ICELAND EXPLORER • PART II

by - December 15, 2017


I honestly can’t believe how quickly my adventures to Iceland have come around…

This time next week I’ll be double checking that I have everything ready to go before climbing onto an overnight coach and slowly making my way to the airport. Iceland, here I come.

When I travelled around Scandinavia I blogged about all of the important travel items I’d be taking with me. As I now have all of those in the bag (accidental pun), and as we’ll be staying at the same base hotel this time around, I won’t need as much ‘travel’ gear and can take far more photography gear. Hurrah, travel shots!

I have had to buy a brand new parka to keep myself warm, and am packing an awful lot of knitwear, some thermals, chunky socks, my infamous pink boots, gloves, hats… the list of cold-weather gear goes on. I’ve been keeping an eye on Instagram photos and stories to gauge how cold it really will be, and lately I’ve seen temperatures as low as -10 degrees centigrade… eep. There’s also a strong wind presence in Iceland (boo).

After weeks of searching, I eventually bought a deep-beige/camel, fur-lined and padded number from New Look - with a big, cosy, detachable, fur-lined hood. It also has cuffs on the sleeps to prevent windy entry, and a draw-string waist for a little flattery. I purchased it over the Black Friday weekend... and also found a gift card hiding in my wallet ...so for a grand total of £31.00, the parka is a total bargain. It also comes in pink, khaki, and grey (sold out). You can find it here

New Look New Look


I also picked up a selection of bobble hats. The pink hat is from Amazon (you can find it here), and the other two are Primark finds. Not that I’ll need all three, but they’re only small so can be thrown in at the top of the suitcase. I’ll more than likely be wearing one at the same time as the hood on the parka; if it really is that cold and windy out there I’m going to need all the knitwear I can wear.

I have a matching pair of grey touch-screen gloves, and am also throwing in a pair of silver mirrored sunnies to help with the sun/snow glare. The gloves are just a cheapie pair from eBay, and I'm already regretting not having bought a big thermal pair - but I would also really like to be able to use my camera without chunky gloves being a burden. 


 


I’ll absolutely be taking my set of thermals, as well as a variety of jeggings and gym leggings. I'll be going on a lot of treks and expeditions so I want light-weight gear - but also don't want to freeze. I’ll be taking a mass amount of thick jumpers, one Christmas jumper, one super thick cardigan, chunky chunky socks, my trusty large blanket scarf, and a vest top or two. I am honestly so miserable when I’m cold, so this is going to be interesting hehe. I may look like a marshmallow, but at least I’ll be happy and snug. 

My infamous pink boots will of course be coming along... oh, and a bikini. Not something you'd necessarily pair with Iceland, but we're headed to the Blue Lagoon and I am not passing up a chance to jump in.


 


Onto the tech. I’ll be taking my Samsung NX300 camera, which is the bridge camera that I use for all of my blog photos. I did want to buy an 18mm-200mm lens, but I couldn’t find one cheap enough. It’s an old camera that Samsung don’t produce anymore, so you’d think lenses would be cheap on eBay. Nope. The trusty 15mm-50mm will have to suffice, sob sob.

I missed a lot of photo opportunities during my Scenic Scandi trip (though I was pretty comatose and unwell for a chunk of the trip), so this time I have prepared! I decided I'd shoot a handful of ‘Instagrammable’ photo test shots with my NX300 to see how to best capture my travel shots. As I'm a solo traveller I'll more than likely be taking my own shots, so it's great to know ahead of time the best way to capture everything.

I can use a timer mode, or I can use my iPhone as a wireless shutter, but both have their pros and cons. For example, if I use my iPhone then I have to conceal it whilst I hit the shutter button on the screen - not always easily done, but it is really helpful to be able able to line yourself up in the shot before you snap away. The app is unfortunately hugely temperamental and when it decides to close itself it also disconnects from the camera – so it causes a lot of running back and forth. However, so does the timer feature. Every time you want to take a new shot you have to run back to the camera to set it off again, then run back to the focal point and pose it up before the timer clicks. If you’re not facing the camera you also have no idea if the shutter has gone off or not, unless you attempt to count – which has worked well for me so far.

To make the solo traveller shots a little easier I bought a wireless remote. It attaches to my camera so easily, I turn it and the remote on, I wander over to the focal point, I can focus with the remote (I can’t with the app or the timer option), pose, and snap the photo. The remote is also a lot easier to hide in a pocket or in my hand whilst taking a photo because, unlike the app, you don’t have to look at it and can feel for the shutter button. Ideal. You can find this little blessing here. There are a multitude of options on Amazon for different cameras so please check thoroughly before you buy one.




If you follow me on Twitter you’ll know that I was getting a little annoyed at the lack of Black Friday discounts on the new GoPro Hero 6. My theory is that if I’m going to buy such an expensive piece of kit that I may as well get the latest version, that being the Hero 6, but as it is so expensive I was hoping for some sort of discount. Nope. Nada. Not even on Amazon. Yes yes I know, it’s far too new to have any substantial discount, but the Hero 5 didn’t really have any discounts to sing about either.

The Hero 6 has dropped in price by about £30, so last week (I had a reaalllyyy bad week, and I am known to treat myself in stupid ways when I’m sad and unsupervised…) I headed to Currys, price matched in-store with Amazon, and walked out an awful lot poorer… but also with a brand new Hero 6 and matching 64GB SD card.

My intention here is to make a travel video, but as the Hero 6 is waterproof I also intend to use it for waterfall shots and at the Blue Lagoon. I didn’t want to take my camera or iPhone into either location and have them get wet and ruined, or do something stupid like dropping my phone into the lagoon (trust me, it could happen). I’ve never made a travel video before, so here’s hoping. If anything, I’ll at least come away with some shots of the wet locations.

I’m also hoping to use the Hero 6 for some low-light shots of the Northern Lights (fingers firmly crossed) and the odd time-lapse video. Time to watch all the YouTube vids that I can. If you have any GoPro tips for me, please comment them below or message me on Instagram. Dying for some know-how.




I do have a rather hefty tripod, but unfortunately it’s about 10cm too tall to fit into my rucksack, so I had to order a slightly smaller version. It seems pretty sturdy, and I can attach both my camera and the GoPro to it. You can find it here. I’ll be taking my enormous 49" Fugetek selfie-stick too, and have ordered an attachment for the GoPro to sit on it. You can roll your eyes at ‘selfie-stick’ all you like, but they come in so handy. I also have no shame. It comes with a detachable shutter button that connects to your phone/device via Bluetooth. You can find my selfie stick here.

The last piece I picked up was a flexible gorilla tripod. I wasn’t going to get one of these, but I’ve been watching an awful lot of YouTube videos lately with solo travel tips on photography and film making, and it seemed like such a fab piece of kit. What if I want to take a shot from above of me making snow angels? So long as there’s something for my camera to latch on to, I’m now sorted. I found this particular tripod on eBay for only £3.99. You can find it here.




Other than a drone, I think I’m all kitted out. My portable battery is all charged and ready to go, and this'll be a lifesaver on those 11 hour trips. I won’t be taking my laptop, as I’ll be on another Topdeck tour followed by two more days of individual expeditions, so I just won’t have any time to sit and edit things. I’ll also be in London visiting the guys from my Scenic Scandi tour as soon as I land in the UK, so edits will have to wait until the New Year when I’m back in the warmth of my own home with plenty of time to spare.

If you’re keen to read all about the Topdeck tour you can take a peek at my previous Iceland Explorer blog here – it’s filled with my day to day itinerary. You can also keep up to date with photos on my Instagram feed and stories (definitely keep an eye on the stories) here.


This weekend I’ll be cooking a massive roast dinner for a mini faux-Christmas with my family, and then all that's left to do is to relax, slowly pack, and begin to get incredibly excited that I'll be snowed up whilst adventuring around the most incredible and magical country. Eep. I can’t believe Iceland is just a few sleeps away. Have you been to Iceland? Let me know all about it in the comments below. I’m so excited to see the land of ice and fire. What a bucket list trip.

Claudia xo




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