Iceland, The Land of Fire and Ice

#Iceland is somewhere you have to see to believe. The landscape is almost otherworldly, #active volcanos dot the island, and Icelanders are the nicest people you’ll find. If the weather cooperates, you can watch the #NorthernLights turn the sky impressive shades of silky green. In short, bring your good camera.

Amazing photography from Iceland Northern Lights

Iceland is the most beautiful country I’ve ever visited. A mysterious land covered with icy glaciers & fiery volcanoes that provides countless opportunities for stunning photography.

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In October/November 2014 I spent 3 surreal weeks on an Iceland photography mission, exploring the country for the first time with my Sony A7 camera. The results are beyond my wildest expectations. After 4 years of traveling the world, it takes a lot to impress me these days.

The results are beyond my wildest expectations. After 4 years of traveling the world, it takes a lot to impress me these days

Iceland Impressed me so Much That I Didn’t Want to Leave!

How many locations on the planet can you crawl into bright blue glacial ice caves, fly over an erupting volcano bubbling with lava, and stay up all night transfixed by magical Northern Lights? My experience in Iceland was overwhelming and almost spiritual — reminding me why I started traveling in the first place.

For such a small nation, Iceland is absolutely packed with beauty and diversity. Vast, dramatic landscapes stretch out for miles, sprinkled with a handful of old farmhouses and fishing villages. It’s seriously a photographer’s paradise. My favorite part of the trip was driving Iceland’s Ring Road over the course of 7 days.

Below you’ll find travel photography from my adventures in Iceland, along with a short video I produced for LifeProof iPhone Cases, a sponsor for the trip.

I hope my Iceland photography will inspire you to visit this wonderful country someday!

Rainbow Over the City of Reykjavík

City Of Reykjavík

Most of Iceland’s population is concentrated around the capital city of Reykjavík. I was surprised at how big and modern the city is, fascinated by the vibrant art & music scenes too. Alcohol is expensive in Iceland, but nightlife in Reykjavík still gets pretty wild. After tourism, fishing is Iceland’s biggest industry, and the city has a large seaport. This photo was taken from the top of Hallgrímskirkja, Reykjavík’s famous Icelandic church.

Kiersten Enjoying the Blue Lagoon

The Blue Lagoon

This man-made geothermal pool in South West Iceland is the country’s most popular tourist attraction. Kiersten from The Blonde Abroad traveled with me through Iceland, and one day we decided to spend an afternoon soaking in the Blue Lagoon’s milky blue water full of silica, algae, & minerals. The warm water & white mud is supposed to be good for your skin. It’s also a great place for photography.

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The Blue Lagoon

 Blue Lagoon parking, Path into the Blue Lagoon, Southern Peninsula, Iceland
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Lava Tour Riding

Walking Tour With Auður Ösp

Ancient Green Volcanic Moss

Green Volcanic Moss

In many areas of Iceland you’ll find large ancient lava fields of black rock covered with a thick green carpet of moss. This special volcanic moss takes hundreds of years to grow, and experts can determine how old a lava flow is by how thick it is. Icelandic legends say that trolls & elves live under the moss. Sounds reasonable to me! Walking through this crazy landscape feels like walking through a Dr. Seuss book.

Walking through this crazy landscape feels like walking through a Dr. Seuss book

Seltún Geothermal Pools

Ice Caves Under Vatnajökull Glacier

Crystal Ice Caves

Wow. That’s all I can say about Iceland’s stunning blue ice caves. If you’re traveling to Iceland for photography, you can’t miss these. Melt water flows under Vatnajökull glacier creating these insane natural caves, with sunlight filtering through the ice from above giving them a blue tint. The crystal caves collapse or move every season, and can be difficult to reach, so you need an experienced guide. They are only safe to visit in the winter.

Holuhraun Volcanic Eruption from the Air

Holuhraun Volcanic Eruption

On August 29th, 2014 a volcanic eruption broke through the surface at Holuhraun lava field in the Northern Highlands of Iceland. It’s been spewing rivers of hot lava ever since with no signs of stopping. Driving to the eruption site is currently not allowed for safety reasons (possible flash floods & toxic gas), however you can fly over it. Helicopter flights are expensive, but if you fly in a small plane like I did, it’s pretty reasonable.

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Holuhraun Volcanic Eruption Tour

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River Rafting on Hvítá River

Run Iceland Adventure Trail

Strokkur Geyser Iceland

Driving The Golden Circle

Did you know that the term Geyser is named after a geothermal fountain in Iceland? Strokkur Geyser erupts every 5-10 minutes near the Hvítá River, one of many stops on our day-long road trip around the Golden Circle. We rented a cheap used car and drove the Golden Circle through bright sunlight, rain, and a snowstorm! The weather changes quickly in Iceland.

Skógafoss Waterfall & Rainbow
Underground Volcanic Lava Tubes

Exploring Lava Tubes

Iceland is covered in volcanoes, both old and new. Many of them have underground lava tubes, formed when molten lava flows down channels and cools at the edges, eventually creating a tube of solid volcanic rock. When a section of the tube eventually caves in, it creates an entrance to this underworld. Hiking through dark lava tubes is a lot like caving, with slightly different formations and colors.

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Northern Lights Hunt and Lava

 Reykjavík, Capital Region, Iceland
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ATV and Golden Circle Tour in Reykjavik

Whale Watching Tour in Reykjavik

Turf Houses Made for Elves
Hardy Icelandic Horse

Icelandic Horse

The small but sturdy horses in Iceland may look like ponies, but don’t call them that in front of a local! Iceland’s horses have a long and proud history dating back to the 9th century. Breeding & natural selection have made them super tough, able to withstand long & brutal winters completely outside with the help of thick fur. You’ll find the horses on many farms throughout Iceland — they are very friendly too!

Breeding & natural selection have made them super tough, able to withstand long & brutal winters completely outside with the help of thick fur

Small Mountain Hut in the Snow
Svínafellsjökull Glacial Ice Flow
Abandoned Car in South East Iceland
Sunrise at Jökulsárlón Lagoon

Jökulsárlón Iceberg Lagoon

At the bottom of the Breiðamerkurjökull glacier sits a large lake, created by melting ice from above. It’s full of blue-tinted icebergs that have broken off the base of the glacier. Some of the ice collects on black sand shores the lake, other pieces float out to sea through a channel nearby. Located on Iceland’s south coast, Jökulsárlón is a wonderful spot for photography.

Colorful Farm Graffiti
Diving the Silfra Fissure

Silfra Fissure

The North American and Eurasian tectonic plates are breaking Iceland apart at Silfra, creating a fissure flooded with crystal clear 35°F degree glacial water. Ice from nearby Lángjökull Glacier melts and travels into an ancient lava field, filtering underground through porous volcanic rock over 50 years before it emerges where you can go snorkeling or scuba diving in it for a very unique (but cold) experience.

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Snorkeling in Thingvellir National Park

 Þingvallavegur, South, Iceland
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Guided Snorkeling Tour in Silfra

ATV and Golden Circle Tour in Reykjavik

Old Icelandic Church
Sólheimasandur Plane Crash & Northern Lights

Northern Lights

Witnessing the Northern Lights in person was the highlight of my photography adventure in Iceland. I lucked out with 3 solid nights of clear skies and strong aurora activity while driving around the Ring Road in a super cool Happy Campers van. Including one particularly spectacular evening on Sólheimasandur Beach next to this old US Navy plane that crashed years ago.

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