Into the Looking Glass and Out to the Garden

By September 10th, 2022

Some places you visit once and check off your list without another second thought. But, once in a while, you visit a place that captures your heart and calls you back again and again. This is Iceland for me. I first visited in 2017 with a bunch of friends and I have come back twice more since then. This trip will be iteration number three.

You have probably (or probably not) read the series about my last visit to Iceland. I had gone by myself and drove the Ring Road, Iceland’s main highway that circles around the country. I saw and photographed many beautiful sceneries along the way, and was blessed with nature’s amazing light show towards the end of the trip. That was my last international trip before the pandemic that changed the world and how we travelled.

Now that things have settled into a new sort of normal and travel restrictions have began to ease up, I felt safe to go abroad again. The original plan was to hike Scotland’s Western Highlands over 10 days. Unfortunately, things could not conveniently fall into place for me. But, I had my vacation approved and the travel itch had hit me like a freight train. Iceland became the perfect plan B. I still had sights to see and things to do.

I already had experience booking a road trip from my last visit so planning was much easier this time around. Also, as it happened, one of my previous travel buddies found out about my trip and wanted to tag along. She seemed the type to be up for the same sort of adventures so I brought her along this time.

Travelling alone versus having a travel companion, despite how similar your personalities seem to be, is quite the contrast. You can’t be as spontaneous as you like, especially when they are dependent on you for transportation. Dinner plans take a bit more discussion. Fortunately, we both share the same interest in food and she is just as adventurous with local cuisine as I am.

Our first day was spent getting ready for the drive, buying supplies (aka road snacks), and recovering from jetlag. We did not do a lot of adventuring around the city but I was lucky enough to score a room with a decent view.

Like a looking glass into the garden

After a not so quick stop for groceries, we holed up at our hotel for the day. It was raining so we did not feel like exploring the city just yet. Instead, we spent the day looking up places to visit in the city after our roadtrip. We did, however, try out the local versions of vietnamese food and mexican fare for lunch and dinner.

So good I ate it before I took a photo

Day one for this trip feels like a prologue to the main story. This time around, we will be driving the Ring Road clockwise and will start with Snæfellsness and spend the night near Kirkjufell with a plan to do some night photography of the mountain. Hopefully, the gods will grant us some good weather. In the meantime, enjoy some photos of the plane ride over the Arctic.

Mountains, Gandalf!!!
The sun rises for our latest adventure
Rolls Royce jet engines over the Arctic
I finally had tacos!

Through the Looking Glass: The flowers were being mean to me

By May 22nd, 2022

I finally caved in and bought a mirrorless camera. I had been on the fence about it for the longest time and I finally fell off said fence. As much as I love my 5D Mark III, it is quite hefty. Also, having a heavy piece of expensive equipment strapped to your chest while you’re trying to crawl your way up in the dirt with branches and rocks smacking you in the face is neither fun nor easy. I think it has collected enough scratches and dents from all my adventures. Oh, did I mention it tried to go swimming in the lake that one time? Fortunately, Canon finally put out a mirrorless camera that seems to be comparable to other brands that I have been eyeing. The price was also not so bad so I decided to get one. Anyway, enough camera talk, let’s go take some pictures.

I was taking a bit of a break from hiking since my recent foot surgery. Between the wonky weather in the mountains leaving more snow than usual even in late spring and every other place being on fire, I did not have many places to go. I decided to explore my neighborhood instead to find some pretty things to take pictures of with my shiny new toy. I started out with the little garden path by my place that leads to an adorable gazebo.

As I go down the path, I notice the potted flowers. I snapped a few photos of the blooms. The colorful flowers reminded me of when Alice went through the Looking Glass. I was even half expecting some of them to start making snarky comments at me and loudly judging my not-so-fashionable pajama bottoms and t-shirt.

This one looked like it had a velvet coat
Big flower ball made up of little flowers! The look like they’re pinned onto a hidden form.
I could imagine this one primping, fluffing its hair and checking it’s lipstick and nails in front of a dressing mirror
Amazing coloring on this one, like a fierce, leopard-print wearing diva.
If this flower had eyes, they would be looking me up and down in my sad-looking pj’s
This one would definitely be saying snarky things to me.
I found this bird of paradise behind the gazebo
And of course, you know the cat’s going to want in on the photo shoot

All the photos have been left unedited. As you can see, the image quality is pretty decent. The only post-processing I did was to reduce the image size to allow me to upload them to the blog. Overall, I am pretty happy with the purchase. This should take off a bit of weight from my pack and it’s small enough to not be as obtrusive when clipped to my backpack strap. I have read somewhere that it is supposed to be rugged. I’ll certainly be putting it through its paces.