Vesturhorn February 06, 2014 |
This was another one of my favorite stops on our photography tour of southern Iceland. This is Mount Vesturhorn which is not only a fascinating mountain range in and of itself, but it is surrounded by a black sand beach covered with hills on which grow straw plants.
In any other country this might seem like a strange occurrence but Iceland possesses so many unique landscapes that encountering a place like this is par for the course.
Ice Beach Fisheye February 05, 2014 |
This is the famous ice beach near Jokulsarlon. This place is so unique and photogenic that we stopped here for two precious sunrises. Even without the perfect light that we had on our visits here, this place is extremely photogenic.
The ice beach is truly one of a kind and is actually a recent phenomenon. As the nearby glacier melts, icebergs break off of the glacier and flow into a channel that feeds into the ocean. Many of these icebergs, some as big as cars, are carried onto shore by the tide forming a black sand beach covered in ice. When people ask about my trip I often describe this phenomenon as I think it defines the type of diverse landscapes that Iceland has.
The Jokulsarlon black sand ice beach formed by icebergs breaking off of a nearby glacier then being carried to shore by the ocean tide.
As we were driving through Iceland we saw a mileage sign for the town of Vik, to which I made the comment, "finally an Icelandic name that I can pronounce, 'v-i-k'". To which the tour guide goes, "it's 'v-e-e-k'".
Seljalandsfoss February 03, 2014 |
This was the very first stop on my Iceland photography tour. This is Seljalandsfoss which has a trail that actually runs behind the waterfall. So Cool! Our guide, Tony, told us the best spot to shoot this is from up the side of this very cliff. When I realized the particular cliff he was talking about was roped off, I knew this was going to be a fun trip.
After booking a 3 day photography tour of Iceland, I did some research on some of the other sites that wouldn't be included. Knowing that I would only have one extra day in Iceland to plan on my own, I wanted to save it for something special, and the Gulffoss waterfall was it.
Now, after deciding that Gulffoss made sense to visit, after all it was only a short drive from Reykjavik, I did some research on it, learning that it is one of the most dangerous tourist attractions in all of Iceland due to the slippery ledges and steep cliffs. Combine this with the fact that when I arrived to Gulffoss the sun had completely set and there was not a soul in the vicinity of the fall and it made for quite the adrenaline rush.
This was quite the scary combination but it all turned out well in the end and I was able to snap this shot.
Northern Lights January 29, 2014 |
What a day! I have never had a day of photographing come close to this. Iceland's landscapes are so diverse and unique, each new sight seems to outdo the previous. On top of that, our tour group was blessed with amazing light both during the sunrise and the sunset. You know that the photography gods are looking out for you when even the tour guides get excited by the photo opportunities that presented themselves at places they have visited countless times.
Having said all that, no moment was more exciting than catching the aurora borealis. After being disappointed two nights in a row, it seemed like tonight was going to be another dud. Catching the aurora is extremely difficult because it relies on not only strong auroral activity, but also clear skies, a rarity in Iceland's winter. Lucky for us, out of nowhere the sky cleared up. The Innkeeper at the Hali Country Hotel entered the lobby of our hotel and announced that the northern lights could be seen. Our tour guide had us quickly pack the car and we made a mad scramble to the glacial lagoon, a prime viewing spot for the aurora. The aurora shined for more than two hours, truly a spectacular moment.
Hlolla Batar January 27, 2014 |
This is a famous hot dog stand in the heart of Reykjavik. Unfortunately it wasn't open when I was nearby but that didn't stop me from taking pictures.
It didn't take long for me to start taking pictures in Reykjavik. After about 20 hours of traveling, my red-eye flight landed in Iceland just before 7am local time. I wasn't certain my hotel room would be ready that early, and sure enough it wasn't. I had planned for this though, thinking I would be too excited not to start taking pictures the second I arrived. I had about 3 hours to kill and I spent that time snapping away, knowing that most of my time on the island would be spent venturing the rural landscapes, and that my time in the city was limited.
This is Harpa Concert Hall in downtown Reykjavik. After all the research I've done on this country, I'm surprised that I can't recall ever seeing photos of this extremely photogenic place.
My first impressions of Reykjavik are very positive. The city feels extremely safe and has almost a small-town kind of vibe to it. I have seen more churches and cats roaming the streets of Reykjavik than I would see in months roaming Chicago.
Time for a quick nap, then it's off to the golden circle!
On the way to Navy Pier I decided to stop on Michigan Ave to try and catch some light graffiti from the speeding by cars. From the north side of downtown I typically would prefer to shoot facing south but for whatever reason the lights weren't up on the Ave. south of Ohio.
This is a shot taken this morning near Navy Pier. Navy Pier is of course one of my favorite local places to shoot. I am starting to grow tired of shooting the same places around where I live. If only I had a trip coming up where I could see brand new landscapes...
If you haven't heard by now, I am headed to Iceland in 6 days. This morning's early hike was to test out my cold weather gear for the upcoming trip. The weather was mild here compared to the cold fronts we have seen the last couple of weeks, but it is still a pretty comparable climate to that of Iceland. The gear felt more than adequate and I feel like I am more than ready for that aspect of the trip. Now only if we can get a couple of clear nights and see the Northern Lights...