There’s a lot more to Iceland than … ice. Gina’s recent adventure in this country meant travelling all over the island.
In this episode, Valerie asks Gina how she prepared for Iceland, what she wanted to achieve, what essential travel and camera gear she brought and much more. In particular, Gina discusses how she found ideal places to view and shoot the spectacular dancing Northern Lights phenomenon – and what she had to do to capture these amazing images.
Also encouraged by your newsletter this week Gina so am posting a few shots from a couple of weeks ago when I had the chance to be in one of my ‘happy places’, get my feet wet and experiment with my latest lens acquisition. Thanks Gina for sharing parts of your story – it helps to ground the sometimes state of overwhelm. #ginachallenge #justdoit #sunset #myway #happyplace
Gina’s Epic Iceland Photography Road Trip Part 1
“Don’t go chasing waterfalls.
Please stick to the rivers and the lakes that you’re used to.
I know that you’re gonna have it your way or nothing at all,
But I think you’re moving too fast.”
- Iceland is Disneyland on steroids for photographers
- Roughly the same size as the US state of Ohio or Tasmania
- 39,768 square miles or 64000 square kms
Things you need to know:
You don’t need cash, even the smallest and most remote places take credit or debit cards with no minimum.
- Iceland is the most expensive country I’ve ever travelled to.
- AUD$9 for a coffee in a cafe; AUD$4-$5 from a service station
- AUD$30-70 for a cafe style meal
- Great food and lots of fresh produce in supermarkets and service stations
- Iceland Supermarkets and service stations close early. Stock up on food
- It’s very safe
- Everyone speaks English
- Everyone is very friendly
- Water tastes amazing
- Fewer tourists in winter months
- I travelled in late Sept and the weather was sunny and mild by day and cold at night
- I was comfortable wearing a thermal shirt and hoodie by day
- Hat and jacket gloves and hat at night
- Dress in layers so you can add or remove as the weather changes
- Trekking boots are a must.
- The entire country has 4G or 3G
- You can get a wifi dongle with your hire car or get a sim card with data
- Petrol is a prepaid system 24/7 in most places
- I used Lagoon Car Rental (don’t skimp on insurance)
- You don’t need a 4wd to drive the main ring road but would need one if heading inland to more remote places
- Roads are narrow with not many places to pull over
- Tourists will stop their cars to take photos. I nearly cleaned a few up on my trip.
- Have at least one spare seat for gear so you can grab your cameras easily
- Be prepared to travel slowly and stop often. The scenery changes every 3mins.
- Google maps is great for getting around but the travel times are generally double what’s quoted
- Luxury hotels/apartments to guest houses to budget hostels and camping
- Sigma f 1.4 35mm
- Speedlite 600EX-RT Canon Australia
- 5 in 1 reflector
- 2x hard drives
- Manfrotto 190XPROB + geared head
- Memory cards 3x8GB, 1x16GB
- Macbook Pro
- Assorted ND filters
- Roller bag (domestic)
- Lowepro slingshot
- Touch screen gloves
- Mobile phone car cradle
- Mobile phone car charger
- Mobile phone booster battery
- Chargers and adapters x 3 (for fast overnight charging)
- Hand warmers and thermos for night shoots
- Lens wipes
- Towel to protect gear
How to photograph the northern lights
The bright dancing lights of the aurora are actually collisions between electrically charged particles from the sun that enter the earth’s atmosphere. The lights are seen above the magnetic poles of the northern and southern hemispheres.
via Northern Lights or Aurora Borealis Explained
1. A good sturdy tripod is essential
2. Set the ISO to 400-1000
3. Aperture wide open
4. Pre focus on a light in the far distance and then switch the camera to manual focus
5. Start at 15 second exposure and tweak up or down depending on how bright the northern lights are.
6. Keep spare camera batteries in your coat pocket because freezing temperatures and long exposures drain camera batteries
7. Allow your camera to get used to the cold before you start shooting
8. A torch is essential for stumbling around in the dark but be mindful of other photographers and try to keep your torch dimmed to low so you don’t pollute their shots
9. A remote trigger, cable release or delayed shutter setting will minimise camera shake