While travelling to Iceland, our TrueNative group of photographers wanted to record a side of the country that isn’t in the brochures.
We wanted to truly capture how it feels to be out in such a vast, varied, and changing landscape. We also wanted to test ourselves and push the limits of our knowledge and capabilities as photographers, so we teamed up with Tribe Photo Co and their Field Trip program.
We took a small but diverse set of equipment so that we could shoot with versatility and with the ability to reach remote areas without hindrance. We chose two Canon 6D Mk Is, one 1100D, an 80D for video and two Mavic Pros for those stunning aerial shots that are yet to be experienced by the masses. We also took an array of lenses from 14mm to 300mm to make sure we could be ready for what was waiting around each corner.
After collecting a Suzuki Vitara from the car rental at the airport, we started our journey.
Photo credit: Andrew Jackson, Edited with WP04
A golden hue washes over mountains and fields near Vík as Iceland’s five hours of daylight draw to a close. We drove along empty roads to our first destination, passing a single car every half hour or so, which reassured us that we weren’t alone in this otherworldly landscape. The Mavic Pro handled the dusk’s lighting conditions with ease, which gave us confidence for the ride ahead. This would be an adventure like no other.
Photo credit: Henry Board, Edited with WP02
A fierce Icelandic river carves its path towards the sea, separating flat open fields from undulating areas of moss-coated lava. Further into our journey, unique textures like these caught our eye. We pulled over and launched the Mavic Pro for a wider look at the surprising contrasts that can only be found here in Iceland. It's not what we expected at all, in the best way possible.
Photo credit: Anastasia, Edited with WP05
Shaina gazes out at the North Atlantic, rolling just beyond the horizon, framed by a break in a barrier near the headland of Stokksnes. We took a short walk around the base of Vestrahorn and found a Viking village which we thought must have been hundreds of years old. But it wasn’t. It’s actually a film set which has never been used, monetized by the farmer who owns the land and encircled by a tall fence, except for this broken section which revealed our familiar backdrop.
Photo credit: Shaina Bostin, Edited with WP04
An iconic half-wild Icelandic horse stands alone — and somewhat windswept — at the top of a grassy foothill. Shaina was on a personal mission. The rain clouds were clearing, the sun was setting, and the golden hour was approaching. She ran 100 metres through wet marshland to capture the lonely horse in his spectacular home. He was a little apprehensive at first, but ultimately quite pleased to have company. Mission accomplished.
Photo credit: Shaina Bostin, Edited with WP02
Massive and irregular blocks of ice melt to reveal strange textures on the shore of Jökulsárlón, which literally — and helpfully — translates to “glacial river lagoon”. We couldn’t ignore this lagoon, which is one of the most popular highlights of southern Iceland’s Golden Circle. As we stood here to appreciate its beauty, we could not help but feel the need for solemn respect for Mother Nature. The “cup half full” attitude towards climate change and its slow but noticeable effects on our environment is rising, and Iceland is one of the countries that is most affected. The glaciers are shrinking.
Photo credit: Anastasia, Edited with WP04
Steam billows into the sky at Hverir, one of Iceland’s many strange and impressive geothermal areas. After braving -8°C temperatures and an early start to beat the expected crowds at Dettifoss, we started back on the road towards Akureyri. It was here that we happened upon Hverir and had to capture the ethereal atmosphere lent to the landscape by the geothermal smoke. But one thing we couldn’t capture was the smell. This would definitely win the award for Worst Smelling Location, thanks to its sulphurous stench.
Photo credit: Henry Board, Edited with WP02
Day 8. A bridge divides the sea from the mouth of a river, blocking choppy waves from travelling further inland. Nature is monumental in Iceland. Rivers flow with a vicious current, surrounded by epic mountainous terrain, which are further carved by a cutting wind. Roads are the only knife through this wild landscape, and their bridges were one of our favourite sights. They provided a pitstop to take in the phenomenal vistas all around.
Photo credit: Andrew Jackson, Edited with WP06
The rumbling water of Barnafoss cascades beneath a footbridge, transporting vast volumes of water from the Hvítá river downhill. We approached the glacier numb with cold, but with unmatched excitement as we heard the rising sound of the waterfall. A view from the sky revealed the sapphire tones of the water and pure white textured snow. However, its true beauty can only be appreciated by eye. All who visit Iceland feel a sense of responsibility to maintain this natural wonder.
Then before we knew it, we were back at the car rental company and saying goodbye to the car that had been our companion for 10 days. We had traveled over 2500km driving around the entire island and captured thousands of photographs. Still, we had a feeling that Iceland had only shown us some of what it has to offer.
If you’re anything like us, your Instagram feed is full of countless and sometimes repetitive shots of Icelandic vistas and waterfalls, but its popularity with holidaymakers and photographers has grown for a good reason. It is a country of almost infinite wonder, and everyone seems to find something different to experience with each visit.
It is tempting to take the road less traveled, but if you are ever presented with the opportunity to go Iceland, please take it. We promise you won’t be disappointed.