I'm Candace and I'm a destination wedding & portrait photographer based out of the Washington, D.C. area. Chances are you won't find me in the DMV for too long. Come and explore my corner of the world with me!
I always save the best for last. Also note, there will be lots of rambles and tears are likely going to roll down my face as I type this post. But before I lay the heavy stuff on you, lets start with the bright and happy. We left off after our INCREDIBLE whale watching experience in Húsavík and we had stops along our journey we still wanted to see on our way to our super cute airbnb in Vopnafjörður. Onward we go!
We were making our way around Lake Myvatn towards Dettifoss, the most powerful waterfall in Iceland. Also said to be the hardest to reach but I don’t believe it because the road was perfect for us. On our way towards Dettifoss, we stumbled upon Námafjall hverir which is a geothermal area and you will 100 and 10% KNOW when you are there because the entire area around and leading up to it….stinks. REALLY bad. So bad that Andie couldn’t even stomach it anymore and we had to dipset before she lost it.
We drove through the east fjords faster than we expected through even more sketchy, dirt roads that Andie drove like a champ, take that Tony! haha We passed even more waterfalls and after even more hours of driving when we hit the South East of the island. And it was glacier city baby! Seeing so many glaciers in the distance every where we turned was incredible. Sure, we saw plenty of glaciers all along our drive but we had a hot date with Jökulsárlón, the glacial lagoon, and had high hopes of getting there and staying the night.
Before we set up shop at Jökulsárlón, we made a stop right on the other side of the bridge for the beautiful “Diamond Beach”… which basically is the nick name for the black sand beach that the glaciers that wash out into the Atlantic get washed back up on. Making it seem as though there are diamonds all along the beach. Some big ole diamonds boys and girls. First, I should note. It was CRAZY windy. One thing Andie and I learned about Iceland from first hand experience, not matter where in the country you are, the weather sucks at night and is incredible from early morning throughout majority of the day. At least for us it was. So we were thankful that we were sleeping at the lagoon as we woke up and had both to our selves!
Another plus to Iceland in the summer, is the midnight sun. I’m talking a good 4-5 hours of that beautiful sunset that we usually only get for 20-30 minutes in our normal lives. Andie and I thought we were done for the night until we looked behind us and saw the MOST EPIC sunset over the lagoon, ever. I mean, ever. I’ve never seen a more incredible sunset. I didn’t care how windy it was, I went down the hill and hid from the wind and took it in by myself for 15 minutes, and flew the drone some more, of course. Then we hit the hay for what was the best sleep we had in the car by far and even slept in until about 7:30/8am! We did some drone work at the diamond beach since the wind was gone and then set aim for the day. Oh, and Tony makes a bit of an appearance in this post. Andie had a cardboard cutout of Tony made as he was a bit upset that he wasn’t able to come along for this adventure. Never fear, Andie was thinking of him the entire time.
Now we were onward for what was the busiest day that we had the entire trip. So much to see, and just the right amount of time to see it! Our plan that day was to hit all of the hotspots along the south and then finish our night off right, at the glorious Seljavallalaug hot pool. It was right in between Skógafoss and Seljalandsfoss so we figured we would just stay the night near the hot spring so we could have it to our selves around 1:00am in the morning. More on that in a bit. We had our first real hike of the trip, to svartifoss. It was a two for one waterfall as there was a smaller falls 1km before svartifoss, I can’t recall the name of that one though. Svartifoss is unique as it has the infamous basalt columns that surround its base. Oh, did I mention we had to hike through a forest to get there! Iceland has plenty of trees people! And bugs! They have PLENTY of bugs too! Don’t believe the hype like I did! They even have spiders!
I was super excited for our next stop, fjaðrárgljúfur! A beautiful canyon carved out of hundreds of thousands of years of glacial erosion. We were set to have an anniversary session the next day at this canyon so I was extra excited to see it and get a game plan going for the shoot.
Now was the time of day where Andie and I were starting to get really hangry, so we headed to Vík to grab some dinner before continuing forwards to Reynisdrangar, the black sand beach famous for its basalt columns and EXTREMELY dangerous tides.
Now onto the final leg of our day, the two hot waterfalls of the south, Skógafoss and Seljalandsfoss. Oh and Gljúfrabúi, the hidden waterfall. I didn’t have proper footwear last time I was in Iceland but this go, I took my waterproof hiking boots all up in the water and got my booty in the slot canyon. It sure was pretty! If you didn’t know, Gljúfrabúi is just past Seljalandsfoss, the glorious waterfall that you can walk behind, and get soaked by the way, maybe muddy. Totally worth it though so do it!
And now the final note on this trip. As most likely know, I had the worst thing happen to me. Well, I guess not technically the worst as I am still alive but Andie and I had finally reached our final destination, Seljavallalaug. Its a super easy 30 minute walk to the hot spring, Light walking and easy creek crossing (theres a bridge). The hot spring was nearly in sight and then BAM! I lost my footing on loose gravel and slid down the SMALLEST hill and landed on my ankle….I knew the moment I pulled my foot from beneath me that it was broken. I could see the bone poking against the side of my leg (sorry for the graphic details). I strangely, wasn’t really in any pain just yet. I’ll thank my adrenaline and the endorphins for keeping me pain free. Here we are, 2 and half hours outside of the nearest real city, 30 minutes from Teppy, our wireless internet router we left in the car, and me being overweight didn’t make the matters easier considering Andie was NOT going to carry me out of there herself. Thankfully, there were 5 Canadians from Montreal that were leaving as we were walking up and we put a stop to their plans real quick. There was even the sweetest guy named Lukas, who was from Austria, who was making camp at the hot spring and came to my side with his first aid kit, some meds for pain and tea. The boy made me two cups of tea and didn’t leave my side until I was in the ambulance. He was a hoot. My kind of personality and a killer outlook on life. He was solo-backpacking through Iceland all via hitchhiking. Iceland is the safest country in the world after all, so be prepared to see lots of hitch hikers, and lend them a hand if you have the room!
Anyhoo. Andie went running to the closest house and luckily, there were 3 icelandic gals who had service and called the emergency services for us. It took about 1.5 hours for the rescue team to arrive. They had to carry me out of the valley. What a way to end the day, right? We ended up stopping at a medical center in Selfoss to give me some drugs because the pain set in. And it was horrible. After we arrived in Reykjavik and I received my x-rays, turns out I have a fracture that I cannot remember the medical name for. Simple words, I broke my ankle in 4 places. One bone was broke in 3 separate locations and the other bone was broken right near the joint. Surgery was the only way to repair my ankle. I opted to have surgery back in the states so that I was not alone and was able to have Andie by my side. She is a SAINT for everything she did for me. I don’t know where I would be without her. Maybe not even alive? who knows. So thankful. And heres a photo of blacky. A super sweet old black lab that we ran into on our walk to the hot spring and he must have known I was injured because he came all the way to where I was held up and stayed with us all the way to the end. Also, followed by the final picture I took in Iceland. The photo I took to make sure my camera was ok as my Lens his the ground with me. ALWAYS HAVE YOUR LENS HOOD ON!!! ha. I will definitely never forget this trip. Its permanently scared me and it has me off my feet for the next two months. I also had to cancel two trips and you know thats honestly the worst part about this entire thing. That and all of the money I have lost and will continue to lose. But I will push forward. In fact, I have a hot date with Iceland and a hot spring that needs to be conquered! I will be back!
And as always, the video jammer of our trip. Likely my favorite video. It may have ended on a bad note, but it was incredible none the less