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Iceland

At the end of September I was extremely fortunate to go to Iceland. I was extremely excited for the possibility of seeing Aurora Borealis, something that had been on my bucket list.

It was a relatively quick flight for somewhere that seemed so exotic and detached. Just 5.5hrs from JFK airport. We landed at sunrise and made the trek east, after getting the rental vehicles and some food. It was quite cloudy and eventually the rains came, and stayed for several days. We had breaks where it was only windy, but it made for photographing anything a little more difficult. For a Florida boy, 40 degree weather, rain, and 40 mph winds don’t make for the most favorable conditions. So, we searched for things we could use the conditions with. Things that didn’t move. We found a big mossy area, which I was to learn is the old lava fields from Laki, one of the largest volcano eruptions in Iceland, happening over 7 months in 1783 and 84 and killing 25% of the population. Moss doesn’t move much, but I was determined to get some shots of the small bushes dotting the landscape in full fall colors. This took a lot of patience but I got several images over the next couple days that I really liked.

The boulders of lava went on for miles, covered in 6 inches or so of moss. It made for treacherous foot travel and I took a fun little tumble. Luckily, it is like landing on a tempurpedic bed! We encountered this area west of Vik on the way to Klauster.

Another amazing area is Jokulsarlon. There is nothing like it and it is oft photographed by travelers to Iceland. Icebergs calve from the Breiðamerkurjökull glacier and float out to sea, where some are washed back onto the black sand beach. This makes for a dramatic contrast and a scene unlike anything else.

This was also a tough shoot because the icebergs move. With each wave you either have to dodge them coming back in, or chase them back out, always recomposing your shot. In the second image, my iceberg actually broke in half and floated away just 3 waves after the image I got.

After 2 shooting sessions at Jokulsarlon, we made our way back west to trek into the highlands. Along the way we stopped at several waterfalls along the road(no shortage of them) and I took this image at one we nicknames Paul’s Falls because I had wanted to check it out for several days. I loved the recessed nature of it and how it had carved its way back into the rock.

Somewhere along the road, we also got a touch of sunshine and I was sure to capitalize on it. Whooper Swans were the only native wildlife we saw(lots of sheep) and I timed this image as a flock flew through the image.

Once into the highlands, we encountered a scene that seemed unreal. A nondescript canyon from afar, nestled among all the lifeless volcanic rock harbored at least 40 waterfalls, all leaking from the porous rock. At the bottom was an amazingly blue river and on the third shoot at this location, a freezing sunrise, we got some sun!

The last image was taken at Haifoss, meaning High Falls. It didn’t have that many compositional opportunities, but at 400 feet tall, and the accompanying canyon, still a great view.

Iceland was a land of amazing scenery, the weather sure made it challenging, but I am happy with what I got and hope to return in the future.To purchase an image go to my Iceland gallery: Iceland

 

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