Jökulsárlón to Vik (2 June 2016)

OK so we’re still only on our first full day of the holiday.  We left Jökulsárlón in the late afternoon to head towards Vik for some dinner.  I only managed about 2 or 3 miles before I couldn’t resist the urge to pull over again.  No, I hadn’t been drinking Lager!  The thing is that for someone who loves rugged and stark landscapes, Iceland is just too tempting from a photographer’s viewpoint.

I pulled off the road at a “touristy” signpost for Fjallsárlön and followed the gravel track not really knowing what I would find at the end of it, figuring that “…sárlön” was possibly Icelandic for lagoon.  We reached what appeared to be the end of the track and I was getting my camera gear out of the car when the helpful lady in the only other car there told me that it was possible to drive further up to get better access.

I knew that getting a 4x4 hire car would pay off.  The track was very rough with some quite deep holes and muddy puddles.  I would have felt totally vindicated in my choice if it hadn’t been for the fact that by the time I’d got our car turned around for our off road adventure, we were following a small family hatchback up the hill!  

This is what was waiting for us…

Our next location was at a waterfall we had seen earlier in the day on our outward journey.  I had hoped that there would be time for a quick photo stop on the way back.  This is Foss á Siðu, which translates as “Waterfall at Siðu”.  268 feet from top to bottom!

We arrived in Vik a bit later than planned due to my frequent photo stops.  It was just about 9pm when we arrived in the town to try to find somewhere to eat.  We had a moment of panic on entering the Suður-Vik restaurant when we saw their sign saying food served until 9pm!  We needn’t have worried though as we were given a great friendly welcome and there was no problem getting delicious meals and refreshing drinks.  My wife says that the waitresses were very good looking too, but I told her I hadn’t noticed!

After our tasty meal we left to head back to our cottage, but I couldn’t leave without taking a photo of the town from a vantage point next to the graveyard above the church.

Next instalment - Lights In The Sky!


Ice Ice Baby! (23 May 2016)

Our aiming point on our travels Eastward along Iceland’s Southern coast was the glacial lagoon at Jökulsárlón.  Here, icebergs break away from the Breiðamerkurjökull glacier and make their way through the lagoon, under the road bridge and out to the open sea where many of them get washed up onto the beach.  On the day we visited there were hardly any icebergs in the lagoon, but plenty on the beach.

The contrast between the white, clear and blue ice and the black, volcanic sand is stunning.  This iceberg was taller than me.  

One of the things that making photographs does is that it makes me take more time actually seeing and thinking about my surroundings. While I was looking at this big chunk of ice I wondered…How long ago did it form?  When did it break away from the glacier?  How big was it when it broke off?  How long did it take to escape the lagoon?  How long has it sat in this position?  When will it move again?  How long will it take to melt away to nothing?  Where will it end up?  And today as I’m writing this I’m wondering what it looks like now, about 6 weeks since I was there.

The next photo shows some of the difference in texture of the ice between the different chunks, this one being much more translucent than the one above.  Are they different within the glacier, or do they become different as a result of their different paths after breaking away?

I was crouching down at the base of this iceberg trying to take some photos of the powerful waves crashing over some of the ice at the sea’s edge.  The tide was coming in and you know what it’s like - every now & then a particularly sneaky wave rushes much further up the beach than any of the previous ones.  So I’m snapping away with one eye through the viewfinder, and the other on the waves… “A-ha! a big one coming… Very cunning, but I’m ready for ya!…Oh that’s unexpected…why am I know sprawled out on my back?…Shit…It’s me or the camera…Save the camera…”  And with that the wave decided it had had its fun and stopped, just touching the tip of my outstretched foot before turning away back down the beach laughing to itself at my moment of panic.

I find the marked change of surface texture in this close up fascinating.  Do you see a face in the pattern?

After Jökulsárlón we retraced our steps back Westwards.  The next instalment will cover how we spent our evening in the small town of Vik.


A Traveller’s Diary - Iceland 12/5/2016

My family hadn’t been overseas on holiday for several years, so a few months ago we made the decision that we would like to go to Florida for a couple of weeks.  We did the usual thing and went into a high street travel agent to enquire about the prices.  I remember waking up in a brightly lit room….

With a bit of research, it turned out that by organising everything ourselves we could actually tack on 3 days in Iceland and 5 days in New York either side of the fortnight in Florida for about the same price, so that’s what we did.

Day 1

There’s not much to say about day 1.  It was taken up with finishing a night shift at 7am, snatching a couple of hours sleep and then beginning the adventure with the flight from Glasgow to Iceland with Icelandair.  After our arrival in a cold, grey, rainy Keflavik we picked up our hire car and set off to find our accommodation on the South coast about 200 miles to the East, arriving at about 10pm.

Day 2

Day 2 dawned dry, bright & fresh.  We got up after a comfortable sleep in our wooden cabin at Hörgsland Cottages.  I made a few photos of the cabin and a short timelapse video.

After breakfast we set off travelling East along the Southern portion of the ring road that encircles Iceland.  The next image was made right next to the road near Kalfafell.  Despite being Iceland’s main road, the traffic is very light in comparison with the UK.

…and from the other side in black & white.

One of the things that makes Iceland so interesting is how the landscape can change dramatically across a very short distance.  The photo of electricity pylons stretching across the flat plain below was made literally straight across the road from the one above.

After taking this photo we continued East to the glacial lagoon and beach at Jökulsárlón where the waves crash against icebergs that have broken away from the Glacier.  My next post will continue the story.

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