Jason Lee and his family wrapped up their trip in Iceland travelling through Kirkjubaejarklaustur, Hellu, Laugarvatn, and Þingvallavatn before heading back to the capital for their flight home.
During their last few days in the country, Jason and Natalie were able to witness the Aurora Borealis, or the Northern Lights, before flying back down south.
“We stumbled upon the aurora one night by chance,” Jason says. He had gone out around midnight to take night photos of a nearby waterfall, Seljalandsfoss, and thanks to a clear night sky he witnessed the aurora on his way back to their campsite.
“We were camping right there, so I woke Natalie up and we got to watch and take photos,” Jason says.
The northern lights can be unpredictable in the country, so Jason and his family were lucky to be in the right place at the right time.
“We only saw it once,” Natalie says. “It’s rare for that time of year and most of the nights weren’t clear.”
Luckily, that night was clear and Jason was able to capture bright, vivid photos of the lights.
“It wasn’t too difficult to capture the aurora,” Jason says, “Just needed exposure on 20-30 seconds to get the photo.”
Jason shot the photo with his Canon 5D, but he brought lots of other equipment with him too, to capture all of the photos we’ve shared from the trip. He also brought his Red Raven camera for slow motion recording, the DJI Phantom 4 drone, tripods, and a slider.
“I mostly used the camera and the drone,” Jason says of his most used equipment on the trip. “The drone was nice to get aerial photos.”
Iceland’s drone regulations are rather relaxed, so Jason fortunately didn’t have any problems getting his drone into the country or flying it. UAV Systems International reports that drones may be flown in Iceland so long as they follow these rules:
- Do not fly a drone that weighs more than 5 kg
- Do not fly your drone over people or crowds of people
- Respect other peoples’ privacy when flying your drone
- Do not fly your drone near military installations, power plants, or any other area that could cause concern among local authorities
- Do not fly your drone within 1.5km of airports or in areas were aircraft are operating
- You must fly during daylight hours and only fly in good weather conditions
In fact Jason and Natalie saw quite a few drones flying while exploring the country.
“We saw other drones in the air, four or five times during the trip,” Natalie says. “Even in the city too, with rain.”
Jason only found one spot where he couldn’t get his drone in the air, at a popular tourist spot where drones had been marked as prohibited.
“There was one spot at Detifoss, where no drones were allowed,” Jason says. “They had a sign up. That was the only place we saw that.”
Despite not allowing drones, when recalling their favorite parts of the trip, Detifoss was the most impressive to Natalie.
“Just because of the sheer amount of water,” Natalie explains. “It was the most impressive sight. Not the most beautiful, but most impressive.”
Fjaðrárgljúfur (the canyon featured in our last blog post about the trip) resounded more with Jason though, with 100 meter high walls, the Fjaðrá river flowing below, and bedrock believed to be two million years old (“that is impressive,” Natalie adds).
Despite having visited multiple countries, the Lee’s say the only country Iceland reminded them of is New Zealand.
“I think it was the greenery, the water, and the mountains,” Jason says of the similarities.
Looking back at the trip, Natalie adds that this will be one of her favorites.
“It’s a top trip for me,” Natalie says. “We’d never camped like that before, that made it unique for me.”