Travels
Queen of Trades; Travel and Photography- Category [Travel/Stories/Tips]

Yesterday I went and saw Icon For Hire play in Atlanta Georgia. This is my third time in a row that I have seen them and each time I feel like one of them. It's crazy how personable they are. In the past three years that I have gone to their concerts a lot has changed. The first year I saw then I was able to get my DSLR into the venue without any issue. I was snapping away and the photos I got were incredible. I will forever cherish them with all my heart.

The next year I couldn't bring the DSLR in but I could bring in the GoPro and the video I got from that was also amazing. This year they decided to ban not only the DSLR's but also the GoPros. I was surprised by this and had to go back to my car to put away the gear. I guess they really wanted to get a crack on people who are a lot like me. I come in to try and get photos but not to sell them on the internet for a bunch of money but mostly just for my own personal pleasure. I understand why they are getting so tight about it, especially with them being an independent band and everything but at the same time, the slight level of disappointment was there. 

Luckily the car was only a level up from where the venue was so I hurried to the car, dropped the stuff off and came back to get checked in. Truth be told I was hopeful and I really wanted to get the practice for concert photos. Yet it is so hard now with them having so many barriers. You have to have some connection to the band to be able to get press passes or photo passes. 

 

(btw: This is taken with my phone camera settings. So awesome that my phone shoots in raw )

So I have decided to give it a try. As it turns out I have some friends that know the band pretty well and I'm hoping that they will reach back out to me and give me a press or photo pass for next year. I want to follow them around a bit and just enjoy taking photos of them. I think it would be amazing and doing concert photos is on my long bucket list of things I have always wanted to do. I'm hopeful that I may be able to get them to say yes and considering that they know me by name and that they know how supportive I am, you never know what can happen. 

 

I'm keeping my fingers crossed. Not only would it be a dream come true but it would just be an amazing experience in general. To have that kind of experience under my belt, that would be worth everything and more. But now if you ever go to to the masquerade in Atlanta Georgia, keep in mind that not only will they not allow backpacks of any kind but they will also send you back for having "professional" camera gear unless if you have a pass. 

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Today I am heading to Atlanta to see a concert so I am hitting the road early so that I make it on time to my destination. For the past two years, I have seen them live and I am honored to have another year under my belt. I am going to bring the GoPro Again and see what I can get this time around in terms of videoing. Unfortunately, they don't allow bags into the venue so I will have to carry everything I bring with me but that is totally ok. Im so excited to see them I am hopeful that they will recognize me. How exciting it is to go back and see people you love to play the music that you listen to almost on a daily basis. 

 

If you havent check them out then I would give them a shot and see what you think. The band is Icon For Hire and I met them back when I was in High School. Almost five or so years ago now and back then they were only just beginning to grow. Ariel doesn't remember me from that time but I shook her hand and thanked her for her music. She signed my disk and I took pictures of her as she rocked out alongside her guitarist. It was a dream come true and I still have the pictures today. 

 

We will see what I will get. I hope it's just as good as last year. 

 

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Before I start this story I want to tell you guys that I am working on the videos for my channel. I finally am back in my normal routine so I will be able to settle and get these videos out for you guys. It's just been hectic and I've been trying to get back to a routine that is not only healthy but also gets things done. I have a budget to do and research to accomplish along with my many jobs that I am juggling so, it been a whirlwind of craziness since I have been home but I am ready to get those videos out for you all to see. Just be patient with me. I promise they are on the way. 

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While I was in Iceland I learned something that would have been nice to know at the beginning of my trip, not towards the end. I went to this little cafe and it easily became one of my favorite places to eat. It was small, cozy, and had wonderful food. They didn't care if you sat there and drank coffee all morning while you read a book. All they cared about was that you had everything you needed. They also had some amazing food and even though Iceland is expensive I think this place made the food worth the amount you were spending. 

Sitting in this little shop having coffee I went through about four different kinds of cups and each one was so freaking cute. I loved the design and I just had to bring one home. I didn't need the entire collection, just one to remember this trip and shop by. So I decided to walk to the strip and see what the shops around had to offer. 

I stopped into a few places until I ran into this store that was mostly based on kitchen appliances mixed with some clothing. They had towels, cups, shirts, dresses, some pants, and of course some calendars. As I looked around I finally came to this one spot in the shop and low and behold, there they were. Almost every cup I used in the cafe was sitting in front of me. I was so excited. I carefully selected the Black and white one from the shelf, got a towel and went to the counter. As she rang me up she asked me if I wanted the cups because of the cafe that was around the corner. When I told her that she was exactly right she smiled big and told me the amount I owed. 

 

Once I swiped the card she then told me that I should try the tax return. Confused but interested I stared at her. She prints this long receipt signs the end and then stamps it. She hands me the receipt and gives me a pamphlet to explain where I needed to go to turn them in at the airport and then proceeds to say goodbye to me. 

Staring at the receipt I exit the building and turn around. In the corner of the window it says * tax-free* and then I understood. 

In Iceland, the taxes are crazy high and if you are a tourist and catch on to the tax-free option then you can get back the money you spent on taxes. Totally baffled that this was kept from me I started collecting receipts from the places I visited. When you get to the aiport you have to drop off the recepts before you can check in so I did exactly that. If you fill them out correctly then they quickly wave you through and you go on your way. In about three weeks' time Iceland will return the taxes to whichever card you choose to put on the receipt. 

Nobody said a word to me about it so when I learned that there was even an option I was ready to take it up. Any money that gets returned to me is a plus. Of course, you have to spend a certain amount to get that tax return form but it is so worth it. In taxes, I will probably receive a good $50-$100 back. Of course, we will see when I get the money back from them but that is just a guess as to what I will receive. 

So if you ever go to Iceland make sure to get those receipts so you can get some money back. Iceland is super expensive to visit so I am more than sure that the money you get back would be worth it. it. 

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While I was in Iceland I wanted to take pictures of the horses that lived there. I know that it sounds weird but Icelandic horses are just so different from your typical horse. I ran into a lot of them while I was traveling around the country and you could tell that some of them were wild and some of them were part of a farmer's land and had a lot of interaction with people. One of the things I noticed about them is that some seemed to have a "Beard" of sorts that went down to almost the end of the chin but not fully. It was an interesting distinction from the usual horses that I rode back in the day. Not only that but the tallest horse was at least five foot five. So they came to being almost right above my head. None of the horses I saw were any bigger than that. 

A few days into my trip I ran into a herd of wild horses who were alongside the road I was driving on. I stopped, rolled down my window and did my best to get pictures of them but they were pretty skittish by my presence. They avoided me and eventually walked away from me entirely. Getting pictures of them was difficult and I hoped that later on, I would have a better chance of snapping some shots of them. 

 

Fast forward to almost the end of the trip and it finally happened. I was going past this old abandoned farmhouse when I started seeing this herd of horses. Slowing down and pulling over I slowly got out of the car. I took my longer lens, put it in my pocket just in case and went towards them. They were behind a fence but I was still cautious about approaching them. I didn't want to spook them and ruin my chances of getting pictures of them. Slowly approaching I noticed that oen of the horses took an interest in me and came closer to the fence line. I was snapping away when one of the horses went still. Being slow and putting my hand out towards her and waited as she sniffed my hand. 

After a minute I slowly put my hand on her and started to slowly pet her. Cautious but not afraid of me she slowly warmed up to me and got closer to the fence line. She put her head over the fence and started snacking on the grass that I was standing near. After a few minutes of petting and snapping the other horses caught on and started coming to the fence. They understood what was going on. 

I give you pets if you let me take a few snaps of you. 

All of them were super friendly and all of them didn't mind me taking photos. Some of them seemed to enjoy it. I think they really wanted some love and compassion and I happened to give that to them. They were loving every bit of attention I gave to them and I loved every second of giving them all the love. 

As a result of their cooperation, I was able to get some fun shots of them. I've always had a soft spot for horses and being able to get photos of these amazing creatures made the little girl in me scream in glee. 

 

 

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I'm sure that some of you are wondering about the Ticket I got while I was in Iceland. It is not a proud moment and one that I will not be doing a second time. 

While I was in Iceland I stopped at what looked a lot o like a rest stop but one of those fancy ones that had a Quiznos, a little grocery store, and a shopping area full of souvenirs. While I was there I got some food, a blanket, and of course some trinkets for people back home. I paid at the counter, had some issues with the lady at the counter understanding me, ate my food and left. It was a pretty chill day and when I got to my destination I spent the day relaxing and going from place to place in a slow fashion. I wasn't in any rush that day and when I got to the campground I settled in and in an attempt to do my laundry started to get all my stuff together and then I realized that I was missing my debit card. 

Trying to stay calm and understand that it was lost I started digging in my stuff. I started with my clothes and when I couldn't find anything in the pockets I started frantically digging in all the corners and dark places of the van. Nowhere to be found. Sitting my van and processing the fact that I lost my debit card I pulled up my transactions. Of course, it was in Icelandic so I couldn't understand anything that I purchased and I guessed that it was at the little stop that I was at earlier that day. Looking up how far it was to drive back I decided that I would see how I felt in the morning and then go from there to get it back. It was only one hour and with that in mind, I went to bed and proceeded to think carefully about it. 

The next day rolled around and I decided to go get it. SO with a mission in mind, I quickly packed up and proceeded to head out. Without thinking about it I headed out and with only fourteen minutes left on the time....the lights came on. I was going at least ten over and with a heavy heart I pulled over. 

Now here is where things get weird. The cop comes up to the window, says that I was going to fast and that I needed to get out of the car and get in the back of his police vehicle. It was super windy out so he even added a "Please" to what he was saying. Trying to explain to him why I was speeding he just gave me this look and I knew...there was no arguing with him. I had no choice. 

I have never gotten a ticket, never. So my heart was beating out of my chest. I felt like I was going to jail. 

I got in the back of the car and he let me know that he was recording. I acknowledged that and he proceeded to tell me how much I should be paying but since I got in the back of the police car he was going to give me a "discount". Not sure how to feel but happy that it was reduced I handed him my license, my Discover card and he ran it. It was declined. Thirty seconds later I got a message about a weird charge and if I was aware of it and if they should proceed. Guys, it was a $300 ticket. Oh yea, you read that right. 

The good news is that the points won't go to my license at all but I can tell you that the charge was not a fun one to pay. Once I got myself settled down I did some research. As it turns out in the last year they had a little over three million dollars in speeding tickets not paid so the answer...raise the charge on speeding and make people pay it right then and there. 

I learned a hard lesson and decided that I was not going to get caught a second time or really ever again. I paid the dues and it's now over. I was happy with that. 

So don't speed in Iceland. They really do mean no funny business. 

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