Planless on Iceland

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by pip_muenster, Dec 15, 2011.

  1. Wolfgang55

    Wolfgang55 Long timer

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    Sitting here trying to watch the super bowl & read here is fantasticly trying.

    I keep trying to get my SO to check out this & that pix, then she screems about an interception.
  2. Madison5150

    Madison5150 n00b

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    Very nice report and i'm sorry that i missed to view the forum last year regulary. I wish i had because now i think that i would have loved to join your nice little gang!

    Again, this is a nice report and you have done some very good pictures, even without tripod! I'm still trying to find a way to get my 5d, a panorama head, a big tripod, some prime lenses etc. on the bike :evil

    Grüße aus Dortmund!

    Madison!
  3. pip_muenster

    pip_muenster curious

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    Moin Madison,

    this trip started becoming real almost exactly one year ago, when Maddin checked into the planning thread in mid-February. One inmate who couldn't come back then is now planning for 2012. Check out the new planning thread for 2012!.
    :clap:clap:clap

    Regarding your camera equipment, it doesn't seem like you're actually needing help ... but anyway, here's what I did / will do next time:
    - A thin Ortlieb dry bag in the tank bag with self-made padding inside (foam or parts from an old sleeping pad). This worked out great on Iceland, the bag was perfectly waterproof if closed and provided a save - say dust protected - space to change lenses when open. Mine held a Pentax K7 and 3 lenses (wideangle, telezoom and a fisheye). I could have left the telezoom at home, I only used it for the whales and puffins - but we came very close both times.

    - A small carbon tripod with a midsize ball-head. I'm thinking of about 1.2m in height and small enough to be carried in the bottle-rack outside my panniers (protected / hidden by more parts from the old sleeping pad). The head should be small enough to stay on the tripod full time. I just killed my old tripod, so I have a good excuse to buy something suitable. Look back at this photo to see which bottle rack I mean. If that's not good enough, I would think about a tool tube or simply strap it on top.
    Most of my photos were made with a wide-angle lens and exposure times shorter than 1/180s, so the tripod won't be necessary too often. It should be out of the way, when not used.

    Grüße zurück nach Dortmund!


    If I would be new to photography and not be already used to the haptics of a SLR, I'd simply bring a nice bridge camera in the tank bag and a point 'n shoot in the pocket. The big camera is nice for 'calender shots', i.e. photos with thought-out camera settings and view angles. But the photos which are most valuable to remember the trip are those blurry quick-draw shots, where you catch your friend doing something stupid or photographing the stranger who's leaving his job to help you. The majority of the photos shown in this thread came from my little Olympus Tough.

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    Go for it!

    Pip
  4. Madison5150

    Madison5150 n00b

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    Hey, thanks for your answer!

    Yeah, i think my actual kind of camera equipment doesn't suit a bike in the right way and should stay at home. I'm thinking about a little Canon G12 and a small Tripod for daily use and the slr with a wide and a single prime lens only for special events. This should be more than enough for such a trip! I have a little tendency to be over equipped but i don't want to be the next driving Touratech Catalogue and Camera geek! (i think its already too late :wink:)

    And now i will take a look in the planning thread but before i should actually train my off road skills!

    Cheers


    Madison


    And the one who knows what 5150 means knows much about my driving style ;)
  5. pip_muenster

    pip_muenster curious

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    So b e c a u s e you already feel over equipped, you want to buy one more camera? I would question your reasoning if your profile wouldn't state 'photographer' as profession ...
    :lol3
  6. Super Suz

    Super Suz N00b with B00b

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  7. achesley

    achesley Old Motorcyclist

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    I sold my Canon XS Rebel last year and bought a Canon G12. So much better to get out of the tankbag for quick shots. And if need be, AND SAFE, just with the left hand while riding. Plus , just fits in any large pocket. Only thing is , I wish it had a live view finder and the LCD didn't have to be in active position for video to work. But, minor things
    Keep it coming, loving your report. :clap:clap:clap
  8. inbred

    inbred Been here awhile

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    You set the bar marvelously high for Ride Report photos. Your photos have a Peter Lik quality to them. If you're not familiar, he is an Aussie Landscape Photographer who sells photos in Manhattan and a few other High end venues for about 10 grand a piece. Your stuff is in his league. Bravo.
  9. SS in Vzla.

    SS in Vzla. Totally Normal? I'm not!

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    Great report! Spectacular photos... thanks for taking the time to post your trip :clap
  10. JMead11

    JMead11 Crazy Bastard

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    Bravo!!!, absolutely fantastic photographs....never saw so much front page material in one report. thank you so much for taking the time to share.
  11. wildside

    wildside Been here awhile

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    WOW!!
    Thanks for taking me to a part of the world that I have never seen. A great RR and the scenery is stunning. Your photographs really capture the beauty of the place.
    Well done.
  12. pip_muenster

    pip_muenster curious

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    I've been asked about the trip budget and some other tips, so I thought I'd rather write something here, than writing multiple PMs.
    Disclaimer: I hadn't spent much time on preparation myself, and am by no means an Iceland expert.

    Travel time
    The best season for the highlands might be July/August as many roads will be closed before that. When we arrived in mid-July, 1-2 highland roads were still closed. September seems also ok, but it may get cold in the night.
    We spend 3 weeks and still had to skip some highlights.

    Road conditions
    If a road is closed, don't go! Check this website for up-to-date information on road conditions:
    http://www.vegagerdin.is/english/road-conditions-and-weather/
    Fords and water levels can change within hours. Talk to other travelers and rangers. People may have a different understanding of where a bike can go, though. Offroad biking is forbidden as it may take years for the nature to recover from wheel tracks.

    Weather conditions
    Winds can be strong enough to blow you off the road, so check the weather forecast. Rangers and locals are a good source of information. We navigated around the bad weather which was easy as any part of Iceland is worth a visit.
    Our travel companions spend 2 days to cover a stretch of a few hundred kilometers on the ring road (all asphalt) as the weather didn't allow for speeds higher than 30km/h.

    Budget
    In 2011, 1 EUR was about 160 ISK. Food was about 2x more expensive than in Germany, fresh meet or alcohol maybe 3x more. Fuel seemed to be about the same.
    We camped most of the time which might have been around 10 EUR per person. You can also camp wild and use showers etc. for a little fee. Observe the basic laws for wild camping! Hotels and restaurants may be 50%-100% more expensive than in Germany, but we gained little experience here. Maddin and I shared a room in a guesthouse in Akureyri for around 70 EUR.
    Whale watching was about 50 EUR for a 2hr trip, but we chose the speedboat option which was almost twice that. When we showed up, it was no problem at all to get on a boat without reservation.

    Getting there
    Right now, smyrilline.com operates the only ferry to Iceland, departing from Hirtshals in northern Denmark, with a stopover on the Faroe islands (changing between 2hr and 2day stops). With a bike, this will set you back between 700 and 1,000 EUR. I've heard about people who shipped their bikes from Rotterdam or Hamburg for a bit more than 500 EUR, but don't know any details.

    Bike preparation
    This is what I did to the GS (and what I'd do again): full service, new TKC80 tires, headlight protector, a snorkel for the air intake, a breather tube for the final drive. Roughly following this thread: Deep water crossing prep
    I took some tools and spares (e.g. rear wheel bearings), but of course not the ones I needed in the end. Luckily, Iceland is not the end of the world. My roadside assistance (ADAC) had the parts flown to Iceland within 48 hours. Think about a tire repair kit (and pump!).
    Some highland routes have almost 300km between gas stations. Keep in mind that you need to be able to go back, if you can't cross a ford at any point.

    Gear
    One guy we met was only riding in the highlands and didn't even bother to bring the liner for his jacket. Fighting the terrain kept him warm. We found especially the stretches on the ring road and in the Western Fjords chilly at times. Bring rain gear.
    You need a strategy for water crossings with depths well up to your knees. Kayak shoes, Seal Skinz, waders ... depending on how deep you want to go. Rivers with glacial (melt) water will of course be cold.
    Tip for wet boots: Dry your feet and put on dry socks. Add a plastic bag and the wet sock on top. Better than getting a cold.

    We had cell phone coverage almost everywhere, including many areas in the highlands.

    Bring a storm-proof tent with lots of guy ropes. We found mainly soft soil or lava which was soft as sand when it came to fixing a tent peg. Only 1-2 days I had trouble to get a peg into the ground.

    Apart from the waders, I had no special equipment with me. Keep the weight down.

    Photography
    I brought my DSLR because I love it and I bought it for these kind of trips. Most pictures were taken with a wide-angle or standard lens, so basically any camera will do. A graduated gray filter or a polarized filter allowed e.g. to bring more structures in the clouds. I carried the camera in a dry bag within my tank bag. The dry bag was my insurance for river crossings and, more important, provided a dust proof environment to change lenses.
    I also brought a simple point and shoot which I always kept at hand. This was more important 'to capture the moment' as it allowed me to take pictures in an instance. The Olympus Tough is the toughest camera on the market I know.
    I would have loved to have a tripod, to play with long exposures on water falls or at night. But in reality, with wide angle shots at daylight, it was never really required.

    Maps
    We bought excellent maps in the tourist office in Egilstadir (Iceland Kortabok). The maps we found at home were either lacking camp sites, gas stations or fords. There is also a free Garmin map.

    Further reading
    There is a lot of helpful information here on ADV, either in ride reports or in the trip planning section. Just search for Iceland. There's also an Iceland section on Horizons Unlimited.

    I hope that's enough for a start, this is already the longest post within this thread ...
    :lol3
  13. stoner_PL

    stoner_PL Adventurer

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    Fantastic report and excellent photos! It was a great pleasure to read it! Thank you!
  14. finbarr

    finbarr Would be adventurer

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    London, UK
    Pip
    Thank you for your great RR and also these detailed answers to all our questions - it's very much appreciated! :clap

    Cheers,
    Fin. :D
  15. tserts

    tserts Chaotic Neutral

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    5 stars and a big thank you for putting this together.... :clap:clap
  16. GZPainter

    GZPainter A Scouser from Crete

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    Location:
    Liverpool, Crete and wherever the road goes...
    Now. I can add this one to my dream places and rides... next to Siberia, Sahara and Tierra del Fuego...

    What a place....what a scenery... thanks for the amazing pictures!!!!
  17. fwgdocs

    fwgdocs n00b

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    great travel and photo report - thanks for sharing :)
  18. Brauhausbier

    Brauhausbier Focused

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    P_M - Bad Ass Photos! Just saw your photos on FB! Wow! I need to get over to Iceland someday! Amazing photos!
    :thumb
  19. pip_muenster

    pip_muenster curious

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    Interesting, I'm not even on FB ... maybe one of the other guys pages?

    Anyway, thanks!
  20. JamesL

    JamesL - - -

    Joined:
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    19
    Maybe someone is interested... Iceland, summer2012, only motorcycles...

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    Somewhere on F26 I found this :)
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    ...near Myvatn geothermal area
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    ...near Latrabjarg
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