Roadside stream cascades over rocks in southern Iceland along the Ring Road.
Cliff, Farm, and Stream (Color #1), southern Iceland (16″x53″)
With the blowing spray and crowds of people, taking a photograph that I was satisfied with at Seljalandsfoss was a bit daunting. I found a few brief moments when the wind shifted direction and I was able to take a bulb exposure of the falls from behind.
Seljalandsfoss (Bulb #1), southern Iceland (12″x18″)
Seljalandsfoss (Short Exposure #1), southern Iceland (18″x12″)
Basalt sea stacks rise out of the ocean on the southern Icelandic coast.
Reynisdrangar Sea Stacks, southern Iceland (16″x38″)
The cascading waters of Svartifoss slowly eat away at the rock, leaving jumbled piles of basalt in the ravine below. Columnar jointing in basalt flows + waterfall = perfect photography opportunity for a Geoscientist (and thousands of other photographers).
Svartifoss and Columnar Basalt, Vatnajökull National Park,Iceland (16″x36″)
Icebergs from the retreating Breiðamerkurjökull calve into Jökulsárlón, where they are carried out to the ocean. The wind and waves then push the melting chunks of ice up onto the black sands of ‘Diamond Beach’ (Jökulsárlón Ice Beach). This is another one of those sweet spots in Iceland where climate and geology combine to make a perfect location to photograph.
Jökulsárlón Lagoon (Single Frame #1), East Iceland (12″x18″)
Jökulsárlón Lagoon (Single Frame #3), East Iceland
Jökulsárlón Sand and Ice (Single Frame #6), East Iceland
On the drive from Breiðdalsvík to Jökulsárlón in southern Iceland, I stopped along the Ring Road to photograph the cliffs disappearing into the clouds in the distance. The eroding red paint on the house stood out against the grays and greens of the landscape.
Cliffs and House along Southern Coast, southeastern Iceland (16″x53″)
Blue-grey icebergs from Breiðamerkurjökull are scattered across the surface of Jökulsárlón. After a few test photographs of the glacial lake, I noticed that I had to keep the exposure length under ~10 seconds, or the icebergs appear blurred as the cold wind pushes the ice slowly across the lake.
Jökulsárlón (Bulb Panorama #2), East Iceland (16″x66″)
We drove through a thick fog bank on the pass between Egilsstaðir and Breiðdalur valley in East Iceland. As we continued down the ring road towards Breiðdalsvík, we dropped below the clouds and could see the 1100 meter high mountains disappearing into the rain on either side of the valley.
Rain Clouds and Mountains in Breiðdalur Valley (#2), East Iceland (16″x64″)
The desolate drive along the Ring Road between Mývatn and Egilsstaðir in East Iceland passes through a windswept plateau where golden grasses creep up the steep slopes of hills (first panorama).
On our descent to Egilsstaðir in the Jökuldalur valley, I stopped to photograph the Rjukandi Falls as they poured over cliffs on their way to the Jökulsá a Brú river (second and third panoramas).
Light on Grassy Hillsides on the Plateau (#2), East Iceland (16″x81″)
Yst Í Rjúkandi Falls (#1), East Iceland (16″x35″)
Yst Í Rjúkandi Falls (#2), East Iceland (28″x16″)
The Garðar BA 64, a steel fishing vessel that was retired in the 1980’s, was run aground in Skápadalur Valley in the Westfjords, where it sits rusting on the beach as clouds and storms roll in off the Atlantic and Arctic. I wish I would have stopped here for longer to photograph the century-old vessel- a great example of how time, wind, and water slowly eat away at the human creation.
Garðar BA 64, Skápadalur Valley in the Westfjords, Iceland (12″x18″)
At 44m tall and 100m wide, Dettifoss is a spectacularly large curtain of water pouring over a shelf of rock in northern Iceland. Sediment turns the waters (from the melting Vatnajökull glacier) of the Jökulsá á Fjöllum river a strange grey. Mist billowing up from the canyon makes bulb panorama exposures near the falls difficult to shoot (the camera gets wet quickly, and the lens gets covered in water spots). To give a sense of the size of the Dettifoss, I also included a single-frame bulb photograph of the opposite bank (note the person in the red rain jacket standing on the rocks above the falls)
Dettifoss and Jökulsá á Fjöllum (Bulb #4), northern Iceland (16″x66″)
Dettifoss (Single Frame, Bulb #2), northern Iceland (16″x16″)
Hverfjall is a 1km wide tephra/tuff volcano in northern Iceland that erupted ~2500 years ago. I climbed to the lip of the volcanic crater and shot a series of photographs as I walked along the trail. Here are two of my favorite panoramas from the series.
Hverfjall Carter (#1), northern Iceland (16″x65″)
Hverfjall Carter (#2), northern Iceland (16″x70″)
Selfoss pours over and through jumbled basalt columns a few hundred meters upstream from Dettifoss, the most powerful waterfall in Europe. Selfoss and Dettifoss are both formed by the Jokulsa a Fhollum river in northern Iceland as it flows from the glacier Vatnajokull’s to the Arctic sea to the north.
Selfoss, northern Iceland (12″x18″)
After photographing Goðafoss from the cliffs on the north side of the river, I set my tripod up on the south and took a few bulb exposures looking down at the falls. This panorama is one of my favorites from the morning: constant mist billowing up from the cascading water changing into misty silk in the bulb exposure.
Looking down on Goðafoss from South (Bulb), northern Iceland (16″x48″)
Rivers and streams flowing down to the ocean create a tremendous number of waterfalls in Iceland. On my trip around the ring road, I stopped to photograph one famous set of waterfalls – Goðafoss – where a river pours over a shelf of rock creating five falls of various sizes. Driving rain kept me in the car for a few minutes, but the cloud passed and I was able to photograph the falls from a few angles without getting my camera too wet. I first took a few photographs after rock hopping to the cliff at the top of the falls (first photo below- no ND filter). I then walked down stream and set my tripod up so I could take a bulb exposure looking back up at the falls (second panorama- with ND filter). Note the dark rain cloud that is looming in the upper right corner of most of my photographs on this day.
Looking down on Goðafoss, northern Iceland (16″x54″)
Goðafoss (Bulb #2), northern Iceland (16″x54″)
We crossed from fjord to hilltop to fjord as we drove from the Westfjords towards Akureyri. The wind was so strong that I had to stand at an angle when photographing the fog hanging low over a mountain. We stopped on top of a pass near Varmahlíð to photograph the clouds as they broke like ocean waves against the mountains on the other side of the next fjord.
Rain Clouds Breaking over Fjord, near Varmahlíð, Iceland (13″x”50″)
As the sun was setting around midnight, I took a walk down to the water among grazing sheep and Arctic terns.
Sunset over Westfjord Cliffs, near Hnjótur, Iceland (16″x”64″)
After visiting the puffins nesting along the cliffs of the Westfjords , I stopped to take a long-exposure (‘bulb’) panorama of the ocean crashing against the empty beach near Breiðavík.
Ocean, Rocks, and Clouds (Bulb), near Breiðavík, Iceland (16″x”34″)
Shifting cloud cover creates ever-changing summer light and shadow over the cliffs of Iceland’s Westfjords near Hnjótur.
Shifting Light over Westfjord Cliffs, near Hnjótur, Iceland (16″x”59″)
On Snæfellsnes peninsula, streams flowing off the flanks of the mountain cascade over basalt cliffs, forming a series of falls in the shifting clouds.
Ólafsvík Falls (#3), Ólafsvík, Iceland (16″x40″)
Snæfellsjökull sits atop a stratovolcano overlooking the Snæfellsnes peninsula in western Iceland. To get a closer look at the mountain and snowfields, I hiked up a path that eventually disappeared into a landscape covered in spongy moss and grass. I stopped mid-hike to photograph the clouds and shadows hugging the flanks of the mountain.
Clouded flanks of the Stratovolcano (#2), Snæfellsnes, Iceland (16″x”85″)
A glacier-capped mountain rises from the cooled basalt lava flows on Snæfellsnes peninsula.
Road through the Basalt Flows, Snæfellsnes, Iceland (16″x74″)
Jumbled Basalt Landscape, Snæfellsnes, Iceland (16″x65″)
Snæfellsnes peninsula pokes out into the northern reaches of the North Atlantic Ocean. A glacier-capped 700,000 year old stratovolcano dominates the landscape in this national park, where craters rise up out of the cooled lava flows extending out to the ocean. I drove out to the western cliffs of Snæfellsnes peninsula to photograph the waves crashing against the basalt.
Ocean Waves on Basalt Flows, Snæfellsnes, Iceland
Near Snæfellsjökull National Park in northwest Iceland, highway 54 turns north and climbs over a pass. I stopped to photograph a lone hut near the top of the pass.
Red Hut on the Pass (near Búðir), northwestern Iceland (16″x49″)