Field Trip: A roadtrip to Southern Iceland with Sherry Nelsen

Field Trip: A roadtrip to Southern Iceland with Sherry Nelsen

All photos from this sponsored Field Trip are courtesy of Sherry Nelsen. All photos were edited with the Flint & Steel presets.


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A roadtrip to Southern Iceland

A visit to Iceland is most likely on every photographer's bucket list. I signed up for a landscape type workshop in February. The Offbeat Crew are all about landscape and putting the human element into the photos to create epic images. This is a top-notch bunch of photographers, and a well run workshop! Incredible!

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I was able to experience so many different things. The weather was wild, cold and crazy. And that is where you get the most dramatic, moody and beautiful photos. I am a Nikon shooter and used my 15-30mm Tamron lens a lot to take in the vast scenery. I also used my 70-200mm 2.8f and a 35mm 1.4 Sigma a lot as well. A sturdy tripod is needed to capture any long exposures as the winds will rock your gear enough to cause shake.

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I am a die-hard Tribe Red Leaf preset fan and used Flint and Steel to edit these photos. I would like to add how much I love them for the crisp clean tones they provide and realistic looking colours. They are my favourite and suit my style perfectly.

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We started with a day or two in Rekyavik to recover from jetlag before heading on our journey to the south part of the Island with our group. We discovered that the roads don't seem to get plowed much, and we saw the Sun Voyager, a sculpture in Rekyavik that is meant to be a dream boat and an ode to the sun. 

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It was not uncommon for wild storms to roll in and cause highway closures!  There's no movement in or out of the area until the storms subside, which could be a few days! So if you are planning a visit in the winter, add a few more days on! We missed touring to some locations for this reason. Our first stop was actually a road side café for lunch and the skies were so dramatic. Weather in Iceland can change in less than five minutes! I ran outside to catch the photo of the trolls near Vik and was pelted with ice as we checked out the violent Atlantic seas.

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You cannot do the road trip without stopping at the most iconic places in Iceland. Skogafoss waterfall is everything and more. The Black Volcanic Sand beach, Reynisfjara is the world-famous black-sand beach found on the South Coast of Iceland, just beside the village of Vík. Its enormous basalt stacks are something I have never experienced before.  They rise out of the black sand beach as pedestals to stand on. All of these locations are all within 3 hours drive of each other. 

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Iceland would not be complete without a visit to the friendly horses of the Island. They are dotted around the open fields all over the Island! No other breeds are allowed imported to the country to remain purebreds. Although they are small they are not ponies, but horses and known for their Tolt, an unusual gait that other breeds do not have.

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Visiting the Northern Lights is hit and miss! Some travelers were there a week without a sighting because of cloud cover! We were so lucky to get out and have clear skies and brave the wind and chill to get some long exposures. I really enjoyed the whole process of setting up my selfie under the Aurora! And they really are the most magical experience!

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Vatnajökull is the largest glacier in Iceland that drops chunks of ice into a lagoon. From there they drift out to sea and are tossed back up onto the black sands as small chunks of pure clear aqua blue ice, which is why it is also known as the 'Diamond Beach.' It's so spectacular. We were lucky enough to have a model to brave the cold as we worked on using Off Camera Flash to add drama to the location.

And lastly, we visited Skaskafell waterfalls via a nice one-kilometre trail to the set of falls. We had a spectacular amount of snow falling so we practised a few "new to me" techniques including HDR and long exposures on the snowflakes. So much fun learning to push the camera.

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Another amazing location is Vestrahorn. It is one of the most dramatic mountains to capture in the world with picture perfect reflections from the ocean it drops into. We were lucky to hit it on a clear day and as well at night! It can also be shrouded in clouds for days!

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It was amazing to spend this time with my husband and son, and new friends I met along the way. I am already planning a trip back!