Sunday, June 22, 2014

Akureyri, Iceland. After a two hour horse back ride I found a precious lamb close to the barn. 

Husavik, Iceland A man who works on the whale watching ships smiles for an environmental portrait. 

Dentifoss, Iceland. Most powerful waterfall in Iceland. 

Our last day in Akureyri and might I add last expedition day in all was truly a great one. To start the day off we drove 30  minutes to a horse riding place and got ready to ride the most beautiful horses. They were Icelandic horses and they had long luscious manes. The instructors specifically told us that we could not wear any of our leather riding clothes from the states because of the diseases that our horses could carry. The Icelandic horses are very healthy and it would be a huge issue if one of the horses on the island became infected with something that our horses have. But since I'm not a horseback rider I did not have to worry. They gave us a horse according to what level we were on and I said intermediate, which ended up being okay. I got on my beautiful horse named something hard to pronounce so I just said the closest thing to it which was "Eldo." Eldo was an old horse and he knew his way very well. I was lucky to have him because he was a very sweet horse. Seeing everyone get on their horse was hilarious.  We started off slow and I was bit uncomfortable. I decided to just relax and try to remember everything I knew about riding, which was not much but enough. I was in front of the line and the whole scene of the mountains and streams was too perfect. I honestly felt like I was in a movie. Everything was just so picturesque. I wanted to go faster on the horse and so the instructor prepared us to gallop. Now that was my favorite part. I galloped for a good 7 minutes along  the grassy fields. I loved it. It was suprisingly smooth and exciting at the same time. A little bumpy at first but I did something a bit odd; I trusted the horse. I just held on and trusted the horse. We galloped twice in the two hour period and it was amazing. After the ride was done, I did not want to leave Eldo. But I did and walked over to where two lambs were lying down. Of course Cindy is snapping pictures like crazy of the lambs and saying in a very light voice, "Oh my god look at the lambs." It was so great. But I wanted to hold the lamb, so I walked straight up to her and picked her up. She was so precious and I loved holding her! So after that everyone came up and starting holding the lambs. We headed back to the hostel and had lunch. Our next task was to do a scavenger hunt around Akureyri. Everyone got into their groups and we walked around the city shopping, taking pictures, and meeting people. The day was great and Tota had a delicious indian dinner waiting.

Tomorrow morning we have a 7 hour bus ride to Reykjavik and there we get situated to go home. Tomorrow night is also our last dinner out in the city and then we leave early the next morning. I am going to miss Iceland so much and all the people I have met here. I would just like to shout out to my mom and thank her for sending me on the most spectacular trip I have ever been on. From seeing waterfalls to whales and walking on glaciers. Iceland has been a tremendous triumph. My group has turned into a little family and we have all gotten to be so close. I will especially miss Peter and Erika. They have been awesome and taught me so much and more about photography and traveling. I have come out of this trip a way better photographer and traveler than before.


Saturday, June 21, 2014

After 3 nights in Hofn we left early this morning and embarked on a 7 hour bus ride to Akureyki. About 6 hours into the trip, Austin see's a sign for an auto museum and of course freaks out. He asks to go and Peter says yes. So we get to the auto museum and it is a medium size house and in front of the house was 10 or 15 old cars. So we walk inside and its this amazing collection of classic cars in pretty good condition for how old they are. Austin enlightened us with his knowledge of cars and it was very interesting to learn about the history.  My favorites were the 1954 green mercedes and the 1952 black Packard.  The man who currently owns the museum, took it over when his father died. His father started a car garage and collecting in the early 1950s. So overall it was a very cool experience. We were only a few minutes away from Akureyki when I began to see these beautiful mountains peaking from underneath the fog and a town in the distance...we had finally arrived! We got settled in our hostel and saw our friends from Holland that we met in Hofn. I unpacked and began to do the usual editing/down time. While doing that, the boys brought in pizza and we had ourselves a little pizza party! Funny because the pizza was from dominoes... haha.  Now it is morning, and my roommates, Paige and Erika, and I are getting ready for whale watching! Today is the summer solstice so it will definitely be a long and eventful day.


Friday, June 20, 2014

Fishing Museum in Hofn, Iceland. 

Little boy gets into defense position while playing soccer in Hofn, Iceland

A couple of american/french guys strike a pose by their land rover Defender.

Erika sports her stylish hiking boots while hiking a mountain in Hofn, Iceland. 

Moss covered rocks stand out on a rocky beach in Hofn, Iceland. 

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Mountain in Hofn, Iceland. My group and I formed a square and slowly approached the sheep. They of course saw us and took off, but I chased after them to get this shot. 

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Looking out at the view, I watch Chase use the tripod to shoot a bird in flight photo. 

Black sand beach is located across from the Iceberg Lagoon. Chunks of Iceberg are scattered through out the black sand and intact icebergs are seen in the water from the shore. 

Astmar, our Zodiac boat driver, holds a piece of an iceberg at the Iceberg Lagoon. The lagoon is full of small and large icebergs, followed by a huge ice wall. 

Day 7
I’m on Day 8 right now but due to our busy schedules, erratic wifi, and my need for sleep I’m one day behind so I’m just going to tell you about yesterday… 
Yesterday we packed up our tents and headed off to Zodiac Boat Tours. The Zodiac Boat Tour was a small boat that took us around an Iceberg Lagoon. Before we got situated Erika, Molly, Sam, and I decided that it would be smart to go to the restroom before the tour started. We started walking and half way there a swarm of birds started screeching at us and almost attacked us, it was so scary but so funny. Thankfully we made it to the restroom and back in one piece. After that ordeal, we got suited up and split up into two boats in freezing cold water. Our driver was ya know the usual Icelandic blonde hair, blue eyed guy, no big deal. He carefully guided the motorboat around the icebergs and I got some amazing shots of the Icebergs and ice wall. After the tour we drive down the street to the black sand beach and spent about an hour on the beach taking shots of the icebergs on the sand and in the water… no doubt the coolest beach I have ever been to. Tota made us lunch and we sat on a log on the beach looking out at the water. Time was precious and we had to make it to Hofn before dark… just kidding because it doesn’t get dark here in Iceland.. haha. The bus ride to Hofn was about an hour and I slept mostly the whole way. Mid bus ride Gian Luca woke everybody up and stopped the bus because out in the middle of nowhere there was a group of Reindeer. It was surreal to see real Reindeer in their natural environment. Though they only live in my memory because I was half asleep when I saw them and did not have time to get my camera out. So just take my word on it. It happened. We got to Hofn and that is where I am right now as I am typing this. Hofn is a very small but beautiful town. Fishing is a big deal in Hofn and they are known for the best lobster in Iceland. We had a couple of hours of editing/down time and then walked the streets of Hofn to a restaurant called Kaffi Hornid. Kaffi Hornid translates to Corner Cafe. I ordered the best lobster pasta and now I know why they are famous for their lobster. After dinner we all came back to the hostel and I stayed up til about 12 which was pretty good for me and then went to sleep. And Im so happy right now because I just saw Tota holding about 4 trays of lobster getting ready to grill them…Tota always goes above and beyond for us, she's the best cook. 

Now for today, I’ll make it short and sweet. 

It was our first exploring day in Hofn. We walked along the Harbor and had lunch at this adorable hotdog stand. Icelandic hotdogs are different from American ones. They are made with lamb meat, and they are amazing. Erika and Peter split us up into 4 person groups and gave us a scavenger hunt. We got to walk around Hofn, taking photo’s of certain elements or words. My group was Paiton, Lauren, and Bora… So it was basically Bora’s crew, an inside joke between my nat geo group, sorry. Anyways, we walked around Hofn and I saw about 4 land rover discovery’s. For anyone who doesn't know what that is… it is the coolest car that unfortunately isn't available in the U.S because it doesn't have airbags. I saw one by the grocery store and I asked the guys coming out of it if I could take a photo. They said of course but they asked if I wanted them in it and I was like sure why not and then one of them says, “Hold on let us get dressed.” The guys went behind the car and came out wearing american flag underwear over their pants, it was hilarious! They posed in front of the land rover discovery and the photo I got is one of my favorites. We made our way back to the hot dog stand and the little girl working there, about 13, ran up to me and gave me a little trinket. I dont know what it is with these Icelandic kids but they are so sweet and welcoming and they keep giving me gifts! I love it… Now I am in the Hostel sitting with Chase, Paige, and Brianna. They are all incredible photographers and Brianna just complimented one of my photos and told me I was good, that made me feel great to hear that from her. The door is open and I’m smelling Tota’s cooking so I’m going to go and try to steal a bite of something… Okay I am back. Dinner was a success. Tonight was really great because we all gave Erika and Peter our top 2 favorite photos and they put them up on the projector. We looked at each photo and critiqued them. It was very helpful to receive the whole groups input and what  they liked and what they did not like. Another piece of exciting news… we get to sleep in til 9 am!!! Good night.


Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Part of glacier covered in volcanic ash. Blue ice peeks out through the middle and edges of the ice blocks. 
Hiking across the largest glacier in Europe. Spectacular view of the mountains and glacier. 

Day 6

Currently, I am sitting in the hostel in Hofn! I love saying Hofn because it's pronounced like "Hop!" But I'm going to talk about was one of those very special never forgetting type of days. We woke up at 8, out of our tents because we camped out. And might I add we camped out right next to a glacier... Not exaggerating, I came out of my tent to see a glacier and beautiful mountains. We woke up at around 8 and Tota, the incredible cook that has been traveling with us, prepared her usual amazing meal. After the meal, we walked down the road to get prepared for the glacier walk! I put on something called a clampon. A clampon attaches to your feet so that you will not slip and fall into a crevasse on the glacier. I put on my clampons, about 7 layers of clothing, gloves, hat, and a harness. Really not knowing what to expect, my group and I got into a bus and arrived at the bottom of the glacier 5 minutes later. Our guides Tom, Sif, and Burger were great. Tom was from Manchester, he was hilarious. The cynical kind of funny. Sif was from Iceland and of course gorgeous and very nice. And then there was Burger, we called him that because his Icelandic name was way too hard to say and it kinda sounded like Burger. They taught us the basics of walking on the glacier and just to not fall into a crevasse. I was kinda like okay that doesn't sound hard ya know just stay with the group, then I looked down the rock I had to climb down to get to the glacier and it was very steep...but I did it with Toms help. We started out climbing uphill on the glacier and it was very cool. The ice was solid deep ice and some parts were covered in volcanic ash. Then there would be random streams of glacier water coming down a small crevasse. Sif said it was okay to drink the water so we all got out our water bottles and scooped up glacier water out of the crevasse and drank the water... it was great water.  Hiking on the glacier was so beautiful but I'm not going to lie it was hard. The hike was a little bit intense, we sometimes had to harness ourselves to another rope and walk literally on the edge of a crevasse. Then we reached somewhat of a flat area and Tom told us to get out our lunches we packed in our backpacks and eat. I got my peanut butter and jelly sandwich out and ate it right on a glacier while looking out at the mountains. Best lunch I've ever had. But it gets better... after lunch we all went to the side of the glacier near the volcanic ash and Erika told us to spread out and just take in the fact that we are in Iceland, walking on a glacier. She told us to meditate and hold open our palms to take in the good energy like they do in Peruvian culture. So there I was meditating on the biggest glacier in Europe surrounded by mountains. It was probably the most spiritual experience I have ever had in my life. After our alone time on the glacier we made our way down and Chase and I bought about 4 bags of chips and ate all of them. We walked back to our camping site and saw a man playing the accordion with his family. Peter was talking to him and invited him to join us for dinner. Tota made delicious pasta and salad and we all ate inside the tent with Magmus (accordion player) his wife and two precious kids; Mia and Richard. Magmus got his accordion out and played us some Icelandic songs, they were very good. While in the tent, a cute young guy walks up to us and starts talking to Bora. I asked Bora who that was and Bora just casually said, "Oh thats my friend Tom I met him an hour ago I'm helping him with his photos." So Bora and I helped Tom sort out his photos and got to learn a lot about him. He is 23, from Germany, and his studying to be a graphic designer. He was very funny because he spoke english well but did not understand our slang. For instance, Bora says, "Ya Tom your apart of my crew." Crew meaning gang. And Tom kinda was just like excuse me what is that. Then he went on to think that each tent was a was hilarious. After we got Tom situated and helped him, everyone got got into their tents and began to relax. It was truly a spectacular day. I got some amazing photos on the glacier and of Magmus and his family. I love meeting all different kinds of people from different places. I have learned so much!


Saturday, June 14, 2014

Contrast of light and dark, water and land. Gullfoss, Iceland. 

Mist from Gullfoss made this shot difficult to take but after setting the tripod 5 times I made the waterfall more dramatic then before. Iceland. 

Waterfalls and geysers filled the day. Today we woke up early and drove about 45 minutes to a beautiful lake. Behind the lake, vast green land surrounded the lake on all sides. The mountains made huge reflecting impressions on the water and I took some great shots. After that we went to the geysers. The geysers exploded boiling hot water every 5 minutes. It was extremely difficult to capture the explosion because it only lasted for about 7 seconds. Erica taught me a lot about aperture and how to really focus a subject which helped greatly. But the best of the day was Gullfoss, the breathtaking waterfall. Gian Luca let me borrow his tripod because mine was experiencing difficulty. 500 shots later and 15 shots with great potential, we left to go to the cabins. Currently it is 12:37 am and I am sitting on a chair outside, shivering just a bit. Why? The lighting is perfect and I'm Chase's subject in his photos. I don't mind as long as I look good in these photo's... lol jk. The cabins that we are staying in are beautiful. They are so nice. A bit isolated but in the best way. I look outside and I see vast green mountains, vibrant flowers, and this striking black and white Icelandic horse. Tomorrow is supposed to be a very busy day so I probably will not blog and I probably will not have wifi. Goodnight!


Friday, June 13, 2014


My beautiful german friend.

Wife of a viking from Iceland's Viking Festival

Soley's name translates to "yellow flower."  

Iceland's Viking Festival introduced me to Soley, a Norwegian/Icelandic 13 year old. 

Even the Vikings take breaks. Two role playing vikings at the festival take a break and observe the turn out.  

Landakotskirkja Catholic Church is the only Catholic church in Reykjavik. It is a Neo-Gothic church and is more conservative than the other churches in Reykjavik. 
Landakotskirkja Catholic Church is the only Catholic church in Reykjavik. It is a Neo-Gothic church and is more conservative than the other churches in Reykjavik. 

Landakotskirkja Catholic Church is the only Catholic church in Reykjavik. It is a Neo-Gothic church and is more conservative than the other churches in Reykjavik. 

Catholic school next to Landakotskirkja Catholic Church. The school is the only Catholic school in Reykjavik. 

Icelandic Street Art in Reykjavik. The mime like artists moved through the streets. Their movement fascinated everyone watching. 

Icelandic Street Artist. She never spoke, just moved around the streets of Reykjavik.