As someone from subtropical Brisbane, who loves summer and hates being cold, I have a weird thing where I also like to experience extremes, such as going to ICEland in the middle of winter. Yes a country named after frozen water- what was I thinking?
Well let me tell you, once I had my thermals, fleece, waterproof pants, ski jacket, beanie, scarf, two pairs of gloves, and leather boots on it was AMAZING!!
These were for me the highlights of a winter trip:
– the very odd experience of seeing the sun rise just above the horizon at about 10.30am, then slowly creep along the horizon until it set at about 3pm. Living in Queensland, I found this fascinating and totally weird and makes me think I shouldn’t whinge when it’s dark at 5.30pm during winter at home.
And for a photographer you are guaranteed to capture sunrise & sunset every day (even if you sleep in!) with wonderful subdued light in between.
– ice ofcourse! In the form of glaciers, ice caves & icebergs! The glow that comes from within the ice is an otherworldly vibrant blue, and with a dusting of fluffy white snow would make me think of ice cream (ok maybe I was just hungry!). We did an excellent tour with GoEcco which included walking on a glacier, going inside an ice cave, and seeing icebergs floating on Jokulsarlon lagoon – and most beautiful of all, washed up on a nearby beach (the famous ‘Diamond Beach’). Being so intimate with all the different forms of ice is a surreal experience, and fun too as you get to wear some serious spiky shoes!
– Extreme nature. My main impression of Iceland is it is the only place I have ever been where I really felt the raw power of nature, where the landscape is both beautiful and terrifying. Boiling water shooting out of the ground, miles and miles of lava scorched earth, giant ‘sneaker’ waves on the beaches, and my all-time favourite weather phenomena wind. This was not your slightly breezy-Ekka-cold-westerlies which is about as bad as it gets for us Brisbanites, but “I’m-going-to-get-in-your-face-and-push-you-over-like-a-piece-of-tissue-paper!” evil wind. It is a slightly disconcerting experience to basically slide standing upright along an icy track and try not to start freaking out about being blown into the waterfall you are supposed to be enjoying (and photographing- ha).
– And the main reason I think for most people to go to the extreme northern latitudes in the depth of darkest winter- to see the Northern Lights. Or in my case see some wispy clouds and wonder “is that them? Are they here?”. My camera on the other hand was more fortunate and did what I understand most cameras do.. see things you can’t! Thanks camera for this somewhat grainy rainbow I can say was the Northern Lights 😉
Have you been to Iceland? Are you thinking of going? Let me know in the comments below 🙂