Back in May 2016 myself and my lovely other half Kelly took to the roads/dirt tracks of Iceland for our 2nd Icelandic road trip in 6 months. The first 1000+ mile road trip was brilliant whereby we circled Iceland on 'road 1' which is pretty much all tarmac & a very civilised route. During trip 1 (last November) I was armed with my trusty Canon 5D Mk3, a tripod and a selection of lenses. My photos came out well and my only regret was not having more time due to loss of daylight.
This time things would be very different, this time we were going to take on the might of the West Fjords where tarmac was a rare commodity and tearing through the mountains on a dirt track with no safety barrier would become the norm.......no place for the feint hearted. On this occasion we were again armed with a hefty 4X4, the 5D (but only a tilt/shift lens) and my recently acquired Fuji XT1 together with the 14mm, 18-135mm & 100-400mm lenses. My game plan was to use the Fuji for everything except for long exposures whereby I would revert to the Canon and Lee Filters.
For me this was a big risk as I had become extremely comfortable with the Canon and I knew the results it could deliver.......could the Fuji do justice to the staggering beauty of Iceland......would I do it justice and not make a pigs breakfast of it.......would we survive the roads of death and, most importantly, would there be plenty of places to eat cake en route???
Well we survived the roads, just, and my waistline is certainly still in good shape, after all 'round' is a shape! So how about the photos, how about the Fuji, would I forever fall in love with Fuji or would I launch the bloody thing into orbit with a size 10 boot and a big dose of swearing??? Only time would tell!!!
Of course I fell in love with Fuji, it is an awesome bit of kit and the weight difference is staggering. Whilst i love my Canon, and will always own one, I have to say that NOT carrying round something that felt like an optical rocket launcher was quite liberating, even with the big Fuji zoom lens. At the time of writing this Fuji have now brought out the XT2 which is a pretty major upgrade and very much on my 'wish list'.......along with the other billion quids worth of gear that every photographer wants :-)
I am delighted with the results and feel that the XT1 certainly conquered the west of Iceland, it's a little camera that can certainly play with the big boys. Ok, enough of my waffle, here are my favourites together with a little info on each of the days travels.
Thanks for reading :-) x
All images in this gallery are shown in the order they were taken.
Day 1 - Keflavik Airport to Borganes (73 miles)
Short drive upon our arrival to our first hotel in Borganes, quite possibly the first time I have ever checked into a hotel where the old lady on reception was about 134 years old and wore one pair of glasses on top of another pair, oh well it put a smile on my face especially when she announced it was her 1st day on the job!!! Managed to grab a few shots after dinner :-)
Day 2 - Borganes to Vogur via west coast (196 miles)
This was a day of 2 halves, the first half was fairly flat with a tarmac driving surface and the sun was shining with a clear blue sky. Several hours later and the roads became unpaved whilst the clouds began to build. A real contrast of shots on this day as we gradually worked our way north via the west coast. This day was our first encounter of the lovely road signs warning us that we could be crushed to death by a boulder anytime during the next 5km!!! Talk about 'running the gauntlet'.
Day 3 - Vogur to Holmavik (but drove north of Djupavik) 124miles
We drove a long way through the mountains before getting to the area around and north of Holmavik, completely stunning scenery but with a lot of unpaved roads that shook the fillings from our teeth. The little town of Djupavik has a population of around 50 and the disused herring factory & shipwreck are very cool & eary. To round off our day we had dinner in a Wizard & Witchcraft museum which also trebled as the local restaurant and visitor centre in Holmavik, we were the only 2 in there and the owners were very excited about the Eurovision song contest.......surreal to say the least but boy could that guy cook, top draw nosh :-)
Day 4 - Holmavik to Patreksfjordur via Isafjordur (260 miles)
Ok, so this was the biggest and scariest drive of the entire trip via the extreme north west of the West Fjords. It was on this day that our hearts missed a beat when our vehicle hit a larger than normal pot hole and suddenly changed direction towards the edge of the 'safety barrier free' mountain.......large amounts of colourful language and unintentional flatulence were delivered in equal proportion. Once our pulses had lowered back below the 1000 beats per minute level we were able to enjoy the rest of the trip and the peace & tranquility of Patreksfjordur was a welcome relief at the end of the day.......as was a generous dose of alcohol.
Day 5 - Patreksfjordur to Mosfellsbaer (239 miles)
Another big drive lay ahead as we were to complete the West Fjords and head back south to just outside Reykjavik. This was going to be an exciting day for me as we were heading to the famous bird cliffs and, at long last, I would get to see a puffin in the wild. Armed with a lens capable of capturing the dark side of Saturn we headed to the top of some pretty immense cliffs........and what did I see........4 seagulls and a bloody sparrow! Not a puffin in sight, gutted! Oh well, that's nature for you. Not too many photos on this day but the drive was lovely, even if the Sat Nav did try and take us to a ferry crossing that didn't have a ferry.
Day 6 - Mosfellsbaer to Reykjanesbær via Gullfoss area
The last day before flying home is always a bit of an anticlimax, so we headed inland to capture a last few sights before finishing off in Reykjavik. One thing you notice when back in this area is the massive increase in the number of coaches and tourists causing total chaos with their selfie sticks and, one of my biggest gripes, taking photos with a bloody iPad! I know it is nice to have photos of people in places but personally I dont feel that my face in a photo does the beautiful scenery any justice whatsoever, in fact it just reminds me that I need to go on a diet! Seeing my photos of the scenery is the memory I want and not reminders of 'how I used to look 2 stone ago'. Each to their own I suppose ;-)
Firstly, Iceland is a magnificent country that never fails to take your breath away. To explore this wonderful place outside of the normal 'golden circle' is a must if you are to ever fully appreciate it. I am addicted to Iceland having seen so much of it yet knowing that there is so much more yet to explore. And as for the Fuji XT1 & lenses........well I will let you be the judge as to whether you feel it had done a good job from all the images above. Personally I love it and am now a massive Fuji fan, it did not let me down one bit and it is an extremely capable bit of kit. Apologies for those who may of been expecting any technical blurb, there are far more qualified technical guys out there than me so I would rather just throw the photos out there with the odd chuckle to lighten things up.
Thanks again for reading and I hope you like the photos :-)