Hátíðin - A Celebration

Last month I had the opportunity to work with Icelandair, in one of my favorite places on Earth. I had just been named Fujifilm’s newest X Photographer, and to celebrate, Icelandair flew me nonstop from Seattle to Keflavik, Iceland. The airport is an easy 40 minutes by bus from the capital, Reykjavik — where I arrived with my X-T2 in hand to experience some of the unique, extreme conditions found there (I shared some photos from my first visit to Iceland when I wrote about making my first book!)

I brought only two cameras with me — my Fujifilm X-T2 and X-Pro2 — along with a selection of prime lenses. My friend, Dan Rubin, happened to be in Iceland house-sitting that same week, so we teamed up for a few days and I let him try out the X-Pro2 during our shoots so he could get some real-world experience with it in the wild. The locations and views we experienced completely blew me away — Iceland is always impressive, even in the cold, rain, and wind. The X-Pro2 and X-T2’s weather-sealing held up really well despite the tough conditions — these cameras continue to impress me with their ability to perform in such harsh environments.

I stayed at the brand new Canopy by Hilton in Reykjavik’s City Center (highly recommend!), not far from some of my FAVORITE coffee shops and bakeries. If you ever find yourself in Reykjavik, these are definitely worth visiting:

 

During the week we were paired up with the lovely Birgitta, a local musician and long-time employee of Icelandair, and my Celebration Stopover Buddy. The very first day she picked each of us up with her bright, welcoming smile, and drove us to coffee (at the Te & Kaffi Micro Roast). After downing one of the best Americanos I’ve had in a while, we headed out to some of Birgitta’s favorite places within a few hours of Reykjavik including Langjökull glacier, where we enjoyed a fantastic snowmobile tour (more on that below!), the geothermal wonderland of Geysir, the impressive waterfall, Gullfoss, and a last-minute diversion to Kerið (a volcanic crater filled with water), sharing tips and facts along the way. I wrapped up my trip with an evening at a restaurant named Grillmarkaourinn over one of the most incredible meals I've ever had, followed by a drive out of the city to catch a glimpse of the dancing aurora borealis.

One of my favorite and most memorable spots that week was Langjökull, the second largest glacier in Iceland. We hopped on to snowmobiles from Mountaineers of Iceland, (though all the snow had mostly turned to ice!) and explored the area in our giant orange jumpsuits. Though it started raining, and we struggled to keep the cameras dry, the photos still turned out to be some of my favorites.

My trip was brief, but Iceland is such a special place… time feels slower there. I was able to see so much in such a short amount of time, all such unique and special locations. Joel and I were able to go earlier this year and see a lot of the island as we explored with our camper (you can read about that visit here). With each visit to Iceland, I’ve returned home incredibly inspired by the landscape, people, and memories made in this special country. I’ll be back for you very soon, Iceland!

-V