- 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 😉
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.
- Gloomy Vestrahorn
- Into the Wild
- Dancing in the Spray
A rather unusal shot for me, but I liked the frame of having a person dancing in front of a huuuge waterfall while getting soaked by the waterfall spray. At least this must be fun during summertime, eeeehhh, ok, maybe not in Iceland 😉
- The great Escape
While we found this waterfall only by accident, I quite liked the complex and challenging setting to find an interesting composition. It was not something you've seen before on pictures where you already had an idea which compositions work and which don't, something you find yourself into in Iceland very often, because I think it is a country with a lot of massively "over-photographed" places where tons of pictures of the same spot can be found in the internet. Anyway, after some time I discovered this lovely little patch of green which I was curios about as to how it would integrate into the frame. There was almost no space to set up a tripod, I was very happy that I brought along also my little Gorillapod tripod which was tiny enough to fit in that very constrained space. I'd like to thank Alex for volunteering to pose in front of the waterfall to give the scene a better sense of scale.
- 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 😉
- 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.
- 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 😉
- 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 😉
- 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.
- The lonely Iceberg
I think this glacier lagoon called Jökulsárlón was one of the most impressive scenes I've witnessed in Iceland. It's so surreal and it always changes its look, only a few hours are enough and you get a completely different arrangement of icebergs, because there is a small channel which runs into the sea constantly drawing the icebergs into the sea. Especially during the quiet nights this place can be quite mysterious because of the cracking noise when icebergs break apart or when they run ashore.
- Waterfall of the Gods
- 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.
- Green Grotto
- 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.
- Bizarre Forest
- Apocalypse Now
We were close to the Blue Lagoon and actually wanted to find a composition with the famous thermal power plant in front, but slowly we noticed some warm magical light appearing in the other direction. Alex went towards the pools beside the thermal power plant and I went to the lava fields on the opposite side. I was just putting down my tripod and checking some quick hand-held compositions when suddenly the wind picked up and I felt the first raindrops, now it was only a matter of seconds before the pouring rain would set in. No chance, as soon as I fixed the camera on the tripod and set up the first exposure it was pouring down. Lucky as I am this was one of the few days where I didn't wear my rain pants, hence my pants (jeans) got totally wet before I could reach back to the car with the camera still on the tripod.
Although I'm not 100% happy with the picture because it was shot with high ISO (ISO1250), some highlights are blown and the composition could have been also better, I was still really lucky that I got away with a usable shot from this storm which occurred only half an hour before sunset, it reminds me of a special (last) day on Iceland and a magical light mood.
This will probably also one of my last Iceland uploads. There are a few problematic and less spectacular images left which I might upload later, but in the meantime I'll start uploading the next series soon: Abstract Modern Architecture and Landscapes from Japan from my last trip. The next trip to Japan is already starting next week
- Tranquil Jökulsárlón
- Martian Beach
When I selected pictures for a slide-show of my recent Iceland trip some days ago I found so many other shots I want to share 😉
This is the beach at Jökulsarlón, like most places in Iceland it looks like a Martian landscape, hence the name.
I really liked the contrast of the black sand and the white appearing icebergs floating and sitting around.
- Fire in the Night
What appears to be a cheap photomanipulation actually is some rare view I was lucky enough to witness once in my life: seeing a starry sky at 9:45pm with a phenomenal moonset below.
Seen in Iceland close to Dettifoss.
- The Arctic Photographer
One of the most breathtaking locations in Iceland undoubtedly is the Jökulsárlón - Glacier Lagoon. It's really fascinating to observe huge icebergs floating in a big glacier lagoon and seals playing hide & seek while still far away from the arctic circle.
While shooting and getting really close to the icebergs Alex was kind enough to pose for me in front of this amazing vista.
- Reflecting in Solitude
- Vast Landmannalaugar