6 Dec 2015

Iceland Nov 2015 - Day 6: A Rainy Day in Stafafell

Usually on my trips to Iceland I have at least one day where it just rains all day. Not the kind of weather with showers, big clouds and bursts of sunshine - those I love. No, the kind where going outside is just miserable and trying to photograph anything is challenging. I don't really mind driving days like that - especially since I've driven along the route back and forth a few times so don't need to stop, but it can be very frustrating when it happens when I'm staying put somewhere where I know the scenery is wonderful.

Day 6 of my trip was one of those. At least I was staying somewhere nice, warm and comfortable, but it was just so annoying being housebound. I spent the morning working on the previous night's star trail photos, so it wasn't as if I didn't have anything to do. I also tried to take a few self-portraits of myself sitting on the sofa drinking tea, which I spent a good deal of time doing.

Eventually I dragged myself out, and the weather was truly dreadful, as expected. It was the kind of drizzly rain that was not only constant, but seemed to go in every direction. So even if I had the hood on the lens there was no direction against the wind that was rain-free. I'd just about be able to take shots straight down without getting the lens wet. The hilltops were covered in thick cloud and visibility was poor. Knowing what spectacular scenery lay beneath the clouds made it all the more infuriating.

I drove back to the point at Hvalnes and parked near the lighthouse again. I wandered down to the beach where the plan was to take some shots of the detritus lying on the pebbles. As last year there were lots of pieces of scattered seaweed, colourful pebbles (in addition to the majority that were black) and the odd bit of dead fish or sea dweller.

Immediately I noticed a problem (in addition to the rain) - the pebbles were obviously wet and extremely reflective. I put on a polariser filter, hoping to lessen the reflections, but this slowed each shot down, so if there were any moving parts (eg. seaweed) they would be blowing in the wind and be blurred in the shot. It also didn't stop the reflection altogether, so in every single pebble I had a reflection of the tripod and pan head with all its handles sticking out! I had to take the shots from overhead in order to stop rain getting on the filter, so there was no way around it.

I didn't stay out long, the drizzle getting harder and the wind picking up. Quite miserable, unpleasant conditions indeed! I headed back up the hill to the car across the boggy fields which I'd seen looking glorious covered in snow on my previous trip (on a windy but dry day), passing a carcass (possibly a swan?), took a couple of shots of the mountain (hidden under cloud) and drove back home without stopping.

Next to the cabin is a small church and graveyard, a hostel (open in summer only, I think), and some trees. There were still some autumnal leaves on the birch trees, so I drove up the track to see if I could get a couple of shots. The wind was still gusting from time to time, and although the rain wasn't bad, there was still some lingering. I spotted some red berries on the trees so took a few shots of those, with water droplets hanging from each one (using a horribly high ISO of 2000 to try to get the shots sharp before the wind moved the branches).

Then it was back to the cabin again for the long wet, windy night. I spent the evening cooking, Skyping home, and going through more of the photos that I'd taken over the past 6 days, before having an early night. I expected no sunrise the following morning, so set the alarm for a late 8am. At least the rubbish weather meant I wasn't over-tired, which often happens on these trips, but oh what a disappointing day!!

Click here for Day 5 blog - Jökulsárlón to Stafafell
Click here for Day 7 blog - Back to Jökulsárlón in the Rain

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