After leaving the Arctic circle, we made our way to the west coast to take photos of a famous mountain called Kirkjufell. In the town we were staying, we went into a restaurant to get some hot food. (the peanut butter, rice cakes, granola bars, and Doritos that we had been living off of the last couple of days were not very filling). When we entered the restaurant we were asked if we were there for "the game." As it turns out this was the big Euro2016 soccer match between Iceland and France after Iceland's stunning defeat of England. So we ate and stayed for part of the game. The whole town seemed to be there and were quite excited (they even brought their own drum) and were still in great spirits even as France started to pull away. A very fun experience.
After dinner we took another late evening nap before sunset then went out to go shoot Kirkjufell. It was quite beautiful as the mountain looked like something out of a Dr. Seuss book, and a perfectly placed waterfall hopefully made for a great photo. It took a bunch of running around to find just the right angle, but we thought we had figured out exactly what we wanted to do at least for sunrise. By our calculations, the sun should have risen just between the mountain and a high point on the waterfall's gorge, so we made preparations for that and went back to bed for short nap before sunrise.
We woke up a bit too early as the sun was lighting up the sky, but we were still a couple hours away from official sunrise. At the waterfall we waited in our car for about 30 minutes before putting on some extra layers of clothing and heading out to take our photos from the base of the waterfall. Kelly set up, took some shots to get everything framed right, then we put the lens cap on (as the waterfall was spraying the lens with a fair amount of water) and continued to wait.
We watched the sun light up the mountain ridge behind us, then as the sun in Iceland tends to do, very slowly make its way down. As we were tracking the progress of the sun, it looked like our predictions from the evening before were going to be close, but perhaps a bit more to the right than we thought as the sun moves much more horizontally than vertically in Iceland. This meant that it would take a little longer yet for the sun to reach the camera. Eventually it came out over the ridge and we quickly removed the now soaked lens cap and took the shot. Kelly didn't have a lot of time, but we are hopeful that she was able to capture something spectacular. Only time will tell once she is able to really look into the images. Once done with the shoot, we went back to the hotel for another glorious 3-4 hours of sleep.
The next day we checked out of our hotel again and decided to take a slight detour to our next location through a national park on the far end of the peninsula, where we took some times to be tourists and hiked up a volcanic crater, saw our first ice cap (which is also where Jules Verne set the entrance to the center of the earth in...Journey to the Center of The Earth) It was nice to again be able to be tourists and just appreciate the park and beauty without having to worry about taking photographs. This does seem to be something we need to make sure we keep doing from time to time to avoid burn out.