My Icelandic journey with the X-T2 and how I ended up with Fuji
The beginning of September, just a few days left, will the X-T2 be delivered?
It’s time, the first week of September, just a few days left before Marc and I take a plane to Iceland. For me this is the second time visiting Iceland. The first time was in 2011 and I was totally captivated by the landscape, extreme weather and ever changing conditions.
A week before departure I’m getting anxious. Will my X-T2 be here in time before I leave. I contact the store and they confirm, “next week it will be here”. This is cutting it close. Busy with work, doing final preparations, suddenly the phone rings… “Hi, we have your camera here and will send it first thing to your address.” Ohh my, I will take the X-T2 to Iceland! Respect to Cameranu.nl that did everything possible to get my whole kit to me in time over three days in different shipments, without any extra costs or trouble!
Yes! On the way to the airport.
First, my journey through photography
It took me a while and a detour to end up with Fujifilm. I started with Minolta and Sony and continued with Sony till the A99. An excellent camera, but after saying goodbye to professional photography I traded it all in for a lightweight kit from Olympus.
In the end the wide angle option with filters just wasn’t there for me at Olympus, but boy I loved shooting with the EM-1.
After shortly trying the X-T1 with the earlier firmware I was really disappointed in the handling of the camera, it just felt slow compared to the EM-1. Together with the poor RAW Lightroom support I sold the X-T1.
So I ended up with the A7mII. I just loved being back at Sony, the excellent sensors and fullframe G.A.S. I was happy. That quickly faded when shooting with the A7, it just felt a bit distant. The EVF is good, but small compared with the EM-1 and X-T1. And at that time the X-PRO2 was introduced with the 100-400. That would be my dream setup for nature and wildlife. In the end I knew and X-T2 wasn’t far away in the future so invested in Fujifilm again. Boy … I wasn’t disappointed.
I do not need to explain why we went to Iceland I guess, it is a photography (landscape) playground for sure. We did all our planning ourselves. Booked accommodations, flight and a nice 4×4.
We decided to do the trip in two parts. 1. Start in Reykjavik and explore the west and north of Iceland, with a short detour through the amazing Þingvellir. Part 2 would be in the south of iceland in Vík í Mýrdal.
Touch down! Landed in Iceland. Took the 4×4 and started our adventure. Day 1 is a fact. Let’s go.
Part 1 Þingvellir, Gullfoss, Snæfellsnes en Aldeyjarfoss
Hello Sunday! Day 2 starts of relaxed. We start driving to Þingvellir, for me it is all familiar, this country is so beautiful. There is enough to see, to consume as a landscape lover and evidently to photograph. So take a look and stop once is a while instead of racing from waypoint to waypoint. But be careful when stopping next to the main roads, the are dangerous, we tend to forget that in our enthusiasm to get that shot!
Þingvellir and Gullfoss are big tourist attractions so do not expect to be there alone, unless your are there in winter. In this case it was so crowded we did not take any worthwhile photographs. On the road back to Reykjavik we passed inky black rocky landscapes with green moss as far as the eye could see.
The next day, day 3, a long ride to the north west of Iceland. We are driving towards the peninsula Snæfellsnes. The rain of yesterday is replaced by epic sunrise and golden yellow sun rays. Arriving at our destination it started raining again with dense fog and clouds. Ow well thats Iceland for you. We decided to climb the volcano through a very cool gravel road. Arriving at the top we were treated with a beautiful view of breaking clouds, hard winds and all types of weather all at once.
Day 4, as expected it start with very bad weather. We are changing plans! We are going way up north, to one of my favorite waterfalls, Aldeyjarfoss, no photograph does justice when seeing this with your own eyes. This day we drove 950 km, but got treated in the end somewhere at midnight driving back to Reykjavik with a whole night of Northern Lights, magical!
Part 2 Skogafoss, Vík í Mýrdal, Hvannadalshnúkur, Landmannalaugar and Eyjafjallajökull
Part 2, day 5, starts with packing all our stuff and moving to Vík í Mýrdal. We take our 4×4 and drive to our bed & breakfast near the sea (worth while stay – Guesthouse Vellir). Before arriving we stop at two waterfalls, but again here you find more tourist than you’d like, suchs is life. We agreed to revisit at least one of the waterfalls, Skogafoss early in the morning.
The next day, day 6, again we find ourselves in grey, misty and cloudy drizzle weather. We decided to take a long drive towards the black waterfall. Arriving at the scene and the sky clears up, blue skies at last.
After this enclosed waterfall we saw the sky closing again, clouds gathered and it started raining. We drove towards the ice lake nearby. Pity that the weather changed again, but the X-T2 held it’s own. Everything was damped and wet, but the camera performed extremely well. The photo’s however, were less than spectacular. As it was raining it became impossible to take decent photo’s there.
Tired and wet, we took the 4×4 and headed back to Vík í Mýrdal. We did not expect this, but we got treated to an epic sunset. We were not the only one there, as there were many photographers, drones and people enjoying this spectacular view.
The next day, day 7, the day started nice, a light drizzle, but the skies cleared during the morning. We hiked towards the stranded plane, one of the most photographed places in Iceland I guess. The rest of the day was just us driving around on the many gravel roads, a true road trip this day. And again we got treated to another epic sunset.
De last full day, day 8, is here. Landmannalaugar it is. But today is the worst day of all. Grey, rain and no wind. Something I thought was impossible, but no wind whatsoever. We decided to make it another road trip on gravel roads, navigate river crossings and truly put the 4×4 to the test. It was so much fun in the end! But no photo’s were taken that day.
Departure is here, day 9. We need to leave, but not before we revisit Skogafoss and Eyjafjallajökull. As our planes leaves at 16h we have plenty of time on our hands. The weather cleared and we were on our way towards Skogafoss. After visiting Eyjafjallajökull we decided to take a detour via the blue lagoon.
All in all, a big adventure with many photographs and foremost a lot of fun!
After this week, I’m reminded why I love photography and being in nature and walking through these landscapes. The most memorable moments are those, where we drove through 50cm deep water crossings. Climbing up mountains. Seeing Northern lights and just being the adventure.
Photographing with the X-T2 was a treat. All in all a big step up from the X-T1. Even better EVF, button layouts, joystick and much improved autofocus. The camera just feels so much snappier. The combination of the 10-24 with the 16-55 and the 100-400 I now have the most versatile set I’d ever had. For now Fujifilm has come through and delivered! Until the next camera arrives 😉
p.s. Really! Really be careful along the main roads in Iceland. Specifically when there is bad weather or when the sun sets and the night starts. We got word from our bed & breakfast hostess upon our departure that one of the other group members that stayed in there had a real nightmare that night. Their group leader was so excited to see the Northern Lights that night and wondered off at the side of the road. Not paying attention to the road he got hit by a car and died instantly. Still thinking about this brings the sivers to my spine. Everything said and done, no photograph is worth a life.
Robert Doeleman, self educated photographer, photo lover and gadget freak. I like to roam around in nature and really get immersed in the landscapes I photograph. I do this because I love this, because it’s my passion and trying to capture the world as I see it.
In daily life I’m a Business analyst and UX strategist, creating new websites, new digital processes and help companies in general to transform their business into a digital one.