My Trip to Iceland…

“Plunge boldly into the thick of life, and seize it where you will, it is always interesting. ” – Johann Wolfgang Goethe

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I was overwhelmed with joy as I haven’t travelled outside the country for years and my aim this year is to visit at least five countries…now I can scratch Iceland off my bucket list. Travelling to Iceland was such a wonderful experience and I would definitely visit this spectacular country again. I see loads of photos being posted on Instagram especially Instagrammers who travel to these amazing countries and Iceland instantly caught my attention. Booking this trip was expensive but I guess you only live once and you should try to enjoy the finer things in life if you get that opportunity. Amma and I could not decide on which tours to book as they all looked incredible. The first tour we booked was to see the Northern Lights, although it’s not always guaranteed that the aurora borealis would appear but I remained hopeful. We were really indecisive on whether to choose the Golden Circle or South Shore adventure; both were 9-10 hours long so after some research we decided to go for with the South Shore. I really wanted to book the whale watching tour but very much over my budgets and I didn’t want to spend a lot on a tour if it’s not guaranteed that the whales would make an appearance.

My original plan was to book the Blue Lagoon but since we waited till the last minute it was already fully booked during mornings and afternoons. There were slots available for the evenings but I would have preferred to go during the daylight so I could take some photos and pack during the evening for our early flight the next day…Secret Lagoon it is (still awesome and much cheaper). To save money we decided look for a self-catered accommodation which was a good price just for four nights and it was the best the option as booking a hotel would have cost us £600+ per person. Thankfully our accommodation was two minutes away from our bus stop so we didn’t have to stop at the bus terminal and jump into a taxi. I browsed online to watch a few vlogs to get an insight on what it’s like to travel to Iceland and some travel tips. Most vloggers stayed in self-catered accommodations, booked tours, and a few rented cars/caravans for minimum of 2-3 days.

I did my packing at the last minute…what a surprise! Since I was only going for four days I mainly packed turtle necks and black jeans. Before the trip I had to go and purchase jeans as I only wear dresses or skirts so I didn’t know how cold and snowy the weather was going to be. As I wanted to make sure that we arrived early to the Gatwick Airport so we didn’t have to queue for check-in, we had to wait at least an hour (got there way too damn early). I was so excited to finally board the plane and of course booked my seat next to window. I wanted to vlog during this trip so I purchased the Canon M10 and megapixels are pure quality. As I packed way too much equipment in my rucksack I decided to only take the USB charger for the M10 instead but I had no idea that it was faulty. I was disappointed by this as I was so excited to vlog about my journey to Iceland so I had to mainly use my Mark II and Samsung J5 instead.

Overall, I had a splendid time in Iceland and I would highly recommend booking a trip there. I got see the enchanting black sand beach, captivating waterfalls and relax in the steamy secret lagoon. Here are some travels tips if you’re planning to head to Iceland at some point:

 

  1. Purchase food at the airport before boarding the plane if you’re booking your flight tickets with WowAir (food on the plane is pricey).
  2. If your travel buddy has fallen asleep during the flight journey make sure you bring a book or download a bunch of films/episodes using Netflix (music can’t always cure boredom).
  3. Before booking a self-catered accommodation make sure you email your host to find out what is not included (found out that there was no microwave, kitchen roll, washing up liquid and only one toilet roll left). Don’t always rely on the host to provide this for you.
  4. To save money head to the supermarket Bonus!
  5. Bring plastic containers and sandwich bags with you for long tours.
  6. Save up as much as possible as most of the food markets and souvenir shops are a tad pricey.
  7. Ask locals for help if you get lost.
  8. Double check to see if all your camera equipment is working (charge your batteries before the trip).
  9. Wear boots with grip and the ice is very slippery.

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Behind the Camera – No Limitations

“It’s only after you’ve stepped outside your comfort zone that you begin to change, grow and transform.” – Roy T. Bennett

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Stepping outside of my comfort zone is an area I’ve always struggled with just to avoid anything that involved change because to tell you the truth…I didn’t want to feel any form of anxiety. Along the way I started to realize that I wasn’t really growing as a person and I needed to find a way to creep out of my shell. Ever since I discovered a passion for photography I knew that I wanted to pursue it as a career at some point which did involve challenges and most importantly…growth. I like to challenge myself in every piece of project I create as I love to explore a different range of themes. Last year I brainstormed a few ideas for projects and I really wanted to produce a fashion portrait series that focused on growth, change and transformation (I sneaked in a few conceptual ideas of course).

It’s great to get away from the busy streets of as you get the chance to discover such beautiful locations outside of London. I browsed online for a location that could fit well with the theme and relatively somewhere that wasn’t too long of a drive. Alas… I stumbled across the mesmerizing Camber Sands which was indeed very sandy! I loved the setting of it as it reminded me of the Moroccan Sahara desert (on my bucket list). It was surprisingly windy and cold out there to the point it was impossible to photograph Lauren without getting sand in my eyes. I had to wrap my cardigan around my head as that was the only way I could see through the lens. As I was preparing for the shoot I completely forgot how to work a camera as I haven’t used mine for over five months. Luckily it all came back to me, it was just hidden beneath…

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Whilst shooting in these windy conditions, I noticed how well it was fitting with the concept as it brought a lot of fluidity in the shots. As we were on a schedule I wasn’t able to try out some of the ideas I brainstormed which was fine as I like to be spontaneous in my shoots and stumble across something unexpectedly. I got to use this snazzy accordion I purchased from EBay which I managed to snag for a decent price. It was my favourite part of the shoot, along with the use of bubbles of course! Overall, I had a great time collaborating with Lauren as she is such a lovely person who you can literally talk about anything with during a 2 hour car journey. I have worked with Maisie before for my conceptual Native American shoot and she did a fantastic job with the hair and make-up. I definitely wanted to collaborate with her again as she is such a wonderful artist and I get along with her so well. I don’t know what I would do without Elisha, I have known her since high school and she has been such an amazing friend throughout this creative journey. She has been so helpful and is willing wake up at 6am just to help with a photoshoot. I am very pleased with the outcome of the portraits as they turned out better than I expected.

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We originally planned to shoot the project at Hampstead Heath with a different model I reached out to but it didn’t exactly go according to plan. I try not dwell on these as along the way I started to realize that some areas in life are out of your control. I tend to come across a lot of obstacles throughout my photography journey, I have cried and at times I wasn’t exactly in the right mind frame. It’s very important to take a step back and to take care of your mental well-being.  I wasn’t in the greatest head space in the year 2015 due to personal reasons which contributed to me losing interest in photography and not being productive. I was very closed off during that period which I hope not experience again but I’ve learnt so much from it. At times I may experience sudden changes in my mood but it’s just something that is part of me and I have found a few solutions to improve on this.

The only advice I can give to readers out there is to never give up on your passion and even though you will come across a few bumpy roads along the way…try to stay hopeful! 🙂