July 25th, 2015

The Following Photos are Submitted by Lammer

Trawire was my savior for getting out the city and onto the open road. I wouldn’t have been able to do it, if I didn’t have Google Maps to tell me where I was going. Once in the country however, we didn’t really need it. Wherever we stopped, I would look at the roads ahead and remember the numbered roads we had to take.

Best decision of the trip was to rent a car. Considering the freedom we had, I couldn’t fathom it being any other way. I would recommend to anyone to rent a car for at least two days. More if you can. For two days with ash and sand coverage plus loss and damage, it came close to $800 Canadian. Yes, this is much, we DID rent an SUV, that could handle F roads, but the price, especially divided, was well worth it. It afforded Colleen and I the freedom to stop where ever and for however long we wanted to. Yes, this lead to a 13.5 hour day, but we were like kids on too much sugar to care.

Every turn we took, every valley, plain, field, mountain, hill, coastline brought a “WOW” to our lips. I wish we could have recorded how many times we said the word. At least a few hundred I have no doubt. Our first day outing was to the peninsula of Snaefellsness. The landscape was made up of fields and mountains, where there were no fields, stubby black pillar rocks rose from the earth. We were in the land where they filmed “Game of Thrones”! At least some it.

For the first two hours, we didn’t stop. I wanted to gain some distance from the city and time. Our first stop was lunch at a restaurant with a motel attached to it. Colleen and I both had cod stew with new potatoes, tomatoes and cucumber? Can’t remember. The stew was not in a bowl, but in a blob on the plate filled with potato, fish and melted cheesy goodness. Hmmm…. I wonder if salt cod and the above ingredients would make a good quiche. I don’t know where that came from.

Our first stop was a vista of abandoned buildings that turned out not so abandoned. In a barn which looked like a series of three peaked houses together lived the biggest sheep I ever saw. The kind with horns. One back, another white. The white turned out to be a ram who keep an ever watchful eye on us. Luckily I had taken two shots with my 4×5, before he started to bleat in earnest and actually make his way towards us. “Colleen…..” I pointed at his advance, “oh right” making a beeline for the SUV. It really did sound like he was cursing us a blue streak. “Get the ‘Beep’ away from here! Go on! Get, you little ‘Beep’” Get we did.

Not too far up the road was a church next to a small abandoned farm. The fields however were still maintained with sheep grazing near by. This was out first taste of a photographer’s dream world. Against the barn was a rusted bicycle which we moved from place to place. Unfortunately the lighting was not on the right side to take an ideal cliché bike against the barn photo. I lugged my 4×5 into the field where I aligned all three buildings, church, barn and house in a row against a line of mountains with snow still on them in the background. Behind that was a beautiful blue sky with puffy clouds. Much to my dismay, a family of 5 came to play jungle-jim on the hay rolls, and take goofy family photos than to really appreciate their surroundings. Maybe that was too harsh. Perhaps they were excited to get out of the car and move around. So I had to wait 10 minutes for them to leave so I could finally take my shot.

Next stop was to say hello to some Icelandic horses. On this trip, I wasn’t able to cross off a tail ride from my bucket list, but I was able to talk to, pet and kiss a beautiful white mare on her muzzle. Thank you Colleen for catching that one. I’ve always wanted a white horse. I took another 4×5 shot of the group of them, with a small mound of a hill behind them to make them stand out.

From here on in, I can’t keep track of where and when we stopped in chorological order. Perhaps it’s best not to keep track and tell the story as it comes out with the full force of emotion behind it. These words, I’m afraid can’t convey what it’s actually like to be here.

We stopped at a fall that fell from very high up indeed. I filled my water bottle from a near-by stream. It was ALMOST as good at the iceberg water. Every stream in Iceland is incredibly clean and drinkable.

Ahead of us on route 54 on the south side of the peninsula was the inactive volcano, Snaefellsjokull. You can see it when you land at the Keflavik airport and from Reykjavik. But driving towards it and around it is a phenomenon. There was an isolated cloud cover above the opening that gave the illusion of steam spewing from it. But this was impossible where there was still a substantial amount of snow ringing the mouth to a third of the way down.

On the North side, of the peninsula, I finally reached a half tank of gas and decided to fill up. If anyone rents a car in Iceland remember that you may not be able to use your credit card to pay at the pumps, though you can use it everywhere else. You can, however by gift cards in set amounts. I was able to by a 3000 Kroners card ($30) to fill the car up. I think gas on this side was cheaper than in other areas. In the southern part it took 4000 ($40) and to fill up from the Blue Lagoon in the capitol was 7500 ($75). Unfortunately, they make you pay first. But if you put on a desperate enough face and look cute claiming you don’t know how much you’ll need to fill the car, they will open the pump and let you pay later.

Let’s see…. We stopped at all manner of places there after. A place where there were many large rock formations that looked fantastic against the sky or the volcano. There was a place with a pond below a luscious green hill with a waterfall, that came from the earth. The reflections of the green, grass or moss, was a beautiful site. I used my 4×5 here again. But this point I had used all but 2 backs. So I was being VERY selective about what I took from here on in. The last place we stopped was a field in front of a calm, shallow bay. In the field was a ruin of a house or barn. Probably the type with a sod roof. This image was not to be however. The slide wouldn’t slide back into the back (I didn’t pull it out all the way incase you were wondering). It kept getting caught on the film. I did get it in eventually, but the consequence was the film slipping to the outside of the slide, thus being exposed to the light. Not being experienced in taking sunsets with my 4×5, I doubt if the image would have turned out anyways. So this last photo of the day is not so much a loss, but a still a disappointment.

It finally became darkish around 11:30pm. Shooting was done for the day. We made it back to Reykjavik around 2:30am after getting lost in the city because at this point the wireless device wasn’t working. I don’t know why. Does it black out at certain hours? Are there actual spots where it cannot give a signal? Either way, it was really frustrating. We were in bed by 3am.

I can safely boast it was the longest day outing I’ve ever had!

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