Our group arrived at different times from various places, and we gathered the afternoon of our first day to meet our mentors Layne Kennedy & Lucas Gillman along with Michelle and our guide Holm. We set out to exploreReykjavik, including the Hallgrímskirkja church and the older section of down town. After our afternoon of shooting, we went to Perlan (The Pearl) for dinner with a panoramic view of the town and shore.
For the first part of our adventure, we headed west/northwest toward Snæfellsás and our first waterfall (Fossárrétt). Our next stop was Búðir – the site of a black wooden church, one of the oldest wooden churches in Iceland. We also explored the Arnastapi – Hellnar area and spent the night in the shadow of Snæfellsjökull; famous for containing the starting point for Journey to the Center of the Earth. Our adventures continued in the northwest, including the black beach of Djúpalónssandur and the fishing village Breiđafjörđur. We stopped to photograph the Hraunfossar and Barnafoss waterfalls and managed to arrive at Þingvellir National Park before the throngs of tourists from Reykjavik. We later visited the Geysir hot springs and had fun trying to predict the geyser blows and did our best to stay up wind of the sulfur smell and steam. Our last stop that day was the thunderous Gullfoss Waterfall with lots of great angles and a lovely rainbow.
Next, we turned back east and south, and enjoyed our first group encounter with Icelandic horses. We made our way to the very windy Dyrhólaey cliff area for puffins. Our last big stop of the day was the Skógar museum, where we were treated to Þórđur Tómasson playing the organ in the Skógakirkja church. We continued our adventure in the interior highlands of Iceland. We stopped along the way to capture shots of the rather barren landscape in the midst of the dust and lava rocks, finally stopping at Landmannalaugar to hike among wonderfully colored mountains and steam vents. We also stopped at Þjóđveldisbær, a replica of a Viking farm and the Hjalparfoss waterfall. Our driver graciously shared his family’s field of horses; many of us were surprised by a horse coming up to sniff or nuzzle us. Our next stop was the Seljalandsfoss waterfall followed by the Skógafoss falls and our home for the night in Vik.
Having made our way east, ice was on the agenda – first a boat tour of Jökulsárlón – an iceberg lagoon followed by a walk along the beach with more icebergs and some seals. Some of the gang enjoyed a glacier hike and some took a small plane tour of the island. Our last full day was mostly a travel day to the Northern Lights Inn. We quickly dropped off our stuff, got our suits and headed for the Blue Lagoon to enjoy the soothing waters. Following dinner, we enjoyed the final session. I continued to be impressed by the quality of the photography of the trekkers, and always enjoy seeing the different photographic impressions. Once again, I’ve had a wonderful experience with the Mentor Series, and I am looking forward to my next trek…. Where will I go?