Two years ago today, I woke in Eastern Iceland to this weather:
I had been in this part of Iceland a few months earlier, with the Guild of Photographers, on a photography tour of the south coast of Iceland. The weather when we visited then was similarly poor – impossible to see (or photograph) anything more than 12 feet off the ground, so the famous Vestrahorn mountain was hidden from us for the entire day.
Back to November 2016 – the weather forecast had told me that the skies would be clear around sunset, so I was touring the east for a while, waiting for the weather to improve. Sure enough, shortly before sunrise, the clouds started to lift:
This is Hvalnes, just north of Vestrahorn, and the unusual shapes of the mountain were starting to be revealed by the slowly lifting clouds, which boded well. I headed further north for the day, visiting the small fishing village of Djúpivogur, and enjoying the peace and quiet after having been in a heaving Reykjavík for the annual Iceland Airwaves festival just a few days earlier.
On returning to Hvalnes, on my way to Vestrahorn, the weather was looking much more promising:
I picked up the pace a little (after stopping to take some photos) and arrived at Stokksnes beach, with its famous view of Vestrahorn, bathed in late afternoon sunlight.
It wasn’t long before the light turned a wonderful golden hue, and I headed down to the black sandy beach to find some interesting foreground detail, set up my tripod with a 10 stop ND filter (to allow me to use a really long exposure even during daylight) and opened the shutter for two minutes.
The clouds blurred into beautiful lenticular shapes, the edge of the gently lapping sea turned into a band of mist, and the orange light from the sun turned the slopes of Vestrahorn mountain to the colour of honey.
And so, 8 months after my previous visit, I finally got the shot I had been hoping for. Like ‘The Cloudmakers‘, it was totally worth the wait!