After 26 days of filming at more than 55 locations across Iceland in June, the independent feature film Bokeh is now in production! Shot entirely in Iceland, Bokeh tells the story of a young couple vacationing in Iceland when suddenly everyone else on the planet disappears. Click here to see the first footage of the upcoming film on Bokeh’s Kickstarter page.
Briene Lermitte, one of the film’s producers, wrote this special article for Iceland Naturally readers. Read on for some tips and tricks about some of her favorite places in Iceland!
In late 2013 I opened a fortune cookie that read, You will travel many places. “Woohoo!” I thought, “I’m off to explore the world!” I have since realized that the little cookie had a slightly different plan. It is now July of 2014, and I have traveled to many, many places all within the borders of beautiful Iceland.
This epic island in the Atlantic Ocean was gifted with an abundance of natural feats: natural hot springs, glaciers, and black sand beaches to name a few. However, this well-kept secret has only recently begun to make waves in the North American market as a travel destination. While my friends began booking vacations, my experience of Iceland would be a bit different. I was asked to produce an indie film on location in Reykjavik and locations beyond. Between the scouting trip and principal photography for our film, Bokeh, I would spend a collective six weeks in Iceland exploring over 100 incredible spots with a local guide (our brilliant location scout, Arnar Kristjánsson) all in the name of filmmaking. Now that I’m back, I’ll disclose some tips and tricks to a few of my favorite places.
Solheimasandur – Abandoned US Airplane Wreck
*Caution: 4×4 vehicle required
Getting there: For those avid photographers who are chomping at the bit to photograph decay and abandonment, this is a location for you. Driving along Road 1 on the south coast of Iceland, three hours from Reykjavik, you will find Road 222 which leads North to Solheimajokull. Instead of turning left onto 222, turning right on the unmarked gravel road will have you beginning an off-road adventure onto the black sand beach where an old US Navy airplane wreck resides. The directions are a bit ambiguous from this point but following the pre-existing car tracks toward the ocean will eventually have you bending right to cross a rushing creek (therefore the 4×4 vehicle requirement – exercise caution). Just over the dunes after the creek you will see the abandoned airplane.
The coordinates can also be programmed into your GPS: +63° 27′ 32.73″, -19° 21′ 53.27”
Glacier Filming – Solheimajokull
Filming on a glacier is no simple task. Luckily, we had some wise locals who told us what shortcuts we could make and what risks we simply could not take.
Hire a Guide: Yes, it will cost you, but glaciers are in constant motion. Cracks occur, caves crumble, holes develop and having a guide who studies the glacier daily is your best safety insurance. We used the folks at Icelandic Mountain Guides (Íslenskir fjallaleiðsögumenn) and were grateful for their expertise.
Reduce the slippage: Everyone must wear crampons. It doesn’t matter how good your balance is, or that you played hockey from the age of 2, ice is ice and shoes are shoes. Proper glacier gear is key.
The hike may get you winded, particularly if you’re carrying camera gear, but the view from the top is breathtaking.
Hidden Hot Spring Adventure– Seljavallalaug
*Note: Please respect this privately owned pool, the farmer graciously allows visitors to swim.
Getting There: Driving southeast along Road 1, about three hours from Reykjavik, you will come to Road 242 – Raufarfellsvegur (Note: Road 242 is a U-shape and connects with Road 1 twice. Take the west entrance). Turning left onto this road will take you straight back toward the mountains. Once you have passed Guest House Edinborg, the gravel road continues straight and is now called Seljavellir. This road ends in a rock wall where you can park your car. Hiking straight back toward the seven-level waterfall for about 15 minutes will lead you over a stream and around a corner where you will find a rectangular hot spring pool built into the mountainside. Simply idyllic for the adventurous soul.
If you have the good fortune of including Iceland in your travel plans, don’t be afraid to explore the unbeaten trail. The abandoned wreckage, the cloud-top view, the steaming baths, these are the hidden gems that expose the magic of Iceland.