7 days in Iceland!!!!

Discussion in 'Scenic, Architecture, and Travel' started by rgugler, Nov 13, 2015.

  1. rgugler

    rgugler Mu-43 Regular

    Hey all!

    My fire season is finally over, and I am finally done with a crazy month of travel around the US, so of course it is time to dive back into photography hard core! I booked a deal on Icelandair to spend 7 days in Iceland in mid January. The trip came with hotels in Reykjavik, and it being the dead of winter and going alone, I am not trying to see the whole country in a week, but any recommendations for must see places to go on day trips and gear to take would be very appreciated! Trip includes 1 Northern Lights tour. Weather depending I am hoping to rent a car to get out more on my own. (I am experienced at driving in mountains in winter, I promise!)

    I have an Oly EM5, the kit 12-50mm lens, a Panasonic 45-200mm, and the 15mm cap lens. I also have a cheap intervalometer, a polarizer lens, and a couple different ND filters. I am getting more interested in long exposure photography, and since there will only be 4ish hours of daylight when I am there, I am picking up a nice flashlight to try my hand at light painting. And I have a tripod.

    Things I need/want include a legit backpack for hiking with built in places for camera gear that is easy to get to. Maybe accessible through the side or back? I currently have to take my pack off, pull off the rain cover and dig through the camera bag that takes up half of my backpack. Something big enough for short backpacking trips too would be awesome. What does everybody use for shooting in rainy days? How do you keep moisture off the lens? I hike in pretty much all weather, so if there is a nice shot, I would like to get it without ruining my camera too! Zip lock bags work ok, but definitely have limitations. I am also on the lookout for a graduated ND filter system, and a good way to carry all the filters. I've kept them in their little plastic cases, and I think the hassle of finding the right case keeps me from using them as much. I've also moved 5 times in the last year (yay seasonal work!), and needless to say, my photography stuff is scattered throughout multiple tubs and bags now, and the filters were the first to hide!

    I don't have the money to buy a new lens right now, but I was thinking about renting one from lens rentals. Which lens would people recommend for Aurora shooting? I've read my 12mm is wide enough, but probably a little slow and that a f2.8 or lower is required. Is this true? I would need the lens for almost 2 weeks, and it does start to add up over that length of time.

    Question- I am super jealous of the built in wi-fi in the new cameras. I do a lot of traveling solo, so if I want a human in a shot in a specific place for scale or some better shots of me than a selfie, I am all I have available unless there are other tourists about. I have looked at wireless remotes, but what I would really love is to be able to adjust the camera settings remotely with the Olympus app or something like it so I am not running back and forth checking shots! Is that possible somehow to do that with one of the wifi cards or a dongle or something? I only got the EM5 a year and a half ago, and definitely can't afford an upgrade to the new EM5. :(

    Wow, this got super long winded! I will be quiet now and hope for some answers!


  2. barry13

    barry13 Super Moderator

    Mar 7, 2014
    Southern California
    Real Name:
    Hi, your camera and 12-50mm are already weather sealed, so I wouldn't worry much about that.

  3. rgugler

    rgugler Mu-43 Regular

    I am not worried about light rain because of the weather sealing, but no reason to test fate in heavy rain, or with salt water spray by the ocean.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  4. Hypilein

    Hypilein Mu-43 Veteran

    Mar 18, 2015
    Iceland's south is usually a more dry cold. In 5 months there I had maybe 10 to 20 rainy days, although when it rains it pours. If you are based in Reykjavík the whole time I would recommend the "Golden Circle" as it should still be accessible in winter. Waterfalls look amazing when they are partly frozen over, or when the spray freezes right around it. The Snaefellsnespeninsula is around 2hours by car from Reykjavík and plenty of Tour Organizers lead tours there, although I don't know how many run in January. Something to definitely do there in Winter is visit one of the Glaciers/Ice Caves. Ice caves are often not open in the summer and you only get to see the proper blue Ice of the glaciers when it's cold enough and the surface is not in a constant process of melting and freezing.

    Have been to Iceland multiple times including early winter. Aurora shooting is much easier on the equipment than other night sky shots as it is fairly bright. That said a brighter Wideangle will certainly help.
  5. rgugler

    rgugler Mu-43 Regular

    Thanks for the info! I just got my Iceland travel book yesterday, and was up until 4 am reading over it and highlighting places to visit! I am definitely looking into an ice caves tour. Do you have any recommendations on tour operators? So much stuff depends on the weather, so I am trying to not plan everything to the last detail, but I am researching it all so I know what I can do! The farthest place I want to visit is in SE Iceland, the
    Jökulsárlón lagoon. I know a lot of the ice caves are in that area, so I might just eat the cost of the room and breakfast in Reykjavik for a night and get a hostel in that area so I can knock off the ice caves and lagoon in 1 day, and spend a night outside of Reykjavik's lights!

    I just reserved a photo day trip with Iceland Aurora Photo tours on the Snaefellsnes peninsula for my last full day in Iceland! So excited to get some pointers for long exposure stuff!

    It looks like used Panasonic 14mm f2.5 lenses are sub $200 on Ebay. Is it really worth picking one up for the extra speed? At the rate I am spending money, I will be eating hot dogs and granola bars the entire time I am there!
  6. Hypilein

    Hypilein Mu-43 Veteran

    Mar 18, 2015
    The Panasonic 14mm will probably help with auroras. Staying outside Reykjavík for at least one night is probably a good idea. I've spent most of my time in Iceland in the city and did not see that much in terms of northern lights.
  7. rgugler

    rgugler Mu-43 Regular

    Picked up the 14mm on ebay for $150. It should be here Monday, so will see how it goes!