Probably the best way to celebrate a birthday for a photographer is traveling to an epic place. I am a professional photographer from Latvia and that is exactly what I did when I decided to celebrate my birthday 2461 km away from home this year. I decided to go to Iceland on a week-long adventure with my friends. And here is a little summary of things I managed to do and learn during my week’s stay in Iceland.
My birthday was during the summer solstice, and that meant no Northern lights but it was still an epic adventure. It was an arctic summer in Iceland which meant around 22 hours of daylight. This took a while to get used to because my European body is used to going to sleep as the dark sets in, so I ended up going to sleep at 3 AM for the first two nights.
The first thing we encountered was the weather. We were welcomed with amazing clear skies and a stunning sunset in the middle of the night because we arrived at 1 AM local time but the next day was the complete opposite – rain and grey skies. However, that didn’t stop us from exploring.
After spending the first two days visiting popular spots like the Black Sand Beach in Vik, Skogafoss, DC-3 airplane, Geysers, and many more locations closeby, we realized that a week is not enough and you need at least a month to explore Iceland properly. Distances between the places are enormous and the landscape differs, so in a week’s time, we only managed to explore the vast majority of South Iceland and a small portion of the East.
After a little celebration party, exploration continued with Hekla volcano which gave us all the creeps. We roamed the black lava ash fields for a day and got a taste of what is left after the eruption. Dark, lifeless land resembled another planet. There were no animals or other signs of life. The fact that locals told us the volcano is due to unexpectedly erupt again anytime now just added to the dark feeling that was enveloping the place.
Another place that had a great impact on the trip was Sólheimajökull glacier which was surrounded by quicksand at the time we were visiting and the access to it was kind of sketchy. We still got a chance to explore it and do a little creative photoshoot with one of my friends who is a contemporary dancer and a fellow photographer. For people that haven’t seen glaciers in real life, I highly recommend visiting any glacier that you can find because it gives a perspective on what global warming is and how big is our role in saving the planet.
The real fun in Iceland starts in places that are not surrounded by tourists and are mostly up to you to wander around and explore, but be sure to look up for potential dangers because to some places in Iceland as accessible as they are, it’s better to travel with a guide or an experienced person. We finished our trip by exploring the capital Reykjavik which is the colorful soul of the harsh land of Iceland.
This pretty much sums up everything that I experienced during my stay in Iceland and if you have any questions, hit me up with a comment.