Tag Archives: landscape

What, AGAIN?

IMG_9805-EditBuy prints of some of these photos here.

So once more I return from a trip to Iceland. This time, however, the purpose was merely leisure, and photography took a back seat (though did still feature to a small extent). I was going for my 11th visit, and my family were coming with me, for their fifth.

We stayed in a small cabin in Kjós, a region on the banks of Hvalfjörður, about 50 minutes’ drive north of Reykjavík. At this time of year the days are still pretty long, with sunset at 10:30pm and sunrise about six hours later. It never gets fully dark, so there was no chance of catching the aurora, but the sunsets do last a very long time, with the so-called ‘golden hour’ more like 2 hours long.

We were lucky with the weather – the weeks preceding our visit had been grey and rainy almost exclusively, but as soon as we arrived the sun made an appearance and we experienced some of the south west of Iceland’s warmest (I hesitate to say ‘hottest’) days of the year so far.

Our trip took us around the Golden Circle (late in the day, so though it was still light enough to see, most of the tourist buses had left), across to the Westman Islands (my third attempt at getting there finally being successful, due in no small part to the assistance of Ástþór, who was staying with his family who live there), and also took in a stay on a horse farm, Völlur Hrossarækt, whose owner, Arndís, is a mutual friend of Frances, whom I visited in Shetland a few years back. Arndís let us stay in an apartment in a refurbished farmhouse on her land, before giving us a tour of her farm in her 4×4, where we experienced some proper off-road driving through the many fields where she keeps her horses.

After leaving the farm, we continued along the south coast to Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss waterfalls, stopping to have a dip in the naturally heated outdoor pool at Seljavallalaug, then drove up to the top of the cliffs at Dyrhólaey.

On the evening of the Saturday, just a couple of days before we returned home, Iceland did what it does best and put on an amazing rainbow for us. The low sun, about to set, meant that the rain-filled sky to the south produced a complete rainbow that was as tall as it could be.

I don’t have photos of all the places we visited, for the reasons given in the first paragraph, but here is a selection of some of the images I did manage to capture.


The story behind the photo: Skáli

Stone shelter in Steingrímsfjarðarheiði, Western Fjords, Iceland (click image to view larger)
Stone shelter in Steingrímsfjarðarheiði, Western Fjords, Iceland (click image to view larger)

Skáli (pr: ‘scowly’) is Icelandic for ‘hut’. This stone, wood and turf hut can be found on route 61 that takes you from the main ring road around Iceland (route 1) to the Western Fjords in north west Iceland.  The road climbs steeply from Steingrímsfjörður fjord until you reach a weather monitoring station at the highest point of the pass, before descending back to Ísafjörður fjord and continuing on to Ísafjörður, the town, which (confusingly) lies on the banks of Skutulsfjörður fjord. On the opposite side of the road from the monitoring station, this hut stands defiantly, through wind, snow, and rain, providing shelter for anyone who may find themselves caught in this desolate place.

This photo was taken in late May of 2009, near the height of the Icelandic summer and the peak of the Icelandic day length (the sun was setting after midnight and rising again about three hours later). Yet the latitude (65° North) combined with the altitude (around 450 metres  or 1500 ft) meant that the landscape was still covered in snow. The overcast weather ensured I could expose for the wall of the shelter and completely blow out the sky and the snow, creating an almost abstract shape where the hut and its surrounding moss and rocks cut a shallow diagonal across the picture.

The hut’s door is slightly ajar, inviting you inside, and the window looks to me like a single Cyclopean eye, glaring to the south, daring the weather to do its worst as the small, squat building protects anyone who wishes to take refuge inside.

This image is part of a collection taken during that summer 2009 visit to Iceland called Svart/Hvít (black and white), which you can see in full here. All the images are for sale as prints at that link. There is also a book for sale at Blurb, in hardback and e-book format.

The Iceland Airwaves 2013 Photo Dump

This set should need no introduction. You all know where I’ve been by now, so here are some more photos.

There are a LOT here, so drink deep, or take sips. Your choice!

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