Archive for July, 2009

Iceland • The rest!

Wednesday, July 29th, 2009

Time to get these babies posted!

At the end of the last post, we left off after the amazing whale watching trip in Husavik. From there we had planned to see the biggest waterfall in Europe, Dettifoss, but sadly discovered that it was only accessible by plane. The destination for the day was Lake Myvatn (myvatn is the Icelandic word for “midge”… apparently at certain times in the year the clouds are so thick… well, I don’t even want to think about it. We were lucky and only saw a few.) which is an area filled with beautiful lava formations. It was kind of rainy when we got there, but we headed out to Dimmuborgir, which I think translates to “Dark Castles.” Local folklore claims it is the place where satan landed when he was cast from heaven. I had a really hard time photographing it, the formations were so amazing in person but they just weren’t translating. We hiked around for a while and climbed through this cool formation:

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We drove around the lake and stopped at these beautiful pseudo-craters in an area called skútustaðir. The pseudo-craters are formed by steam explosions when hot lava hits water. We got to walk up one and this was the view…
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We stopped to check out some of the beautiful lava fields and I loved this view… our guesthouse is the big white building all the way on the left.
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Back at the guesthouse we stopped in their restaurant for one of the best meals of the trip, couscous with stuffed peppers, and a complimentary traditional Icelandic dessert called Skyr. It’s kind of a cross between cream cheese, sour cream and yogurt… with lots of protein, only a few calories and really tasty too! It was fabulous. My cousin retired to the room and I went out on the balcony to watch another unbelievable sunset. This was my other favorite night… this low bank of clouds rolled in along the horizon and covered the mountain like a blanket. I have never seen anything like it in my life, it was stunning.
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A closer shot of the mountain…
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Again I had the view all to myself, so I had to be a dork and do a self portrait.
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The next morning we got started on the longest drive of the trip, but took another loop around the lake before heading out of town. A little while after heading out of Myvatn, we came upon the sulfur vents at Námafjall. The steel grey sky was perfect for the mood of this place… it was hot and so smelly and really looked like another planet.
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Mud pots
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This is a fumarole, the steam coming out is apparently 80 degrees celsius… steamaaaay!
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We took a shortcut in the east fjords on route 939… it was really treacherous. A narrow dirt path with blind hills, blind curves and blind hills on blind curves leading up to one lane bridges. Someone else must have thought it was pretty intense… it has its own youtube video! One car kept following us and it would stop when we stopped because it didn’t want to be in the lead! I was in first gear for about an hour. Here’s a view from one of the places we pulled over.
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Pulled over for a great view.
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I was pretty excited about it. I REALLY LIKE ICELAND. Ha ha.
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Oh Iceland, you’re so pretty.
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The view was awesome… I wish I knew how high those mountains went, but the clouds hung around the whole time.
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The destination this day was Vatnajökull glacier. The scenes in “Tibet” at the start of Batman Begins were actually filmed here!
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The glacier lagoon Jökulsárlón is so stunning… (remember, this is still the same day as the sulfur vents! Hard to believe isn’t it?)
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There were a few shy seals swimming around :)
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Cousin Kelly and I.
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We climbed the giant hill from the first picture for a different view.
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The next day we went back and it was raining pretty hard so everything looked different. We went out on an amphibious boat tour and got to eat chunks of 1500 year old iceberg! I left the camera in the car. :)

On the way Vatnajökull National Park we stopped at this random waterfall. Climbed up a little mountain for this view (you can see a tiny guy down in the bottom.)
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At the park we hiked down to the glacier, which I was determined to touch! Turns out glaciers are pretty dirty up close… (this is not a black and white picture)
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But when it melts, the water still has that brilliant turquoise color that you always see in Icebergs.
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And on the 7th day (ha ha), we headed to Vik… stopped at the Dverghamrar Cliffs (the Dwarf Cliffs) to look around at some basalt columns.
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Their waterfalls…
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…fall UP!
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Reynisdrangar black basalt stacks in Vik. The water is dark because it’s a black sand beach.
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Black sand is cooler than all other sand combined!
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About 3 seconds after this shot, a rogue wave came up and nearly took my camera (which was balanced on a rock) and bag… we grabbed them just in time!
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I had really wanted to see the basalt columns at the Giants Causeway when I was in Ireland a few years ago, but couldn’t fit it into the trip… thankfully Iceland obliged. ;)
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So cute!
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That evening I went out to the beach again to chill by myself, there were a few other people out there but it was pretty empty. I saw this cool white feather sitting on the sand and kicked myself for not bringing my camera (sometimes we just need time apart!) but when I went back out the next morning it was still there!
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The beach looked really different with brighter skies, too.
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Then we headed back to Reykjavik, and stopped at SKOGAFOSS (say it, it’s super fun.)
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I got drenched and was afraid of returning Gunnar (the car) with a butt print in the driver’s seat.
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The next few days we spent walking around Reykjavik, and on my birthday we did the Golden Circle Tour, which was a lot of fun.
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Thingvellir National Park, where Iceland’s parliament was founded over 900 years ago!
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Gullfoss, the Golden Falls. Above the grassy rock on the left in the foreground you can see a dark rock outcropping… there are people on it! They’re very very small, can you see them?
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Then we went out there… it was pretty awesome.
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Then we saw some geysers… this one is Strokkur, but right next to it is the original that is named Geysir and that’s where they term geyser comes from! It’s inactive for now, but who knows when it’ll wake up!
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I’ll try to figure out how to put the video on here! It was an amazing trip, I had a lot of fun with my cousin and the people couldn’t have been nicer and the sights were beyond belief.

If you can make the trip, do it. It’s fabulous.

Krystle and Tim • Rochester Wedding Photography

Tuesday, July 14th, 2009

What a week it has been… I’ve been struggling with one of the programs I use to view and sort images (again), which made picking images for this post really difficult. I have a feeling when I get the new program on Friday I’m going to find a lot of images I wish I’d included!

I was very excited for Krystle and Tim’s wedding, I met Krystle and her maid of honor, Brooke earlier this year to talk about wedding plans and they are both so sweet! Krystle’s wedding was held on the family farm in Pittsford, and I was looking forward to seeing it and meeting her family. The road they live on is named after them! And they have horses, which is always a win for me. :)

I met Krystle and Brooke at Shear Ego in Pittsford, and just after I arrived it started pouring. Pouring. You could hear the rain pounding over all the chatter and hair dryers, and the thunder sounded like fake movie thunder… it looked like we were in the middle of a hurricane, and I half expected to look out the window and see some poor bedraggled weather reporter standing there in a slicker getting blown over. Krystle just laughed and shrugged, and we talked about how excited she was to see Tim since he had decided they wouldn’t see or speak to eachother on the day of the wedding.

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Krystle and Brooke are such great friends, it’s fun to be around that kind of energy. :)
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The families spent the morning glued to the weather radar, debating whether or not to move the ceremony under the tent. Unbelievably, it stopped raining at about 2:45 for the 3:15 ceremony. I have never seen weather like that clear up so quickly in this area… it was like island weather! This might be one of my favorite walking-down-the-aisle moments.
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:)
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Love this ring shot!
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And cool centerpieces by Essential Element.
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Krystle’s dad reminds me a lot of my dad (he offered to shoot anyone who tried to mess with our cars when I was hesitant to leave my keys in my car… I think they are kindred spirits!) … kind of like John Wayne, but with a soft spot. :)
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Love the perfect tear… Krystle is a “pretty crier.”
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Tim and his roommate used to sing that song-that-was-in-every-movie-preview-ever (“I’m not gonna write you a love song, la la” I don’t know who sings it or what it’s called) in the morning before heading off to classes, and it turned into an impromptu dance moment which was surprisingly well choreographed. :)
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Breakin’ it down!
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I’m not sure what was happening here, but the dismount was amazing!
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Of course we had to do some portraits around the farm!
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I had to go for this one when I saw the blue sky… reminds me of one of the shots on my site that gets the most feedback! :)
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As a final surprise, Krystle and Tim had fireworks planned… it was quite a show! Plus we had some cool heat lightning. It was like a dance off between mother nature and gunpowder!

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Favorite!
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Krystle and Tim, it was an honor to spend the day with you guys, your friends and families- thank you for having me!

Iceland • Days 1-4

Wednesday, July 1st, 2009

All right, as promised, I have some of my Iceland pictures ready! I had soooo much fun on that trip, and it has got to be the most beautiful place on earth. When we landed in Reykjavik, it was pouring and cold at 6am but by the time we woke up at 3 (hey, that’s only 10am EST) it was a beautiful blue sky with puffy clouds. I love island weather. :)

Here’s Leif Eriksson right outside the guesthouse. Is it just me or is he kind of hot?
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Sólfar, the Sun Voyager.
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Reykjavik
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On the second day, we picked up our car (which we named Gunnar) and started the 5-ish hour drive to “the capital of the north” Akureyri. The views along the road were spectacular. We got out at a few places to look around and touch stuff which doesn’t really look like it belongs on this planet, like this moss-covered lava. It’s really soft and spongy and I was tempted to take a nap in it.
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The next day, we were heading to Husavik, the northern-most place we visited (and my favorite.) We planned some stops along the short 1 1/2 hour drive, including a famous waterfall called Godafoss. It means Waterfall of the Gods. We didn’t know it yet, but we had clearly done something to annoy the gods. We put the waterfall into our GPS and after a long drive down a series of potholes connected by little globs of dirt, we arrived at a farmhouse. There was the cutest little redheaded toddler peeking out the door at us as we got out and waved to the elderly man who was tilling the soil or something. He called for his son, who spoke English, and we asked if it was ok to walk up to the falls, and he had a slightly amused look on his face as he told us yes, but “be careful, it is… slippy.” So we started the trek up the hill and heard a woman come out the door and start giggling, at which point it really hit home that we had just driven up to someone’s house and started wandering around their back yard. It was one hell of a back yard though!
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After a few moments of embarrassment-induced paralysis, we sheepishly crept back down and learned from our slippy friend that while this waterfall is actually called Godafoss, it’s not the one we were looking for. He was very sweet and understanding, and I can only hope that he thought we were intrepid explorers and not complete morons. But… probably not.

A cool stop along the way:
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The real Godafoss.
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One of the things I love about Iceland is that, while their tourism numbers have skyrocketed in the last decade, it’s still remote enough that you can have places to yourself and there aren’t a trillion guardrails and barriers everywhere. Hey, if you fall off, you fall off!
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My cousin Kelly and I at the falls.
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This is the top of the falls, I walked way far out, it was really cool!
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Icelandic horses are famous for their friendly demeanor and unique gait (called tölting) and I was super excited every time we saw them. I love horses, so when we finally found a field near a road, I pulled over and hopped out of the car so I could take some pictures. Much to my delight, the horses on both sides of the fence pricked up their ears and then came running from hundreds of yards away to the fence to say hello… it was one of the coolest things ever. (Except when I saw a horse sitting on a rock. I’m not kidding, but sadly I was driving and couldn’t photograph it.)
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They’re very frisky and playful, you almost never see them standing still.
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And if they are, they are doing it in formation.
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When we arrived in Husavik, we grabbed some dinner at a cafe and enjoyed our first Viking beers (they’re not that good, but at least they’re called Viking. Skjalfti is far superior!) Then headed back to the cottage, aka heaven. I had this all to myself except for a little fisherman… it was perfect. I sat out from around ten to midnight I think. The sun set a bit after midnight.
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That’s our cottage on the right.
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I watched that snowstorm on the left blow around for a while, but it never got close.
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That was one of the most enjoyable evenings I’ve ever spent!

The next day we went whale watching, which my cousin kept referring to as “whaling”… yikes!
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Cool!
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Ok, for now I will end it at day 4… I have so many more pictures, but I’ll save them for another post! Stay tuned for sulfur vents, glaciers and black sand beaches. :)

Also, I’d just like to take a second to say RIP MJ. I grew up on his music and my brother, sister and I watched Moonwalker pretty much every day. He was troubled, but he was the coolest back in the day. I will always love 1970’s/80’s Michael!!!
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