Sunset above hot springs, Iceland

A purple and pink sky reflected in a stream at sunset while hot springs vent steam into the air in Iceland, the land of ice and fire.

I think its fair to say that getting up and about is the way to set yourself up for success, whether it be photography or any other worthwhile pursuit. When it comes to landscape photography an iconic location is certainly helpful. And Iceland has iconic locations in abundance.

Photographing Iceland In Summer

But even more important to making a great photo is great light and you've got to be on location when the light is right. During the long days of the Icelandic summer, when sunset is followed soon after by sunrise, that means being out and about into the early hours of the morning. I call that bliss.

 
Thingvellir, Iceland

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Iceland, A Land Of Geothermal Energy

The photo at the top of this post was made in the early hours of the morning as the geysers expelled steam from beneath the earth. The steam is colored by the light, which is also reflected from the clouds above back down onto the surface of the creek in the front of the frame.

The tiny yellow flowers add extra color and a sense of positivity to what might otherwise be quite an eerie scene. As it is this photo is quite a nice swirl of color, light and texture.

Now for the Secret

This isn't it, but it might be useful to you anyway. I made the image on a full frame Canon 5D Mark II camera with a Canon 24-105mm f/4 L series lens @ 24 mm. The exposure time was 2 seconds @ f/11 at ISO 100.

The slow shutter speed allowed for relatively smooth water and clouds which I feel adds to the dreamy appearance of the image.

Geothermal activity along the road near Myvatn in northern Iceland.

You can’t be there without truly being there.
— Glenn Guy, Travel Photography Guru

For me the best part about making the photos in this post was that I was ready to make them, long before I arrived at these gorgeous locations. I'd been driving in the late evening light for hours and had well and truly tapped into the rhythms surrounding me. And that's really the point of this short article.

 
Red Roof, Iceland

Learn to Use Your Camera

 

You can't actually be there without first being there, in the moment. And a good way to start is just 2 B. The drive, just like a nice long walk, doesn't just get you to where you need to go. The drive gets you to who you need to be.

One final, bonus tip.

Choose your music and your travel companions wisely. The thought of doing otherwise is too dreadful to contemplate.
— Glenn Guy, Travel Photography Guru