Thursday, December 28, 2017

2017 in Review

2017 is already coming to an end! It's been quite a year. We only published 10 blog posts! I can't believe it. Not great, but it was a hectic time. How was your year?

This year we...

Moved in together

We now have a cozy, tiny apartment just to ourselves & a couple pets. It's been fun combining our odd collections and libraries! We both also read a lot.

Got Engaged

Yes - we got an apartment and we got engaged! It's almost like we're real adults now.

Visited California & Oregon (again)

Clearly we're enamored with the West Coast. Keep an eye out for some of these posts to arrive in the new year.

Our plans for 2018 include...

Blogging More!

We have a ton to post about, we just haven't had as much free time! I intend to make it more of a priority. I love memorializing our adventures on here.

Traveling to New Orleans

We will be visiting New Orleans early next year! We have a ton of locations in mind to visit, and we can't wait!

Traveling to Las Vegas

We will also be visiting Las Vegas! We're hoping to also check out some surrounding areas as time allows. If you've been, please let us know what we should not miss.

Getting married

Since one of us is still finishing up school, this is a little up in the air at the moment, but we'd like to get more into the planning stages of a small wedding for late next year.

What are your goals for 2018? What kind of posts would you like to see more of on here?

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Tuesday, December 26, 2017

ICELAND: The Waterfalls of South Iceland

In Iceland, it kinda feels like you can't toss a rock without hitting a waterfall. Despite the fact that there are so many, some of them really stand out among the rest. Our tour along the south coast of Iceland was largely a tour of waterfalls. Within a couple days we stopped to visit three big ones: Seljalandsfoss, Gljufrabui, and Skogafoss.

Seljalandsfoss is a large waterfall, and the closest to Reykjavik. This one is unique in that you can walk behind it! When visiting, be sure to wear waterproof shoes, coats, and protective gear for photo equipment. It is cold, slippery, and very wet.

It's always difficult to capture the scale of these sights in photos, but if you look closely you can see people for scale.

Directly next door to Seljalandsfoss is it's lesser known neighbor, Gljufrabui (a name meaning, dweller of the gorge). This waterfall may be the most magical, as it's truly a hidden gem. To get to this one, you must be wearing rainboots as the path is flooded! Additionally, this one was very difficult to capture with photos, and so you must see it in person to really understand.

Upon walking up the the fall, you can see a bit of it from outside. However, it's not until you walk into the gorge that you can truly experience how mystical this location is. Honestly, sights like these help me to see how the Icelandic have such a rich fantasy mythology (it definitely seems like an elven home!).

Finally, we visited Skogafoss the next morning as the day was getting late (although you can easily visit all three within a day trip from Reykjavik!). We will share more about Skogafoss in the next entry.

Which of these waterfalls would you most like to visit? If you have visited, which were your favorites?

This is part of a series of posts about our trip to Iceland.

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Saturday, August 19, 2017

ICELAND: The Lava Fields of Berserkjahraun

Our final day in Grundarfjordur was off to a rocky start, as we discovered that one of our destinations was not accessible without 4-wheel drive (which our rental car did not have - please learn from our mistake!). Having only a couple other locations in mind to visit, we decided to leave Grundarfjordur a day earlier than planned - we would spend the morning visiting a lava field (Berserkjahraun), and then we would head south towards Vik. 

Berserkjahraun is a lava field, approximately 3500 years old. It's name comes from an Icelandic saga, in which a pair of Berserkers had been working on a farm, when one fell in love with the farmers daughter. In order to prove his love, the two Berserkers agreed to complete the impossible task of clearing a path through a lava field. Upon completing the task, the Berserkers were then tricked and killed by the farmer. While believed to be more of a myth, the remains of two large men were unearthed from the field by modern archaeologists. 

The lava fields above are Berserkjahraun, and the other photos are from around our hostel in Grundarfjordur. Overall, our visit to the Snaefellsness peninsula was both relaxing and full of adventure. There is so much to see within that small span of coastline.

This is part of a series of posts about our trip to Iceland.

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Friday, June 16, 2017

ICELAND: Visiting Kirkjufell

Kirkjufell (literally translates from Icelandic to "Church Mountain") is a famous photo spot. You may have spotted it in Game of Thrones, or perhaps you've seen a stunning capture of it on Instagram. Regardless, this mountain is a must-see for many photographers visiting the peninsula.  It's unique shape provides an interesting subject, and from the right angle you can also capture a series of waterfalls. If you're lucky, you may also be able to catch a sunset or the aurora borealis in the background. 

We stayed at the Grundarfjordur Hostel, a nice little place within sight of the mountain. When planning a trip to photograph or visit Kirkjufell, you should know a few things. First of all, it looks completely different from another angle. Below, in the photo with the dilapidated building, you can see the other side of Kirkjufell in the distance. Second, if you want a good spot for a photo - get there early! We were there in September (shoulder season) and yet when we arrived an hour before sunrise, there was a lineup of photographers set up for a shot (you can see a photo of this below).  Thirdly, the weather in Iceland is constantly changing, and with it - the water levels. There is a small area of land where you can walk up to the lower waterfalls - if the water level is low enough. Within a little over an hour of us being there, the water level below the falls drastically increased and that location was not reachable by sunset. Finally, if this is a shot that you have your heart set on - plan to spend more than a couple days nearby. Due to the unpredictable weather, you never know when the elements will be on your side for the perfect shot. 

We spent a little over an hour at the location in hopes of a sunset but unfortunately the weather was not on our side. During our time there it rained off and on, but we were able to stay dry and grab some good shots regardless. On our way to the location, we stopped for a small dilapidated building along the road. There are plenty of these along the way in Iceland, but we didn't have time for all of them. 

For photographers, I'd recommend considering the following gear*, based on our experience: 1. the JOBY gorillapod is sturdy and easy to position on the muddy and uneven surface of the land surrounding the falls. A tripod is a must for a good time-lapse shot! 2. a wide angle lens (I use a 14mm) is the easiest way to capture all of the falls, plus the mountain in the background. 

Yes, that mountain in the background is the same mountain as the one in the header!

This is part of a series of posts about our trip to Iceland.

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