I’m going to let you into the worst kept secret in photography. Iceland is like taking pictures on easy mode. Into bleak-looking landscapes? Waterfalls, mountains and volcanoes? Massive pointy cathedrals? Iceland mate.

Iceland and Reykjavik will always hold memories for me, as it’s where I first saw the northern lights, proposed to my wife, and ate a bowl of soup where the bowl was a hollowed-out loaf of bread. Life changing.

I took all of the photos in this post with an old secondhand Canon 5D mk I (or ‘Classic’ as it’s sometimes called) and a 24-105mm L lens.

As a result I had to spend hours in Lightroom trying to get rid of all the dust spots that were on the sensor. The original 5D didn’t have auto sensor cleaning functionality, which meant that it was constantly dustier than the African Savanna.

The other quirk of this camera was the terrible quality of the rear display. It was so low res that it made it impossible to tell which of the shots you had taken were keepers. On the plus side, it did help me to stop chimping so much as a beginner, as you couldn’t see anything meaningful even if you did look at the back of the camera after each shot.

I sold this camera shortly after this trip to fund an upgrade to the 5D mk II which I still have and love to death.

It’s been a couple of years now since we went on this trip, and I’m already itching to go back as a much better photographer than I was last time. It’s a country that has been written about an awful lot, so rather than go over well-trodden ground, I’ve posted a few of the photos I took while we were there and included a few facts I didn’t know before I went. Enjoy.

Restaurants are still a relatively recent thing in Iceland, so as a result the ones that do exist tend to be very expensive. Lots of ingredients have to be imported, which raises the price of most meals you’ll have in a restaurant. While we there we tried to keep costs down, and on the whole we did okay, but we did get caught out a couple of times by staggering food prices. I think at one point we paid about £60 for a couple of small main courses and a beer each at a petty disappointing Italian restaurant.

They grow all sorts of things using geothermal heat and greenhouses. Strawberries, tomatoes, cucumbers – foodstuffs that normally wouldn’t grow in such a difficult environment. This allows them to import less and creates jobs for Icelanders, which seems like a win-win to me.

Speaking of geothermal voodoo, all of the hot water for your showers, washing up and heating comes from underground geothermal fields. This makes it all smell like sulphur, but you get used to the smell after a day or so. In fact, almost all of the energy that the country uses comes from sustainable sources, as 80% of the energy they consume comes from hydropower.

3rd November 2017

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