31 Oct 2015

Two Shots a Day - Back in Iceland!

I'm back in Iceland, yet again, for another photography trip along the southern coast. Instead of posting a first and last photo from each day (as I did on my last trip in February), I'm going to post a couple that I particularly like each day instead. That way they're not all of pre-dawn for the first shot and the blue hour/northern lights for the last shot!

Day 1 - From Keflavik to Vik

Today I took a lovely drive from the airport via my friend's house in Alftavatn for coffee, then on to Nesjavellir and the wonderful Ion hotel, then along the shores of Þingvallavatn, before heading back down towards Selfoss. I then headed east, stopping at a few spots, before deciding on the promontory at Dyrholaey as my place to photograph the sunset. Quite a stunning evening it was too.

Trees reflected along the southern shore of Þingvallavatn

The stack on Reynisfjara beach seen from Dyrholaey, with the earth's shadow providing the colour

Day 2 - From Vik to 

I left Vik in drizzly weather with limited visibility; it was easy drive, though, across the black sandur (sandy plains), with little wind and almost no other traffic on the road. I stopped briefly to capture Foss á Siðu, and Lómagnúpur, before continuing on to my beloved Jökulsárlón. I went to the east beach, which was packed with thousands of icebergs, and the tide was receding and only crashing over a few at the shore line. There was a constant drizzle coming in from the south-west. The sun began trying to come out, but the best light was in the same direction as the wind and drizzle, so I eventually gave up and headed across the road and the bridge to the west side of the lagoon. For a while the light was stunning, with the peaks appearing from the fog, but soon the wind picked up and it became extremely gusty and unpleasant, so I called it a day. Here's a couple of shots from the day.

Small pebbles and sand collect in pockets of the icebergs on Jökulsárlón beach 

The peaks behind Jökulsárlón Lagoon peak from behind fog

Day 3 - Jökulsárlón

Had a lovely day in Jökulsárlón, with a few hours on the beach first thing (and some lovely light and clouds), followed by a quick pitstop at the lagoon, home for a few hours while the weather was rubbish, and then back out for "sunset", although the weather was still mostly rubbish. Now desperately waiting for the storms to clear and a promised aurora borealis storm to appear!

The sun peaks above the clouds on the horizon over Jökulsárlón beach

A couple of tiny icebergs on Jökulsárlón beach at dusk - rather weird clouds around
Day 4 - Jökulsárlón

Another day at Jökulsárlón - didn't even bother checking out the lagoon (apart from a little post-sunset recce to see where might be a good aurora spot). So here are my two shots from today - both from the beach, and both with similar weather and cloud conditions!

Dawn on Jökulsárlón beach - there was some great colour in the skies, 

One of the few sunsets I've actually seen at Jökulsárlón - usually it's jut too cloudy!
Day 5 - Driving to Stafafell
I haven't gone very far today, only 90km, leaving Hali and returning to the yellow cottage at Stafafell. I drove to Jökulsárlón for sunrise (another nice one - I was being luckier than usual), back to Hali to check out, then eastwards, stopping at a couple of usual spots. For sunset I headed to Stokksnes, but the skies were dull and the light uninspiring.

A rather lovely morning at Jökulsárlón

For a country with no trees, occasionally there are some! This little patch is found between Hali and Hofn.

Day 6 - Stafafell

Today has been wet and miserable, so hard pushed to even find 2 decent photos! I spent all morning processing some star trails I took the previous night, and eventually forced myself out in the rain at about 2pm to Hvalnes. I wanted to capture some interesting things on the beach, but it was so wet and all my photos were pretty much ruined by the reflection of my tripod in the hundreds of pebbles! I played around with the polarising filter, but it didn't help much. There were some nice little bits of seaweed, shells, and dead fish and crab bits though. Back at Stafafell I noticed some pretty rain-covered red berries. Hopefully tomorrow will be a little less wet and miserable.

Yes, you can see the pan head and tripod reflected in every damn wet black pebble!

Raindrops cling to little red berries on a tree in Stafafell

Day 7 - A Detour back to Jökulsárlón

The weather was ghastly again today - rainy, low cloud and mist, and windy to boot. I was supposed to be enjoying the region around Höfn - hoping to get some better shots from Stokksnes - but the weather was so bad I decided to make the 130km round trip to Jökulsárlón instead, as I know that even in rain it's wonderful. It pissed down the whole time I was there, but with the cover of the lens hood I managed to keep the lens and filters dry for long enough to get a few shots. I may have damaged the camera, though, as it doesn't now switch off (I need to take the battery out). Oops. Tomorrow is back that way again, but onwards to Vik. Gales are forecast here for the morning, which may scupper plans...
Not very pleasant driving conditions today - at least it wasn't pissing it down at that point!

Back to Jökulsárlón which still looks very lovely in the rain

Day 8 - A Windy Drive to Vik

Gales were forecast for part of the day, so I didn't head out to Stokksnes for sunrise (there wasn't one), but headed out a little later on. The sun was trying to come through, but not shining on the mighty Vesturhorn. I struggled to get any decent shots. By the time I left the sun was out, but I had to leave (needing to make a detour back to the Yellow Cottage, having found the key in my car...). I then drove straight to Vik, stopping only briefly to take the odd shot. The weather was windy, sometimes sunny, mainly rainy, and pretty unpleasant. I got to Vik just in time for sunset, but there wasn't much of one!

Looking east near Hali, with huge clouds above the mountain tops

A long exposure shot of the post-sunset skies above Vik.

Day 9 - Vik to Alftanes

My last day was another one for rainy driving. I awoke in Vik to a beautiful view of the crescent moon aligned with a couple of stars, but within minutes it was raining. I packed up and left, drove to Reynisfjara beach for sunrise (disappointing but some good moody clouds), before heading to the crashed DC3 (love that place - and a brief moment of awesome light to boot!), a quick stop at Skógafoss, onwards through more rain to Urriðafoss, before arriving at my friends' house on the Alftanes peninsula for tea time. Sigrún treated me to a fantastic dinner of home made sushi - a wonderful last meal on my trip.

Rain about to hit me on Reynisfjara beach at 'sunrise'

A moment of wonderful light, illuminating the distant Pétursey, at the DC3 crash site

Day 10 - Flying Home

Obviously the weather as I left Iceland this morning was amazing - a severe frost and clear skies allowing me a last glimpse of northern lights, and then a glorious view from the plane of the freshly-snow-covered hills and an intense sunrise glow. But hey, I'll be back again :)

Tripod packed away so this was taken with the camera sitting on the roof of the car - not ideal!

After days of mostly rain it was annoying to see a beautiful clear day in Iceland - just as I left :(

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