Iceland, Me and the Pentax 645Z

This was my third visit to Iceland, and the first taking the 645Z.  A lot has changed in Iceland since my last trip.  There is a building boom going on in Reykjavik, there is more street traffic than I remember, and the cost of lodging and meals has definitely increased.  Even outside of Reykjavik, you can see the construction of new hotels in remote areas, and the top tourist sites are a lot more crowded.  Despite the increase in visitors, you can still visit Iceland and find the quiet desolation that makes this country a photographer’s wet dream come true.   No matter where you go, exemplary vistas are laid out before you.  The northern part of the country still has less people and visitors than the southern part, (where primarily the tourists tend to flock to), and the waterfalls are just as beautiful up north as they are down south.  The additional benefit you have by visiting the north is the numerous fishing villages you can visit along the coastline of Iceland.   Getting around Iceland is still quite easy for tourists.  Most people I ran into spoke English, though, this time I worked harder at expanding my Icelandic language capabilities.   Driving is still easy, but the weather can get iffy.  I experienced more fog and rain on this trip than previous ones, and the fog can get pretty nasty.  Obviously this time of year the daylight is rapidly shrinking.  Daylight lost 45 minutes in the nine days I was there, and the sun rises slightly above the horizon now, providing for a different type of light than I am use to.  The filters I brought were of no use to me on this trip.  On the gear side I brought for the first time my Pentax 645Z medium format camera.  I’ve owned this camera for four years, and despite the splash Fuji and Hasselblad have made with their mirror less medium format cameras, the Z still shines.  It has greater dynamic range than the Fuji, and more glass options than either company at this time.  And besides, I’ve used the Pentax medium digital format for three years more, than before Fuji or Hasselblad came out with their new cameras.   The Z is a tank, it’s weather sealed, and it’s been used in the rain, snow, sleet, and fog with no issues.  I only used two lenses on this trip with the Z, the 55mm f/2.8 and 35mm f/3.5 FA digital lenses; I had zero issues with camera and lens.  The camera’s high ISO capability was only called upon once.  One image was shot at 12,000 ISO, while the majority of images came in at ISO 100.  During the time I was in Iceland I shot around 1500 images.   And in case you are wondering, did I have a back up camera for this trip, the answer is an absolutely yes, but it was not another 645Z.  I brought along an Olympus OMD EM1 Mark II and three lenses for that camera.  But, that is another story for another day

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