Our Iceland Adventure
In September 2019 Belinda and I spent two weeks in Iceland—a trip that we have been planning and anticipating for some time. It was a goal to get there, and now that we have been, it is a goal to go back and to further explore this amazing island nation.
This post is the start of what will be a series describing our adventures, the planning and preparation to get there, the photography opportunities and challenges, gear for travelling and photography, and more. I guess we will keep posting as long as the stories and supporting images allow us to illustrate how much this land of extremes inspired us.
A Land of Extremes
Iceland is a small country with absolutely massive landscapes.
There is nothing average about Iceland—it is a land of fire and ice; micro and macro; light and dark.
From a photography perspective, you have countless opportunities to capture the massive landscapes, or the incredible details.
To enjoy Iceland fully you need to be ready for anything. And everything.
We flew into Keflavik Airport and collected our hire car before heading into Reykjavik where we stayed for the first few nights.
From Reykjavik we went on a scuba diving adventure in the Silfra Fissure, undertook an amazing photo tour to Landmannalaugar, and did a self-drive tour of the Golden Circle, as well as exploring the city of Reykjavik.
We then set out to drive around the 1,332km of the Ring Road, with side advemtures to the Snæfellsnes Peninsula with the iconic Kirkjufell on the west coast, and Seyðisfjörður on the east coast. We visited Akureyri in the north, and Hofn and Vik in the south.
Our visit in September was timed for the shoulder season—it was not the high season of Summer with the midnight sun, nor was it the icy winter. Weather was variable, with sunny, warm-ish days, and bitingly cold and very wet days.
Reliving the Adventure
We’re home in Australia now, and this series of posts and the images are a chance for us to relive the amazing experiences. We hope you enjoy sharing our experiences.
Valletta by Night
Valletta in Malta has to be one of the most stunning cities I’ve ever had the luck to visit.
Sailing into Valletta seemed a lot like arriving on a Game of Thrones set. It is a spectacular city in a beautiful nation, with a people that was very inviting.
I will add more images from Malta over time, but I would certainly recommend it as a place to visit.
View this image on 500px or Flickr
A thought in reply to Followers on Microblog
Ron Chester lays out an approach to finding people to follow on Micro.blog.
I like Ron’s four strategies, although I might call them four stages of evolution as I went through a very similar process—and still do. Strategies 2 and 4 are the ones that I find most rewarding.
The concluding paragraphs of Ron’s post, however, have some real gold. In particular:
There are no visible scores on Microblog. This is a very good thing. It means I can just concentrate on posting things others might find interesting and then being interested in things I might find posted by others. There’s no way to tell who’s popular, nor a way to game a system to look more popular. I hope that doesn’t change.
I hope that others might see this post, and choose to follow Ron on Micro.blog, or maybe to subscribe to Ron’s new blog on Blot.im.
If you’re a Micro.blog user looking for people to follow, take a look at Ron’s post, and perhaps also take a look at Colin Walker’s Webmentions directory, or perhaps my webmention directory.
The end of the iPod?
I was at the Apple Store yesterday. While waiting for a Genius appointment browsing through the store we took a look at the small iPod display. I commented to my Dad that just a few years back the iPod was a major part of the floor display, and now the iPods nano and shuffle took up half a shelf in the accessories area.
This really demonstrated to me how much other products now account for Apple’s revenues and profits.
When I woke up this morning I saw several blog posts in my RSS reader, and notes on Micro.blog and Twitter, noting that Apple had removed iPod nano and iPod shuffle from their online store and web.
iPod remains an incredibly important part of Apple’s history, and it was probably the first introduction to Apple for many current users — it certainly was for me.
7 Benefits of Writing on your Own Blog (first) is better than Medium
Over on The Writing Cooperative, a blog hosted on Medium, Anna Sabino writes about 7 Benefits of Writing on Medium over Having Your Own Blog.
In this post, Ms Sabino articulates 7 reasons why posting to Medium have worked for her. I suggest that she is missing an important opportunity—to write first on her own blog, with the post syndicated to Medium, and then on to the group blogs such as The Writing Cooperative.
I’d like to take a look at Ms Sabino’s seven points, and add some thoughts to back up my perspective. My thoughts in italics follow Ms Sabino’s comments in bold.
- It’s faster to build a sticky traffic on Medium. The sticky traffic likely comes through the journals (group blogs) on which the original post is being shared, and would be the same with content created on a self-hosted site and syndicated to Medium.
- Its motivating when you see your posts are being read. Undoubtedly true. But having your posts syndicated from your own site out to Medium and potential other places is going to multiply that same effect by taking your content to more audiences, not just the audience that reads Medium.
- All the blogs are in one place. I don’t know the stats on how many blogs Medium hosts, and what percentage of the overall number of blogs that comprises. I’d hazard a guess that it is much less than ‘all’ the blogs, and likely in the single digits.
- Medium interface is very clean and pleasing to the eye. And pretty much identical to every other blog on Medium, and you are subject to the possibly changing tides of Medium’s design aesthetic. As John Gruber notes “every Medium site displays an on-screen ‘sharing’ bar that covers the actual content”..
- The exposure on Medium, which gets over 30 million visitors a month is huge. Basically the same as point 2.
- Medium shows up high in google searches. Yes, and if the syndicated post on Medium links back to your original post, the search engines will find the original post even more quickly. Both copies of the post will be discoverable by readers, not just those that read Medium.
- You can start a blog on Medium instantaneously. As can be done with a Wordpress blog and in the near future a Micro.blog. Self-hosted Wordpress blogs can easily be setup on a range of hosts.
I quite like Medium, and regularly read posts on it. It is in fact how I came to find Ms Sabino’s post. I syndicate many of my posts there. It is a decent source of readership, and to be honest I should submit more articles to journals.
Medium, however, has the inherent problem of being someone else’s playground. They might pack up their toys and go away, taking our content with them. Or they might start putting our content behind a firewall, reducing potential readership. They may even monetise our content without sharing that with us.
Because it is, ultimately, their platform.
The problem is the same with any other environment that you don’t own (yes, that would include Wordpress.com and others).
I personally prefer to maintain my own blog, which is a Wordpress blog hosted on independent servers. This blog then syndicates to a couple of places. This is the spirit of POSSE — Post to Own Site, Syndicate Elsewhere.
Most long-form posts are syndicated in full to Medium and Tumblr, with the titles of these long-form posts syndicated to Micro.blog and Twitter. Micro-posts just go to Micro.blog and Twitter.
I might (re) add Facebook and/or LinkedIn syndication at some point. These would actually be the biggest multiplier of readership. But I prefer quality over quantity, and the quality of commentary from Micro.blog readers, in particular, is outstanding, while there is a lot of noise from Facebook and LinkedIn (in my experience).
I don’t discount the effectiveness and importance of Medium. I would just advocate owning your content and syndicating to various platforms as being a far more resilient approach.
App Support for iPad Centric Workflows
Its been some two years since Apple announced iOS 9, complete with iPad split screen and other multitasking functionality.
My iPads Pro are a key part of my writing, productivity and increasingly, photography, workflow. This is even more the case since the announcement of iOS 11, and all the incredible new iPad Pro centric enhancements.
Most of the apps I use on a daily basis to support my workflows have embraced and support iOS multitasking, including the split screen functionality. These apps include:
- Spark Mail
- The Photographers Ephemeris
- V for Wikipedia
The list of apps that have refused to provide support for iPad Pro users is, fortunately, much shorter.
- Affinity Photo
I can kind of forgive Affinity as its quite a new app, and in the photography editing space which kind of develops a whole screen mentality.
But Kindle and Pocket are core reading/research/writing workflow apps. To be core to these types of workflows, the apps need to support iPad Pro type functionality.
Kindle holds a near monopoly, but Pocket has competition. I can’t help but wonder whats holding them back.
Doing this personal analysis of the core apps in my workflows it is pretty pleasing to see that most apps are well positioned to support the growing importance of iPad in a mobile lifestyle. And it is pretty telling to me that at some point I will need to make a call about apps that don’t support my workflows…