Posts Tagged ‘Iceland travel’

Meeting Icelandic Horses: A Photo Essay


Cuddling Icelandic horses

Editor’s Note:

Anastasia Chernykh is the social media manager for My Life’s a Trip. She is also a very talented photographer. Anastasia lives in Kharkov, Ukraine but we met up in Iceland in October for a photo trip. I’ve asked her to share some of her images from our trip. I hope you enjoy this post she wrote about the highly photogenic horses of Iceland.

– Jen Pollack Bianco

It’s not common to see an animal roaming the cold landscape of Iceland, unless it’s a sheep or a horse. While the first ones I met were easy to scare and too shy to pose for a photograph, the latter are among the friendliest creatures I’ve ever met.

They are small in size, more like a pony than horse. They are incredibly calm and will allow you to pet them for a cube of sugar or a handful of grass:)

Icelandic horses claim to be among the oldest and purest breeds in the world. Brought to the island by the first settlers between the 9th and 10th centuries, they soon became the sole breed in Iceland. To prevent the disease, Icelandic parliament prohibited the import of other breeds to the country over a thousand years ago. Even though the animals originated from Iceland, those that were exported are not longer allowed to return.


Having easy access to the fresh grass, horses still prefer to eat out of hands

Icelandic horses come in many different colors, for which there are over 100 names  in the Icelandic language.


Not all horses are that into people

There are a few horse farms in South Iceland that offer horse riding tours (around $100 for 2 1/2 hour tour) and horse rentals.


Lined up for a sweet treat


A dapple gray Icelandic horse


Horses under stormy sky


These guys are familiar with camera

If you’re not ready for a riding lesson, consider at least a few minutes stopping for a few minutes when you come across a herd of these beautiful horses  if you’re driving around the Iceland. You won’t regret it!

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Making new friends in Iceland 

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Exploring the Eldhraun Lava Field in Iceland

Nordic Little Red Riding Hood

Exploring Iceland’s second-largest lava field, Eldhraun, was like being transported into some moody Nordic fairytale. Discovering and photographing Eldhraun was an unexpected joy in southern Iceland. I wouldn’t have found this highly photogenic area without the help of my photo guide, Jorunn of Iceland Photo Tours who took Anastasia and I here on the first day of our Two Day Photo Tour of The Glacial Lagoon.

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Scenes from Eldraun: Woolly fringe moss grows thick as a futon over lava rock

Moss has grown thick as a mattress on the rocky craters of lava, which date back to an eruption from 1783-84, when Iceland was still part of the Danish Kingdom. The Eldhraun lava field covers about 218 square miles (565 square kilometers) of ground in southern Iceland.



Left: Anastasia exploring Eldhraun Right: a crevice in the Eldhraun lava field

Now there is plant life peeking through the woolly fringe moss (scientific name Racomitrium lanuginosum) adding unexpected pops of color to this already moody and magical landscape.

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Yellow leaves in the wooly moss

With the skies shifting colors, I keep expecting to see Jon Snow, or at least a wildling or five.

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Left: Ana wandering through Eldraun Right: Red rain coat in Iceland’s second largest lava field

Having Anastasia wear a red raincoat added some extra contrast and interest to the landscape and transformed her into a Nordic Little Red Riding Hood.


Plant life amidst the wooly moss of Eldhraun

The crew of the Apollo 11 (US astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins) practiced before their moonlanding on this otherworldly landscape.

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Searching for trolls in  the Eldhraun 

In 2014 a new eruption created the Holuhraun lava field, which is now the biggest in Iceland. It’s also located in the Icelandic Highlands.


The starkly beautiful moody landscape of Eldraun

 Eldhraun means “fire lava.”

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Red Rain Coat in the Eldraun Lava Field in Iceland

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Greetings from Iceland

Blue Lagoon time-lapse shot on my iPhone 6s

Greetings from Iceland! It’s time for the My Life’s a Trip annual retreat, and this year Anastasia Chernykh, social media manager for this blog, and I decided to meet up in Iceland for photo tours and bonding.

I also really wanted to try IcelandAir‘s non-stop flight from Seattle’s SeaTac airport  to Reykjavik’s Keflavik’s International airport which got me here in a speedy 6 hours and 45 minutes. While reading the in-flight magazine, I learned that Greenland is the new Iceland. Maybe we’ll keep that in mind for our next retreat!

Greenland is the new Iceland

We’ll be spending the next few days exploring  Southern Iceland’s Golden Circle, including the Gullfoss waterfall, Geysir and Thingvellir National Park. Then we’ll check out Vatnajokull National park along with the Jokulsarlon glacier lagoon and two of Iceland’s most famous waterfalls, Seljalandsfoss and Skogafoss. I even packed my tripod in case we catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis), which have been showing themselves in the area since August.

Until then, enjoy the time lapse we made during our visit to Iceland’s famous Blue Lagoon.

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Obligatory Blue Lagoon #selfie

If you want to follow our travels virtually, follow along on twitter and instagram.

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