One picture, one moment, one memory captured by photographer Tanveer Badal

Winter in Iceland can be summarized as high-risk, high-reward. After a couple of days of constant rain and gray skies in Reykjavik, my wife and I decided to drive to the countryside. We landed at the wonderful Hotel Husafell in Vesturland, had dinner, and went to bed. The next morning, we woke up to a wonderland, with the sun shining and the sky blue. We decided not to make any touristy plans, and instead drove along the small country roads. We viewed quaint churches, hay stacks glistening in the sun, and the constant trickle of snow melting into rivers. We saw tourists by the side of the road, petting pony-sized Icelandic horses.

On the previous night, the concierge mentioned that we should not miss the natural hot springs at our hotel. We decided to head back as the sun was going down, at the strange hour of 4 p.m. To our delight, the pools were completely empty. We took turns hopping from one to the next—all boasting varying degrees of heat—while the snow fell. Eventually, the sun disappeared behind the hills. One of the hotel staffers stopped by to tell us the Northern Lights were beginning to appear. The winter day lasted only a few short hours, but all in all, it was one of those perfect days in travel.

Tanveer is an editorial and commercial travel photographer, based in Los Angeles. He has traveled to over 50 countries and contributed photography for Condé Nast Traveler, BBC Travel, The New York Times, and others. In 2014, he traveled the entire year with his wife, Kelly, a travel writer. Together they have contributed articles and photography from their adventures for various magazines, luxury hotels, and blogs. 

 @tanveerbadal |