-article submitted by Don Durand and Ralph Fuchs
The topic of guest speaker night on Wednesday, May 13 was a presentation by President Barry Ryziuk and Treasurer Gordon Michon of a trip to Iceland in 2014 by three club members. The third member, Bill Adamoski, was unavailable until the night of the presentation. Their well-organized presentation was very educational with a great deal of detailed information, especially for anyone planning a similar adventure. The presentation was done in three segments:
- Iceland Photos by Gordon.
- Discussion of trip by both Barry and Gordon.
- Iceland Photos by Barry.
Al Girard and Ken Collett also visited Iceland last year, and were able to contribute additional information from their experiences. Many questions were asked by those attending, with Gordon adding much to the presentation with his unique sense of humour.
-photo by Barry Ryziuk
The next portion of the presentation keyed in on the planning aspect and findings while on their trip.
Barry mentioned how airfare might be low cost with deals of approximately $600 available. However, costs on the island are extremely high. Expect to pay $27.00 for two pieces of chicken and fries at KFC. Iceland has a lot of the same fast food outlets we have in Canada. They ate lots of porridge and Ichiban soup to reduce their cost of food.
It was cheaper to vacation as a group of three than one individual going by himself. They rented a vehicle-top tent which was almost the same cost as rental of the vehicle itself. They decided Barry would sleep in the tent on the vehicle roof, Gordon had a ground tent and Bill slept in the vehicle. There are numerous campgrounds and all had showers. Due to the rain, one should plan to stay in a hotel for a couple of days to get some dry time. Motels are available all over the island.
When fueling their vehicle, they soon learned they had to use cash or buy a credit card they could get in Iceland. Canadian Visa and MasterCard were not accepted.
There is a lot of travel information available for Iceland. Check out book stores (travel books) and online. If you are really enthusiastic, like Gordon, you can read a few novels on the history of the island.
A lesson learned, once into their trip, was to purchase a good quality map at the beginning of the trip. They have way more detail than the cheaper or free maps.
- Dry Run at Elk Island Park
Prior to leaving on their trip, the three did a dry run to Elk Island Park. This gave them an idea of what equipment they were going to need. This was when Gordon decided against sleeping in the tent on the vehicle. It’s a long ways down if you have to make a few trips down the ladder in the middle of the night. They also planned on taking a sixteen foot by sixteen foot tarp since Iceland is known for its frequent rainy periods.
They learned what food they liked and needed to take on the trip as well as the weight of the goods which they would have to distribute between the three of them.
Wi-Fi access was supposed to be excellent in Iceland but they found out differently. Accessibility depended on their mobile plan. Also, because of network charges it might be necessary to deactivate email, Facebook or other programs or apps that regularly update.
It rained frequently on their trip. Those who have been to Iceland recommend buying a good breathable rain gear or a long breathable poncho. Forget bringing an umbrella. Gordon suggested bringing a good toque and gloves. Expect a couple of hours of clear skies per day. You just don`t know when during the day this will happen. The balance of the time is cloudy and/or raining.
All three members shoot Nikon cameras. Imagine the arguments that might have ensued during the trip if they shot with different camera makes. They planned to reduce the amount of gear and share some of their lenses but never did. Barry shot with four prime lenses but used mostly his 14 mm and 135 mm. Bill used a wide angle plus his 70-200 mm while Gordon was using a cropped sensor camera and used mostly a 16-35 mm lens. They agreed, when in Iceland, a wider lens was better than a long lens and recommended using fast lens since a lot of the photographs were taken in overcast conditions or caves.
Both Bill and Barry have waterproof equipment while Gordon’s camera was not and he often shot from a large Ziploc or plastic bag. A back up camera is a must. Also, bring lots of batteries and memory cards. Bill brought a heavier tripod while the others used lighter tripods. The wind was a factor, especially for the lighter tripods, and they had to use a foot to hold down the tripods.
Barry suggested on shooting with Auto ISO and Auto White Balance, and because of the poor light, take advantage of the benefits of HDR in those conditions. An ND Filter is a must especially when photographing seascapes or waterfalls. Cable releases were not used and the self-timer with a 2 second delay did the job.
Bring a minimum of three or more dry cloths to wipe the cameras after rain. Ken Collett suggested bringing a spray bottle with clean water to spray the cameras when close to the ocean and get rid of the salty sea spray.
-photos by Barry Ryziuk
Reykjavik is the capitol and largest city, with lots of photo opportunities. Street photography is a favorite. The island has one paved road circling the whole island. When venturing off the main road, travellers may encounter many streams and rivers. One day alone, they crossed about twenty five. All of these had good photo opportunities.
-photo by Barry Ryziuk
When is the best time to photograph Iceland? April brings lots of migrating birds. May to Sept it seems to be very rainy.
Heating of buildings is by geothermal and every community has a heated swimming pool. There are even banana plants heated by geothermal.
They had no worries about robberies and don`t think there was even a jail on the island. The 350,000 inhabitants are very friendly and live on tourism. Gordon mentioned that there were fewer than eight nude beaches in Iceland. In actuality there are zero.
-photos by Gordon Michon
The three Amigos decided to follow the sun and run away from the rain.
Iceland offers a wide variety of photo opportunities including: horses, harbors, boats, geysers, volcanoes, steam vents, graveyards, churches, panoramic landscapes, public art (no graffiti to be found), puffins (June & July during raising of chicks), caves, seascapes, rock formations, old or abandoned buildings, sod covered roofs, etc.
A lot of the tourists photograph the Golden Circle. This is a two to three day trip and all photographers go home with the same photographs. Our three members went and photographed outside of the Golden Circle in order to get different photos.
Al Girard added that he stayed in Reykjavik. He photographed north and south of Reykjavik. He liked the southern trip the most. He also enjoyed photographing the fields of wildflowers.
Because of its northerly location, there was poor photography of sunset or sunrise. They never went to the Western Fjords because of time restrictions. Sixteen days is not enough.
–photo by Gordon Michon