I went flying on some ice with one camera in hand and another on a tripod over my shoulder – all of which came down making contact. As far as I can tell, the only casualty was a shattered grad filter. I’m a little too careless with gear. It took some time to get over the stupid feeling.


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