I spent the past weekend traveling in Iceland. This has long been a “bucket list” item for me, and it did not disappoint.
Iceland is a land of fabulous scenery almost everywhere you look. In fact, it’s so stunning that you’re at a loss to know where to begin. When I arrived on Thursday morning, I picked up my rental car and headed to Kirkjufell, the famous “church mountain” on the Snæfelssness peninsula. However, I found myself pulling over to the side of the road every few minutes to take pictures in the stunning landscape.
As is usual for me, I carried far too much gear, clothing, and equipment. In this post, I’ll go through what I carried, what was used, and what I’d leave behind if I did it again.
My primary outerwear was an Eddie Bauer down jacket. I wore this every day, all the time. No complaints at all. This particular model can be stuffed into one of its pockets, and I used this feature to stow the coat in one of my pieces of luggage on both legs of the airplane flight.
Long underwear, wool: I brought two pairs of these and did not use them at all. In fact, since I was driving in a car, I could simply get back in the car if my legs got cold (which they did once or twice). However, I suspect that if I had gone for a hike of more than 30 minutes or so, I would have really appreciated them.
Shirts: I only carried two shirts plus the shirt I traveled in, and this was adequate for a four-day, three night trip. I wore merino wool undershirts and those not only helped keep me warm but also meant that the outer shirts didn’t get all stinky.
Shoes: I only wore one pair of shoes, Lowa hiking boots. They are Gore-Tex insulated and waterproof, and were perfect. (They were a bit annoying at the guesthouse where we were required to remove our shoes at the door, however.)
I had two pullover sweaters/sweatshirts. These were redundant, and I could have been totally happy with just one of them.
I carried a full Sony A7rIV kit with several lenses, a Leica M10-P with a single lens, and a Leica Q2, which spent most of the time on the passenger seat of my rental car. All of these are superb cameras but, somewhat to my surprise, I used the Sony much less than the other two. Basically, the Sony was used when I needed a long telephoto lens, and I used the Leicas for everything else.
The M10-P, somewhat to my surprise, turned out some of the best photos of the entire trip. It’s incredibly sharp, and handheld pictures were superb. Most people don’t normally think of the manual-focus M10 as a landscape camera, but it did a superb job, albeit limited in focal length.
The Q2 was really the workhorse. I could grab it and go, and pictures were invariably of high quality. Its 28mm lens is stellar, and I got high-quality photos even in crop mode. When I put it on a tripod, slow shutter speeds allowed for smooth water effects on waterfalls, and nearly every image was of usable quality.
Honestly, if I ever do a trip like this again, I’ll limit myself to two cameras: the Sony plus one or two telephoto lenses, and the Q2 for everything else (though I dearly love the M10-P).
Camera gear traveled in an f-Stop Ajna. This is a 40L bag that can be carried on (the 50L Tilopa is a better bag but too large for carry-on size). My tripod was attached to the outside.
I also had a Tom Bihn Synik 30L for my personal item on the plane. It held my headphones, medicine, iPad, and other small items such as charging cables and batteries.
My clothes traveled in an Away wheeled carry-on bag. Since it was checked, I probably could have used a larger bag, had I wanted.