the fun photographer

Dani Leigh 

Dani leigh

the fun photographer



Welcome to your fun place on the interwebs; a place to waste time at work looking at your friend's pretty wedding and family pictures and getting to know the gal behind the lens. Go ahead and grab that second cup of coffee! You'll be here awhile!

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Iceland! (Part 3 of 3)

Dec 20, 2012

For your convenience in case you need to catch up: Part 1 and Part 2

Let’s review. We have survived snorkeling between tectonic plates, caving in a lava tube by active volcanoes, a night out with Germans, Finns, and Hungarians, and the most terrifying: a near death by sheep. It’s obviously been a busy and amazing few days.

An hour after the sheep incident, we finally are nearing the guesthouse we booked in Hali, when all of the sudden Emily starts yelling “ICEBERGS!! ICEBERGS!! We’re driving over ICEBERGS!” We were in fact driving over icebergs lit up only by the moonlight. It gave me goosebumps and made me so incredibly excited and giddy to see it all in the morning. We were in bed watching America’s Got Talent on TV by 8pm – soooo much nightlife in a town whose population is probably about 25…. Alarms set for way before sunrise, I literally woke up like a kid on Christmas. I took the fastest shower ever, which is sad, because that was the best shower I showered in there and the water didn’t smell crazy minerally, got dressed in a million layers, started shaking our hand warmers and packed up. I don’t know what I was expecting but what we saw in Jokulsarlon was way more beautiful than I thought it could be. It was incredible. On one side of the road there is a glacier where ice is breaking off and then floating in this lagoon before heading under the bridge and either beaching itself on the black sand beach or being carried out to sea. It was such an incredible thing to see, I am getting goosebumps as I am writing about it.

We got there before the sun came up but there was still some pretty light.

We were about to go to the other side and photograph the beach when all of the sudden the sun starting coming up and the sky turned such a gorgeous pink and it was reflecting in the water and it was just gorgeous we couldn’t leave yet!

While I am convinced I could have shot this side all day, we ventured over to the other side of the road and oh my goodness, I was overwhelmed with how gorgeous this all was. I couldn’t believe I was standing right in front of it all.

We saved some time for taking pics of ourselves, one of the benefits of traveling with a fellow photographer.

We both didn’t really want to leave. So, we went back to the other side one more time.

Epic jumping photo.

After some iphone videoing just for the sake of having on our phones and not wanting to go yet, we made our way to Vik, the halfway point. We stopped a couple times in this valley area before Vik because there were just so many pretty things!

In Vik, we stopped to see these massive sea stacks called Reynisdrangar. Legend says that the stacks originated when two trolls dragged a three-masted ship to land unsuccessfully and when daylight broke they became needles of rock. Crazy huh?

This is my hangry face… ha. I was starving.

But still happy!!

We made it back in time that night to stop and get a hot dog at this famous hot dog stand there and hop on the bus for the Northern Lights tour. I don’t want to disappoint you guys but we didn’t see any northern lights, we just stood in the cold and took long exposure shots of lighthouses and clouds until the tour peeps gave up and took us home. I’m trying not to be sad about it and seeing it as a chance to see them in Norway or Alaska one day. 🙂

This is when I get confused. I can’t remember when we went to blue lagoon but we went, I promise. Here is a pic to confirm that!

The last day we had to be out of hotel by 11, which we nonchalantly were trying to actually make noon and ended up being told we needed to vacate the room because they had guests checking in…whoopsies. With nowhere left to go we headed towards the airport. We stopped at this little town called Reykjanes to see the Garðskagi lighthouse and search for ponies to take photos of. We saw a handful of wild ponies along the way but none that would have been easy to photos. These guys were beautiful and I think they liked me.

We then returned the rental car…Emily told that story yesterday, you should read her post about it for sure. And waited in line to check in for 2 hours. Mind you, I was so worried our flight was going to be canceled because it was the day after Hurricane Sandy. Magically we were one of 2 international flights to arrive into Dulles that day. I’m so very thankful for that because I would have given myself an aneurysm worrying about getting back in time for the wedding I had that weekend.

I wanted to leave you with a few travel tips/things you should know if you ever go to Iceland:

1. Icelandic is their official language, but everyone speaks English.

2. Get out of Reykjavik! Yes, cute little town, but go somewhere else! There are some truly gorgeous places that you are going to totally miss if you stay in Reykjavik the whole time. If you rent a car, just get the insurance. There are so many rocks on the road and some roads aren’t paved outside of the city and that means chips in the windshield or plastic light covers and you don’t want to have to pay $400 to get any of that crap repaired….like we did.

3. Don’t pack bulky sweaters. I made this mistake. Instead pack thinner long sleeved shirts, tshirts, under armour and a nice winter coat or two. And hand warmers. That is something we purchased on the way to the airport and it was well worth it. The bulky sweaters take up too much space and everywhere is warm so when you take your coat off, you aren’t going to need that sweater anyway.

4. Pack boots – there are so many glaciers melting and waterfalls, that you are going to want a pair of winter type boots with good tred. I bought a pair of boots at Target before going thinking it would be a waste but I had them just in case – literally wore them everyday. Don’t take Uggs.

5. Don’t forget to pack your bathing suit. May seem strange packing all winter clothes, boots, hand warmers….and your bikini, but don’t forget it!

I’ve been home now for almost 2 months post Iceland and still thinking about how magical and amazing this trip was. I’m sure it had a lot to do with who I went with and how it was planned but it was also some of the most amazing scenery I had ever seen in my life and we got to do adventurous things like snorkeling and caving! I couldn’t recommend going to Iceland enough. It is truly an amazing place, especially for all my outdoorsy type friends. 🙂

Don’t forget to visit Emily’s blog!!

comments +

  1. Katie Nesbitt

    December 20th, 2012 at 8:34 am

    Oh I wish this wasn’t the last post….lol I loved looking through these pictures and pretending I was there too!!

  2. Natalie

    December 20th, 2012 at 8:51 am

    I have absolutely loved looking through your entire Iceland Series… This makes me want to travel! Wow! Love that jumping image!

  3. Emilia Jane

    December 20th, 2012 at 9:25 am

    Such an awesome trip! I’m so jealous

  4. Emily

    December 20th, 2012 at 9:54 am

    Love it love it love it. Can’t get enough of your ponies picture where they are all lined up in a row! Totally awesome!

  5. Katie Jane

    December 20th, 2012 at 3:31 pm

    Wow – these make me want to go to Iceland so badly.

  6. teri pozniak // tPoz

    December 20th, 2012 at 4:05 pm

    holy magillicutty <—I have no idea where that came from, but it was the first thing to pop into my head!
    This blog post with such GORGEOUS images, just boggled my mind.
    From the pink skies with the blue icebergs at sunrise, to the ice on the beach, to the sunflare glistening off the frozen water – amazed. and scared that the ice is all melting away too fast!
    sad that you missed the northern lights, but those long exposure shots are gorge!
    Great 3-part recap on an amazeballs trip!

    ps – here comes the blonde….so, they say that the ocean isn't really blue, isn't just the sky/outerspace reflecting in it….so why are the glaciers blue in parts? I don't buy that it's a reflection??

  7. Dani Leigh

    December 20th, 2012 at 4:09 pm

    Ready, Teri? Sometimes oxygen gets trapped inside of the ice causing it to be impure which causes it to be white. When this happens the air bubbles inside the ice are causing the ice to apear white when in acctuallity you are seeing the ice mirror the light as white. When it is clear it is a solid ice cube with no air trapped inside.

  8. Kendra

    December 20th, 2012 at 5:05 pm

    Ridiculous! This pictures are awesome! (Even though there’s no puffins).

  9. Anna

    December 20th, 2012 at 5:36 pm

    wow…just wow

  10. Lizzy

    December 21st, 2012 at 9:39 am

    DAni these are so amazing! I LOVE the iceberg pics. They look like they are alive somehow. They really look like they are beings marching into the water. And I sooo love the pictures of the ponies! I have been showing these pictures to Brandon, too, I want to go there!!!

  11. Marcella Treybig

    February 21st, 2013 at 4:49 pm

    OMFG! AWESOME!! see we gotta go to Alaska! I want ice and crisp skies. I looked once and had to comment… I’ll be spending more time on this post 🙂 love it. xo

  12. Iceland! (Part 3) | Emily Chastain Photography

    June 19th, 2013 at 12:40 pm

    […] Columbus – she always knew where we were and where we needed to go. Make sure you read her blog too! If I could pick one word to describe Iceland, I think it would have to be […]

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|  Photos by Dani Leigh photography