Iceland photography tour – Reykjavik

Posted by on 20. June 2012 in Blog / Journal, Iceland | 1 comment

I just returned from a two-week photography trip with a group of friends to Iceland. The tour was led by photographer and guide Tim Vollmer. It was an incredible experience and I will share a few photo moments from the trip in upcoming posts.

Tim is a great guy, accomplished photographer and an excellent tour guide. The first day we had a brief introduction to Reykjavik and it’s main attractions. We were housed at the Sunna Guesthouse, 10 minutes walk from the city centre. From the balcony of  my room I could see the imposing tower of the Hallgrimskirkja Cathedral. At 74.5 m, the Lutheran parish church is the largest church in Iceland and city’s best-known landmark. The church is visible throughout the city and never had a problem finding our way home. You can take a short elevator ride to the top, for a sweeping view of the city and nearby mountains. The church was designed to resemble the basalt lava flows so characteristic of Icelandic landscapes.

Hallgri­mskirkja Cathedral and the sculpture of Leif Ericson, Reykjavik

Hallgri­mskirkja Cathedral and the sculpture of Leif Ericson

Hallgrimskirkja Cathedral, Reykjavik, Iceland

Hallgrimskirkja Cathedral, Reykjavik

The basalt lava flow in architecture appears to be a  common theme. Tim took us inside the new Harpa Concert Hall on the waterfront. There were many photographic opportunities inside the building. What attracted my attention was the exterior. I photographer one of the exterior walls looking up against the midnight sky. The faceted glass-covered facade radiated with a gentle glow of the setting sun. Yes, the sun is setting in Reykjavik around 11:30 pm in mid June, a very interesting experience. As the sunrise was slightly after 2 am it really never got dark at night.

Exterior of the Hapa - Reykjavi­k Concert Hall and Conference Centre

Exterior of the Reykjavi­k Concert Hall and Conference Centre

Not far from the Concert Hall is another Reykjavik attraction worth visiting when the sun is low on the horizon. The Solfar (Sun Voyager) sculpture is made of reflective stainless steel resembling a ship. It is believed that the intention of the sculptor Jon Gunnar’s was to make the sculpture as an imaginary vessel that transports souls to the realm of death. Nevertheless, my first impression, like thousands of passing tourists, is that the sculpture is an interpretation of a Viking ship from Icelandic sagas.

Detail of the Sun Voyager sculpture in the shape of a Viking ship, Reykjavik

Detail of the Sun Voyager sculpture, Reykjavik

One Comment

  1. Hi,I lived in Iceland for a few years, so I think I can help you.I have never stayed at the htesol in Reykjavik, but if you’re trying to save money, that may be the best way to go. Iceland is an extremely expensive country. Although I don’t know what the accommodations will be like at the htesol, I can promise you that they will be clean. That’s one of the things I miss about living overseas Everything is clean! You’ll definitely want to stop at The Blue Lagoon, which is between the airport (in Keflavik, where you’ll fly into) and Reykjavik. It’s a great place even in the dead of winter:You will also want to take what is often called The Golden Circle Tour . You’ll visit Gullfoss (a double waterfall), Geysir (after which all other geysers in the world are named), and Thingvellir (which is on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge).There’s also something to be said for just strolling around Reykjavik. It’s a great city with many fabulous restaurants and coffee houses (Home to my favorite Italian restaurant in the whole world odd that it’s in Iceland!) or maybe you’d just like to pick up a pylsur (hot dog made of lamb quite good, actually) while strolling around. You might also want to stop at the cathedral (with the statue of Leif Erickson in the front). If you’re there on a weekend day, there is a market held down by the bay. You can’t miss the building, it has what, at first glance, looks like a big blue swastika on it. (It’s not!) If you’d like to get a taste of the Viking Culture, visit the Viking Restaurant. The Icelandic name is too long for me to remember, but any Icelander can direct you there. It’s a lot of fun. In addition to the Icelandic delicacies (Heh, heh), they also serve regular food . It’s a really great time and the staff really cater to tourists. If you have a few days there, you can go snowmobiling on one of the glaciers. (Snaefellsness is the closest glacier to Reykjavik.) Also.. be sure to pick up an Icelandic sweater or two! You’ll regret it if you don’t! (They’re $400 in the U.S . $100 in Iceland.)Be prepared for wind and rain. Although summertime has the best weather in Iceland (obviously), it still isn’t what most Americans are used to. I think you’ll also be pleased with the amount of daylight you’ll have while in Iceland (about 23 hours in the summer). Iceland is a fantastic country. Enjoy!