Beautiful Icelandic Horses + 5 tips for visitors!

I’m happy to say that I can check “falling on the ice in Iceland” off of my bucket list. Yup, true story. I recently had the pleasure of traveling to Iceland with a friend I’ve known since 9th grade. Along with the ice fall, I was lucky enough to experience the incredible beauty and complete and utter cold (yet still awesomeness) that is Iceland.

Let me first say that I found NYC in December to be much colder than Iceland in January! However, I’m pretty sure that my fingers turned into little popsicles at multiple points throughout the trip. This was due not only to poor glove management, but also to the fact that it’s so much easier to photograph horses and the like without cumbersome gloves! But my complete commitment to getting the exact shots I wanted trumped my fear of frost bite — even if popsicle fingers are the worse pain EVER!

Photographing people is my passion; but photographing animals, especially horses, is up there too. So you can imagine my complete and thorough happiness when I discovered that Icelandic horses are pretty much everywhere! Much to the annoyance of my friend, we had to stop almost every time I saw one… oooooops.

Since I’ve been home, a number of people have expressed interest in traveling to Iceland. So I thought I’d share a few Iceland travel tips and pieces of advice I learned on my adventure… and some pictures, of course:

1. Watch out for hat-eating horses! It’s true that they will steal and eat your hats, it only happened to me once, but you can never be to careful.

2. If you have never seen or visited a black sand beach, there is no better place than Iceland. There was nobody else around and the beaches were pristine.

3. If seeing the Northern Lights is on your itinerary, research and plan your trip around the best months for viewing them. When you’re there, check the daily weather sites often for you’re probability of catching a peek! I liked this site to check the fore case: In the four days we spent in Iceland, we didn’t see the Northern Lights even once, although we tried every night…wah wah.

4. All of the cars in Iceland have manual transmissions, so hopefully you or your travel buddy know how to drive a stick or have a desire to learn quickly. I was pretty proud of my driving-on-ice-manual skills if I do say so myself! I got stuck on the ice once, but only for a brief moment, soooo it doesn’t really count.

5. In the winter it doesn’t get bright until about 10:00am, and the sun sets around 4:30pm. So be ready to cram a lot of activities into a very short day!

These pictures were taken at 8:00am and it was still pretty dark — such a strange feeling.

This was the cutest dog ever! He was hanging out at a horse rental place that we visited to photograph what else? Horses. When we arrived he looked at me like he was waiting for me to do something. After a few barks, I decided to throw a snowball up in the air — that was just IT for him! Once I started, he didn’t want me to stop. I was gloveless, mind you, so this little game didn’t last as long as either of us would have liked. So freakin’ cute!

My friend took over for me after my hand went numb.

I recommend going behind Icelandic waterfalls whenever possible, even if it ends with you slipping and falling on the ice. Totally worth it!

This photo doesn’t do the crazy wind justice! I’m pretty sure it could have blown me right off the cliff. Don’t worry mom, I never got close enough to the edge to find out.

This guy just had to put his feet in Icelandic waters — I opted to pass and take the photo instead.

Iceland has one of the angriest oceans I have EVER seen. The ocean in San Diego freaks me out enough already, but eeeesh this one really did it!

Never miss an opportunity to do a handstand or yoga pose on a deserted and scenic foreign highway.

The Blue Lagoon — a bit touristy… OK, a lot touristy… but worth the trip!

I think I need an Icelandic Pony now.

We drove over four hours to see this beautiful glacier! The only crappy part was the early sunset. This photo was taken in almost complete darkness, after a nearly two mile jog/sprint to reach it before sundown. What followed was a pitch black return hike that could have come straight from of an episode of “I Shouldn’t be Alive.”

  • Tim King - Awesome photos! Looks like a blast of a trip!

    Way cool that you were able to bring a pro cam into the blue lagoon! I would have been worried about all the steam!

  • kelly - It was a great time! Too bad I didn’t see the northern lights like you did on your trip

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