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″)
I spent much of my time in southern Arizona searching for desert falls to photograph during the summer monsoon or winter rain storms. In Iceland, sustained precipitation and snow melt generate constantly flowing rivers and streams. Giant waterfalls cascade over cliffs every few hundred meters along the side of the ring road; it was difficult for me not to stop every five minutes, pull out my camera, set up my tripod, and shoot another panorama. Here is one of the many gorgeous locations along the Ring Road where dramatic clouds billow over cliffs disappearing into the distance.
Cliffs and Falls (near Budhir), northwestern Iceland (16″x41″)
After visiting Gulfoss we drove west back towards Reykjavik and stopped for a quick walk to Öxarárfoss, a waterfall in Þingvellir National Park. The falls cascade over basalt cliffs into the fault line/ravine along the crest of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge that separates the North American and the Eurasian tectonic plates. As a geoscientist and a photographer, this location was particularly exciting to visit for me. I clearly wasn’t the only one who wanted to see the falls- I ‘had to’ sit and just enjoy the view while waiting for a group of photographers to move on to their next stop before I could shoot panoramas of the falls from a variety of angles without interruption.
Öxarárfoss and Rocks, Þingvellir National Park, Iceland (18″x44″)
After photographing Gulfoss from below, I walked up the stairs and out onto the plateau above the canyon to photograph the river as it enters the falls.
Gulfoss Plateau, southwest Iceland (18″x58″)