On The Road in Iceland – An Icelandic Photo Essay.

By Posted in - Iceland & Photo Journal on July 25th, 2011 Randy Kalp standing near an Icelandic waterfall near the Ring Road.

One day we decided to rent a car in Iceland. It was the best decision we made. Rental cars in Iceland aren’t cheap, but there is really no other alternative if you want to get around the island. There are no public buses outside the capital city of Reykjavik so your only other choice is to take a tour bus. While there is no problem with taking a tour bus, the issue is that you become limited in what you see and do. Plus if you’re traveling with another person, the cost of the tours add up quickly and renting your own car makes more sense.

All of the above reasons for renting a car make a lot of logical sense, but for me the real reason is so that I have the ability to take pictures where I want and when I want – as long as I haven’t driven Randy to the point of no photo return. I recently went through a lot of my Iceland photos and decided to compile some of my favorites from the road trip. I also have a ton of photos from Reykjavik and in the future I’m going to put together an entirely separate photo essay for them. In the meantime, I hope you like these.

With limited time a lot of these photos were taken on the fly and quite a few of them were shot from a moving car.

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I hope you enjoy these photos of the beautiful and unique Iceland countryside.

Iceland at Dawn smallerforBnB

iceland iceberg 5smallerforBnB

iceland feather smaller for BnB

iceland road trip smaller for BnB

iceland monument Smaller for BnB iceland landscape 5 smaller for BnB

Iceland Landscape Smaller for BnB

church in iceland smaller for BnB

icelandic horses 2 smaller for BnB

Icebergs-smaller forBNB

iceland iceberg 3 smallerfor BnB

iceland iceberg 4 smaller forBnB

iceland landscape 4 smaller for BnB Swans-in-Iceland-smallerforBnB

driving in iceland smaller for BnB

iceland landscape 3 smaller for BnB

Iceland Landscape 6 Smaller for BnB

vintage horse smallerforBnB

Iceland Reflection 2 Smaller for BnB iceland icebergs 8smallerforBnB

iceland waterfall 2 Smaller for BnB

randy in the mist smaller for BnB

iceland fern smallerforBnB

iceland seaside Smaller for BnB

Iceland Landscape 2 smallerforBnB

icelandic landscape-smaller for BnB

iceland swimming 2 Smaller for BnB us at the falls in iceland smaller for BnB

Horses in Iceland smaller for BnB

If you want to see more photos from Iceland be sure to check out the other Iceland images in our travel photo gallery.

If you want to learn more about traveling and camping in Iceland along with some of our budget friendly travel tips be sure to read more of our travel articles about Iceland.

Did you hear? We also make travel scarves with hidden pockets! You can check out our shop at Speakeasy Travel Supply.


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(77) awesome folk have had something to say...

  • Eurotrip Tips -

    July 25, 2011 at 4:23 am

    I am speechless!!!

  • Global Basecamps Ali -

    July 25, 2011 at 9:06 am

    What incredible pictures!!! Always love your photo essays πŸ™‚

  • bridgette -

    July 25, 2011 at 9:30 am

    HOLY STUNNING BATMAN! These are absolutely gorgeous. I mean seriously breathtaking. Iceland should thank you!

  • Christy @ Ordinary Traveler -

    July 25, 2011 at 9:52 am

    Gorgeous!! I especially love the photos with horses in them. You just reminded me that I MUST visit Iceland!

    • Bethany -

      July 25, 2011 at 1:18 pm

      Thank you Christy! And happy birthday!!! P.S. sending you off an email today w/ pics for interview. πŸ™‚

      You should def. go too – I think you’ll love it!
      @Christy @ Ordinary Traveler,

  • Beth Yost -

    July 25, 2011 at 10:42 am

    Beautiful! I’m going in October, and have just taken a photography class, so I’m soooo excited! You are great inspiration! Thanks for sharing!

    • Bethany -

      July 25, 2011 at 1:19 pm

      Oh that’s great on both accounts! Glad you like the photos and let me know if you ever have any questions. πŸ™‚
      @Beth Yost,

  • MarkG -

    July 25, 2011 at 10:56 am

    Your photographs are always stunning! You have such a good eye for composition and demonstrate great skills on the processing side.

    I am looking forward to your new ebook. Just what I need as a novice.

    It would be great if you could also impart your processing skills in the future. It is an area that I know nada about.

    I really liked your HDR (?) rendered photos from Paris in which everything was in B&W except for particular elements or buildings.

    Keep clicking!

    • Bethany -

      July 25, 2011 at 1:39 pm

      Hi Mark,
      Thanks for the compliments and the comment! I’m so glad the ebook is going to help you. πŸ™‚ I am planning on several other books too and hopefully a processing one will be in there.

      I’ve been giving a lot of thought to providing processing information and trying to find a way that’s concise and easy for everyone to understand. Maybe I should start w/ those Paris pics! Only the Eiffel Tower was HDR in that batch. πŸ™‚


      • MarkG -

        July 30, 2011 at 7:29 am

        Hi Bethany,

        I have just got a copy of your ebook, via Christine Gilbert’s site (20% discount!), and I must thank you for putting this together. It is just what a ‘constantly in auto mode’ person like me needs to get a handle on creative photography and making the most of my camera. A sort of ,photography for dummies’ may be, but not patronising, just information presented with great clarity ease of comprehension.

        I hope that after your next book on Processing for Beginners (hint, hint) you can produce a book on Developing Perspective. This is the shortfall of many – being creative with a camera – finding unique perspectives for everyday sights and objects, like instead of standing 500m away from the Eiffel Tower and snapping it why not lie underneath it and take a picture up its centre.

        • Bethany -

          July 30, 2011 at 2:00 pm

          Glad you like it Mark! I think you got lucky w/ the 20% discount. I didn’t know anything about that – may be a glitch in the system. πŸ™‚

          Well I’m so happy that you like it and that it’s helping you! I really worked hard on it so that it would not only help people but give them some creative ideas too! I think you read my mind as well I will most likely be doing a processing book and I have several other ideas too like Telling Your Story, etc. etc. So much to do – so little time! πŸ™‚

        • Bethany -

          July 30, 2011 at 2:07 pm

          Hi Mark, Because you’re one of the first to get your hands on it do you mind if I use part of your comment above for a testimonial? Just write back if you don’t mind and if you have a website let me know and I will link back to it. πŸ™‚ @MarkG,

          • MarkG -

            July 30, 2011 at 5:53 pm

            Hi Bethany,

            I do not have a website (yet!) and may be not for sometime until I have something interesting to say and the know-how of website development. I am just a passerby!

            Unfortunately passerby.com has already been registered. Damn! That would be a nice domain.

            Were you not aware that your ebook was on sale elsewhere? I was surprised to see it for sale so soon away from your launch. But I do not know what goes on behind the scenes with you bloggers!

            Please feel free to use my comments if you wish and also edit them/correct grammar, etc. If you want to give me a couple of days I can write a more thought out review when I have had time to work through the entire document? At least I can make it sound more comprehensive/professional/consise. ‘Tart’ it up, etc. It deserves a good launch. Up to you.

            I really like the amount of time you have put in to the actual design of the ebook as well. Like the airmail letter borders ( I rememember writing on such paper pre-internet!) and graphics. Well thought out. The gestation period is always worth it.

            By the way I am in the UK so there is a time lag between our correspondence.

            Also…a problem with responding to you on this comments page…there is only a box about one inch square to post replies. I think this is a technical issue for you to resolve.

            I do not want to clutter your site with my comments regarding your ebook so if you think it more appropriate to contact me direct on the email address I have provided please feel freee to do so. I respect everyone’s privacy.

            Lest I had forgotten him…a special cheers to Randy for his great documentaion on a great travel blog. They say that ‘behind every great man lies a great woman’. Well it works both ways.


  • Amanda -

    July 25, 2011 at 1:17 pm

    Wooooow. Simply amazing!! I really must go to Iceland soon…

  • Nico -

    July 25, 2011 at 1:18 pm

    It’s like that horse is saying, “get out of the way, this is MY show here.”

    Love em Bethany. Excellent work.

    • Bethany -

      July 25, 2011 at 1:42 pm

      Haha… Yeah, I think he was. πŸ™‚


  • Emily -

    July 25, 2011 at 3:22 pm

    Beth, these are absolutely STUNNING! They almost look surreal. And I love the one of the horse eating the other horse’s face πŸ™‚ I was already dying to go to Iceland, but this makes me even more excited about it. Don’t know when I’ll get there, but someday!

    • Bethany -

      July 26, 2011 at 10:01 pm

      Thanks Emily! Iceland is def. a great choice for a destination. πŸ˜‰

  • William -

    July 26, 2011 at 6:28 am

    So amazing!, I’ve been torn between going to Greenland or Iceland. You just made the choice a little clearer.

    • Bethany -

      July 26, 2011 at 9:56 pm

      Thanks William! I’m glad you it’s helping you make your decision! I can’t wait to go back myself. @William,

  • Andrea -

    July 26, 2011 at 1:22 pm

    Gorgeous as usual! I really love the horse photos. Can’t wait for your eBook

    • Bethany -

      July 26, 2011 at 9:57 pm

      Thanks Andrea! I’m very excited about the ebook too! @Andrea,

  • Nomadic Samuel -

    July 26, 2011 at 2:14 pm

    You really captured the stunning beauty of this area with your photo essay. Best wishes with your ebook, I’m sure a lot of aspiring photographers will benefit from it.

    • Bethany -

      July 26, 2011 at 10:03 pm

      Thanks Samuel – I’m glad you like them! My photo book has a lot of tricks in it so i’m hoping it does help a lot of people! @Nomadic Samuel,

  • Deidre -

    July 26, 2011 at 3:28 pm

    That photo of the red roof is just spectacular. Iceland is one of my dream destinations so I am loving the tip of renting a car!

    • Bethany -

      July 26, 2011 at 9:59 pm

      Thanks Deidre! My mother also loves that one. I wonder if they painted the roof red so that it would be a complimentary color to the green hills? Probably not but still looks great. I want to see it in the snow now! Iceland was a great place to visit and renting a car is a must. πŸ™‚ @Deidre,

  • Fresh From Twitter -

    July 26, 2011 at 8:09 pm

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  • Sofia – As We Travel -

    July 26, 2011 at 9:59 pm

    Iceland seems amazing, truly one of the most beautiful places on earth. I can’t wait to go there myself, thanks for the tip of renting a car, I didn’t know that there were no buses outside the capital city.

    Awesome photos!

    • Bethany -

      July 26, 2011 at 10:04 pm

      Thanks Sofia – glad you like them. I know isn’t that weird – no buses in Iceland. Guess they just don’t need them, not enough people. @Sofia – As We Travel,

  • Pete Heck -

    July 27, 2011 at 5:51 am

    Stunning photos! Iceland has always been a place I want to explore.

    Looking forward to your eBook, Personally, I think dSLR’s should disable the Auto function. My brother will benefit from your book, I will make sure to forward it to him πŸ™‚

    • Bethany -

      July 27, 2011 at 9:34 am

      Thanks Pete and I agree the auto setting is a tough habit to break but doesn’t help anyone trying to learn. Thanks for passing it on to your brother! Tomorrow I am putting up screenshots and more info about it so you can get a good idea of what’s in it. It’s very thorough. πŸ™‚ @Pete Heck,

  • Katrina -

    July 27, 2011 at 7:16 am

    Beautiful pictures! Every time I see photos of Iceland, it makes me want to go even more. Gorgeous — thanks for sharing. πŸ™‚

  • Nancy Popp -

    July 27, 2011 at 7:27 am

    I found your site on my daughter, Emily Shimansky’s facebook page. Your photographs took my breath away, Bethany! Absolutely amazing! Thanks for sharing.

    • Bethany -

      July 27, 2011 at 9:37 am

      Wow! Well I know we met many moons ago when Emily and I went to college together! How nice to hear from you again and thank you so much for the compliments. πŸ™‚ @Nancy Popp,

  • Sigrun -

    July 27, 2011 at 7:34 am

    Hi I just stumbled up on your page with some breathtaking photos from my beautiful country. They all seem to be from the south part or southeast. – Reynisdrangar and JΓΆkulsΓ‘rslΓ³n photos are stunning but actually I just can’t choose a favourite. Love the ligth over the swans, the thin veil of clouds over the car, the green green moss….
    But someone obviously gave you wrong info on the public buses as there is a regular “non-obligatory sightseeing purpose schedule” πŸ˜‰ fur buses. The main terminal website is here http://www.bsi.is/ and with ribbons on top from three companies . I really don’t know why I am posting this here, but at least the misunderstanding stands corrected.

    • Bethany -

      July 27, 2011 at 9:40 am

      Thanks for stopping by! They are all from the south – we never made it past Hofn and I was only there in the evening. I really need to go back and see the rest of the country and do some hiking as well.

      Thank you so much for leaving the info about the buses. Now I am a bit confused – it looks like these are all the tour buses – is that correct? We were told by the tourist bureau in Reykjavik that these were the only buses – no actual public buses like the ones in the capital. We checked these out when we were there but all the prices were pretty hefty and we couldn’t justify not having the freedom to get on and off whenever we wanted.

      But I would love to know more from you since you live there and know what you are talking about. πŸ™‚


  • Erica -

    July 27, 2011 at 8:32 am

    These are so freaking MOODY I love it! Seriously though, some of those landscape pictures took my breath away. Is the light super amazing all the time there?

    • Bethany -

      July 27, 2011 at 9:42 am

      That’s the word i was looking for – Moody! Yes, it’s very moody there. The light can go from big blue skies and puffy clouds to dark and dramatic. It’s a strange light, not super bright but definitely like a blanket over the land. Brings out all the colors just right so even if the light is a bit blah the greens and other hues just sing. @Erica,

  • Andi of My Beautiful Adventures -

    July 27, 2011 at 10:11 am

    My god these are the best Iceland photos I’ve ever seen, wow!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Denise -

    July 27, 2011 at 10:55 am

    the feature photo is just special!

    • Bethany -

      August 1, 2011 at 7:36 pm

      I’m glad you like it Denise πŸ™‚ @Denise,

  • Brooke vs. the World -

    July 27, 2011 at 2:56 pm

    I’m looking for a word that’s not “magical” but really… the place is like a dream world where fairies and hobbits should be roaming.

    • Bethany -

      August 1, 2011 at 7:40 pm

      Hahaha Thanks Brooke! πŸ™‚

      It makes sense because 90% of the population believes in elves!

      @Brooke vs. the World,

  • Sophie -

    July 28, 2011 at 12:43 am

    You’ve captured Iceland so very well. Esp. love the photos of the horses πŸ™‚

    • Bethany -

      August 1, 2011 at 7:41 pm

      Thank you Sophie – the horses in Iceland are really captivating!@Sophie,

  • A Lady in London -

    July 28, 2011 at 1:22 am

    Wow, stunning photos! I was just in Iceland a couple weeks ago and I didn’t rent a car, but wish I did. Looks like you had a great trip!

    • Bethany -

      August 1, 2011 at 7:42 pm

      Well now you have something to do next time you visit. πŸ™‚ Thanks for commenting – i’m glad you like the photos πŸ™‚ @A Lady in London,

  • Stephanie – The Travel Chica -

    July 28, 2011 at 4:41 am

    Stunning photos!

  • Sarah Lee- Loveday -

    July 29, 2011 at 9:58 am

    amazing work! I went to Iceland 10 years ago and you really brought it all back for me
    Thank- you for sharing πŸ™‚ xx

    • Bethany -

      August 1, 2011 at 7:45 pm

      Oh thank you Sarah! I’m so glad the photos bought you back to Iceland. πŸ™‚ @Sarah Lee- Loveday,

  • Raymond @ Man On The Lam -

    July 30, 2011 at 7:49 am

    I’m not sure how you work your magic like that, but every photo is more stunning than the last. You must be witches. πŸ™‚

    • Bethany -

      August 2, 2011 at 5:17 pm

      Hahaha… Thanks Raymond. Even though I spent many years hanging out in Salem, I am not a witch… πŸ™

      @Raymond @ Man On The Lam,

  • Cailin -

    July 30, 2011 at 11:15 am

    LOVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! so gorgeous! really makes me want to go back!!! πŸ™‚

    • Bethany -

      August 2, 2011 at 5:17 pm

      Thanks Cailin! I want to go back to Iceland too! @Cailin,

  • Cam @ Traveling Canucks -

    July 31, 2011 at 9:51 am

    Stunning! It looks so remote and fairy-tale-like (is that a word?)

  • Leigh -

    August 1, 2011 at 7:42 am

    I love the way you’ve captured the light.
    The Iceland Tourism Board should see these – they sure make me want to visit. Truly stunning.

    • Bethany -

      August 11, 2011 at 8:40 pm

      Thanks Leigh! I was thinking about that myself. I have to find a way to contact them. πŸ™‚ @Leigh,

  • Edvard Hlynur -

    August 15, 2011 at 5:35 am

    Hi Bethany, I’m an Iceland guide so I can say with a lot of knowledge of my beautiful country that your pictures are great.

    • Bethany -

      August 15, 2011 at 7:13 am

      Hi Edvard – Thank you so much for stopping by and leaving such a lovely compliment! @Edvard Hlynur,

  • Natalie T. -

    August 21, 2011 at 3:38 am

    Really incredible photos! And great tips about driving or taking the tour bus option. You obviously made the right choice. I love the horse photos. My friend is actually going to be in Iceland, literally, in the next few days so I sent this post to her. She is going to DIE (like Rachel Zoe, if you know who she is). Really inspiring! I’m seriously commenting on every photo essay.

    • Bethany -

      August 23, 2011 at 11:58 am

      hahaha Rachel Zoe – I used to watch that show with my friend. That woman is a drama queen for sure! I really hope your friend enjoys Iceland! Thanks for all the great comments Natalie. πŸ™‚ @Natalie T.,

  • Andrea -

    June 23, 2012 at 1:56 pm

    I was there last September and didn’t get shots as stunning as yours! Wow! Really beautiful. Isn’t Iceland magic?

  • sasha @ esholidays -

    September 25, 2012 at 6:52 am

    I LOVE your photos. Truly stunning, I have never visited Iceland before but it looks like a place I could fall in love with.

  • Sally -

    October 7, 2012 at 8:42 pm

    I’m headed to Iceland on 10/16/12 and happened upon your site tonight while doing some pre-trip research. Bethany, your images are incredible and have me so inspired! I found your ‘Iceland Light’ post first and did an actual happy dance when I saw the shot you captured of the girl with her bike. Incredible. I can’t wait to follow you on the rest of your adventures. Thank you!

  • David M -

    November 15, 2012 at 5:23 am

    Awesome pics Bethany. I’ll be arriving in Iceland in a few weeks and to say I’m looking forward to pointing a camera at it is an understatement!

  • Bastiaan -

    April 19, 2013 at 7:07 pm

    Stunning pictures! some of them look surreal! Good job! I never thought about visiting Iceland, but these pictures certainly might change my mind :-).

  • […] They take incredible photos […]

  • All Inclusive Tours Of Egypt -

    May 5, 2013 at 5:25 pm

    wow great pictures and love the way you capture the subjects.. These pictures are proof of a beautiful places Ireland have. I was like having a great urge to go there and try taking good pictures too. if you don’t mind, what camera are you using dude?

  • Amanda Olson@runningyourbody -

    February 5, 2015 at 9:55 am

    These photos are just gorgeous! I have been curious about iceland for a long time, this is piquing my interest!
    I also loved the photos and articles that you guys produced on Southern Oregon, fantastic job!