Tag Archives: iceland

Iceland’s Ring Road

Last August, Alex and I visited a place that was on both of our bucket lists: Iceland.

Most travelers coming to Iceland visit Reykjavík, the capital. It’s not surprising, since nearly 2/3 of Iceland’s population lives there. But the rest of the country offers some of the most jaw-dropping sights in the entire world. We covered as much of the country as we could, driving around Iceland on Route 1, also known as the “Ring Road”. It was easily one of the most beautiful drives we’ve taken.

iceland

We rented a car for the journey at Keflavík Airport. Although we paid for a “mini”-sized car, we were lucky to be upgraded for free to a standard sized vehicle, a Skoda Octavia.

car

Some of the best sights along the Ring Road included:

Black Beaches: In Vík 

vik

Glaciers: Including Vatnajökull National Park and Jökulsárlón lagoon (pictured)

vatnajokull2

Wildlife: Including puffins, wild horses, seals, whales, and sheep

puffins

Waterfalls: Including Gulfoss, Seljalandsfoss (pictured), Skogafoss, and Godafoss

falls

Geothermal Sites (Hot Springs/Geysers, etc.): Including Geysir and Mývatn

myvatn

Picturesque Villages: Including Húsavík (pictured) and Akureyri

husavik2

Stunning Landscapes: Around every corner

waterfall

The entire trip is 1,300 km, and can be driven either clockwise or counter-clockwise from Reykjavík (we went counter-clockwise). We drove the Ring Road in 6 days; although, the absolute minimum number of days it would take to complete the trip is 5, and ideally we’d recommend doing it in 7 or 8 days. Trust us, you won’t regret taking the extra time to enjoy the journey!

Our #1 suggestion for this road trip is to book your accommodations in advance. Iceland is very sparsely populated, and places do get fully booked, especially in the Summer. Accommodations along the route include motels, dormitories, farm stays, camping sites, and apartment/cabin rentals.

We were lucky enough to stay overnight at an ocean-side farm. It was one of our favorite experiences on the trip and we’d highly recommend it!

farmstay

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How to take good travel pics on your phone

One of the greatest misconceptions about travel is that you need to buy an expensive, high-tech camera to document your adventures. But many of us do not have the technical “know how” or the luxury of spending hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars on a camera for a once-in-a-lifetime trip.

I’m here to tell you that you CAN take great pictures on your phone. In fact, some of my all-time favorite travel pictures were taken on my iPhone. Sure, they can’t be blown up to poster size or used for commercial purposes, but they are still great to look at.

I am not a photography expert, but I do like pretty pictures. Here are some basic tips on how you can take a quality photo with any camera phone:

Take advantage of the cropping tool. So many of my pictures have been enhanced as a result of strategic cropping. Look closely at every picture you take because you never know what gem you might find. In this picture from Wales, you would never know that there was a car coming across this bridge or that there are people playing in the river!

tearoom


Use easy photo editing apps/websites. There are many user-friendly apps that will kick your travel photos up a notch. I like to play with saturation, mostly, in order to enhance the natural colors that don’t transfer as clearly onto my phone as they would on a high-quality camera. In particular, I like to use Instagram, MyCam, and Flickr for simple or fun photo enhancements. Below is an Instagram picture from Arizona, and a waterfall in Iceland that was saturated using Flickr’s editing tool:

montezuma

falls
Work your angles! Photos can look more visually interesting by utilizing different angles. Don’t just limit yourself to straight, front-facing images. At “Hogwarts” in Florida and in Vik, Iceland, I was inspired by the sheer magnitude of the objects I was standing next to.

hogwarts

vik

On the other hand, don’t be afraid of taking pictures head-on! It can be just as interesting and impactful, like this temple picture from Cambodia:

bayon

Move the focal point of the image away from the center. It can look really interesting to shift main object slightly to the right or left. In this picture from Marfa, Texas, we were able to capture the entire RV and make the picture more visually appealing by sliding the placement of the doorway to the right.

rv

Keep the horizon at a straight angle when photographing landscapes. Landscape pictures can look very crooked if you don’t line align the horizon properly. This picture I took at Angkor Wat shows a fairly straight image, and therefore allows the viewer to focus on the subject rather than getting distracted by angles that might compete with the picture box itself.

angkor

I hope this was helpful for those of you who, like me, are amateur photographers that enjoy capturing life’s exciting moments. Feel free to share your best camera phone pictures, I’d love to see them!

*All of the pictures in this post were taken on my iPhone 4s. The only editing that has been done is through the photo editing apps mentioned above. I do not Photoshop pictures or alter them in any other way.