CamelBak Presents – A Trip Through South Iceland
Where In The World Is CamelBak?: Iceland with Luke Stackpoole
I’m Luke Stackpoole, (@WithLuke) a professional travel and lifestyle photographer from the UK, with a penchant for capturing my imagery in the Nordics due to the ever-changing moody weather and variety of unique environments on offer. For this reason, Iceland is one of my favorites, and I decided to return out here earlier this year accompanied by my good friend Kyle on an epic adventure across the South of Iceland in the hopes to capture the region in the essence of its Winter coat.
We made sure to bring with us a selection of CamelBak gear to keep us hydrated out in the field and to keep our gear secure and portable whilst on our day trips – the backpacks were a great addition to our typical heavy camera bags as it allowed us to pack lighter for the short trips from our 4x4 to the locations were shooting, such as the waterfalls, Ice Caves and on our short day hikes.
I’m going to share some of my favorite spots we found a long our route, these are definitely a must see if you ever find yourself taking a trip to Iceland, enjoy!
Our first destination along the route was the famous Skogafoss waterfall – very surprisingly we arrived to see no one here and we had this place all to ourselves for a couple of hours! Perhaps this was because it was a rather chilly mid-winters evening and there was some heavy snowfall forecast.
We began with taking a few classic “bangers” using the powerful curtain of water as an epic backdrop to us standing below creating that element of tiny human scale vs this immense piece of nature. The snowy foreground really gave it a unique take on the place, and it was cold enough that the water droplets froze to our jackets instead of soaking through!
We then decided to mix things up a bit seeing as we had the place to ourselves, so we brought out our telephoto lenses, handily stored in our CamelBak backpacks, and got to work capturing the Fulmar seabirds swopping in and out of the raging water. It took many a try but finally we started nailing the focus and once we got it right, the results were mesmerizing – every little detail of the bird and the spray is a beautiful sight to see on the back of the camera!
A quick stopping point along our route was Diamond beach – a glacial lagoon where Icebergs break off and flow into the ocean, sometimes being swept back onto shore creating a “Diamond” like covering of Ice blocks along the black sands. We pulled over and spent an hour or so wandering along the beachfront exploring this unique environment – definitely worth seeing at least once if you can! The scale of the chunks of ice there are crazy, we even spotted a few seals diving in and out of the water – so curious!
One of my favourite locations in all of Iceland, Stokksnes never disappoints. The combination of the giant looming peak in the distance with the endless black volcanic beach in the foreground is a perfect blend of formations to create the photographers dream. We parked up, packed our CamelBaks with lenses and snacks and headed out onto the beach for an afternoon of shooting.
We loved the landscape here so much we returned later that evening to catch the last of the sunset and some more blue hour by the sea.
I’ve been to Iceland three times now, but this is the first I’d made a point to stop by the famous Reynisfjara Black Beach. This place definitely lived up to its name and I’ll certainly be returning again in summer! The endless stretch of black volcanic sand is just stunning to witness, and the roaring stormy seas just created the perfect atmosphere to take photos.
We took the opportunity to take some telephoto shots of the famous Reynisdrangar rocks in the middle of the storm, watching the Fulmars darting in and out of the huge waves crashing against the resilient pillar. Couldn’t have asked for better conditions here!
If you drive far enough you will come across this enormous peak in the South East of Iceland – this one isn’t as famous due to the distance from the main cities but I’d highly recommend the trip if you get the time, especially if you are into aerial photography. We flew the drone around the tip of the peak, and it felt like a movie scene, the crashing waves against the coast with the flocks of gulls diving in and around the rocks. Just a warning, fly into the wind in Iceland otherwise you won’t get it back on the return trip, those gusts are strong out there!
My backpack of choice for this trip was the Fourteener 26 stores as it stores a full days’ worth of gear with its spacious 26L size – and it was super comfortable to carry even with a bunch of my camera gear, bottles and a drone inside as well as of course keeping me comfortably hydrated for those extended shooting sessions out in the elements!
The stunning roads of Iceland in Winter are a dream to drive, especially when you get a golden sunset like we had! I hope you enjoyed this little series from Iceland and that it inspires you to make your own trip out to the beautiful South – big thanks to CamelBak for keeping us properly equipped for the conditions out there!