A MISSION TO ICELAND WITH PHOTOGRAPHERS EMIL SOLLIE & HALLVARD KOLLTVEIT
A mission to Iceland with PHOTOGRAPHERS Emil Sollie & Hallvard Kolltveit
A Four Day Adventure Road Trip
In October, we tagged along with photographers Emil Sollie and Hallvard Kolltveit to Iceland. The two Norwegians travel the world as lifestyle and commercial photographers. For their trip to Iceland, they were on a mission with friends to shoot for travel gear company Db. We equipped the crew with Scandinavian Edition jackets to protect them from Iceland's harsh climate.
DAY 1 — Arrival and the first sight of snow
Our flight to Iceland left Oslo Airport early in the morning, and we arrived at a beautiful sunrise in Keflavik at 8 AM. After packing our two 4x4s, we drove towards Vík—our first destination in the southern part of Iceland. The drive is 3 hours on paper, but you will probably spend an extra 3 to 6 hours for scenic stops. We stopped 30 minutes into our drive—spotting the first mountaintop covered with fresh snow. Then, after a quick photo session, we continued our drive south.
Time flies when you are driving in Iceland—3 hours felt like 1,5. The roads are surprisingly straight, and there is always some waterfall, glacier, or mountaintop to look at, which takes your mind off the distance. We stopped at the famous Skógafoss—a 25 meters wide and 60 meters tall waterfall. Ensure to bring a waterproof jacket when visiting waterfalls as the air in the area was filled with water spray—our clothes were quickly covered with tiny drops of water.
We arrived in Vík late in the afternoon and explored the area. Vik is probably one of the most photographed places in Iceland. Still, it is easy to understand why—the place is super scenic, with a dramatic stretch of coastline, black beaches, and rugged sea cliffs combined with glacier-topped mountains in the background. The northern winds were blowing super hard, but that did not stop us from having pizza as we watched the sunset overlooking town.
DAY 2 — Time to shoot some Glaciers
The alarm was set for 05:30 the next day for our drive to Jökulsárlón—Iceland's largest and most famous glacier lake. Jökulsárlón sits below the glacier Vatnajökull and another 2,5 hours drive southeast of Vík. Jökulsárlón was our main destination for the trip. Emil and Hallvard were shooting content for the new Glacier Green collection for Norwegian travel gear brand Db. The idea was to place the bags in a glacier environment to showcase the color. Jökulsárlón is an impressive sight—colossal green and blue ice blocks are floating around in a lake below the glacier.
Loft — Dunkles Oliv
Hallvard is wearing Loft in Dark OliveView Details
Meridian — Onyx
Kristin is wearing Meridian in OnyxView Details
Next, we headed to the fishing village of Höfn. We had some light snacks before driving to Stokksnes for a sunset shoot. Stokksnes is located 20 minutes outside of Höfn and is known for its dramatic, Game of Thrones-looking mountains named Vestrahorn. The mountain range tops at 454 meters and drops straight down onto a black sand beach. It is a magical place where you can even find a wave to surf (which we did). You can easily spend a couple of hours just walking around and soaking up the magic of this place.
After Stokksnes, we drove to our hotel apartments and enjoyed a hot meal. On our way home in the dark, Hallvard spotted some early signs of Northern Lights peaking up behind a mountain. Having lived in the Lofoten Islands in Norway for two years, Hallvard knows a thing or two about Northern Lights. He told us we should plan for a long night—Northern Lights are usually most intense between 01:00 and 03:00 after midnight. Later that evening, we headed back to Jökulsárlón to see if he was right. We waited a couple of hours before the magic started happening—it was worth the long wait on a cold night.
Day 3 - 4x4 fun
The following day we woke up to typical Icelandic weather—winds blowing hard from the north with snow and fog coming down from the mountains. We had no plans for the day other than driving the 500 kilometers back to Reykjavik. We wanted to let the road guide us.
One hour into the drive, Hallvard took a hard right turn onto a gravel road —«Guys, look at that glacier arm coming down the valley,» he said. «I think we can drive up to this one with our 4x4s.» Until now, we had not fully had the chance to utilize our cars' 4x4 abilities. Most of our stops had been close to main roads adapted for tourists. This was another beast. We drove 20 kilometers on rugged gravel rounds with big potholes filled with ice and water and even crossed a river before arriving at the glacier base. With nothing to stop its path, the wind here was more powerful than we had experienced earlier that day, and we almost got lifted from the ground when we exited our vehicles. The gusts were blowing at 20+ meters per second. It was a magical moment standing at the edge of a glacier in this remote place with no other people for miles and feeling nature's raw power. A definite highlight of the trip.
As we got closer to Reykjavik later that day—the sunset was another highlight. The strong winds had kicked up volcanic sand into the sky, which lit up like fire—what a way to end our road trip to the southeast.
Day 4 - Exploring Reykjavik
Waking up in Reykjavik, we had just spent the past three days in some very remote places where you have to plan your next meal because the next restaurant could be two hours down the road—we were ready for some urban treats. Reykjavik is the world's most northern capital city. The city is located in the southwestern part of the island. It is not a large city, so walking on foot is the optimal way of exploring.
It is hard not to notice the eye-catching 244 feet high church named Hallgrimskirkja—the tallest building in the city. Only an office building in the suburb Kopavogur is taller.
The crew from left to right: Veslemøy (@veesla), Eivind (@eivlea), Hallvard (@hallvardkolltveit), Kristin (@kristinsaunes) and Emil (@emilsollie)
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