Dark moody skies are my favourite type of lighting, especially for the stunning landscape of Iceland. Beautiful little timber churches also look magic contrasted against the surreal green/yellow of the Icelandic landscape with jagged peaks receding into the distance behind them, especially with low clouds moving in on the tops of those peaks. Bright blue sky and sunshine is lovely, don’t get me wrong, lovely to sit in the sun and watch the world go by, but I usually leave my camera in the bag then. I’d much rather brave the cold blustery conditions and risk getting rained on to get that lovely soft diffused light you only get with dark stormy skies.
This year has been a huge year for travel for me, I’ve had Photo tours to Bhutan, Cambodia and Iceland with a few weeks scouting trip to Norway for tours next year, and in a few weeks I’m of to Bhutan again for the second time this year… I have so many new images that I don’t know where to start!
So, for want of a better plan I will begin with an image from my most recent trip to Iceland, where I ran two photographic tours back to back with Iurie Belegurschi. One of the locations I was really keen to go to on this trip was the Southern Highlands of Iceland with its amazing volcanic landscape and the painted hills. Read the rest of this entry »
I wonder if the views I found so spectacular in Iceland are so spectacular to an Icelandic resident who grew up there, or is it just that it’s so different to where I am from that makes Iceland so unique to me? I wonder if I will ever truly know the answer to this question, and in fact if it actually matters?
Kirkjufellsfoss on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula in Iceland has got to be perhaps the most ideal of landscapes, it’s a landscape photographers dream location. First there is the mountain, Kirkjufell, which from this angle has a lovely alluring shape, especially with a sprinkling of snow on it. Then there is a beautiful glacial river and waterfall that runs right past it, and then from the waterfall to Kirkjufell you are facing roughly North-West, which is ideal for dawn colours in clouds. The trick is to be prepared for those random rain showers, snow flurries and near cyclonic winds, but it’s ok, it doesn’t seem to last very long so you just need to wait it out to get your shots.
This is of course the same location as the previous post, and a much earlier post from several months ago Kirkjufellsfoss at Sunrise, all three images were shot on the same morning only a few minutes apart from different spots around the scene. I’m sure there are many more possible shots at this lovely location and I’m looking forward to returning later this year with my Photographic Tour to Iceland to explore it a bit further.
This image shot on the Hasselblad H4D-60 and the 28mm lens.
The Snæfellsnes Peninsula is North of Reykjavik and seems absolutely crowded with beautiful scenery. Wild coastline, stunning waterfalls, eerily shaped mountains and lava fields, small stone churches and shaggy Icelandic horses, to name a few of the highlights. This images is shot from the small stone bridge crossing the river just above Kirkjufellsfoss (the waterfall) looking down the falls to the coast at sunrise, just as the clouds had parted and the light poured in. Just a few minutes earlier it was a different kind of pouring as it both rained then snowed on me while I waited for the dawn. Hey, not that I’m complaining, the Icelandic people have many sayings about the weather… the one that is relevant here is… “there is no bad weather, just incorrect clothing”. I had the correct clothing for a change, even my camera had a rain jacket!
Shot on the Hasselblad H4D-60 with the 28mm lens.
Photographic Tour to Iceland Early Bird Special expiring soon
Hey I’ve got a couple of spots left on my Photographic Tour to Iceland in August this year, and the early bird special runs out in 3 days. It saves you about US$400 so if you are thinking of coming, now is the time to book…
Yet another Icelandic waterfall, Selfoss is about 1km upriver from the massive Dettifoss on the Ölfusá river, in the North East of Iceland. From Dettifoss (previous Blog Post), I ran all the way trying to get a shot with some of that great colour still in the sky… Just made it. The landscape around these two waterfalls is almost how I imagine the moon to be, but with water, or rather as if a glacier had just passed through here. There are no trees and almost no vegetation at all in this region, just miles and miles of volcanic rock and boulders. The only greenery around is the ubiquitous Icelandic moss, that grows over the lava fields softening the landscape. It’s a place where you can really imagine yourself a million years in the past just after an Ice age, or in fact in the middle of one.
This Image of Selfoss in Iceland was shot on the Hasselblad H4D-60 with the 50mm f3.5 lens.
I think it’s time for a couple more waterfalls from Iceland, the country that has literally thousands of waterfalls! This first one is Dettifoss, the most powerful waterfall in Iceland and thus Europe. The vast volume of water and the huge drop over the edge into the ravine below means that this is a very wet place to stand, the spray from this waterfall sometimes extends hundreds of metres into the air above and around the falls. The day I took this shot I had planned this as my sunset destination, though as I had so many unscheduled stops for roadside attractions (See previous Blog posts for explanation) I barely made it. The weather had been overcast and rainy all day, which is perfect for Icelandic landscapes, but it didn’t look like I would get much of a sunset at all. Well I couldn’t actually see the sun setting, but the clouds opened up enough to allow some great colour just after sunset. The wild colours in the sky, combined with the massive waterfall and the bleak treeless landscape made for a surreal and otherworldly look to the image.
Image of Dettifoss waterfall Iceland, shot on the Hasselblad H4D-60 and the 50mm f3.5 lens… with lots of wiping of the front lens element…
A bit of wild Icelandic coastline today, I think it may be time soon for some more waterfalls, or perhaps some ice as Perth swelters at 41° today! Later though, for today it’s Hvítserkur and a piece of wild Icelandic coastline from the Eastern shore of the Vatnsnes Peninsula in the North West Region. The road to this spot is not really a road at all, more of a series of closely spaced potholes strung together in a line… Done is such a cunning way that in avoiding one you hit two or three even bigger ones.
I arrived here late one evening in my camper van, thoroughly shaken about and spent a restful night listening to the waves pounding on the 15 metre high stone stack that is called Hvítserkur, which means “White Coat” in Icelandic, due to all the bird droppings… Not so romantic. Much more romantic is the legend about the monolith. It said to be an ancient troll that was caught in the daylight and turned to stone, preventing it from destroying the bells of the local monastery.
By dawn the sea had calmed and the wind was still, just perfect for a quiet walk down the rocky beach for sunrise.
Both these images shot on the Hasselblad H4D-60 and the 28mm f4 lens.
Happy New Year!
I almost forgot, we are starting a new year with lots of new possibilities. Still a few spots on my Icelandic photography Tour in August of this year, its going to be awesome!