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Iceland Day 1: The Arctic Ocean

We finally made it to Iceland! Once we landed we picked up our rental jeep (Dacia Duster) and started off towards the northern coast and the Arctic Ocean. What we found out right away was that the terrain in Iceland changes about every 20-30km. You can go from barren lava fields, to lush green canyons, to grasslands, to mountains in no time. After about 3 hours of driving we made it to our hotel. The last 10km was on a dirt road and it had just rained, so our pretty white Duster was already covered in mud...Excellent!

Right away we went to scout out the sea stacks that we had come all this way to photograph, and thankfully they were only a short 10min drive away. It was pretty crowded despite how remote it was, which surprised us, but it wasn't crazy. The other good thing was that we got to scout it out at low tide, which is when we planned on shooting come around 2am when the sun was starting to rise.

We spent a fair amount of time figuring out how exactly we were going to hike down the muddy slopes to the shore, as well as the best vantage points to shoot from. But more importantly, we took some time to just enjoy the scene. All too often we forget to just take in the beauty ourselves and worry too much about how we are going to "get the shot."

Once we finished up, we went back to the hotel to get some much needed sleep before we went back out. We were able to take a 4 hour "nap" before it was time to head out to the site. The tide was low as we had expected, but the lighting wasn't quite where we wanted it yet. So we made camp sheltered by the cliffs to help block the winds and waited, and waited, and waited. Very quickly we learned that the sun in Iceland is VERY slow to move.

Michael went romping around and found a family of sheep hanging out on the beach and got in a quick jog along the Arctic Ocean (Yes, we were officially on the Arctic Ocean!) while Kelly kept warm and killed some time on Facebook. (Mobile hotspots that you can rent in foreign countries are amazing.)

Eventually, sometime after 3am the lighting got to where we wanted and Kelly ventured out with her tripod onto the wet sand and started shooting. We stayed out for another 30min or so to make sure nothing spectacular was going to happen with the light, then decided to call it a night. Thankfully the tide was going to be high for sunrise so we didn't think we needed to be out, which meant we got to get somewhat decent sleep!

Here are some more photos from this spot, both at low and high tide from the observation deck on the cliff above it. (We wanted to see it at high tide the next day). This just really goes to show that if you are planning on doing some coastal photo shoots, be sure to pay attention to the tidal schedules.

If the rest of the trip is as good as today, then we're in for a good one!


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