It felt like an exotic sci-fi vacation
Traveling to Iceland is unique for many reasons. I've never seen terrain anywhere else that compares with the views you casually catch on the side of the road there. One thing that adds to the mystique of your journey is that you cross the ocean at night and land with a small group of travelers that you'll likely see again while exploring the island. It almost feels like being dropped into a massive, futuristic theme park. Despite Iceland's popularity as a tourist destination, it's pretty easy to be alone much of the time if you poke around away from the major attractions.
There's something gorgeous about the desolation in Iceland. There is a spirit of solitude that we rarely have access to in the United States. What delighted me beyond the pretty landscapes was a unified implementation of sustainable design around the country. Reykjavik is by far the least cluttered major city I've visited. It's filled with tasteful facades and friendly service.
Good design doesn't terminate at the city limits. It reaches throughout each village and neighborhood. What I'm celebrating isn't so much what you see, but what you don't see. There isn't a lot of wasted space or chintzy urban sprawl. It's difficult to find a meal for less than $20 USD because there are no fast food drive-thrus littered around, and if you forget to eat dinner before 7pm you might have a tough time finding anything open because there is not a 24 hour Walmart down the street.
One of the biggest factors we didn't consider when we headed to Iceland to shoot b-roll for a music documentary was how harsh the weather conditions would be for much of our stay. The spontaneous wind and rain was tolerable from a hiking standpoint, but it made camera work very difficult. I carried large plastic bags to seal around my RED if we left our vehicle and I often had my a7s II tucked underneath my rain jacket. We didn't end up capturing as much footage as expected, but we did find a good bit of magic.
My favorite spot in Iceland was a small black sand beach on the edge of a little glacier lake. The water was a perfect mirror, because it was so clear, meaning it was a sheet of black until the sun came out and the blue sky hit it. There was such a feeling of joy there that we stopped again before our departing flight.