The most southerly point..

I spent some time at the most southerly point in Iceland on a couple of occasions.  It’s beautiful, wild, put simply, stunning.  The first time we stopped by was at the end of a long day visiting waterfalls. I saw a road that appeared to lead to the beach so I took it.  This road seemed to be a sort of causeway between two large bodies of water, leading to a large mass of rock jutting out into the ocean.  This is the view from the top..

1AT_763724mm f/11 1/40 sec. ISO-100

This is an ideal place from which to watch puffins apparently but puffins spend the winter at sea so no sign of them.

This might be a good time to talk about cloud.  The Icelandic Meteorological Office forecast three levels of cloud.  Low level, mid level and high level.  It’s the high level cloud that keeps the sunshine milky, it’s the mid level cloud that delivers the rain/sleet and snow apparently and the low level cloud, this hovers around 3 inches off the ground and we got to experience all three sorts most days during our trip in Iceland.   Having seen the view from the most southerly tip, I was keen to visit again at dawn for a sunrise perhaps.  I wanted to take pictures of the lighthouse too so would kill two birds to coin a phrase.  With plans to return the following day, I was content with the picture I took above.

Returning at dawn the following day (remember first light is around 8.30 – 9 am at this time of year) it felt like I was visiting Cape Horn, that other most southerly point, infamous for its stormy seas and violent weather.  As first light appeared, a severe gale was blowing and it was pouring with rain.  We were definitely experiencing that 3 inches above the ground cloud I mentioned along with the other two I think.  Here’s the lighthouse, I took the shot as the mist and cloud cleared for a second or two and I was able to wipe the rain droplets from my lens..

1AT_775114mm f/5.6 3 sec. ISO-100

Standing on the edge of a friable, crumbling clifftop in a howling gale, the ‘low cloud’ threatening to envelop me once more and with the rain hitting me, and my lens, full in the face, I was determined to get a picture of the rocks that makes this a popular place to visit.

To get the shot I increased the aperture from my usual f/11 to f/5.6 in an attempt to decrease the shutter speed required to get a good exposure. By getting more light to the sensor, the length of time the shutter would need to be open would be decreased. The less time the shutter was open, the less chance the lens, after a quick wipe, would be splattered with water by the time the picture was taken.  I was still needing a shutter speed of 3 seconds as the light levels were so low and to be honest I didn’t expect to get a picture. Taking lots of pictures in Cornwall over the last couple of years had prepared me well however.  This is the only picture I took that doesn’t bear the tell tale signs of water on the lens. It’s nothing to write home about but it’s a picture taken under extreme conditions.  . ;-)

1AT_779914mm f/5.6 3 sec. ISO-100

Clearly we were not going to get a lovely sunrise so decided to push on to our next destination.  On the way down the view east became clear, momentarily, well sort of.  Appearing just like the Loe Bar in Cornwall, this bank of sand and shingle separates the ocean from a fresh water lake.

Iceland's Loe Bar24mm f/11 1/2 sec. ISO-100

This was the worst day of weather we had in Iceland.  From here on in, I spent time each evening studying forecasts and satellite images and planning our excursions according to where the better weather was likely to be and it worked out well..

Click on the pictures for a clearer sharper view..



54 responses

  1. Amazing!

    December 7, 2014 at 6:25 pm

    • Thank you. It’s a stunning location! :-)

      December 7, 2014 at 6:30 pm

  2. Nice curving coast line.

    December 7, 2014 at 6:27 pm

    • It’s a magnificent coastline and that beach seems to go on forever. Thanks for your visit and comment! :-)

      December 7, 2014 at 6:30 pm

      • You’re welcome. It looks like a great place to photograph.

        December 7, 2014 at 6:52 pm

      • It certainly is! :)

        December 7, 2014 at 7:01 pm

  3. awesome pictures !

    December 7, 2014 at 6:34 pm

    • Thank you Gwennie! :-)

      December 7, 2014 at 7:00 pm

  4. leecleland

    What a day of weather! I surprised you got as good a shots as you did, Adrian. Love the 3 levels of cloud, what a way to describe the weather/cloud. The last image I find fascinating, with such a seemingly short distance and height of sand I’m amazed the ocean hasn’t broached a passage over the years.

    December 7, 2014 at 8:25 pm

    • Thank you Lee. It wasn’t the best day that’s for sure. I think the bank of sand is probably maintained by the currents running along that section of the shoreline just as the Loe Bar here in Cornwall is maintained. It’s an interest feature that’s for sure. :-)

      December 7, 2014 at 8:46 pm

  5. Such breathtaking views, Adrian. I especially love the one of the lighthouse. Your photos are really great, in spite of the challenging conditions you had to contend with.

    December 7, 2014 at 9:42 pm

    • Thank you Sylvia. It really was challenging that day. I’m glad you liked the lighthouse! :)

      December 8, 2014 at 8:17 am

  6. Wow! A wonderful series of shots – really beautiful.

    December 7, 2014 at 10:13 pm

    • Thank you very much Isabel. The coastline is so dramatic and as you say, very beautiful! :-)

      December 8, 2014 at 8:52 am

  7. Beautiful! Did Cornwall prep you for these conditions?

    December 7, 2014 at 10:41 pm

    • Cornwall definitely prepped me for these conditions Marina. Thank you. :-)

      December 8, 2014 at 8:53 am

  8. Karen

    Really beautiful images, fantastic scenery.

    December 8, 2014 at 1:52 am

    • Thank you very much Karen! :-)

      December 8, 2014 at 8:53 am

  9. Super! I especially like that last shot, all the gunmetal grey.

    December 8, 2014 at 8:04 am

    • Thank you Rachael. That’s one of my favourites from the whole trip! :-)

      December 8, 2014 at 8:54 am

  10. poppytump

    These really are the tops ChillB … I hear all you are saying about the cloud and rain, with pretty much the same conditions for us I know what an enormous challenge it would have been to take these pictures ! The black beach and solitary rock with those haunting steely blues and greys is fabulous .The coastline is so amazing isn’t it … and that soft warm hinterland makes a great contrast …
    It’s going on the wish list for March along with the other end of the beach with those basalt columns and much much more of course :-)

    December 8, 2014 at 8:29 am

    • Thank you Poppy. As I said to Rachael, that last shot is one of my favourite shots from the whole trip. I love the colours and the cloud hanging over the mountains in the distance with, just a hint, of the warm yellows of the winter grasses. There’s lots to explore in this area that’s for sure. I’m very much looking forward to getting another shot at the lighthouse and rocks.. :-)

      December 8, 2014 at 9:00 am

  11. I love the idea of forecasting cloud types – isn’t there something about the Inuit having 50 words for snow …? I digress!
    Lovely pictures Adrian under challenge conditions – who’d have thought Cornwall would be the place to prep for ‘extreme photography’?!
    Along with you and others, your last photo is my favourite. I love the minimal tones and composition which create a real sense of drama. I also like the idea of the solitary stone standing as a bastion between the waters.

    December 8, 2014 at 10:55 am

    • Thank you Noeline! I was really pleased that I managed to get at least one picture of that lone rock, in focus and without rain on the lens. The wind was making a sharp picture extremely difficult given the slow shutter speeds. I could see my lens vibrating in the wind. I would have liked to use a filter but decided adding a ‘sail’ to the lens wasn’t going to help matters. I could have upped the ISO of course but I hate to do that. Battling wind and rain down here in Cornwall I think I was better prepared to give it go despite the conditions. :-)

      December 8, 2014 at 1:22 pm

  12. Marvelous shots despite the uncooperative weather! That second to last one was my favorite.

    December 8, 2014 at 2:06 pm

    • Thank you very much Gunta! I took that shot with my super wide angle making it appear I was further from the edge than in fact I was. I had to get very close to the edge to get the shot. It was all a bit unnerving and rather fraught. I’m looking forward to taking a closer look at those rocks and perhaps exploring some better angles when I return to Iceland in February. :-)

      December 8, 2014 at 8:43 pm

  13. Wooooooooooooow beautiful photos of a nice place.

    December 8, 2014 at 6:35 pm

    • Thank you so much Lou! It’s a beautiful place! :-)

      December 8, 2014 at 8:39 pm

  14. Wow – you excelled yourself, Adrian. Considering the conditions the images are superb. And what an amazing place Iceland is. I can never quite get used to black sand, but it adds drama to an image.

    December 8, 2014 at 9:40 pm

    • Thank you Andy! It was a challenge. This was my first experience with black sand. After the golden beaches of Cornwall it was a bit of a shock but as you say, the colour of the beach does add drama and mood. :-)

      December 9, 2014 at 7:53 am

  15. Reblogged this on Hemmingen.

    December 8, 2014 at 11:33 pm

  16. Love the moodiness of these Adrian – sometimes no sun is a good thing! I especially like your shot of the light. Well done as always!

    December 9, 2014 at 2:49 am

    • Thank you Tina. Indeed, sometimes no sun is a good thing! :-)

      December 9, 2014 at 7:54 am

  17. Beautiful Adrian and thank you for sharing your settings and tips.

    December 9, 2014 at 4:02 am

    • Thank you Edith, a pleasure! :-)

      December 9, 2014 at 7:55 am

  18. fantastic images.. love the title of your post too.

    December 9, 2014 at 4:27 pm

    • your handling of the low contrast on the bottom two images is superb!

      December 9, 2014 at 4:28 pm

      • Thank you very much John. That’s very kind of you to say. Much appreciated! :-)

        December 9, 2014 at 5:03 pm

  19. Fabulous! I love that last image of the lone rock like a sentinel…. (From the comments I see that it is one of your favourites from the trip). Well done in ghastly conditions!

    December 9, 2014 at 5:34 pm

    • Thank you very much Sue. There is something special about that rock, the hexagonal shapes of the basalt add something and the fact that it stands alone like that creates a smashing subject for a composition. I think the conditions and the fact that I managed to pull off the shot too makes a little bit special! :-)

      December 9, 2014 at 6:02 pm

      • The ones that we work for often occupy a special place….

        December 9, 2014 at 8:49 pm

      • I think so.. :)

        December 9, 2014 at 9:23 pm

  20. Fantastic! Those dark moody clouds with the lighthouse- I can almost hear the Shipping Forecast in these great shots!

    December 9, 2014 at 10:29 pm

    • Thank you again Patti, yes, I know what you mean! :-)

      December 9, 2014 at 10:47 pm

  21. Each image is a gem.

    December 10, 2014 at 3:40 pm

    • That’s so lovely Elena, Thank you!

      December 10, 2014 at 5:21 pm

  22. The final image of the the dark sandbank takes my breath away. gorgeousness.

    December 11, 2014 at 6:00 pm

    • Thank you Karen. This is one of my favourites from the whole trip. The black sand and the lone rock, the cloud hanging so low over the mountains, it was stunning. I’d never encountered black sand before. All the beaches in Cornwall have golden sand of course and this was just so alien. :-)

      December 11, 2014 at 6:57 pm

  23. Great photos, the lighthouse shot makes me want to sit down with a hot drink and just watch it do its thing!

    December 13, 2014 at 5:31 am

    • Thanks Randall. I could have done with a hot drink whilst I was taking the pictures! :-)

      December 13, 2014 at 4:43 pm

      • Ha, ha ~ yes, it must have been a little chilly there.

        December 14, 2014 at 1:46 am

      • It was! :-)

        December 14, 2014 at 9:28 am

  24. Lovely photos of the coastline.May I wish you all the best for 2015

    December 30, 2014 at 6:37 pm

    • Thank you so much Lou! Have a fabulous New Year. Looking forward to seeing many more of your photographs! :-)

      December 30, 2014 at 6:39 pm