Tarynscapes Photography: Blog https://www.tarynscapes.com/blog en-us (C) Tarynscapes Photography [email protected] (Tarynscapes Photography) Sun, 06 Aug 2023 01:07:00 GMT Sun, 06 Aug 2023 01:07:00 GMT https://www.tarynscapes.com/img/s/v-12/u907539139-o884840133-50.jpg Tarynscapes Photography: Blog https://www.tarynscapes.com/blog 80 120 Iceland's Ring Road - Part 2 https://www.tarynscapes.com/blog/2023/7/icelands-ring-road---part-2 Continuation of my 2 week travels around Iceland's ring road. You can find the first 7 days in Part 1.

Day 8 - Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon & Diamond Beach

It was another drizzly day as we drove to the Viking village prop set in Höfn. As we drove the mountains looked like they were crying. So many tiny waterfalls! We walked to the set, crossing quite a bit of water. Luckily all our hiking boots were waterproof! The set was cool and it was the perfect, dreary weather to fit the scene.

rustic log structure with a grass roofrustic log structure with a grass roof IMG_0492 2IMG_0492 2 black sand beach with spots of mossy hills. Above stormy sky and mountains towering in the distanceblack sand beach with spots of mossy hills. Above stormy sky and mountains towering in the distance IMG_0486 2IMG_0486 2

On the way back from the set, we decided to count waterfalls. In the 53 miles between Höfn and the Glacier Lagoon, we counted 154! That was only what we could see from the road. It was spectacular!

The next stop was Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon and the food truck Heimahumar. Once again we had langoustine soup and split a lobster roll at a picnic table. It was so yummy! The dark stormy skies made a perfect background to the teal glacial ice. Across Ring Road was Diamond Beach.

IMG_0498 2IMG_0498 2 IMG_0499 2IMG_0499 2 Teal iceburgs float in a dark blue lagoon. The sky above is a deep purple, full of storm clouds.Jökulsárlón IMG_0504 2IMG_0504 2

We made a quick stop for a photo of Fjallsárlón and another one at Grófarlækjarfoss and even managed to get a picture of the small one-lane bridges we'd been crossing all around Iceland. We made another pit stop at Skaftafell National Park before checking into Hotel Skaftafell. The hotel was cute and my first chance of the trip to have my own bathroom!  We had a cocktail at the bar upstairs and looked upon Svínafellsjökull, right behind the hotel.

IMG_0510 2IMG_0510 2 IMG_0511IMG_0511 IMG_0515 2IMG_0515 2   Mountain top peaks over green grasses and puffy cloudsIMG_0524 2

We celebrated my birthday with another incredible lamb dinner and after trying a few after dinner drinks, discovered Björk, an Icelandic birch liqueur. Dad and I had several!

iceland iphone-311 2iceland iphone-311 2 IMG_0527 2IMG_0527 2 Day 8 to SkaftafellDay 8 Map: Birkifell to Viking Village prop set to Skaftafell Visitor Center

Day 9 Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon and Vik


Our first stop of the day was Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon. A short 2 mi round trip hike transported us to this magical canyon. Once again I had stormy clouds but no rain to set the green off against the purple and blue. The serene Mögárfoss is along the hike.

iceland iphone-331iceland iphone-331 Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon.Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon. iceland iphone-333iceland iphone-333 Iceland ring road-211Iceland ring road-211

We made our way to Vik for lunch at Suður-Vík, stopping first at Fossálar waterfall. We had the seafood soup and shared the wild game platter, which included smoked char, smoked caribou and cured goose! We also stopped at the iconic church before checking in at the Black Beach Suites.   The rooms were lovely and huge with a nice view in the distance. They also had a laundry service so we took advantage of it. Best idea ever.

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We had a quick afternoon cocktail before venturing over to Reynisfjara, the black beach, knowing it would be crowded. 10 days in and I was finally in familiar territory again. We then drove over to Dryhólaey for a different view of the beach and the sea stacks of Reynisdrangar.

iceland iphone-356iceland iphone-356 iceland iphone-346iceland iphone-346 IMG_0589IMG_0589

I was running low on energy so we decided to have dinner at the hotel - be warned, it's microwaveable appetizers. But it beat driving anywhere else. We popped a bottle of one of my favorite Washington Wines, The Big Dark from Laterus Winery and played cards while looking at our sea view.

Laterus The Big Dark wine bottle next to a glass of wine with the black sand beach hills in the backLaterus The Big Dark wine bottle next to a glass of wine with the black sand beach hills in the back Day 9 Map: Skaftafell to Black Beach Suites in VikDay 9 to Vik

Day 10 DC 3 Plane Crash, Skógafoss & Seljalandsfoss

I woke up at about 7 am, knowing I had an excellent chance of getting some great views of the beach sans people and I was rewarded. The sky lit up while I was snapping my shots. I even got a picture of this Icelandic sheep on the way.

Sparkling black sand leads to basalt columns, topped with grass. Golden sunlight explodes behind the columns, lighting up the sea on the horizonBlack Sand Beach iceland iphone-376iceland iphone-376 iceland iphone-371iceland iphone-371

We grabbed our laundry and were off to the US Navy DC 3 Plane Crash from 1973, in which everyone survived. After doing much research, it was clear that taking the shuttle out to wreck was the best idea as opposed to the 45 min walk along a desolate rocky road with no views, especially to maximize our time. We were grateful for the shuttle! When we were let out near the site, there was an icy wind that would have been no fun walking with. Unfortunately, tourists were climbing all over the plane, trying to get their Instagram-worthy shot which always makes me sad. You can get great pictures without breaking the rules and damaging the views.

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Lunch was at Hotel Skógafoss, with a view of the waterfall! We beat the tour bus so got a great view. The light was in my favor as I captured the famous rainbow in front of it. Dad took a nap in the car while Mom and I walked over to Kvernufoss, another hidden gem.

A bacon cheesebuger with long skinny friesA bacon cheesebuger with long skinny fries iceland iphone-393iceland iphone-393 Iceland ring road-269Iceland ring road-269  

On the way to the next waterfall I finally had a chance to get a picture of the Icelandic Horses. We’d seen them all over the country but never in a place where I could safely snap a picture. Our next waterfall was Seljalandsfoss and Gljufrabui in the distance.

iceland iphone-398iceland iphone-398 Iceland ring road-272Iceland ring road-272

It was a nice leisurely day so we were able to check in at Seljalandsfoss Horizons, a mere 3 minutes away! A gorgeous little place with 2 bedrooms and the waterfall Eystra Seljaland practically in the backyard! I would stay here again in a heartbeat!

Moddern square cabin with black siding and full length windows in the back.Moddern square cabin with black siding and full length windows in the back. Tall skTall sk

Finding dinner was a little tricky, as that area is notorious for serving foal. I couldn’t bring myself to eat in a restaurant that had it on the menu so we found the Umi Hotel about 13 miles away. We had delicious langoustine soup and Icelandic scallops along with some other things I can’t remember! Halfway through dinner I decided I wanted to get back to Seljalandsfoss for sunset so we had to rush a bit!

a bowl of creamy orange langoustine soupa bowl of creamy orange langoustine soup iceland iphone-421 2iceland iphone-421 2

We got back as the sun was setting and I stole my Dad’s long rain coat and rushed up the stairs behind the waterfall. I was a few minutes too late but it was still spectacular! The wind wasn’t blowing so I didn’t get drenched behind the falls. It was definitely worth some of the slippery steps to get back there.

Tucked in a cave, a waterfall tumbles in front of the c-shaped opening. On the horizon the light fades as the sun sets.Behind Seljalandsfoss

Satisfied with another waterfall filled day, we went back to our little lodge and opened another favorite Washington wine, Five - O by Guardian Cellars. We enjoyed the wine as we watched the sky changed colors through the giant windows.

iceland iphone-425iceland iphone-425 Day 10 Map: Vik to SeljandsfossDay 10 Map: Vik to Seljandsfoss

Day 11 Reykjavik

I woke up early with the full intention of going back to Skógafoss to get pictures without all the tourists below. However, when I got in the car, I noticed I was too close to E for comfort. I had 3 choices:

  • Drive the 36 miles west, past the waterfall back to Vik, and then another 21 miles back to the falls, putting it a minimum of an hour away.
  • Drive 13.5 miles east to the closest gas station, then 30 miles west to Skógafoss, again about an hour away
  • Drive the 3 miles to Seljalandsfoss and get gas on the way to Reykjavik.

I picked the lesser of 3 evils and went to the closest waterfall, learning my lesson to always fill up after 1/2 tank on Ring Road! There were only 4 of us this time, an Instagram couple and another photographer. The couple were taking turns crossing the fence (that had a sign that said something like “Please do not disturb the natural environment”). Which of course meant they were also in my shot and the other photographer’s shot. I was less annoyed they were ruining my shot than they blatantly disregarded another culture's wishes. Do me a favor, when you go to these beautiful places, don’t be an asshole and break rules just for a picture. You’re ruining things for everyone else! But I digress…. My shot ended up being less than fantasic. I got a better picture the day before.

I picked up my parents and we were off to Reykjavik. We stopped at one last waterfall on the way, Urriðafoss. We parked at Hallgrímskirkja, the famous church and started exploring the city. Our first stop was Kattakaffihúsið, a cat cafe that helps find homes for rescued kitties. Mom and I enjoyed the cats and coffee while Dad took a nap.

a tall church its long, central tower and sloping sides resemble a gigantic stalagmite of petrified lava residue.a tall church its long, central tower and sloping sides resemble a gigantic stalagmite of petrified lava residue. IMG_0758IMG_0758

We shopped our way to the famous Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur - Icelandic hotdog! Of course we had to get the works with lamb hot dog, Icelandic mustard, remoulade sauce, fried onions, raw onions and Icelandic ketchup. Just as good as the first time I had it!

Mom and dad each holding an Icelandic hotdog.Mom and dad each holding an Icelandic hotdog. Mermaid mural on the side of a buildingMermaid mural on the side of a building

We stopped at Skúli Craft bar, in search of Leifur. I had attempted to order it all over the island to no avail. Sadly I discovered this delicious Icelandic beer was discontinued. Dinner was at Reykjavik Fish Restaurant for Fish and Chips and of course I we had to have some Valdis Ice cream!

Me, with my hair down, sunglasses on my head. I'm drinking a pint of beer in the sunshineMe, with my hair down, sunglasses on my head. I'm drinking a pint of beer in the sunshine Valdis Ice cream storefrontValdis Ice cream storefront

We went back to our nearby AirBnB for some good rest.

Day 11: Map to  ReykjavikDay 11 Reykjavik

Day 12 Golden Circle Bubble Tour 

We started our morning with breakfast at Café Babalú. It was so nice to have a warm breakfast and it was just as good as I remembered. We made our way to our Buubble Tour pickup spot. We stored our luggage in lockers so they weren't just sitting in the car. We were early, our driver, Bjarni, was early so we got an early start for our Golden Circle. This was the second time I've done this tour but it was so different! Up to 6 people can be on the tour but we completely lucked out and it was only the 3 of us! We got our own private tour which was incredible.

Our first stop, Þingvellir National Park on this nearly cloudless warm fall day. We were dropped off at the top parking lot and walked to the lower lot, through the fissure zone where our driver would meet us. Surprisingly, Bjarni wasn’t there either. So we waited about 15 minutes until we recognized him walked towards us on the path we had just walked down. Our car’s battery had died! He tried to call me but I didn’t have cell service and hadn’t thought to turn on the wifi hotspot in my purse. We decided to trek back up to the gift shop to wait for the new car. It was so warm I  was happy to have layers and could just wear my t-shirt. It took about 45 minutes but we were finally rescued with a new Suburban.

Black cliffs loom behind an Icelandic flag blowing in wind in front of bright blue sky.Black cliffs loom behind an Icelandic flag blowing in wind in front of bright blue sky.

Even though we were delayed, we made a pit stop for some fresh, homemade ice cream at Íshlaðan Ice Cream Barn and it was so worth the stop!

Next stop was Geyser Hot Springs. We had 45 minutes here but didn’t need it. Right after the short walk to the geyser, it went off for us. There was no need to stick around to watch it again. Plus I wanted to have extra time our our next stop, Gullfoss!

half eaten ice cream cone with a view of the road ahead.half eaten ice cream cone with a view of the road ahead. Steam rises up from a geyserSteam rises up from a geyser

We started at the top near the Gift shop and walked down the steps to a magnificent view. It was just as magical as the first time I visited. I had no idea you could walk right up to the edge! Of course I was annoyed that all of the tourists were getting in the way of my photos! I walked down the path a bit but it was far too wet to go to far. I had my camera to think about and I will not risk water damage for anything!

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My mom, me and dad near gullfoss with a rainbow above us.My mom, me and dad near gullfoss with a rainbow above us.
We made a few more unplanned stops on our way to the Secret lagoon. Bjarni also dabbled in photography so he was happy to point out cool spots, like a bridge over a milky river. He also brought bread to feed the horses. I think the horses were more excited than we were. It’s clear they know what happens when cars pull over because they come running for treats!

My mom and myself in plaid sun shirts, and dad in his hat feeding two Icelandic horses.My mom and myself in plaid sun shirts, and dad in his hat feeding two Icelandic horses. Two golden icelandic horses being fed bread by 2 hands.Two golden icelandic horses being fed bread by 2 hands.

Milky stream cuts through the vast rocky landscapeMilky stream cuts through the vast rocky landscape

We eventually made it to the Secret Lagoon and had a good soak. It was a bit warm, the complete opposite of my last visit so we even got out a little early. We made another unplanned stop for strawberries at the “smallest grocery store in Iceland,” which was a shack with fresh produce and the honor system for paying.

Old stone bathhouse on the shore of the hidden lagoonOld stone bathhouse on the shore of the hidden lagoon
We had dinner at Restaurant Mika, where everything was delicious once again. I had forgotten they also made handmade chocolates so picked up some of those for gifts and us. Then we were off to our bubbles! Even though it was warm during the day, the nights were cold and I had completely forgotten about the walk from the bubble to the bathrooms and only brought shorts and a tank top to sleep in. There were heated blankets but my bubble was definitely on the cool side with only 1 occupant. My parents had the opposite where there’s was a little warm. Unfortunately, just like last time there was 0 chance of the Aurora. However we did have a big, bright moon.

Large shot glass of langastine soup topped with cream and herbsLarge shot glass of langastine soup topped with cream and herbs Chicken, rice and greens.Chicken, rice and greens.
Clear bubble on a wood platfoorm with a bed and lamp inside, surrounded by treesClear bubble on a wood platfoorm with a bed and lamp inside, surrounded by trees Bright moon peaking through the dark trees from inside the bubble.Bright moon peaking through the dark trees from inside the bubble.

Day 13 Bubble Tour and Perlan

We took off and stopped at a bakery in a shopping center that was right on the rift between Europe and America. I know this was the exact some place we stopped last time but I had no recollection of being able to look between the techtonic plates!


We got back to our starting point and said goodbye to Bjarni. If you’re ever in northern Iceland near Hriséy, check out his custom fishing, cooking and staying tours. The site is in Icelandic but I have hopes it’ll be translated someday.

Our driver, my dad and my mom in front of the suburban.Our driver, my dad and my mom in front of the suburban.

Bjarni recommended we check out the Perlan: Wonders of Iceland before we left Reykjavik and it did not disappoint. There was a man-made ice cave and ice throne and so much history. We had lunch in the cafe on the top floor and had a grand view of Reykjavik. We slowly made our way to our last hotel, the Lighthouse Inn

Me sitting on a ice thrown with animal fur throw, looking a little coldMe sitting on a ice thrown with animal fur throw, looking a little cold View of Rekjavik from the top of the PerlanView of Rekjavik from the top of the Perlan

I was done with driving so we decided to eat in the hotel restaurant, El Faro. This was the best decision! It was a Spanish and Mediterranean restaurant with an Icelandic flair. We chose the Vitinn Surprise, which was a 4 step tasting menu. Each course was brought out by one of the owners. I really wish I would have written down what we ate but each dish was incredible. I highly recommend this place if you’re near the airport!

shot glass with a dessert topped with whipped cream and chocolate crumblesshot glass with a dessert topped with whipped cream and chocolate crumbles pastry thing atop ratatouillepastry thing atop ratatouille bowl with black and golden bits, possibly smoked salmonbowl with black and golden bits, possibly smoked salmon A dollup of mashed potatoes topped with dark meat, carrots and gravyA dollup of mashed potatoes topped with dark meat, carrots and gravy Glass bowl of dark chocolate dessertGlass bowl of dark chocolate dessert Last Day Map: Reykjavik to Grindavik to Lighthouse InnLast Day Map: Reykjavik to Grindavik to Lighthouse Inn

Day 14 Last Day

We slept in on our last day and then went to the Viking World where we learned an viking dance. We had our last meal, langoustine soup and checked into the airport. This time I made sure we could see our gates before we got a drink!

langustine soup topped with cream and herbslangustine soup topped with cream and herbs My parents sitting at a table with 3 gin and tonicsMy parents sitting at a table with 3 gin and tonics

There was a bit of chaos near the gates. I left my parents at their gate ond found mine. There were weird grouped lines and many flights to the US going out at the same time so be sure to pay attention and even ask those around you. I was actually standing in the wrong clump and discovered I needed to push my way to a different clump. I was once again on the Northern Lights plane and thus ended my second trip to Iceland.

Gate full of people with signs aboveGate full of people with signs above IMG_0969IMG_0969



[email protected] (Tarynscapes Photography) Canon EOS 5DS Iceland Iceland Air iPhone photography ring road adventures travel blog travel Iceland wanderlust https://www.tarynscapes.com/blog/2023/7/icelands-ring-road---part-2 Sun, 09 Jul 2023 01:14:57 GMT
Iceland's Ring Road - Part 1 https://www.tarynscapes.com/blog/2023/6/icelands-ring-road---part-1 It's been nearly a decade since I've written about my travels and now I've written about Iceland twice in a matter of months. I've recently returned from my second trip to the land of fire and ice. My parents met me at Keflavik, we rented a car with a wifi hotspot and started our journey around Ring Road. This was the first time I've had wifi while traveling internationally and now I'll never go back! It was so convenient to be able to look up restaurants, reviews and the history of Iceland while on the road! It was also a lifesaver when menus were only online, so I quickly learned to grab it from the car whenever we went in to eat, just in case there was no wifi available which did happen a few times.

Day 1 - Getting to Snæfellsnes Peninsula

We got an early start on the day with our overnight flight and started making our way to Snæfellsnes Peninsula. The first stop is a bakery for breakfast. While almost everyone speaks English, I was delighted I learned some Icelandic since my last visit!  While we were waiting in line, I could decipher some of the ingredients. The first meal was simple sandwiches and coffee but it was delicious!  

Instead of heading straight to the peninsula, I had to make a detour to see Þórufoss, a waterfall along the way. It was a quick stop but well worth it. Then on to the Black Church of Budir. By this time the gray clouds had parted and the sun was shining with a gorgeous blue sky. 
Cascade waterfall surrounded by green moss-covered lava rocks.Þórufoss   A black church stands with a rock wall surrounding it. The church has 3 white windows and a door. The sky is blue with wispy clouds.Black Church

One more waterfall by the road and then off to a late lunch dinner at Reks. It turns out that on Sundays in this area, many restaurants are closed so we had a limited choice but the food was incredible! We all ordered the catch of the day and I can't even remember what was in it but the flavors just burst. It was late enough in the day so we checked into our AirBnB in Grundarjför. Cute 2-bedroom apartment above a store with a great view of Kirkjufell. 

Cod placed on a creamy sauce surrounded by broccoli, mushrooms and pickled radishes.Cod dish Window looking out at the mountain6FD6CC41-F8EB-48AF-81D1-AFF693109B04 Day 1 Map: Keflavik to Grundarfjörður routeDay 1 Keflavik to Grundarfjörður route

I tried to make it until 7 pm but I was so exhausted I barely made it to 6. I didn't even look at the Aurora forecast! Luckily, at 11 pm I woke with the sound of car doors slamming and immediately checked. There was a decent chance so I threw on clothes and woke my parents, giving them the option to sleep or come with me. Of course, they weren't about to let their daughter go out alone in the middle of the night, let alone in a different country! We drove a few minutes to Kirkjufell Mountain and found parking. As soon as we were out of the car we saw some light green waves in the sky. Within 20 minutes the colors got darker and started dancing! It was so beautiful! This was the first time, despite many attempts I've seen the Northern Lights. They did not disappoint! We were back in bed at about 2 am, for our 2nd nap.

Whirls of green and purple dance in front of a mountain's silhouetteWhirls of green and purple Whirls of green and purple dance in front of a mountain's silhouetteWhirls of green and purple


Day 2 - Exploring Snæfellsnes Peninsula

We were out of the house by 9 am, and not wanting to miss anything of our full day, grabbed breakfast and coffee from the bakery in the grocery. We also got gas for the first time. I'm sure you've already read how you should have a credit card with a pin. We had that but our pump wanted us to select how many liters we wanted to buy. There was no option to just fill the tank. Luckily this was our only gas station that had this. We quickly learned N1 gas stations let you fill the tank all the way up without having to guess how much to buy.

Our first stop was Kirkjufell.  Although we saw the silhouette against the aurora, it was incredible to see this iconic mountain during the day. The sky was a gorgeous blue with wispy clouds, my favorite for photos on a sunny day. I could have spent hours by Kirkjufellfoss, with the mountain in the background, granted I could do that by any waterfall. They truly are my happy place.

Waterfalls in the foreground while a mountain looms in the background against a blue skyKirkjufellsfossSnaefellsnes Peninsula, Iceland The edge of a green mountain touches the river running along side it. Wispy clouds float in a deep blue skyLands of Kirkjufell

Next stop, Kerlingarfoss. If I had all the time in the world, I. would have come back to get a better photo, but when you're trying to explore as much as you can, you can't wait for the lighting to be right. You take what you can get and what I got was a waterfall with the sun directly behind it, arguably the worst lighting possible. But it was a waterfall and they are always worth the stop. 

A cascade falls between two moss covered vocanic rock cliffs. Deep blue sky is above and a bright starburst sun washes out some of the colorKerlingarfoss Two toasted flour tortillas filled with fried shrimp-looking lagoustine, pico de gallo, and a creamy pink sauce.Langoustine tacos

Langoustine tacos at Sker Restaurant were next. Once again, it was very delicious! 

We drove through Snæfellsjökull National Park, stopping at Svörtuloft Lighthouse and Skarðsvík Beach via a gravel road. The landscape looked like we were on another planet! Green moss-covered volcanic rocks as far as you could see. We stopped at Saxhóll Crater but I decided not to go to the top because we were tight on time. A mistake I won't make again! It was the perfect day for a grand view. We made our way along the south side of the peninsula to Lóndrangar Basalt Cliffs but by that time the clouds had rolled in. After a coffee stop at Hellnar, the clouds disappeared and we saw the coastline again. 

A tall orange square building towers above a black rocky ground, with pale blue sky and whispy clouds behind it.Svörtuloft Lighthouse Windy gravel road with black rocks covered by moss. In the far distance are mountains.Snæfellsjökull National Park Fog rolls in on a rocky coastline. In the distance, you can make out the faint outline of tall spires. Black cliffs connect with the ocean.Cloudy coast Green and yellow grass covered coastline with rocky outcrops against a light blue sky with whispy clouds.Coastline A mix of light brown and black sand creates the beach. The tide flows into the picture and black rocks and cliffs are in the distance. A blue sky is covered in whispy clouds.Skarðsvík

We stopped at some more waterfalls, Bjarnarfoss and Selvallafoss and then dinner at Sjávarpakkhúsin in Stykkishólmur. Once again the dinner was incredible! with Burratta and mouth-watering scallops.

I'm leaning over my camera on it's tripod while I shoot a tall skinny waterfall coming out of a mountain in the distance.Attachment A skinny waterfall cascades amongst dark rocks and green grass. A path leads behind the falls.SelvallafossSnæfellsnes Peninsula, Iceland Day 2 Map - Clockwise aroundSnæfellsnes PeninsulaDay 2 - Snæfellsnes Peninsula Route

Day 3 - Akureyri

This was our longest driving day, about 5 hours. There was much I wanted to see on the way but so much more in the rest of the Island so I just drove straight to Akureyri so we had time to explore the town. I had delicious sushi at Strikið and we wandered the town and enjoyed the troll and mermaid art. Checking into our Airbnb was an adventure. There was scaffolding covering most of the stairs so there was no way to carry a very large suitcase up them and make the 90-degree turn to squeeze in the door so we got creative. Only later did we discover a back door which would have been so much easier! Of course, I couldn't miss an opportunity to get a picture of the heart stoplights that are all over the city!

Day 3 Map: Grundarfjörður to AkureyriDay 3 Grundarfjörður to Akureyri Large hunched over troll woman with a pointy nose sculpture stands on the sidewalk.troll woman White and gray cat sitting on a pile of sweaters for saleiceland iphone-101 I'm standing on a scaffold, bent over grabbing my large suitcase from my dad who is standing on the ground hoisting it up.IMG_2430 Vertical stoplight with a red heart for stop at the top.IMG_0142


The day's highlight was a soak at the Forest Lagoon, a fairly new lagoon 5 minutes from downtown. I had only been to the Secret Lagoon and Blue lagoon before and this was the best of both worlds! The lagoon had a swim-up bar, fresh cold water drinking fountain and was very small and quaint. Do not miss this if you are in Akureyri!

A stone path winds up a hillside that is treelined.iceland iphone-120 My darkhair is twisted up and I stand, underwater at the edge of an infiniti ledge into the trees. Steam rises off the teal lagoon water.iceland iphone-115 A water fountain launches fresh, cold spring water into the hot lagoon. A sign in Icelandic and english says "Please remember to stay hydrated"iceland iphone-116

Heavy appetizers and cocktails were at Múlaberg Bistro and Bar. The Beef Carpaccio was divine and everything else was delicious, even if I can't remember what it was! Icelanders know their food!

A peach cocktail with frothy topA peach cocktail with frothy top 4 plates of food, 2 bowls of soup and 2 platters of breadIMG_0144 Irish Coffee in a Tullamore Dew Irish Whiskey mugIrish Coffee in a Tullamore Dew Irish Whiskey mug

We attempted to do laundry but the machines were in Icelandic. We had very few places that had laundry facilities so any chance we got we did laundry. I was able to figure out the washing machine but no matter what I couldn't get the dryer to work! So before breakfast the next morning found a laundry service that would dry our clothes.

Day 4 - Húsavik and Lake Mývatn

After breakfast, we drove up to Húsavik, it was warm enough to wear my Birkenstocks!  This is where I made my only driving mistake. We went through a toll tunnel and I didn’t realize it so days later I got an email from the rental company to pay a penalty. It wasn’t terrible, maybe $20 but it was annoying! So watch out for the one toll road in Iceland! Once we got to Húsavik we wandered around the town until our reservation for the Geosea. This was another amazing lagoon. It was very small and quaint, and a gorgeous infinity pool looking out at the mountains. I could’ve stayed there all day.

Multiple boats are docked at a marina with mountains in the distance and bright blue skiesIMG_0159 An older couple sit at the edge of an infinity pool and the ocean behind them. In the distance, snowcapped mountains.IMG_0162 The stone edge of an infinity pull shimmers below the water's surface. Past the edge lies the ocean, blue skies and mountainsIMG_0186

Lunch was at Naustið. I needed a break from all the seafood, so I had a delicious hamburger. Mom and Dad got the fish stew. All of it was amazing.  Then the drive south to Lake Mývatn.

A big juicy cheeseburger with skinny friesIMG_0191 Burnt orange soup in a black bowl topped with cilantroIMG_0190

We checked into our Dimmuborgir Guesthouse cottage and found a place for dinner. It was so gorgeous outside it was most definitely our warmest day. I even got down to a tanktop to eat dinner outside since the sun was amazingly warm. We had lamb stew and something else and of course, smoked salmon on the famous geyser bread.

A wood cabin with 2 large windows on either side of the glass front door and a front porch with a table and chairsIMG_0200 Thin round flatbread cut into trianglesIMG_0210 Brothy stew with carrots potatoes and breadIMG_0212 Greens topped with pink cold smoked salmon topped with a lemon wedgeIMG_0213 A selfie with my dark hair pulled back, sunglasses on, black tank top with the sun brightly shining on my face.IMG_0215

It was still early and the light lasted for hours, so we decided to check out Dettifoss in Vatnajökull National Park, a waterfall about an hour away. The plan was to get there with plenty of time before sunset since that was the perfect time from the west edge to get great pictures, or so another blog told me. It was only a 15-minute walk to the viewing point but unfortunately, the light was not perfect because of the harsh sun and shadows I didn't get the beautiful sunset picture of golden light I was hoping for. I did get a photo from a distance of Sellfoss with some pretty lighting.  Driving back to the cottage. We saw the gorgeous skies.  We also saw the steam from the hot pots rise up from the land and it was majestic!

A powerfall waterfall surrounded by greenish rocks and harsh orange light from the sun.iceland iphone-169 A rocky foreground leads up to a very wide waterfall in the distance flowing down a cliff withink and yellow skiesIMG_0221 Steam as thick as smoke rises from the earth, backlit by a golden, pink and blue sunset.IMG_0224 Day 4 Map: Akureyri to Husavik to Myvatn to Dettinfoss ack to MyvatnDay 4 Akureyri-Husavik-Myvatn-Dettinfoss

Day 5 - Waterfalls

I had promised my parents a lazy day since we were staying at the cottage a second night. But it didn't quite turn out that way! Too many waterfalls in close proximity for me to resist! The first waterfall of the day was the majestic Goðafoss or "Waterfall of the Gods." It was spectacular. We could walk along and canyon and visit both sides. 

Horseshoe shaped waterfall surrounded by moss-covered volcanic rock pouring into a teal poolGoðafossDiamond Circle, Iceland Milky teal water flowing from Godfoss down between the two rocky cliffs of the riverIMG_0262 2 Horseshoe bend in the river with overcast skies above.IMG_0259 Silky waters flow from the Godfoss horseshoe into a still pool belowIMG_0264 3

Lunch was at Vogafjós Farm Resort Cafe where we had a lovely view of cows! Smoked trout on geyser bread, more beef carpaccio, stew and potatoes.

Entrance to the cafe that is near the open door with cows in their stallsIMG_0271 Full length windows look out of a pasture of happy cows, blue skies and fluffy cloudsIMG_0272 2

Dense dark brown geysir bread is topped with pink smoked salmoniceland iphone-195   Crisp potato wedges topped with cheese in a small cast iron skillet.iceland iphone-196

Since we didn't have much planned for the day, I asked my parents if they'd be willing to go back to Dettifoss again. I wanted to capture its full glory without the harsh sunlight of the night before. So back we went back. This time, we hiked first to Selfoss and then continued the loop to Dettifoss, something we didn't have time for the night before. It was worth it! I was able to capture much better pictures this time! Yes, the tiny people in next to Selfoss are my parents.

A DSLR Canon camera sits on a green tripod framed between the two cliffs pointing at a waterfallIMG_0291 Close up of a waterfall spilling over the edge of a cliff that is hundreds of fee wide.Iceland ring road-116 I sit crosslegged at the cliff edge of a river, with my hat on backwards looking at my camerabag. In the distance the waterfall I want to shoot.IMG_2431 Two small silhouettes stand against the blue sky. To the left a waterfall flows into a river.iceland iphone-198 2
Flat rocks span the landscape while puffy clouds spot the blue skyiceland iphone-212 A thunderous block waterfall falls across the frame. Barren rocks stretch along the far side while moss and grass cover the near bank.Edge of DettifossVatnajökull National Park, Iceland

We were so close to a 4th waterfall that I couldn't resist yet again. We drove north a few miles and I hiked to a gorgeous viewpoint of Jökulsárgljúfur, or "Glacier River Canyon." The lighting wasn't right for Hafragilsfoss so I didn't bother hiking closer. I was more than happy with my canyon shot. It's one of my favorites ever!

A canyon stretches into the horizion, the water is a deep sapphire blue and the canyon walls are dark to light grey. Feathered clouds dot the blue sky above.Jökulsárgljúfur Canyon

We made our way back to Mývatn and decided ice cream was in order! So we drove back around the lake to Skútaís, Farm Ice Cream. It was creamy and delicious. Then off to Mývatn Nature Baths. This one is smaller than the Blue Lagoon but much larger than the other lagoons we tried. The bottom is full of rocks so for my parents it wasn't as nice on their sensitive feet. I still got my swim-up beer, so I was happy. Sunset was beautiful! 

2 scoops of Beige ice cream with chocolate chunks in a cupIMG_0329 Metal stairs go down into a milky teal waterIMG_0330 A dozen people submerged in the hot springs silhouetted against a fading blue sky.IMG_0332 Lights light up the hot springs, buiddings and paths while the distant light of the sun is almost gone.IMG_0340

Afterward, we were tired and hungry and the only place open for a late-night dinner was Daddi's Pizza. We destroyed those pizzas after a long day of hiking, driving and soaking. It was our latest night out so far and I hit the most number of steps. So much for a lazy day!

Day 5 Map: Godfoss to Dettifoss to MyvatnDay 5 Godfoss to Dettifoss to Myvatn

Day 6 East to the Fjords


After having a traditional Icelandic breakfast of geyser bread, smoked arctic char, smoked lamb, hard-boiled eggs and cheese, we set out for the east fjords. On the way, stopped at Rjúkandafoss. However, this was not even the 20th roadside waterfall we passed. Many had no pullouts or were on someone’s property. Several had the waterfall in their backyard! And I’m not talking about little ones either. Magnificent giants thundering water down. That would be my dream home!

Breakfast plate of hardboiled egg, dark geysir bread with butter and jam, cold cuts and cheesesiceland iphone-259 A multitiered waterfall standing high above the roadside.IMG_0366 2RJkúandafoss

Our second stop and highlight of the day was the cute town of Seyðisfjörður. If you’ve seen any pictures of Iceland, you’re sure to recognize the rainbow road leading to the church. Lunch was at Kaffi Lara El Grillo Bar . Then we walked and shopped around the little town.

A rainbow painted path leads up to a white churchIMG_0375 Still lake showing the reflection of the mountain and houses and streaks of cloudsIMG_0377 2
Hamburger on cibatta bun with a potato speared with butterIMG_0372 Melty brie ontop a bed of lettuce with a dollup of jamIMG_0371

On our way out, we stopped at Gufufoss. The sun wasn’t in my favor but I still got a decent shot. Our AirBnB was in Neskaupstaður, a cute 2 bedroom apartment with a washer! This was a rare find. This time I was easily able to use the machine and we hung our clothes to dry in the living room. Dinner was at Kaupfélagsbarinn, in the Hildibrand Hotel. Dinner was divine, even if I can't remember all that we ordered.

Waterfall illuminated by the bright sun, mist obscuring the details. Above bright blue sky with puffy cloudsIMG_0380 Towering mountainside stands above the fjordiceland iphone-253 Small skillet with potatoes, fish, greens and lemons with a side of dark bread and butterSmall skillet with potatoes, fish, greens and lemons with a side of dark bread and butter A plate of chicken with a cream sauce sits at top farro. A green leaf salad with blue cheese and balsamic.iceland iphone-255 Another plate of salad with balsamic, tomatoes and blue cheese, lamb and potato wedges.iceland iphone-256 Chocolate icecream in a  glass with a stem with strawberries, caramel and whipped creamChocolate icecream in a glass with a stem with strawberries, caramel and whipped cream Dark chocolate cake smothered in caramel and strawberries with whipped cream on the sideDark chocolate cake smothered in caramel and strawberries with whipped cream on the side Day 6  Map: Myvatn to Seydisfjordur to NeskaupstadurDay 6 Myvatn to Seydisfjordur to Neskaupstadur

Day 7 Höfn

We made our own breakfast of geyser bread and smoked trout, butter and jam. We followed the coast and stopped at Við Voginn for fish and chips. This was the first rainy day we encountered! We stopped at Barkináfoss but it was so rainy I didn’t want my camera to get wet! We checked out the beach and Skútafoss but didn’t stay long.

geysier bread smothered with butter and jamgeysier bread smothered with butter and jam fish and chips and a beerfish and chips and a beer Misty waterfall pushed back into the mountainMisty waterfall pushed back into the mountain

We warmed up with some coffee at Kaffi Hornid. We couldn’t resist trying the Icelandic donut, Kleinur with caramel. With our bellies full, we stopped at a grocery and got charcuterie for dinner later. We checked into our cute Airbnb Birkifell cottage, settled in for the night and enjoyed the hot tub in the rain!

3 crispy pastry drizzeled with caramel, blueberries, raspberries and whipped cream3 crispy pastry drizzeled with caramel, blueberries, raspberries and whipped cream Cabin with porch and double glass doors with a misty mountain backdropCabin with porch and double glass doors with a misty mountain backdrop Hillside with at least 8 waterfalls streaming downHillside with at least 8 waterfalls streaming down Day 7 to BirkifellDay 7 Map: Following the coast to Birkifell

To be continued in Part 2.

[email protected] (Tarynscapes Photography) Canon EOS 5DS explore outdoors Iceland Iceland Air Iceland travel ring road travel blog travel Iceland wanderlust https://www.tarynscapes.com/blog/2023/6/icelands-ring-road---part-1 Sat, 24 Jun 2023 03:10:02 GMT
Land of Ice and Snow https://www.tarynscapes.com/blog/2023/2/land-of-ice-and-snow I've come from the land of the ice and snow and the experience was just as incredible as I had been told.

I wrote that line after returning from my first trip to Iceland in early 2019, with the full intention of writing about my trip. But then life got in the way and writing became a distant memory. I’ve since come back from my 2nd trip to Iceland (and several other amazing trips) and I’ve renewed my excitement for writing and sharing. So I’m going to do my best to remember this trip that was almost 3 years ago.

Day 1 - Reyjavik

My good friend Sarah convinced me we should go to Iceland so after long months of planning, we were off on Iceland Air. This would be her fourth trip and my first. We arrived at Keflavik Airport at 7 am on a Monday morning. This was my first overnight flight since I was a kid and I was too excited to sleep any of the 7 hours. We were greeted by a large puffin coming down from the ceiling in baggage claim! Sarah had arranged a ride to Reykjavik so we avoided a taxi and the large shuttle buses. We knew we couldn’t check into our hotel but they were able to lock our bags up and were still early enough to have the continental breakfast of cold meats, cheeses, hardboiled eggs and yogurt. With a bit more energy, we started wandering downtown.

Taryn and Sarah wearing glasses and siting in Iceland Air coach seats.Icelandair Flight Large puffin sculpture that appears he has broken through the ceiling above baggage claim.airport puffin Display case showing a gray bone approximately 6 inches with "Icelandic Trolll written beneath it.Icelandic troll penis 5 foot sperm whale penis in a glass container on a stand with Sarah, who is about 5'5" standing next to it.Sperm whale penis and Sarah

Most shops weren’t open yet but they time we arrived at the Icelandic Phallological Museum. Seriously every type of penis you could imagine and then some! There was a sperm whale, a cast of the Icelandic National Handball team from the 2008 Olympics, a Nordic troll, an Icelandic troll, Rustic elf.

Lunch was burgers and beers at the Lebowski Bar which was everything I wanted it to be! Even the bathroom was cool. We wandered, shopped, had a Guinness at the Drunken Rabbit across from our hotel for dinner and finally got checked in to relax.

Lebowski bar napkin with the Big Lebowski likeness on it.Lebowski bar napkin Pint of Gull Icelandic beerPint of Gull Icelandic beer Women's bathroom with Vikings holding bowling balls on the stall doors.womens bathroom Sarah and Taryn with a pint of Guinness.Guinness time

Day 2 - Not the Tour We Expected

We grabbed a taxi to the Reykjavik Regional Airport. We had a day trip that consisted of flying up to Akureyri, then going to Goðafoss (waterfall), Lake Myvatn, Ludentsborgir Crater Row, Lava field hike and then the Lofthellir Ice Cave with GeoIceland tours

Unfortunately, there were high winds and after our flight was delayed 2 hours, we cut our losses, got a refund for the tour (since we were already going to miss the first 2 stops) and headed back downtown. We wandered some more and enjoyed the local art. We went in and up Hallgrímskirkja for a view of downtown and found a delicious vegan restaurant. We decided to spend our afternoon whale watching. That was the worst idea ever. Never ever ever go whale watching where there are such high winds that planes cannot take off or land. The seas are going to be ROUGH! I’m pretty sure most of the ship got sick or was at least very green. We did not see a single whale but saw a dolphin.

Hallgrímskirkja, the famous volcano church.Hallgrímskirkja Downtown Reyjaik from the top of Hallgrímskirkja churchDowntown Reykjavik Colorful artwork of a mermaid on a city wallColorful artwork of a mermaid on a city wall Colourful squiggly path painted on the cobblestoneColourful squiggly path painted on the cobblestone View of the sea and skyline and railing of a boat.View of the sea and skyline and railing of a boat. Sarah and Taryn bundled up on a boatSarah and Taryn bundled up on a boat

We settled our stomachs with an Irish coffee and then found a bar called Bastard doing Taco Tuesday! I had duck and brisket, Sarah had the cauliflower and mushrooms. They were unique and delish along with a Bastard Mule (vodka, lime, ginger beer, red grapefruit juice). We wondered some more and found Dillon Whiskey Bar, which was hoppin’ and ordered an Icelandic Fire and Ice.

Duck and brisket tacosDuck and brisket tacos Bastard mule and Norm, a tiny gnome in an Icelandic wool sweater.Bastard mule E39A404A-AB06-4B75-BEDB-EEA575F309D5_1_105_cE39A404A-AB06-4B75-BEDB-EEA575F309D5_1_105_c

Day 3 - South Coast Tour

Today was the South Coast tour with Your Day Tours and our driver Almar. It’s a small family-run company. There might have been 16 of us, it’s hard to remember. The first stop was Vik’s Black Sand Beach and the giant warning about sneaker waves since there are no significant land masses between this spot and Antartica! We went up to the Dryhólaey Peninsula where the winds almost knocked several of us down the hill!

Black sand beach with waves crashes. In the distance sea stacks. In the foreground people walking dangerously close to the waves.Black sand beach Taryn and Sarah selfie with the blacks and beach and waves in the far distanceTaryn and Sarah on the black sand beach Danger sneaker wave signn warning people to stay way from the waterline due to the dangerous sea currents and a recent tourist death.danger sneaker waves

Black Sand Trolls sea stacks in the far distance, surrounded by rough waves. In the foreground moss covered lava rocks.Black Sand TrollsReynisfjara, Iceland

Sunlight beams through a break in the sky between the dark stormy skies. Sea stacks are in the distance and the waves have a white foam.storms breakKirkjufjara Beach, Iceland  

Our next stop was a 20-minute hike to Myrdalsjökull glacier. This is where we truly experienced Iceland’s weather! In our hour stop it poured, sleeted, snowed, and was so windy we were pelted in the face with ice while trying to get a picture. We gave up and turned our backs to the camera! On the walk back the sun came out and got so warm we had to peel off layers! And then the weather changed again!

Taryn and Sarah with out backs turned to the camera, looking at the glacier. Sleet can be seen flying towards us.Glacier Close up of a glacierGlacier

Then it was off to the waterfalls, Skógafoss (Forest Falls),  Seljanlandsfoss (Selling the Land of Waterfalls) and what the locals call Steamer falls.  It was too windy go behind Seljalandfoss without getting drenched and possibly ruing my camera. Steamer falls was a unique stop, Almar had never seen it go completely upwards like that due to the wind!

Skogafoss waterfall with the wind pushing the waterfall up and overSkogafoss Seljanlandsfoss waterfall being blown by strong windsSeljanlandsfoss Skógafoss waterfall with a pale rainbow in front of it.Skógafoss   A tall skinny waterfall but the water only goes done about 1/4 of the way and then is blown back up above the falls.steamer falls

Dinner was at Bryggjan Brugghús for local brews and in true Icelandic fashion, we got ice cream from Valois and walked back to our hotel in the snow. That night black sand was falling out of our hair after being embedded in our scalps from the crazy wind!

A cup of ice cream in a cup that says Valdis. In the distance there is snow on the groundValdis icecream

Day 4 - The Bubble tour!

Today was probably our most anticipated day. We had breakfast at Café Bablú and then off to Mink Viking Portraits! We had limited time, but he worked with us so we got our awesome pictures!

Close up of Taryn, with half her face out of frame. She's holding a Viking sword.Taryn with swoard Sarah pulling back an arrow with a Viking bow.Sarah with bow and arrow

Then we went back to our hotel to meet our Bubble Tour driver, Egill, who picked us up in a Suburban for the Golden Circle Tour. We were able to keep our hotel for our luggage (we were only allowed 1 small bag per person) because it was cheaper to book for the 6 nights than to break it up into 3 nights and then 2 nights. He picked up a 2nd couple from Malaysia and we were off. The third couple who was meant to join us was flying in on WOW Air that morning and it happened to be the day they went under. Our first spot was Þingvellir National Park (Assembly Fields). Then Geyser Hotsprings and my favorite stop, Gullfoss (Golden Falls). Gullfoss was breathtaking with the fresh snowfall. I could have stayed there for hours, despite the cold. We warmed up in the Secret Lagoon, although it was a very cold walk from the locker rooms to the hot springs!

Landscape view of Thingvellir National Park with the parliament buildings in the distanced, all covered with snow.Thingvellir National Park Teal waters tumble into smooth white streams surrounded by a snow-covered landscapeIced GullfossGolden Circle, Iceland

We had dinner and of course beers at Myka Restaurant and asked for a group photo. 2 of the other drivers decided to take one of themselves instead! One of my favorite pictures of the trip! Then we were off to see our bubble! There was a tiny chance of lights so we stood outside in the road for at least 2 hours hoping for a show. We got the tiniest glimpse and that was that. We finally gave up and went back to the warmth of our bubble. Just as we were going to bed, the clouds parted and I snapped a shot of the stars and then just as quickly, the stars were covered again.

Two middle aged men sticking their tongues out at the cameraOther bubble drivers Two Mylasian people, our Icelandic guide Egill, Taryn and Sarah standing in the snow.Mika group photo A single bubble that looks like a clear igloo amongst the leafless trees in the fading sunlight.Bubble at sunset Sarah looks up inside the bubble, You can clearly see the evergreens behind her through the clear plastic.Sarah in the bubble The light has faded and a small lamp lights up the igloo like bubble. There are sillouettes of trees nearbyBubble at night Taryn and Sarah bundled up in the dark. Taryn is wearing a headlamp.Taryn and Sarah

Day 5 - Downtown Reykjavik

We drove back to Reykjavik and spent another day exploring and drinking. I had an Icelandic Hotdog and later we got chips on a stick. Then off to Skúli Craft Bar for a beer flight. This is where we discovered Leifur Nordic Saison. It was so delicious we each bought some at the airport to bring home. We finally made it to the craft bar near our hotel, Loftid, and tried so many delicious cocktails!

Taryn taking a bite of an Icelandic hotdog in front of the famous standdowntown A pink cocktail with egg white foam floating on top and a light yellow cocktail in a coupe glass.2 craft cocktails

Day 6 - Blue Lagoon

Spa day at the Blue Lagoon!  We got on the bus at about 8 so we could have a full day soaking. We upgraded our package for robes, extra masks and drinks and a reservation at Lava Restaurant with complimentary champagne. It seemed a waste to get dressed for lunch so like many others, we dinned in our robes! The food was incredible. I opted for the Icelandic Gourmet meal with Arctic char, lamb and a chocolate caramel dessert. Sarah was equally happy with her vegetarian meal.

Icelandic Gourmet Menu: Birch and juniper cured arctic char, lamb filet and shoulder of lam and caramel chocolate mouse with vanilla ice cream.Menu Fresh bread with fluffy butter on a volcanic stone.Blue lagoon Lava Beet saladBlue lagoon lava Arctic char with cumbers and white sauceBlue lagoon Cauliflower dishBlue lagoon - cauliflower Tender lamb dish with greens and carrotsLamb dish Caramel and ice cream dessert.Blue lagoon caramel dessert Strawberry dessert with cream Blue lagoon Teal water in the foreground, with steam coming off it. In the distance, a bridge, mountains in the background and a dark stormy sky.Blue lagoon Taryn and Sarah submerged in the blue lagoon with our face covered in a black volcanic mask.Blue lagoon - with lava mask
We went back to Loftid for more cocktails and finally took a shot of Brennavin. It was as gross as I expected. It reminded me way too much of Aquavit.

Norm the travel gnome in front of an orange cocktailNorm and an orange cocktail Pink cocktail on a loftid napkinpink cocktail Taryn, eyes shut and mouth in a grimace, holding an empty shot glass.Taryn drinking brennavin Sarah with her eyes closed and tough out in disgust holding an empty shot glass.Sarah and Brennevin

Day 7 - Last Day

Our last day it poured on us! We had to keep ducking in shops to not get socked. We had a leisurely day wandering and then got to the airport. We made a mistake here and after getting through security, sat down for a drink. We had no idea there was a 2nd security line! Sarah got pulled out for a TSA check and I was told I was not allowed to wait for her and hod to go to the gate. Luckily we had wifi at the airport, so I texted her when we started boarding. I wanted to wait, but again the gate agents urged me to get on the plane. So I walked down the jet bridge and onto the tarmac only to climb on to a bus!  We were then driving to our plane a ways out. Too far for the wifi to reach! I was sure Sarah’s husband was going to kill me if I came home from Iceland without her! Meanwhile, Sarah was getting patted down and questioned (like many people from our flight). It seemed like they questioned one person per party! She had already decided if she missed her flight, she was spending the night at the blue lagoon! Luckily they held the plane and eventually she arrived to take her seat next to me. I have never felt so relieved! Especially since she had driven us to the airport!

Northern lights Iceland Air plane sitting at the gateNorthern lights iceland airplane Chocolate egg with a chick on topChocolate egg with a chick on top

I even finally got to see then Northern Lights! It just happened to be on our Iceland Air plane.  We made it home safe and sound 7 hours later and even got a chocolate egg for easter!  I immediately started looking for a flight back to Iceland!



[email protected] (Tarynscapes Photography) Canon EOS 5DS Iceland Iceland Air travel Iceland wanderlust https://www.tarynscapes.com/blog/2023/2/land-of-ice-and-snow Mon, 27 Feb 2023 01:11:44 GMT
Expressions of Vera https://www.tarynscapes.com/blog/2013/5/Expressions-of-Vera I once thought that taking pictures of people, especially kids wasn't my thing. They wiggle around and make faces. Landscapes have to be much easier, right? They're just there. The only way they move is if I move. Lately I've been working on my techniques for portrait photography. I'm starting to learn that taking pictures of people and kids is much easier than I thought, especially if I let them wiggle around and make faces!

baby black and whiteVera 8

So this is my friend's daughter.  I spent an afternoon with them not long ago and decided to play around with my camera. I just let her do her thing while I snapped away.  Her expressions are priceless. Even better than the first picture is what her mom said of her expression. "She looks so disillusioned! Like a retired race car driver with a hangover." I always love her curious yet articulate comments!

What do her expressions say to you?

babyVera 7

baby toesVera 6

Vera 1

Vera 2

[email protected] (Tarynscapes Photography) 50 mm lens Canon EOS 40D baby photography black and white portrait photography expression photography nifty fifty photography blog portrait photography unique photography https://www.tarynscapes.com/blog/2013/5/Expressions-of-Vera Mon, 13 May 2013 03:48:03 GMT
Christmas in Yosemite, Part 2 https://www.tarynscapes.com/blog/2013/2/christmas-in-yosemite-part-2 While we were cozy at our cabin, Yosemite Valley was getting IMG_3501 covered in snow.  I decided a day full of snow flurries in the park was just what we needed.  I underestimated the snow.  It was beautiful but heavy. Our first stop was Bridal Veil Falls, a short but slippery hike.  I was well equipped with a rain sleeve and umbrella  to protect my Canon from the snow.  However, I couldn't stop the snow from drenching the lens or keep it from obscuring the view.

I battled the snow all day and lost, but it was a fun and memorable fight. 

IMG_3540   yosemite 261   I was able to catch some of the snowy magic of that day. And so ended our second trip.  

We had one day left before we headed back to San Francisco. I was determined to get amazing photographs.  This time nature complied.  Our last day the sun would shine on the valley.  

Knowing it was my very last chance, I convinced my parents to go early to get some early morning shots.  4:30 am came and I jumped out of bed.  We managed to leave the cabin by 5.  Dawn broke just as we were nearing tunnel view and the full moon was setting between the mountains.  Where is this breathtaking picture, you ask? Here's the thing about mountain roads, there's never a chance to pull over when there's a break in the trees and you see the view you want.  If I knew the lay of the land I would have planned better. Next time.

We arrived back in the valley just in time to see the sunlight hit El Capitan. Of course when I say "just in time," I actually mean I stood on the bank of the Merced for a good 20 minutes in 19°F. My new thinsulate fingerless gloves are were not ideal.  I'm pretty sure frostbite tried to set in several times but I wasn't going to miss my shot. My parents were in the car keeping things warm for me.

Sunlight Strikes El Capitan

The next early morning stop was Swinging Bridge with the view of Upper Yosemite Falls. The calm of morning gave me a near perfect reflection.

Winter's Musing on Yosemite Falls Sentinel Bridge gave us another reflection, this time of Half Dome.

Half Dome YosemiteFrosted Half Dome

What trip to Yosemite would be complete without a hike to Yosemite Falls?  Only about a mile away, the ice path was slippery and treacherous.  My new Benro Mefoto tripod was an excellent stablizing device.  Without it, I would have busted my ass more than once.

Lower Yosemite FallsLower Yosemite Falls

In one little spot, I could frame all of Yosemite Falls.

Yosemite FallsYosemite Falls Another trip to Bridal Veil Falls yielded one of my favorite shots of the trip.  It was not without difficulty.  I basically had to climb, slip and slide up a 10 foot skateboard ramp of ice.  Good things don't come easy.

IMG_3616  IMG_3614

Bridal Veil FallsBridalveil Fall Tunnel View gave me my final look at the stunning valley vista. I can't wait to see this park again in the spring!

Winter Abates on the Valley

[email protected] (Tarynscapes Photography) Ansel Adams California Canon EOS 40D El Capitan sunrise Yosemite National Park half dome iPhone photography merced river nature photography photography blog unique photography winter https://www.tarynscapes.com/blog/2013/2/christmas-in-yosemite-part-2 Tue, 12 Feb 2013 04:09:41 GMT
Christmas in Yosemite, Part 1 https://www.tarynscapes.com/blog/2013/2/christmas-in-yosemite-part-1 Sometimes you plan something and no matter how hard you try it just doesn't work out.  You can either accept it or wallow in self pity.  Accepting some things are easier said than done sometimes. I think the secret is practice.  I got plenty of practice this Christmas.  My original plan was to spend Christmas on a tropical beach with a friend.  Circumstances out of my control changed that.  Instead I chose to escape to Yosemite National Park with my parents.  They offer a photography class, In the Footsteps of Ansel Adams, that I decided I absolutely had to take. I was so excited I planned the entire trip around it.  

The first day was the day of the class. We stayed just outside the park and took the two hour drive up. It was gray and overcast but the roads weren't too bad. The first sight I saw of the valley was from Tunnel View.  

yosemite 19

It was beautiful.  I could only image what it looked like without the heavy clouds and mist.  We arrived at Yosemite Village and it was pouring down rain.  It was easier for me to jump out of the car and walk to the gallery where the photography tour started.  My parents were to meet me back that when it was over.  I walk the little ways to the Ansel Adams gallery, prepared with a rain jacket, umbrella, and water resistant camera bag.  I was the only person IMG_3398 who showed up.  They canceled the class due to the rain, something the website said would never happen. The guy told me if I stuck around, someone would show me how to use my camera.  Ha! I made it clear I was there to go to Ansel Adam's favorite spots, not to learn my camera. I felt utterly destroyed. I won't say I WAS destroyed because I wasn't.  It just felt like it for about 15 minutes while I wandered aimlessly in a downpour. That class was why I traveled about 1,000 miles. After 15 minutes I let it go. You see, that's all I let myself have. Don't get me wrong, I was still bummed but I knew there was absolutely nothing that could be done.  I was soaked by the time I found my parents nice and cozy by a fireplace in the Awahnee an hour later.  By the time we left, any view I might have had was obliterated by the fog.

Kings Canyon RoadKings Canyon Road We rented a cabin near Bass Lake, about 45 minutes from the edge of Yosemite.  It was everything we expected and more with the exception of only having rain and no snow.  If you ever get out that way, I highly suggest the Tall Red Cabin. I'm already planning to go back there one of these days.  Besides being in a great location outside of a small town, it was only a few hours from Kings Canyon National Park as well.  I spent the day with family friends not too long ago and was told it was a breathtaking place.  So of course we had to go.  We drove down on Christmas Eve which happened to be the first sunny day since arriving in California.  I knew most of the road would be closed due to snow but I still had to experience as much as I could. We never got to see any of the actual canyon but the sequoias were incredible. Even without the breathtaking canyon view, standing beneath a grove of giant sequoias is awe inspiring itself. We truly were in the land of giants.

Kings Canyon EntranceKings Canyon Entrance Sequoia Groe

General GrantGeneral Grant














As you can see, these trees are utterly dwarfing. The tree to the right is General Grant, the second largest sequoia in the world.  President Coolidge called it the "Nation's Christmas Tree," a fitting destination for Christmas Eve.  My iPhone panoramic app doesn't even begin to give it justice. My wide angle lens never even had a chance.  This time I didn't let disappointment take over.  I enjoyed the moment for what it was and captured it the best I could.  Sometimes that's all we get.



The day after Christmas it finally snowed at our cabin. Our drenched yard turned into a winter wonderland. We spend a day or two just enjoying the cabin while the snow fell softly outside.  I split my time between reading a Stephen King book and a photography lighting book by the fire.

yosemite 142 Part 2 of my winter Yosemite experience will be coming soon…




[email protected] (Tarynscapes Photography) Ansel Adams Bass Lake California Canon EOS 40D General Grant Tree Kings Canyon National Park Sequoia National Park Yosemite National Park cabin in the woods, dealing with disappointment iPhone photography nature photography photography blog sequoia grove sequoia trees, unique photography winter https://www.tarynscapes.com/blog/2013/2/christmas-in-yosemite-part-1 Sun, 03 Feb 2013 18:29:45 GMT
2013 Calendar https://www.tarynscapes.com/blog/2012/12/2013-calendar 2013 is almost upon us!  Where did the time go?  Much of my time went to photographing beautiful places. Without further adieu, here are the pictures that made it into my 2013 calendar.

Stopping By Woods



La Push Sunset




Stone Ascent


Snohomish River


Stillness of Summer


Missouri Twist


Forest Light


Montana Autumn


Through the Veil


Rainier's Snow

If you're interested in gazing at this beauty for the next 12 months, send me a message and we'll work out the details!


Rainier's Snow

[email protected] (Tarynscapes Photography) 2013 calendar 2013 landscape calendar Montana Washington buy calendar fall fine art landscape calendar forest photography mountain landscapes spring summer winter https://www.tarynscapes.com/blog/2012/12/2013-calendar Wed, 05 Dec 2012 05:18:06 GMT
Little Firemen https://www.tarynscapes.com/blog/2012/11/little-firemen With my first portrait session, I was extremely nervous. I did it and realized it wasn't quite so bad and I did a pretty good job.  When my cousin got married this summer, I decided to use the opportunity to practice taking pictures of people. I knew at the very least my cousin Casey and the rest of the family would love seeing two days worth of pictures in the mountains of people they loved. I was more than pleasantly surprised with the results. So when I flew to Montana to visit Casey's sister Kirsten for a long weekend, I was excited to take pictures of not only the beautiful fall colors, but also of her family.

The first photo shoot was all Kirsten's idea. Her husband is a fireman, so she wanted her boys in his turnouts. The littlest guy we stuck in a bucket to keep him upright and stuffed the jacket around him. His older brother got the boots, pants and suspenders.  We didn't really do much posing, I just snapped away and let the boys be boys!

little firemen 4 They seemed plenty entertained.  I struggled with the light moving from bright sun to shadows quickly but still got good shots.  These wouldn't be quite the same if they were indoors.  

little firemen 16 little firemen 18


little firemen 57

Throughout the weekend I surprised her with a few more shots of her and her boys that I'd taken while on photography expeditions for fall colors.

little firemen 106 little firemen 95

I love this last one.  The colors are so vibrant!  
little firemen 198

My last day in town we were relaxing at home when I realized it was snowing!  Kirsten rounded up her family and we stepped outside.  This one probably won't make it on the wall anywhere, but it's my favorite.  I love the props that were pulled in before anyone realized!

little firemen 201 cropped

How, you might ask, did I keep my camera dry with the giant snowflakes floating about?  I borrowed a little fireman's umbrella, of course!


[email protected] (Tarynscapes Photography) photo session portrait photography https://www.tarynscapes.com/blog/2012/11/little-firemen Mon, 05 Nov 2012 01:35:40 GMT
Seaside Sunrises and Sunsets https://www.tarynscapes.com/blog/2012/10/seaside-sunrises-and-sunsets My first trip to the Olympic Peninsula was entirely different than I expected.  I went to see Olympic National Park, expecting mountains and waterfalls and of course the rain forest.  I wanted to see everything.  Now this park is about 4 times the size of Mount Rainier National Park.  I've lost track of the times I've been there and I've yet to see everything.  Seeing all that I wanted on this first weekend was impossible unless I wanted to spend most of my time in the car.  Instead it turned into a leisurely trip that focused on the coast.  

The first night was spent in Lake Quinault Lodge.  The night was planned entirely around the time of sunset. 

Lake QuinaultLake Quinault Sunset

Being so close to the coast, I couldn't resist trying for a sunrise shot.  I wasn't going after the sun itself,  just the glowing light that would hit the beach.  I also knew we'd get there after sunrise, but hoped the mountains would give me a little time.  First stop was Kalaloch.

Kalaloch, WashingtonKalaloch

Not a single cloud on the horizon, but the pink glow and birds were still a pretty sight.  I wanted more so up the road we went to Ruby Beach.

Ruby Beach The hike down was pleasant put chilly.  Luckily I was prepared with my fingerless glove.  I must for any photographer who shoots in the cold! 

After a full day of exploring more of the coast and checking into out hotel, we went to La Push.  I wanted one of those breathtaking sunsets I've seen so many times of the coast.  Of course, for the spectacular ones, you need clouds.  Once again, I had a perfectly cloudless sky.  We arrived early so I'd have a chance to scope out where the sun would set and where to get the best angle.  After about 30 minutes, I decided to pull out my camera and take some other shots.  I open my trusty Canon backpack and no camera!  I search it again, just in case it was hiding.  I tried to keep calm as I walked back to the car, hoping it had slipped out of my bag.  Nothing. Nada. Zilch.  I was devastated. I even thought of running back to the hotel to grab it, since I realized it hadn't been in my bag–i'd carried it in separately.  The hotel was at least 20 minutes away and I had maybe 30 minutes until the magic.  

I new my iPhone would do great.  A few of my favorite pictures were with my iPhone (yes, another time I thought I had my camera and didn't), but it's only the 4, so there is a limit on how much I can enlarge a print.  Thankfully, I was with a friend who had the iPhone 4s which has more megapixels than mine.  He of course let me use his phone to get my shot. I think partly to keep me from having a breakdown on the beach.  It may have taken me a few minutes longer if I were alone that day to get over it, but I still would have gotten over it.  I just had to feel what I was feeling so I could let it go.

I took tons of pictures with his phone.  Knowing I would have done HDR if I would have had my camera, I processed the iPhone picture the same way.  Turned out pretty damn good.


The iPhone doesn't disappoint.  We woke up once again before dawn so I could get a second chance at La Push with my Canon 40D.  It was a beautiful dawn on the beach. Quiet, serene, and just how I like it.  

La Push SunriseLa Push at Dawn

The last morning of my long weekend.  I woke up every day earlier than I do for work.  It was absolutely worth it.  I can't wait to do it again.

Lance's iPhone 5 - Version 2

[email protected] (Tarynscapes Photography) Canon EOS 40D HDR High Dynamic Range Olympic Peninsula Pacific Northwest photography iPhone photography sunrise photography sunset photography https://www.tarynscapes.com/blog/2012/10/seaside-sunrises-and-sunsets Fri, 19 Oct 2012 05:18:41 GMT
Local Art Walk In Style https://www.tarynscapes.com/blog/2012/9/local-art-walk-in-style My first art walk was in July and I was a total newbie.  Luckily, so was the town center that was putting it on.  I had the good fortune to be placed with a business that had a folding table I could use and several shelves.  Without those, I would have been in big trouble!












A month goes by, and I get invited back to display my photography once again.  I had been looking for a grid wall display anyway, but  the shipping on those things cost more than the actual piece.  I'm a little too stubborn for that.  I start searching craigslist for my potential displays.  All I find are 2 x 8 grid walls...I could most likely fit those in my giant trunk, but the chances of me buying another boat-like car are zilch. No sense in buying something I won't be able to haul around in a few years.  

I scour the web looking for ideas and found a few to build.  I was hoping for a quicker, more elegant solution.  I went with a friend to Lowes to see what we could do.  We came up with a few options, but left empty handed.  We ended up at Storables.  I had been there the week before and liked some of the shelving, but didn't have a good grasp of how to make it work.  My friend quickly fixed that problem.

 I ended up buying 2 of the largest black wire shelves they had and 4 posts. We put it together with each shelf at the end of the posts.  Instead of having the shelves horizontal, we flipped it on its side.  Now I had two grids to hang pictures from.  We also played around with options for expansion.  Something I'm not quite ready for yet, but know exactly how to handle it when I am.

I used shelf to shelf connectors, J-hooks, caribiners, picture hanging wire, and a leather strip to hang the pictures.  The hooks were too wide to fit on the picture hangers attached to the frames, so I used the wire to create wire loops.  I could easily hang and remove pictures as need.IMG_0012


I used the leather strip as a soft attachment to the front top horizontal post.  I didn't want to scratch up the black metal before the show.  I then used a caribiner and more wire to suspend a large picture in the open space.  I added a black foam core board on top as a shelf to place a few more pictures.

Fast forward to the actual event.IMG_0007  It was a warm September afternoon and the Mill Creek Town Center was full of people.  I had the pleasure to be assigned to Peoples Bank.  The bank advertised the even quite well and offered wine and cheese.Several of the first customers were patrons of the bank and were excited to view the artwork.  All went great.  By the end of the night I had sold 4 framed prints and had gotten compliments on both my display and my reasonably priced photography.  Some friends have suggested I raise my prices, even articles I've read say to make sure you price yourself a little bit above average.  Maybe some day I'll do that, but right now, I just really like being affordable so people can enjoy my work as much as I do.






To check out more pictures from the Mill Creek 2012 September Art Walk, click here. The following images are from the Mill Creek Town Center Events/News.

[email protected] (Tarynscapes Photography) Mill Creek Art Walk Peoples Bank supports local art Tarynscapes Photography event art event display art grid display art walk grid display ideas multi-purpose display https://www.tarynscapes.com/blog/2012/9/local-art-walk-in-style Fri, 21 Sep 2012 03:52:48 GMT
My Jaunt to Deception Falls https://www.tarynscapes.com/blog/2012/8/my-jaunt-to-deception-falls Deception Falls is the second waterfall I ever saw in Washington.  This was a few years before I moved up here and  I was still shooting with film.  These were the days where I knew the basics of  SLR photography, but worked mostly on trial and error.  I knew slowing the shutter speed would give me the silky smooth water I wanted.  So I'd blow through a 36 roll of film on a single waterfall, changing the speed with each one.  I had a tiny understanding on how shutter speed was inversely related to the f-stop, but didn't really get how the f-stop affected my shot.  I just took one shot at a time, adjusting things as I needed until I was out of film.  After getting the film developed I'd throw out all but one or two that came out how I wanted.  My first shots of Deception Falls didn't come out great.

I've tried 3 times to get back to Deception Falls and re-take that photograph with all the knowledge I have now.   All three times it was closed due to snow.  Friday, I decided to try again.  The weather was overcast and rainy, perfect for photographing a waterfall.  The drive on Highway 2 was beautiful as always.  Storm clouds thundered above and rain poured down around me.  I grabbed a quick bite and by the time I got to the falls, the rain had stopped.  I grabbed my gear and took off on the loop.

Deception Falls hikeDeception Falls3 Not too far into the hike a find a perfect starting spot.  I set up my tripod, being very proud I brought it, carried it on the hike, and actually took the time to set it up.  I get ready to slap my camera on the top and realize no quick release plate screwed into the bottom.  Racking my brain, I'm trying to remember why I ever took it off in the first place.  Out of some sort of crazy luck (or maybe  I was actually thinking when I took it off), I found it in the smallest pocket in my backpack.  Not having that little guy would have set my progress back on actually utilizing the tripod.  I relaxed, took my time and got some great shots.

I continue on through the hike, stopping here and and there for those mossy water pictures I love so much.  I can hear the rushing of the falls as I near.  The first platform is a bit disappointing.  Closed to public, obviously due to damage.  



I walk a bit more and find myself in a bit of a predicament.  The hiking trail goes right through a small stream.  I'm really close to the main attraction now and just on the other side of the stream is a bridge going over more water that looks like it would be a great shot.  I'm staring at this stream, weighing my options.  I'm alone, always the first thing I consider when shooting.  If I tried to cross and I fell, what would be the worst that would happen?  Obviously I could crack my skull open and that would be the worst, but I am a very accomplished faller.  I once fell down about 6 concrete steps in college and landed on my butt.  The only scratch I got was on the top of my ankle.  Not a single bruise or scratch otherwise, so I'm pretty confident in my falling abilities.  I decide the worst that would happen to me is I'd get a little wet and cold since the water is only a few inches deep and not flowing too fast.  Absolutely acceptable.  The next thing to consider is what could happen to my camera and other gear that is loaded in my backpack.  There is a chance that if I fell, my camera or some sort of equipment could get a little wet.  Absolutely not acceptable.  I've got too much money invested in it, not to mention my camera is my baby.  

So I backtrack all the way around the loop and continue to that troublesome creek.   I grab my iPhone and take a quick snapshot of the water obstacle, knowing its going to be a fun story to share.  Now that I'm where I should be, I focus on that great shot of the bridge.   Once again, I take my time to set up my shot and take my time shooting to get the picture just as I want it.  I move half way over the bridge and find another cool location to shoot.  Just at the end I decided to pull out my phone again to get a quick capture of the scene.  No iPhone.  I frantically check all my pockets on my jacket, sweatshirt, and jeans.  Nothing.  I look down at the rushing water below me and think, shit.  I'm in panic mode.  Not so much worried about losing my phone or pictures, but I had told a friend where I was going and that I'd text when I got back from the mountains and found service.  For all you who know me, I absolutely hate for people to worry about me.  I knew if he didn't hear from me in a few hours he'd worry.  I, of course, rely on my phone too heavily and don't have a single phone number memorized so I couldn't even call from a pay phone if I wanted.  I had to find that phone!  Heart pounding, I search every inch of the bridge, then down by that tricksy stream.  Still nothing.  I start near the water, under the bridge.  There, under the stairs and inches from the rushing water is my phone, sunk in some mud!  I wipe it off all over my jeans.  Perfectly fine.  I must have had it sticking out of my jeans pocket and when I walked up the steps, out it came.  Kicking myself, I zip it up in the pocket of my jacket and move on to the falls.

Deception Falls hike

The rushing of the waterfall is really drawing me near it.  I cross another bridge and up stone steps to the falls I've been waiting to see and photograph for so long.  The water is so powerful and so close, mist is everywhere.  I do my best to protect the camera as long as possible and wipe the lens quick before I shoot, knowing, I'm not going to get the awesome shot that I want.  Some waterfalls refused to be captured properly.  They are best seen and felt in person.  I walked away getting nothing that I expected from the waterfall, but better pictures than I imagined from the hike.

Deception Falls



[email protected] (Tarynscapes Photography) Canon EOS 40D DSLR Deception Falls North Cascades hike Washington state hiking iPhone photography landscape photography photographic journey waterfall photography https://www.tarynscapes.com/blog/2012/8/my-jaunt-to-deception-falls Sat, 25 Aug 2012 21:49:07 GMT
Bears! Part 2 https://www.tarynscapes.com/blog/2012/7/bears-part-2  

This continues my bear obsession story.  If you haven't read it first, click here.

A few months later I flew to DC to see some friends.  Instead of seeing all the touristy stuff, we opted to spend the weekend in Shenandoah National Park.  Not ten miles into the park, Katie screams "bears!".  Her husband slams on the breaks and right in front of us, not 20 feet is a mamma black bear and 3 babies.  I'm in the back seat with limited view.  I rememberer saying, "I know this is a really dumb idea but I'm getting out of the car."  My friends of course were begging me to stay, but out I go.  I'm fumbling with my camera like it's the first time I've held one.  By this time, the mamma is up on the short rock wall on the side of the road and one baby has already jumped over.  She follows, and I'm still trying to work the alien contraption in my hand.  Luckily, Katie snaps a great picture of the two babies with her iPhone. Katie's bear Stupidly, I slowly go towards the wall looking for them, not knowing how close they were to the other side.  I half expected the mamma to pop up and slap me.  She did not.  The brush was so thick I could only see it rustling about 40 feet away.  Once again, no pictures for me.

You might be wondering how I could write a blog about bears and only have crazy stories and no good pictures, save for Katie's.  Well it's not over.  Just two short weeks ago, Katie flew to Washington to visit.  She had never been to Canada, so we decided to drive up to Whistler on the Sea to Sky Highway.  Let's face it, we were on a hunt for more bears.  We drove with not a single sighting, save for the bear warning signs on the highway and a giant stuffed bear in a Whistler gift shop. We decided to cut our losses and get back to Vancouver.  On a whim on the road back, we see a turn off for Whistler Olympic Park.  

Maybe a mile in, Katie screams, "Bear! Bear! Bear!"  I slam on the breaks, turn down the music (since the best way to sight a bear is blast the music with the windows rolled down), and flip a bitch.  We get to the spot and see nothing.  We decided to proceed, and not a mile farther, see a SUV pulled over on the other side of the road.  I slow down, hoping there is something good ahead and not just someone making a pit stop. Canadian Black BearKatieTimes59  What we see is incredible.  A black bear munching on grass about twenty yards from the road, on Katie's side. 

I pull up painfully slowly, heart racing.  I can't see very well from my side of the car, and I can't let the opportunity pass.  So what do I do?  I get out of the car of course!  This time, I was smart.  I left it running, kept one foot in the door and leaned on the roof to steady myself.  I was a little shaky from the adrenaline of seeing a bear not run away from me!

My wonderful ultra compact zoom lens, Canon EF 70-300mm f4.5-5.6 that I rented from Borrow Lenses, was perfect.  It kept me at a safe distance (ok maybe not that safe, but at least there was a car between us) and was fast enough that my shaking didn't blur all my photos.  We sat there for a good twenty minutes, just snapping shots and watching him graze and scratch himself. KatieTimes105  We finally had enough, and decided to drive a litter further down the road. Nothing panned out so we turned around and out fuzzy friend was still waiting for us.  Once again, I pulled over to get a few more shots.  This time I didn't get out of the car since he was closest to me, but it didn't keep me from trying to get Katie to get out of the car.  She wouldn't do it.  Probably not a good habit to get into like me.  Someone has to keep their bear wits about them, and it will never be me.

KatieTimes95 - Version 2

[email protected] (Tarynscapes Photography) Canon telephoto lens Whistler, BC bear sighting canadian black bear illusive bears photography blog https://www.tarynscapes.com/blog/2012/7/bears-part-2 Wed, 18 Jul 2012 03:09:48 GMT
Bears! Part 1 https://www.tarynscapes.com/blog/2012/7/bears-part-1 For those of you that know me, you know I have a small obsession with bears.  It may be even mores than my love of waterfalls, if only for the danger factor. KatieTimes4   As a kid, I remember going to the local library every Friday in the summer, when Bear Country, USA, would bring in baby animals.  Some, we could pet.  Others, like baby bears, we could only look at.  They were freaking adorable!  Sometime during college, I got the chance to visit Bear Country again.  It was shortly after I got my first SLR and I really didn't know what I was doing, but the pictures came out ok.  Of course I totally broke the rules and rolled down my window to get a few shots.  







There was also the baby area, cute baby bears and wolves that are perfectly irresistible!  This, of course, was in a controlled environment.  



My next encounter was at Glacier National Park, shortly after moving to the Pacific Northwest.  It was early our first morning in town.  I was with my parents and we had just stopped right before the gates to see a moose feeding in a marsh.  

Morning Marsh After a good long while of shooting, we moved on.  Right on the other side of the gate, was a park ranger and several cars parked at the side of the road.  A crowd had gathered.  I wasn't a novice to national parks, so I knew there was an animal  afoot.  As soon as we stopped, I jumped out of the car (this fact will be important later) and ran over with my new Canon 40D DSLR.  I saw nothing, so I asked the guy next to me what we were looking at.  He said it was a bear and pointed me in the right vicinity.  Low and behold, I see a young black bear about 2 years old.  He stands up on his hind feet, waves at me, and then runs off into the forest.  I was so excited about seeing a bear in the wild, my fingers refused to work the camera.  I don't even know what they were doing, but by the time I had the camera on and the lens cover off, all I got was trees.  So disappointing!

Fast forward a few more months and my parents are visiting for my birthday.  Instead of a present, I want a beautiful experience, so we spend a long weekend on Vancouver Island.  Now most people would want to see Victoria.  Not me.  I have waterfalls picked out in parks that I must see! So we drive hours and hours to get my waterfall hikes in.  As we were leaving (about dusk at at least 3 hours from our hotel), I scream bear as a black bear darts across the highway in Strathcona Provincial Park.  Dad slams on the breaks and I jump out of the car, with Mom yelling from the back seat.  Completely unprepared, once again, I miss my shot as the bear rushes up the hill.

Two years later, I get the chance to fly to Calgary and meet my parents as they drive over to visit me.  We drive up through Banff and Jasper and then over and down to Washington.  Somewhere before Wells Gray Provincial Park, once again on the highway I scream "bear!"  Dad, again,canada bear slams on the breaks and this time reverses back up the highway.  The noise of us driving on the shoulder was enough for the poor bear to run.  Not having my camera ready yet again, I jump out of the car (are you seeing a pattern?) and get a picture of his fuzzy butt running away with my iPhone (cropped of course).

Finally getting a picture only frustrated me more.  I was so close, yet couldn't get that one little picture!  

To be continued...


[email protected] (Tarynscapes Photography) Canon EOS 40D black bear illusive bears unique photography https://www.tarynscapes.com/blog/2012/7/bears-part-1 Sun, 15 Jul 2012 23:31:10 GMT
Walks on Whidbey https://www.tarynscapes.com/blog/2012/7/walks-on-whidbey Not too long ago, my parents came to visit.  I racked my brain to find something for us to do that we all would enjoy.  Whidbey Island was the answer.  A quick ferry ride from Mukilteo to Clinton, then a nice little drive over to Meerkerk Rhododendron Gardens for Mom.  Whidbey 005

It was quiet and peaceful and perfect timing.  The rhodies were in full bloom.  Mom loved it and Dad and I enjoyed the walk.  Of course I was also playing with my 50 mm lens.

Whidbey 047 Yes, I took pictures of both pink AND purple blooms.  I'm testing my boundaries ;-)

After lunch, we made our way to Fort Casey State Park for Dad.  For those of you who know my Dad, you know this is almost as perfect as taking him to a flight museum. Construction of the fort began in 1897 as a massive seacoast fortification effort.  The fort included giant guns that were in a protective environment until it was time to fire.  In which case they could be raised to shoot.


Whidbey 056 Dad of course loved all this military history (I actually enjoyed it too). It also gave me my own opportunities to shoot.  Huge concrete structures for battle are very different from my beloved waterfalls.  

I had a chance to play with new composition and colors and elements.  The old photographer in me would have rolled my eyes at this place.  I took it as a challenge.  

Whidbey 069









So I snapped my shots just as I saw them.  

Whidbey 072

Whidbey 073 Whidbey 086

[email protected] (Tarynscapes Photography) 50mm Admiralty Head Lighthouse Canon EOS 40D Fort Casey State Park Meerkerk Rhododendron Gardens Whidbey Island coast landscape military history https://www.tarynscapes.com/blog/2012/7/walks-on-whidbey Mon, 02 Jul 2012 04:36:07 GMT
Philly Through the iPhone https://www.tarynscapes.com/blog/2012/5/philly_iphone So I went to Philly recently for work.  As much as I wanted, I couldn't carry my camera every where I went.  So I improvised with my trusty iPhone.  I was walking back to the hotel after dinner one night and ended up walking past the church.  The sun was setting and  the pictures just weren't turning out.  It was too dark. Luckily, I have a great app, HDR Pro to capture the scene.  Unfortunately, the quality of the image doesn't hold up.  It's still a great shot to share.

Philly iphone 1

I love the green lights and the sharp details of the church.  Did I go back again with my Canon 40D?  Come back and check later!

Another stroll through the streets brought me to this next photo.  This time, the sun was so bright, it washed out the image.  Again, my trusty HDR app at least got the shot.  In the forefront is the sculpture "Government of the People" by Jacques Lipchitz, created in 1976.  The cathedral-like structure is the Philadelphia Masonic Temple. 

Duvall 2

Across the street, is the famous Love sculpture in John F. Kennedy Plaza.  There were endless couples appearing out of nowhere.  Too many people for me, so I went for the odd angle.  Even the iPhone can bring great emotion into a picture.

Philly iphone


[email protected] (Tarynscapes Photography) Government of the People John F. Kennedy Plaza Pro HDR for iPhone architecture downtown Philadelphia high dynamic range masonic temple photography blog https://www.tarynscapes.com/blog/2012/5/philly_iphone Fri, 11 May 2012 03:35:49 GMT
All About Angles https://www.tarynscapes.com/blog/2012/4/all_about_angles One of the hardest things I struggle with as a photographer is choosing THE angle for my final image.  I take dozens of shots at any given place and sometimes any given object.  I try different angles and different settings, sometimes different angles with different settings.  The first thing I do when I get my images up on my Mac is do a quick run though, to see what I've done.  Then I start whittling the images down to the one or ones I want.  I might have 5 great shots of one object, but who wants to see those?  No one whats to see the same thing over and over. It gets boring.  Art should never be boring.

So how do I choose?  It's not easy.  I started out asking a few of my best friends.  That never quite worked out as well as I hoped.  Half would like one, the other half would like another.  So I started asking one friend.  You'd think that would be easier, right?  It's not.  It doesn't change how I feel about each image.  You see, they each mean something different.  They tell a different story, just in the angle.



There is the "up close and personal" shot.  The details of the background are gone and you feel like you can reach out and touch it.  You are so close, you can't even see the entire subject without moving your head.


Then there is the "step back".  You see everything in front of you.  The details of the mountain, far in the distance, rocks, flowers, a tree, and the entire subject.  The different elements come together perfectly. 

3Vertical with Rainier

Finally, there is the combination of both. Details of the foreground and background, but with an artistic twist.

So how do I choose?  Well I thought I had my favorite one finally chosen when I started writing...but now I see one in a new light.  I guess I just wait until one finally jumps out at me.

[email protected] (Tarynscapes Photography) Canon EOS 40D artistic angles choosing the right photo photography blog photography difficulties https://www.tarynscapes.com/blog/2012/4/all_about_angles Sun, 22 Apr 2012 04:40:45 GMT
Unique Perspective https://www.tarynscapes.com/blog/2012/4/unique-perspective I've always been told that I have an eye for photography.  I didn't really get it. I mean, everyone sees what I see.  How can they miss it?  It's right there in front of us, begging to be photographed.  I just pick up my camera and shoot it.

In the past year and a half, I've finally started to accept that "they" might be right. I've learned a few tricks and I've got a great camera, lenses, and filters.  That must be what makes me stand out more than someone else. It wasn't until my last photography workshop that it really hit me.  It was a small class, so we each got a chance to share our photos of the yard on the big screen.  We go through my photos, one by one.  Some are ok, some are good, some are even pretty cool and even a few were not exciting at all. I was one of the last people to share, and I noticed that not a single person there shot the same thing, the same way I did.  Several of my photos were pretty unique. One photo stopped the instructor in his tracks.  He said he'd be teaching photography at his home office for the past three years, and every single student had taken pictures of the globes in the yard.  I was the very first person to ever take one from this particular perspective. 


The funny thing is, it never occurred to me to shoot it from the side.  It just seemed natural to shoot it straight down.  I think it is finally, really sinking in.  I don't see the world the way everyone else does.  I truly do have a unique perspective.  It brings me even more joy to share it with you.

[email protected] (Tarynscapes Photography) 50mm Canon EOS 40D perspective photography blog unique photography https://www.tarynscapes.com/blog/2012/4/unique-perspective Thu, 19 Apr 2012 04:02:20 GMT
My First Blog https://www.tarynscapes.com/blog/2012/4/my-first-blog For months,  friends have been telling me that I need to start blogging on my photography.  I had no idea what I was supposed to say until today.  Yesterday, I went to an advanced photography workshop. It was simultaneously a refresher course and an eye opener.  I learned a new method of thinking in regards to which settings I adjust first. I'm curious to see how it improves my skills.  I was also reminded to practice, practice, practice!  I am terrible at that!  I tend to only grab my camera when I know I'll get the great sweeping landscapes I love so much.

During the workshop, I was "forced" to find things to shoot in the yard of the instructor.  Granted, there were beautiful mountains to be seen, if you don't mind houses and cars in the way.  So I had to get creative.  After all, with 6 other people in the class, I didn't want to be taking the same sorts of pictures as everyone else.  My fear was unfounded.  I was unique as usual.



[email protected] (Tarynscapes Photography) 50mm advanced photography workshop macro photography blog point of focus prime lens unique photography https://www.tarynscapes.com/blog/2012/4/my-first-blog Sun, 15 Apr 2012 22:47:26 GMT