Stór hús..

One of the things I noticed about Iceland was an apparent lack of ostentatious properties and estates with large fences around them. One gets the feeling that people are more than happy with building just what they need so you see many very modest dwellings travelling around the country. Heating large houses could of course be a consideration and perhaps one of the reasons you don’t see very many.  How much nicer and cosy it is to sit in a small living room in a modest cottage with an open fire or stove..

I’ve called this post the Big House because the property below, now derelict due to a fire, is very much on the large size compared to most other properties we saw. Such a sad sight.  I wondered about the history of the house and hoped that the people who lived here escaped the fire. I’ve added a few other pictures taken on the day I took the picture of the house. From blue dawn through sunrise. Click on the images for a clearer sharper view. :-)

The Little House, Utnesvegur, Iceland24mm f/11 1/40 sec. ISO-100

This was the marsh, pre-dawn..

Salt Marsh, Dawn, Iceland24mm f/11 2 sec. ISO-100

As the sun rose, the light took on a beautiful pink cast, contrasting nicely with the blue of the clouds.

Sunrise, Iceland70mm f/11 0.6 sec. ISO-100

Ponies are everywhere in the countryside. I know farmers to be a less than sentimental when it comes to animals.  Animals are not kept if they are not productive, they have to work for their living and I wondered about this.  A bit of research revealed that indeed, as I suspected, horse meat is still eaten in Iceland although not now quite so common as it once was.

Many of the ponies it seems are now being employed in the pony trekking business catering to the ever-expanding tourist industry.  These particular ponies were very friendly and came trotting up to the fence when I got out of the car so I’m pretty sure these ponies are not going to end up on someone’s plate being much better employed as ponies for hire. Ponies, Sunrise, Iceland24mm f/11 1/3 sec. ISO-100

Útnesvegur is an incredible section of road to drive.  The escarpment stark and beautiful one side and the Atlantic Ocean the other, the road to Arnastapi is stunning. We barely saw another car and with the spectacular scenery, driving was a real pleasure.

Utnesvegur, Iceland70mm f/11 1/30 sec. ISO-100

Congestion in the UK means that driving has become much more of a chore than something one would do for the sheer pleasure of it. I passed my driving test when I was 17 and loved my car, driving many thousands of miles.  The roads were very much less congested than they are now however.  There are now around 35 million cars on the road in the UK. I don’t know how many vehicle registrations there are in Iceland but with a population of just 323,000, it’s not going to be many. In Iceland I became acquainted once more with what a pleasure driving the open road can be.

Utnesvegur, Iceland24mm f/11 1/80 sec. ISO-100



74 responses

  1. Beautiful picturr! Il like very much! Have a good evening!

    December 18, 2014 at 5:46 pm

    • Thank you very much! I hope you have a fabulous evening too.

      December 18, 2014 at 6:11 pm

  2. Yvonne Theze


    Hope weather hasn’t spoiled your trip. Lovely photos as always. Love mum x x x

    Sent from my iPad


    December 18, 2014 at 6:19 pm

    • Hi Mum, Thanks you. It’s not been the best of weather that’s for sure but we’re having a great time anyway.. See you Saturday. Lots of Love :-)

      December 18, 2014 at 8:18 pm

  3. Stunning photos. Makes me wish to pack my suitcase straight away. Thanks for sharing.

    December 18, 2014 at 6:31 pm

    • You’re very welcome, thanks for your comment! :-)

      December 18, 2014 at 8:18 pm

  4. The pictures are spectacular. It almost looks like another world.

    December 18, 2014 at 6:31 pm

    • Thank you Jason. It does feel that way.. :-)

      December 18, 2014 at 8:18 pm

  5. Beautiful image to start with and as the story unravelled the landscape looked like just out of this world….

    Beautiful write up and stunning images…

    Thank you so much for sharing :)

    December 18, 2014 at 6:38 pm

    • Thank you Sreejith, you’re very welcome, it’s a pleasure posting these pictures. The landscape feels alomost prehistoric at times and I guess that’s because of the volcanic activity. It was a fabulous trip! :-)

      December 18, 2014 at 8:21 pm

  6. Great image of the abandoned house, and I love the vibrant clarity of those shots of the open road….my kind of driving!

    December 18, 2014 at 6:53 pm

    • Thank you Sue. It really was such a pleasure to be driving the open road and to be the only car surrounded by this stunning scenery. There are so many times I want to stop my car and take pictures here but it proves impossible because there’s always a car right on your bumper, no matter where you are. No such problems in Iceland. I could just stop the car and set up my tripod in the middle of the road whenever I felt like it. Given the landscape, this was really quite often. :-)

      December 18, 2014 at 8:25 pm

      • Tripod in the middle of the road? In the words of a famous tennis player, you cannot be serious! (But I know you are….)

        December 18, 2014 at 8:36 pm

      • I couldn’t quite believe it either Sue. :-)

        December 18, 2014 at 9:58 pm

  7. The landscape in these shots doesn’t look too dissimilar to Orkney…..although the hills and mountains look more dramatic.

    December 18, 2014 at 7:10 pm

    • I thought a few times that the landscape reminded me of places I’ve visited in Scotland but like you say, a bit more dramatic I think.

      December 18, 2014 at 8:27 pm

  8. Super shots!! Beautiful, amazing…
    Good nigth.

    December 18, 2014 at 7:37 pm

    • Thank you so much Isabel. I hope you have a good night too..! :-)

      December 18, 2014 at 8:27 pm

  9. Rosa de los Vientos

    Delicious dreamy post.

    December 18, 2014 at 7:45 pm

    • Thank you very much Rosa, much appreciated! :-)

      December 18, 2014 at 8:28 pm

  10. That burnt out shell of a house makes for a very dramatic image, Adrian. So sad to to see though, as it must once have been really beautiful. What gorgeous scenery to be driving through, and what a luxury to have the road all to yourself, after all the traffic snarl-ups in England. The third image is really breathtaking. :)

    December 18, 2014 at 8:07 pm

    • Thank you so much Sylvia. The house was certainly a dramatic subject but like you say, very sad that it should now be the burnt out shell that it is. Around every corner there was another jaw droppingly beautiful view. I was stopping constantly! :-)

      December 18, 2014 at 8:30 pm

  11. Brilliant collection of great photo’s

    December 18, 2014 at 9:48 pm

    • Thank you Lou! :-)

      December 18, 2014 at 9:58 pm

  12. Such a great expression of the sheer vastness of the landscape, the incapability of climate and nature in a harsh and unforgiving land. Yet it’s so beautiful and fascinating you can easily see why people are constantly drawn to it. I want to go there even more having seen your photos :-)

    December 18, 2014 at 9:49 pm

    • I do hope you can convince your other half or perhaps the friend you mentioned Sarah to go with you. Iceland is somewhere I really hadn’t considered before I saw the cheap flights and on a whim thought why not? I’m so glad I made the booking. It was amazing. :-)

      December 18, 2014 at 10:01 pm

      • Do you know I’ve already been looking at flights! I suspect I will have to wait til 2016 what with our wedding next year. Flights are a great price but I think cost of accommodation and hire car will be a lot. I want to do a bit more investigation into the best times of year to go and what routes to take around the island. I’d dearly love to see the volcanoes but I don’t think they’ll be particularly accessible!

        December 19, 2014 at 12:57 pm

      • Hi Sarah, The Hringvegur or ring road will take you right around the island. You can get a 4×4 off season for about £750 for two weeks. Accommodation varies obviously but I’ve seen places where you just bring your own sleeping bag and a bed in the warm is about £16 a night. A cabin that sleeps 4 will cost about £50 a night and hotels, well the skies the limit.
        The Bárðarbunga volcano is currently erupting and spewing lava as you probably know but access is limited because of the poisonous gases being emitted. I’m travelling to Iceland again in February with a geologist friend and we’ll be trying to get as close as the authorities will allow. I hope that helps. is great when it comes to finding places to stay in Iceland. :-)

        December 19, 2014 at 5:02 pm

      • Oh now that’s definitely the way to do it!! That’s interesting about the hostel type places. I wonder what their bathroom facilities are though? It’s kind of important for me! It all used to be so much more simple!! It is great that you’re going with a geologist. I used to do a lot of caving before the Crohn’s and we had a group that went down the various Mendip caves along with the Wessex Cave Rescue volunteers so we got to access places that are usually closed to the public and see newly mapped areas :-) It was awesome!

        December 19, 2014 at 8:36 pm

      • That does sound pretty amazing Sarah. I’m far too claustrophobic for such activities! :-)

        December 20, 2014 at 5:12 pm

  13. Open roads with sweeping, dramatic landscapes. Really beautiful. I hoep the ponies are left alone :)

    December 18, 2014 at 9:53 pm

    • Thank you Marina, I hope so too. The ponies really were very sweet. :-)

      December 18, 2014 at 10:02 pm

  14. I’m very envious of your trip Adrian. Super photo opportunities, which you have exploited with your usual skill. Oh, and the roads. I too, used to enjoy driving, but it is now rarely possible in the UK.

    December 18, 2014 at 11:04 pm

    • Thank you Dave. It was an extraordinary trip. When I read 35 million cars on the road in the UK I was shocked but not surprised I suppose given the congestion everywhere.

      December 19, 2014 at 10:06 am

  15. Such crystal clear photos, with beautiful light. As a novice, I really appreciate that you include your camera settings.

    December 19, 2014 at 3:48 am

    • Thank you Angeline. I appreciate your comment very much! :-)

      December 19, 2014 at 10:07 am

  16. What a truly beautiful landscape which you have captured so well. The ‘driving’ element also reminded me of when I was in the west coast of Scotland about 30 years ago. I drove for about an hour one morning and saw about 3 cars. When I returned home to the south coast, on the first morning as I drove to work, the same number of cars passed me in about 30 seconds before I had even reached the end of the road! Even worse today. Iceland is obviously worth visiting for lots of reasons.

    December 19, 2014 at 5:15 am

    • Thank you very much Alan. Iceland has so much to offer it really is worth a visit!

      December 19, 2014 at 10:10 am

  17. The lure of the open road …. the reason why most of our motorcycle touring is not in England!
    I love the changing light in these – a great place for photography.

    December 19, 2014 at 11:23 am

    • Thank you Noeline! It’s very difficult to enjoy motorcycling in England that’s for sure. I’ve given up even trying and will not be buying the bike I promised myself when I passed my test a few years ago. Iceland really is a fabulous place for photography! I just loved it. :-)

      December 19, 2014 at 5:06 pm

  18. Stunning Adrian.

    December 19, 2014 at 12:40 pm

    • Thank you Edith! :-)

      December 19, 2014 at 5:03 pm

  19. poppytump

    Totally captivating images ChillB ! With those empty open roads ahead beckoning one further into that cinematic landscape it is hard to keep to any sort of timetable or itinerary … atleast the daylight hours will be a little longer come February/March time ;-)

    December 19, 2014 at 6:12 pm

    • Thank you so much Poppy. It’s definitely best to be flexible and go where breaks in the weather are most likely. Very much looking forward to February! ;-) x

      December 19, 2014 at 9:18 pm

  20. Lovely shots – my favourite buildings were the churches – ultra simple and stunning because of it.

    December 19, 2014 at 7:00 pm

    • Thank you very much. The churches are gorgeous. :-)

      December 19, 2014 at 9:21 pm

  21. Crna svijetlost

    Beautiful photos. I like it…

    December 19, 2014 at 8:56 pm

    • Thank you very much! I’m glad you enjoyed the photos! :-)

      December 19, 2014 at 9:11 pm

  22. It looks pretty desolate, but I sure know what you mean about the joy of driving the open, uncluttered road! ;)

    December 20, 2014 at 6:26 am

    • Thank you Gunta! It was a real pleasure driving in Iceland! :-)

      December 20, 2014 at 5:11 pm

  23. Another fine series Adrian, and love that first shot ~ could stare at it for hours in peace… :-) Wish you a great holiday season!

    December 20, 2014 at 5:22 pm

    • And to you Randall and thank you! Are you home for Christmas with your family? Have a fabulous time wherever you spend the festive season! :-)

      December 20, 2014 at 5:39 pm

      • Yes, just arrived back to Seattle ~ wish you well!

        December 21, 2014 at 6:36 pm

      • Have a great time! :-)

        December 21, 2014 at 6:53 pm

  24. Pingback: Sonntagsleserei Dezember 2014 | buchpost

  25. Tremendous gallery, Adrian. That house reminds me a little of the disused Tin Mines in Cornwall – it’s that tall chimney…

    December 22, 2014 at 8:31 pm

    • Thank you Andy. I hadn’t thought of it in that way but that tall chimney is distinctive and certainly has the same dramatic impact as an engine house.

      December 23, 2014 at 10:59 am

  26. Beautiful, Adrian…and only 323,000 people in the whole country? Wow…we have at least 12 times that many people here in the county where I live and work…no wonder it’s not so relaxing to drive any more! :)

    December 23, 2014 at 2:06 am

    • Thank you Scott. Driving has certainly become much less of a pleasure in the UK than it once was. In Iceland it was a dream. Take away other cars and you take away the stress that makes driving so tiring. :-)

      December 23, 2014 at 11:02 am

      • Those empty roads looked so inviting.

        December 23, 2014 at 1:24 pm

  27. Amazing photography, as usual.

    As for driving . . . one of the things I like about Colorado (and a few surrounding states) is that you can find many roads with very few people on them.

    Looks like Iceland would be very much to my liking.

    December 23, 2014 at 3:13 am

    • Thank you Emilio! I think Iceland would be very much to your liking too!

      December 23, 2014 at 11:05 am

  28. Just catching up on your Iceland photos…I love the top photo in this set. It seems to be yearning for an epic story. :-) I am thinking “Gone with the Wind…” Also reminds me of Jack London’s dream house in Sonoma, CA which burned a few days before he was scheduled to move in. The remains are a dramatic stone structure fending a wild land…

    December 23, 2014 at 5:55 am

    • Thank you Vivian. I was trying to imagine the story behind the house. A ‘Gone withe the Wind’ type epic would seem appropriate. I hadn’t heard of the Wolf House, just been checking Google Images. There are certainly similarities, the chimneys in both are very dominant for one. How sad when these places burn.

      December 23, 2014 at 11:11 am

      • It is tragic that these places burn, I would imagine that it is heartbreaking for the owners. I looked on Google Images for the Wolf House, it’s hard to get a sense of scale from the photos. Maybe one day you’ll come and do it justice. :-)

        December 23, 2014 at 5:50 pm

      • Californa is somewhere I know I’d like very much. A trip to the US is definitely on the cards but perhaps 2016 rather than next year. Flights are so expensive now. How nice it would be to meet up for a coffee..

        December 23, 2014 at 5:57 pm

      • My husband and I would be so delighted to meet you! Please let us know when the time comes…

        December 23, 2014 at 6:06 pm

      • I will indeed! :-)

        December 23, 2014 at 6:08 pm

  29. The house photo – so perfectly framed and composed – the bit of blue sky, the grasses and mountains with their slanted angles, like the roofline – what an eye!

    December 29, 2014 at 12:58 am

    • Thank you Lynn! Sad that the house burned but it did make a superb subject for a photograph!

      December 29, 2014 at 1:05 pm

  30. Oh yes, driving on an open road, it’s full of possibilities somehow. And you can’t beat the view here. Sublime.

    January 1, 2015 at 6:12 pm

    • It was one of the most striking things for me Karen, coming from such a crowded little island as the UK now is. To be able to drive, just drive and see no other cars. To be able to stop without being hassled from behind, to be able to stand in the middle of the road with a tripod.. A good way to get dead here now. It was wonderful! :-)

      January 1, 2015 at 9:53 pm

  31. Simply gorgeous.

    January 4, 2015 at 2:13 pm

    • I wish I could know the story behind the house.. I hope whoever lived there escaped the fire. As it was the house provided a superb subject for a photograph. Thank you.

      January 4, 2015 at 5:25 pm