A beautiful sunset at the breathtaking Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon, unfortunately photos can’t simply describe how cool this place is.
This beautiful waterfall is called Aldeyjarfoss, it was our first destination on the way down the F26 which lead us through the middle of Iceland, all the way to the south, passing by many beautiful areas in the highlands. When we arrived it was around late noon and the sun was shining. We immediately started to find out whether we can have some of us posing next to the waterfall for a pictures we’d like to take during sunset or dawn. While we came closer to the waterfall I discovered that there was a beautiful lush green grotto on the other side just below the ledge, where most photographers stand on while not noticing the beauty below them. So I already made a mental note to not take that hackneyed composition from the ledge above, instead climb down to the green grotto below and try my luck there, risking to not get that “moneyshot”, which a lot of photographers are really obsessed about, instead my hope was to get away with an original and refreshing capture of this beautiful place.
We almost spend a good half hour at the rocks right next to the waterfall. While sitting there the noise of the rushing water and the bright sunshine was so soothing that I almost felt asleep on the rock. We decided to go back to the car, have late lunch and get some quality sleep before heading back for sunset and a looong night…
This was the only occasion where we set foot into an Icelandic forest.
Because Iceland has undergone extensive deforestation since Vikings settled in the ninth century there are not many forests to discover.
However we were able to discover a very deep and bizarre birch forest on our way down the F26. I really liked the shapes of the trunks and branches, unlike usual birch trees these had this gnarly zig-zag ppearance, which mad them look really bizarre.
This will be the last entry until new years eve, therefore I wish everybody who reads this a peaceful and restful time over Christmas and new years eve. CU next year!
Iceland is full of natural wounds, two of them are waterfalls and canyons, there are just so many.
One of these rather popular canyons has a name which is really hard to pronounce, it’s called Fjaðrárgljúfur, one of my favorites (3rd image).
Canyon Nightfall To reach this waterfall we spend almost half the day cruising around on rough roads and fording several rivers. Ok, maybe we also killed some of that time during our personal hygiene routine in one of the icecold rivers we just were about to cross 😀
Around 4pm we finally arrived and spend the next hours scouting the location and having a nap in the car. Just at the right time when the sun was about to set we were back at the locations we scouted earlier. I picked this one because I liked the serene mood of the canyon during dawn, of course I've got away with some sunset shots too.
Black Fall That's exactly the name of this prominent waterfall in Iceland, or Svartifoss in Icelandic language.
The waterfall is surrounded by dark basalt columns, which gave rise to its name. These lava rock formations are quite common in Iceland, I have seen them in so many other parts of the country, they were even subject to inspiration for architects who used these hexagonal shaped columns as exterior elements at Hallgrímskirkja, a popular church in the capital Reykjavík.
As a tribute to the name of this beautiful waterfall I decided to do a B/W conversion and think it suits the waterfall very well 😉
Green Canyon Another canyon, this time a rather popular one, with name which is really hard to pronounce, it's called Fjaðrárgljúfur.
We woke up quite early to photograph the sunset at this location, for me on this morning it was really difficult to get up, Alex was already setting up his tripod while I was still in the car muffled up in my sleeping bag 😉
Unfortunately we figured out too late that the view we had at this canyon is far from ideal to catch the very beautiful sunrise over the canyon, so in the end we got a few good shots but regretted that we decided to stay there for the sunrise, we could have been already at far better places for sunrise pictures. Actually it was my fault because I liked the canyon very much and persuaded Alex to stay there and wait for sunrise 😉
This time I present you some pictures which have been taken when the daylight faded away already, in the case of Elusive Light you might be intrigued to think the warm light is coming from a sunset, but this is wrong, the warm light behind the rock results from a moonset during late dawn.
Due to a low population and a relatively high population density in the capital of Iceland (Reykjavik) there are no other big cities on Iceland which would produce much light pollution during the night.
Therefore when we had clear skies in Iceland we could always see plenty of stars across the sky. Celestial Dreams was captured in a particular cold night at Dettifoss we were lucky to have very clear skies, we could see the milky-way in all it’s beauty even with our bare eyes. It was really fascinating to see a pitch-black sky (not kidding), with millions of visible stars, it felt like as if we could see into space because the sky was so dark.
Elusive Light This photo is very special for me, when I look at it, it evokes the same kind of feelings I had while standing there during the night trying to get a sharp image (due to waterfall spray) and not to get sh*t scared of the 45m drop which was only half a meter in front of me. Yes, you read right, it was night, that's correct. The elusive light you can see behind the big rock on the right is not the sun, it's the soft and warm light of a moon-set. That's also the reason why I had to use a high ISO value while keeping the aperture almost wide open and still exposing for more than 3 minutes. I could have also exposed way longer, but chances of catching waterfall spray on the lens would have been tremendously higher. It's interesting how scared you can get when you stand next to a drop or cliff where you can't see the bottom due to darkness, when we re-visited the waterfall the next day during daylight it was not half as scary as the night before standing next to the waterfall drop. By the way, the waterfall shown here is well kown for being the most powerful waterfall in Europe, its name is Dettifoss.
Kudos to Alex who suffers from vertigo and still was brave enough to stand next to the waterfall to give the viewer a better sense of scale for the waterfall.
Gazing into Eternity After the phenomenal sunset in "Fire over Iceland" we continued walking around in order to check out the place for more photogenic spots. I captured this shot while Alex was standing on this moss covered rock while enjoying the vast view.
Celestial Dreams Due to a low population and a relatively high population density in their capital Reykjavik there are no other big cities on Iceland which would produce much light pollution during the night.
Therefore when we had clear skies in Iceland we could always see plenty of stars across the sky.
But at this particular cold night at Dettifoss we were lucky to have very clear skies, we could see the milky-way in all it's beauty with our bare eyes. It was really fascinating to see a pitch-black sky (not kidding), with millions of visible stars, it felt like as if we could see into space because the sky was so dark.
I took this shot only a few minutes before I went sleeping in our precious Suzuki Grand Vitara and I'm pretty sure I had celestial dreams that night 😉
In this picture you can even see a rainbow like band of auora borealis.
Here are three more pictures of my (N)Iceland series 😉
We were really lucky to see aurora borealis (or simply northern lights) already on our first day after we arrived, we could see the aurora several times during our two week stay, but this was also the strongest aurora we ever experienced.
And so she danced... Here's another one of our first encounters back in Iceland, this time we were really lucky to get a nice display of northern lights! Some parts of the aurora literally danced above our heads, really quick so that this part of the show was only meant for our eyes.
This all happened close to the Dýrhólaey lighthouse, which is close to Vik, where we also found a breathtaking coastline as the perfect foreground.
Fire over Iceland This one has been taken on our first encounter with the highlands of Iceland, when we were driving up F210 desperately searching for Axlafoss, a not so popular waterfall. Because we were really busy locating that damn waterfall we didn't pay enough attention to the sunset which we only realized when the colours started to explode, booooom.... When we realized it we panicky parked the car, took the camera gear and run towards the nice river we just saw while driving along.
Well, there was not so much time looking for striking compositions but I'm still content with this one, it's the best I could find within the time window of 5-10min where the light and colours were fading...
In hindsight this was also the best sunset we experience during our 2 weeks on Iceland.
Finally I’ve uploaded the majority of my Iceland pictures, there is still some work in progress 😉
And here I present you the first 3:
Tranquil Power Back from Iceland only a week ago I'd like you to present the first picture of my Iceland series, a tranquil moment at Skógafoss, one of our first destinations on the ring road.
We stood at this point trying to get the last shots during the blue hour, what we didn't know was the green, ahhhh the big surprise some hours later 😉
First Light over Eldhraun If there is something I really like about Iceland then it's the variety of different surreal landscapes, sometimes you only drive 20-30km and you see landscapes which have a completely different character, however the only thing all areas have in common is their surreal and extraterrestrial look. Maybe that's the reason why a lot of movies have been filmed there, for example Prometheus, Oblivion, Star Trek Into Darkness, The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty, Interstellar or Star Wars Episode 7: The Force Awakens, just to name a few.
But, not to digress, I just wanted to show you one of these typical types of landscape, in Eldhraun most of the land is covered by lava fields. These lava fields are the result of a deadly vulcanic eruption which lasted almost a year (between 1783 to 1784).
Apparently the area also features one of the most magnificent lava tube systems in the country, located north of the Lake Laufbalavatn. More than 200 caves have been found there!
Nowadays most of the lava fields are completely covered in a thick layer of moss.
In this picture you can only get a glimpse of how surreal this area looks like 😉
Meandering Beauty Another one from our first offroad adventure on the F210, after almost missing the sunset (see picture "Fire over Iceland") we were still hungry for more nice scenery during blue hour, so we continued driving in the dawn while looking for some nice overviews until we found this spot with that beautiful meandering river towards the peculiar mounatin in the background. In the meantime the wind had gotten really strong so we really struggled to keep our tripods safe and still for some time. Because the light had already faded away the canyon part of the frame was really dark and required a 10min exposure which luckily turned out sharp, not razor-sharp but still sharp 😉
At the time I captured the frame I was already quite sceptical whether the image would be completely ruined by the wind gusts, but now I'm quite happy that the 10min exposure turned out well!