travel

All photos available for print and licensing >

In the past 48 hours, I’ve heard of at least 3 different people saying that they’re going to Japan in the spring. Obviously, my first reaction was to get insanely jealous and my second reaction is to think about all the delicious udon that they’re about to eat. Mmmmm udon.

So I decided to look back on our own trip from last year and I stumbled onto this image. I remember the exact moment I took it. Andrew and I had woken up early to make it to Tsukiji Fish Market. We tried for the 3a auction but even with the time difference and us waking up super early everyday, there was no way we were going to be able to make it THAT early. But we did make it there at around 6a. This fish market was bumpin’! I mean there were people everywhere you turned, they were all on these miniature stand up golf cart things zipping in and out of lanes, and gigantic fish EVERYWHERE. It was a seafood lover’s paradise.

Andrew, being the awesome yelp-per that he is, found the “best” sushi restaurant. It was really different than what I’m used to in the states. You stand outside and wait in this really long line. While you’re waiting in line, there’s a guy there who will take your order. It’s usually just pointing at pictures on this big billboard but luckily this guy also spoke pretty good english too. He told us that sushi in a sushi roll was for tourists and that we had to get a sushi bowl. He was totally right. Eating sushi from a bowl was a totally different experience. So it was the raw fish on top of a bowl of already seasoned rice. All the extras like wasabi, ginger, vegetables and everything were on a different plate on the side. Just the rice alone was so flavorful and delicious. But man, the whole meal was amazing. I never expected sushi to be that much better considering it’s not even cooked, but it was!

So this picture was after we stuffed our faces with fatty tuna, rice, and everything else. We went to Hamarikyu Gardens which was less than a mile away to walk off everything we had just ate. That little building in the middle of the water is a tea house. We were at the gardens so early that it wasn’t even opened yet. I bet it would of been a great place to have some hot tea though.

If you are one of those people who are going to Japan then this is for you.

All photos available for print and licensing >

Every time I think about these horses, I smile. They were every where in Iceland! So short and so hairy. They’re just so cute.

This one was taken on our first day out. It was probably the worst day we had weather-wise. When we landed the pilot over the speaker said we were experiencing 50 mph winds. You could literally feel the plane shaking while we were de-boarding. Add that to all the rain and it was kinda miserable being outside. Luckily the wind didn’t last all day, but the rain sure did. It was raining off and on but mostly on.

So what do you do on a rainy day in Reykjavik? Drive the golden circle! We saw these horses everywhere but all the roads on the island are fenced off. I think it’s so the horses don’t run into the middle of the street, but they could be there for other reasons other than that. I just don’t know. But the whole time we were driving, my friend Mel and I were on a hunt to find horses that were close enough to the fences so we could photograph them but also possibly pet some of them. After pulling over about 5 gagillion times, we finally ran into a group of them that were right next to the fence. Mel suggested I change my lens from my 16-35mm to my 70-200mm so we could stand far enough away from them that we could still get good pics but not scare them away. So I changed my lens and ran out the car.

We slowly started walking towards these horses. Then we realized, the closer we got to them, the more they would come to the fences. They’re super friendly! I immediately ran back to the car to change my lens back to the 16-35mm wide angle and got super close. This was taken at about my hip. I wasn’t looking, I just kept on clicking, hoping for a good shot. Obviously, the horses did not mind all the rain and wind. I’m pretty sure these guys thought my camera was food. Which it is definietly not.

All photos available for print and licensing >

A couple of blog posts ago, I talked about my favorite place in Iceland, Höfn. (If you haven’t checked it out yet, click here) It’s located about 5 to 6 hours away from Reykjavik so there were a lot of stops along the way. One of the best “road side attractions” was Jökulsálón lagoon. The only reason why I called it a “road side attraction” was because it’s right off the main road and you can’t miss it! It’s this humungous lake at the edge of Vatnajökul National park where pieces of Vatnajökul glacier break off. If you look at a world map and see Iceland, you’ll see how theres one huge glacier on the south east side of the island. That’s Vatnajökul glacier.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen something so cool. Literally. As soon as we parked the car, I hopped out with my camera ready. I was so mesmerized by these glaciers that I didn’t want to waste a second. Just the whole experience made it seem like you were on a different planet. I mean you can see the top of the icebergs, but I can’t even imagine whats underneath. How big these icebergs really are and how long they’ve been in this water. And if the icebergs were so big, how freakin’ big is that glacier? Man, I can’t even imagine.

Right across the street you go to Diamond beach and a lot of these icebergs have washed up to land and they are gigantic. So many of them were taller than me. I had a lot of fun climbing on them, running my hands (with gloves on) on them, and just taking note of all the beautiful blues I was seeing. It was so tempting to say “Icebergs right ahead”. I tried my best not to say it but I think it slipped out once.

All photos available for print and licensing >

One of my new years goals this year was to take a photo trip at least once I quarter. I’m telling you all this so you can help keep me accountable. So winter photo trip- check. Iceland was amazing. I don’t know how much more wintery photo experience you could get.

I have a few more places where I’d like to go this year. Nothing is booked or anything yet, so they’re all just ideas right now but I’ve noticed a common theme. They’re all cold weather places!! If you’ve been following the blog for a while, you’ll know that the beach is one of my favorite places to be. As soon as I figured out all the layers I’ll be needing this year, I started questioning all the places that I was excited for. My mind immediately went to Caribbean islands, piña coladas, and flamingos. I had to go back and look at some of my sunny beach photos to make myself feel better.

So this was taken at Cinnamon Bay in St John, USVI. The water is particularly calm in this bay so I felt comfortable going into the water with my camera. I was probably in chest high water when photographing this inflatable raft when I decided it was time to hide the camera in a spare towel I brought. Then this bird flew onto the boat and was posing, waiting for me to take his picture. So back out of the water I went to get my camera and into chest high water for this shot. I think my favorite part of this image is the clarity of the water. You can see all the little lines in the sand on the very bottom. It just looks so peaceful and WARM! Now I gotta make sure that there is some kind of beach trip in 2017.

All photos available for print and licensing >

When visiting a new country, I always try to learn as much as I can about the food, people and language. It’s the best way to totally immerse yourself into your new surroundings. In Iceland, it was a little difficult to learn the language. First off, everyone speaks english. Really good english too! So being able to listen to the Icelandic language was really limited to just locals in a restaurant or people talking quietly amongst themselves. But I did manage to learn a few words. “Foss” means waterfall. So if you notice all the waterfalls in Iceland end with the term “Foss”. This image was taken at Skógafoss which is in a small town called Skógar. You add foss to the end of it, you have the Skógafoss! Pretty cool huh? Another important word to know is “Kaka” which means cake! Who doesn’t love cake right? So if you wanted to say chocolate cake, you would say “súkkulaðikaka”.

Now that we’re talking about food, the food was great. Expensive but the overall delicious. I don’t think we had one bad meal. I ate a lot of smoked salmon, at least once a day. There aren’t very many vegetable dishes. It’s all very meat/seafood oriented and to our surprise, a lot of pizza. I’m not sure if that was just a tourist thing but almost every restaurant we went to had a lot of pizza options. We noted one day that the pepperoni pizza was cheaper than the vegetarian pizza.

The people are very nice as well. Super helpful when you have a million and one questions about travel. Even when they knew you were a tourist, they didn’t look at you funny or treat you differently which was much appreciated. However, I did notice that a lot of them weren’t originally from Iceland. Many were from different parts of Europe that just fell in love with the country. I can totally see why minus all the cold temperatures.