My husband treated me to an unforgettable 40th birthday present - a trip to beautiful Iceland. The country had so many remarkable things to offer: gorgeous Icelandic ponies; dramatic, icy waterfalls; rocky black-sand beaches; brillant, dancing Northern Lights. One of my favorite features though was the gorgeous lighting that the short winter days cast. The sun rises around 10:30 a.m., stays just above the horizon all day, and then starts to set at around 4:30 p.m. The result: landscape bathed in a soft alpenglow all day, a photographer's dream lighting. Vik, the southernmost village in Iceland, was a scenic coastal town with just around 300 residents. Vik's black basalt beach that contrasted dramatically with the bright white snow on the mountains created a breathtaking scene, especially when coupled with the pinks and blues cast by the setting sun. My husband and I look forward to returning to Iceland in the summer to see what the landscape looks like covered in bright green rather than snow and for some amazing hiking.