Trip To Iceland
On the 15/ 02/2017 myself and 3 fellow photographers set off for a photographic journey to Iceland. “A photographers paradise ” we flew in to Keflavík International Airport, also known as Reykjavík-Keflavík Airport, picked up our 4×4 from the airport and headed for a two night stay on the Snæfellsnes peninsula in the west of Iceland. Of course we stopped to take a picture of the sun setting over Reykjavík. The next day we were up early and off we went to Iceland’s famous Kirkjufell mountain and waterfall, we spent the morning photographing this lovely iconic part of Iceland. Then we ventured off to some unknown place (well to me anyway ) for a sunset over a farm by the sea and the distant mountains before heading home for something to eat ….it had been a long first day but with many a good photograph taken by the group.
That evening we headed back to Kirkjufell mountain and waterfall in the hope of clear skies and some northern light activity. At this point I should mention the weather had been mostly cloudy, there were breaks in the clouds which allowed some decent photographic opportunities. The forecast was for 100% cloud for the week so we were trying our best to be optimistic…..however, when we got to Kirkjufell the sky above us was crystal clear, the stars were amazing in every direction and low and behold in amongst them to the North there were flickers of green and slight shades of purple of the aurora borealis! Needless to say the 4 of us were over the moon and all headed off in separate directions to get our shots, it was a sight to behold! But in truth it wasn’t really a spectacular show of northern lights and eventually the clouds won, but it meant we had seen them, we weren’t going to be the unfortunate souls to have gone to Iceland to see or to capture the northern lights only to be disappointed. So after a day of almost 20 hours on the road/photographing we headed home happy and ready for the next round of our journey to North Star cottages, Seljavallavegur is on the south coast of Iceland.
We managed to get a few moon lit photos in the early part of the morning of the view over the bay towards the back of Kirkjufell, it was a beautiful scene and we were pleased to capture it before the weather took a turn for the worse. The photographic opportunities were sparse, which was a good thing really as we may never have got to our destination otherwise. We stopped off at Seljalandsfoss which is one of Iceland’s best known waterfalls. However, the combined rain, wind, and spray from the waterfall made it particularly difficult to get the really good shots, especially the iconic ones from behind the water fall. It was not far from our destination for the night, which we arrived at a short time after, the weather just seemed to be getting worse ….. so a night in it was, slightly dampening our spirits.
Early morning rise the next day and we were up before the sun, it was a lovely clear sky. In our excitement we decided to climb the hill/mountain to the left of our cottage and in the fear that we might not see light again ….so up the hill we went, it was spectacular to watch a sunrise in Iceland from half way up a mountain. The coastline to our right and looking back in the distance, the road we had travelled in the rain and wind. In front of us we could see rising sun plains with rivers and glacier melts flowing down the plains and past the farms surrounded by cragged mountains, west, north and east with the south side exposed to the coast leading out eventually to the Atlantic ocean, to our left, snow capped peaks of the higher mountains north side. So after our early morning jaunt up the mountain we had breakfast, packed up and got on the road again to our final destination “Hofn” stopping off at Dyrholaey Lighthouse/cliffs/beach. This was a sight to behold, the long black sand beaches as far as the eye could see met the rough waters and huge waves of the Atlantic ocean, we watched the sun set from the lighthouse situated at the top of the towering cliffs. As the mist started to close in on us off we went, travelling the last few hours of the journey in darkness to our digs.
There was promise of the northern lights so we headed out again. Although we didn’t know where, sure enough for a second time we saw some minor northern lights. It seemed like an extra bonus at the time even though we were tired from our journey. It was still a joy to see for the short time before the clouds brought the show to a close. The next day after a decent sleep the weather had taken a turn for the worse. This allowed a bit of chill out time around the hostel which in hind sight was much needed. Low and behold the weather took a turn for the better and we decided to head back the way we came to Jokulsarlon Ice lagoon, the Dimond Beach and hoped for a sunset. This was not to be as the thick fog rolled in round about us and created its own eerie feel to the place and presented us with limited photographing options. It was interesting and nice to visit. Actually, some of the photos from that day turned out to be rather good. We headed home to plan our next days trip, however not knowing what the weather was going to bring, I decided to go on an Ice Cave tour back at Jokulsarlon while the others headed to the Vetrahorn mountain.
The ice cave trip was good but it was a bit rushed, photographers need time. It was something I wanted do and I did manage to grab a few shots that I was happy with. It also gave me a second chance to photograph the Ice lagoon at Jokulsarlon and to get a closer shot of Breiðamerkurjökull Glacier. Later that night we revisited the Vestrahorn mountain which the others had visited during the day and we were again treated to a show of northern lights over the mountain itself and out to sea. It was a fantastic photographic opportunity. So needless to say we went back to our digs happy photographers except we knew that was our last night in Hofn as we had to make the long journey back to Reykjavík-Keflavík Airport.
We woke up the next day to snow, something that we hadn’t seen very much of surprisingly (this was due to the warmest winter in Iceland since records began according to the tour guide at the Ice caves). We packed up and headed for home thinking we wouldn’t get much photographic opportunities along the way …HOW WRONG can you be! After getting through the worst of the snow we stopped off at various points to take photographs, some better than others due to the weather conditions. However we stopped off at the Jokulsarlon Ice lagoon, we overstayed our planned time for the journey and in the end couldn’t make the pre arranged destination to Vik for what now looked to be a promising sunset. We had a change of plan and headed into a part of the Breiðamerkurjökull Glacier which was accessible by car. This turned out to be a great turn in our fortune as we watched and photographed the sun set in the distance and over the glacier that we were practically stood on, with the light reflecting off the glacier and the mountains behind us, it was absolutely stunning to see. This now left us plenty of time to get to Reykjavík Airport. The sunset on the glacier was like the icing on the cake for all of us and we were all happy and content with our week in Iceland. We had achieved more than ever we thought , certainly at the beginning when the forecast was for 100% cloud for the entire week.
What we were treated to at Pingvallavatn Lake near Reykjavík was truly spectacular! The Aurora
Borealis had arrived and the sky above lit up (after teasing us for a wee hour or two) and danced not only in a northernly direction but in every direction to the extent it was hard to know what way to look. That was the final icing and cherry on top, a trip I will never forget!