Trip to Iceland: Day 1

Iceland was never really on my radar. Sure, I'd enjoyed pictures of the rugged countryside and the hardy Icelandic ponies but I had never seriously considered going until a friend suggested a week-long trip for the fall of 2015. And I'm glad he did.

Yes, everyone and his dog is currently heating up the flight paths to Reykjavik. And with Icelandair's fantastic seven-day layover deal and the ever-expanding Wow Air it's only going to get busier. But you can't let that hold you back—there is nowhere else like Iceland for the photographer.

I've never visited a country that is so welcoming to visitors. Tourists with money to spend are no doubt welcome since the country stared financial ruin in the face in 2008, but Iceland has rebounded and the warm smiles of its people seem unforced. Add to that the excellent English spoken by virtually everyone and Iceland is a very easy place to visit... once you acclimatize to the high prices.

After arriving on the surface of the moon at Keflavik Airport, we picked up the rental car and decided to see a bit of the southwest coast before heading for our hotel in Reykjavik. We had a few hours to burn before we could check in and hoped that keeping busy would help us to get used to local time more quickly. In retrospect, this was probably not the smartest move after an overnight flight, given that I—for the first and almost last time in my life—fell asleep at the wheel. The combination of my friend's lunge for the wheel and his panicked yell brought me around fairly quickly. Lesson learned: I'm not in my 20s anymore and can't manage shoulder-less, narrow roads on no sleep.

But this is a happy story, so let's just cut to some of the pictures from Day 1 in this magic country. Unlike driving a car, I can use a camera just fine with only one eye open.

 Hvalneskirkja

Hvalneskirkja

 Icelandic pony, Hafnir

Icelandic pony, Hafnir

 Lava and life

Lava and life

 Reykjavik's Harpa Concert Hall -- Harpa 8

Reykjavik's Harpa Concert Hall -- Harpa 8

 Harpa 2

Harpa 2

 Harpa 4

Harpa 4

 Harpa 6

Harpa 6

 Moored in Reykjavik Harbour

Moored in Reykjavik Harbour