Continuing on from my last post, we entered the tunnel under the mountain that would bring us to the next fjord along, in a real blizzard.  As we emerged from the tunnel on the other side of the mountains, it was still snowing just as hard, if not harder and as we entered the town of Siglufjörður where we saw the northern lights on our previous visit , the snow was piled either side of the road, and outside the houses.  It was difficult to see but we pulled in to the car park of a convenience store.  People were scurrying in and out of the shop, bundled against the snow.  It was clear what a difficult winter the people living in the north of Iceland were having.  We picked up a few snacks and pressed on.  It was late in the afternoon and we wanted to check in to our apartment before dark.


Entering the town of Akureyri we were faced with a new challenge.  The roads were covered with a large amount of compacted snow and into that compacted snow, deep ruts had developed.  As the red light changed to green at a set of traffic lights, I accelerated away gently, then hit ruts like solid concrete.  The Jeep bucked causing me to step on the gas a little too hard.  The effect of this was quite startling, the car went into a dramatic spin and before we knew it we were sat facing the oncoming traffic, which, thankfully anticipating what was happening, had waited patiently for me to stop playing around.  They’d clearly seen it all before.  I waived rather sheepishly to the cars in the two lanes of rush hour traffic I was facing like a mexican standoff and looked for a quick exit.

Akeuryri 1I could see that my quickest route away from this busy road and to allow the traffic to start flowing again was to turn immediately right which I did.  I was tired and this was a dramatic reminder that, in these conditions, keeping the car on the road and in one piece meant not letting one’s concentration drop for a second.  A small error could have fairly major and potentially life threatening consequences.  I wonder if the angle of the lamp-post in the picture above is the result of a similar incident.

I was rapidly learning all the new skills required to drive on snow and ice, in town and out on the highway.  As it turned out, the right turn conveniently brough us almost immediately to the doorstep of the Vínbúðin, one of a chain of government-run stores that sell alcohol for consumption off premises.  The only stores licensed to do so.  This was a store I know we’d have been looking for a little later and probably struggling to find and here we were, we’d been spun around and pointed in the right direction.  Although I didn’t feel the need for a drink to calm my nerves after this salutary incident, my passenger did..

P1000647AFrom the Vínbúðin, we listened to James (our ever-present GPS guide) and turned left and right until we pulled up outside the large house I recognised from the pictures when we booked and from Google Earth. This would be a base for the next five days, an apartment in the basement of a rather grand house in a leafy, well it would be leafy in summer, section of Akureyri.  Bags unloaded, familiarisation with heating, wi-fi, kitchen, bedrooms complete, it was a case of grab a quick meal and sleep.

Waking up the next morning, relishing the underfloor heating, I took a peek out of the window, it was first light and it looked like it was going to be a beautiful sunrise.  The winter wonderland was still there and we had waterfalls to visit.  The first on the list was Godafoss.   You’ve already seen some of my pictures taken at Godafoss. I’ve added a few more..

A close up of Godafoss waterfall frozen in the depths of winter..60mm f/3.5 1/2000 sec. ISO-50

spaceWater280mm f/5.6 1/640 sec. ISO-50

spaceGodafoss210mm f/5.6 1/320 sec. ISO-50

We had intended to visit Aldeyjarfoss, another very beautiful waterfall.  The coordinates were loaded in the GPS and after visiting Godafoss we set off.  The road to Aldeyjarfoss was little more than a dirt/ash track but it seemed to be pretty clear and we were enjoying the drive along the river.  As we turned through a farm gate, the road dipped quite steeply toward the river and it was here we came across a low loader rescuing a 4×4 from a very deep snow drift.  The chap being rescued was Icelandic, he said he visited the waterfall the previous winter without any problems but the snow this year had beaten him.  I was quietly glad that he’d gone first.  We reversed and set off back towards Akureyri.  This can be an issue with visiting Iceland in the winter.  You can’t necessarily get to see all you want to as roads, especially mountain roads are frequently impassable and if there are no dwellings along these roads, they won’t be cleared..

Godafoss frozen in Winter24mm f/11 1/100 sec. ISO-50

space1AT_2084Acb75mm f/11 1/60 sec. ISO-50

space1AT_1922Afr70mm f/11 1/100 sec. ISO-50

spaceFjord24mm f/11 1/60 sec. ISO-50

spaceShip at Húsavík24mm f/11 1/60 sec. ISO-50

spaceAdrian Theze Photo logo_2spacespace

88 responses

  1. Wow that is some beautiful work. Its hard to pick a favorite, but I did love the horses!!

    March 22, 2015 at 5:44 pm

    • Thank you very much Jim!

      March 22, 2015 at 5:50 pm

  2. Such beautiful pictures! I’ve only visited Iceland in the summer, but looking at your pictures I really want to in the winter too… :)

    March 22, 2015 at 6:07 pm

    • Thank you Camilla. I would definitely recommend a winter visit. Despite the conditions, I’d happily go in February/March again. I love the snow and under a thick blanket, the landscape was very beutiful!

      March 22, 2015 at 6:24 pm

  3. Such magical photos of Godafoss! Those Icelandic horses are so beautiful. I was just reading that they were taken to Iceland in the 9th and 10th centuries, by Norse settlers, so I guess they must be quite immune to the cold temperatures by now. :) What a fantastic adventure you had, Adrian!

    March 22, 2015 at 6:12 pm

    • It really was Sylvia. Interesting, your comments on the ponies. Seeing them standing in the fields in blizzard conditions, I felt quite sorry for them but I was speaking to an Icelandic friend and she said that when a national effort was made to treat the ponies a little better than they were being treated, they all became sick. They’ve evolved to exist in this bleak and wild landscape, grazing the sparse grasses, and that is where they’re happiest.

      March 22, 2015 at 6:27 pm

  4. Each image, absolutely breathtaking, Adrian! The one of the lone person standing on the brink of the waterfall – wow. Gave me a feeling of vertigo! I’m loving seeing Iceland through your eyes.

    March 22, 2015 at 6:21 pm

    • Thank you so much Stacey. Godafoss, especially frozen like this is a beautiful sight. We called in on three consecutive days. Couldn’t get enough of it. :-)

      March 22, 2015 at 6:28 pm

  5. Fabulous images of the waterfall and love the mountains in the sunlight

    March 22, 2015 at 6:22 pm

    • Thank you Mark. I wanted to freeze the water in time and was working very hard to achieve that. By opening the shutter right up, I managed 1/2000 sec and I think the detail that sort of shutter speed captures is pretty amazing. :-)

      March 22, 2015 at 6:31 pm

  6. I love your images…thank you for sharing them

    March 22, 2015 at 6:28 pm

    • Thank you Brenda and thank you for looking! :-)

      March 22, 2015 at 6:32 pm

  7. I am so enjoying these pictures and the story behind them. You write a great travelogue Adrian :) The waterfall images are magnificent, but so is the pink sky in the first one. I love your work in Cornwall, but am beginning to think that your Icelandic photography is your best so far. More please… :-D

    March 22, 2015 at 6:36 pm

    • Thank you Jude. I’ve loved taking pictures in Iceland and it always helps to enjoy what you’re photographing I think. It’s the same with the Cornish landscape, I couldn’t be happier than when I’m out there taking pictures. I’ve plenty more to come.. :-)

      March 22, 2015 at 7:16 pm

  8. Adrian – these are breathtakingly beautiful! Iceland is a fairy country, and akureyri I remember as very nice. And I agree with you on Godafoss – it’s even more a feast to the eye frozen. I love the horses standing in the snowy landscape – they are so sturdy and natural. We have a lot of them in Sweden as well.
    Your photos truly speak of returning wintertime!

    March 22, 2015 at 6:38 pm

    • Thank you Anne Christine. Iceland is so very beautiful and not having snow here in the UK now, it was lovely to experience so much of it. I would love to visit Sweeden on day too. The ponies are lovely placid creatures and so friendly.

      March 22, 2015 at 7:12 pm

      • Easy riding too, these horses. If you ever plan to go to Sweden – don’t hesitate to contact me!

        March 22, 2015 at 7:18 pm

      • I’ll definitely give you a call, it’d be a pleasure to meet you! I understand the ponies are very adept at giving a very smooth ride, such that you could quite comfortably sip a glass of wine perhaps whilst riding along. :-)

        March 22, 2015 at 8:08 pm

      • He, he, well…I don’t know about that…Their special gait called “tölt” is something you have to get used to. But with a steady hand…the sipping might work!
        I’d love to see you as well!

        March 22, 2015 at 8:12 pm

      • :-)

        March 22, 2015 at 8:16 pm

  9. Powerful waterfall. I can hear it roar from your photos.

    March 22, 2015 at 6:44 pm

    • Thank you! :-)

      March 22, 2015 at 7:04 pm

  10. Wow. I love it

    March 22, 2015 at 7:11 pm

    • Thank you Rajiv! :-)

      March 22, 2015 at 7:16 pm

  11. amazing pictures of a waterfall !!!

    March 22, 2015 at 7:17 pm

    • Thank you Gwennie! :-)

      March 22, 2015 at 8:03 pm

  12. poppytump

    These really are magnificent photographs ChillB … love the close ups and the ponies … look at them .. the slightest encouragement and they’d have been trotting over . Imagine the temperatures there had to have been for days to freeze such a powerful waterfall as Godafoss .. well … we needn’t imagine we know Lol …
    You describe the driving conditions so well … thank heavens we had those Jeeps ! Looking at these from the comfort of my sofa I can hardly believe it was barely two weeks ago :-)

    March 22, 2015 at 7:37 pm

    • It doesn’t seem possible does it Poppy, such a short time ago. It feels a lot longer somehow. So far removed from those blizzards, enjoying such lovely spring weather that we are. I’ve been checking the road conditions and they are still the same in Iceland. I really enjoyed the winter landscape and would go back again at this time of year despite the challenging conditions. I think I might just be a little more adventurous.. ;-)

      March 22, 2015 at 8:13 pm

  13. Sue

    Love the colours of the sky in that first image, and those images of the waterfall are truly stunning! You certainly had some challenges with driving….

    March 22, 2015 at 8:41 pm

    • Thank you Sue. The driving was indeed challenging. I gainded a lot of new skills, driving in those conditions. :-)

      March 22, 2015 at 9:07 pm

      • Sue

        I bet you did!

        March 22, 2015 at 9:37 pm

  14. Outstanding photos, Adrian. The captured beauty moves me deeply. I love ice and snow and your photos too.
    Dina xx

    March 22, 2015 at 8:55 pm

    • Thank you so much Dina! I really like the snow and ice too! :-)

      March 22, 2015 at 9:06 pm

  15. Pat

    Fantastic series.

    March 22, 2015 at 9:44 pm

    • Thank you Pat! :-)

      March 23, 2015 at 7:41 am

  16. Gorgeous photos of winterweather in Iceland.Amazing the frozen waterfall.tHANKS FOR SHARING.

    March 22, 2015 at 9:56 pm

    • Thank you Lou! It’s a pleasure writing the blog, thank you for your support always. :-)

      March 23, 2015 at 7:46 am

  17. Wonderful! I’m not surprised that you return to Godafoss, it’s stunning :-) So much power in the water!

    March 22, 2015 at 10:00 pm

  18. You have really been working hard, making your magical photos. And got some driving skills on the road. Again: magical photos!

    March 22, 2015 at 10:07 pm

    • Thank you so much Bente! :-)

      March 23, 2015 at 7:47 am

  19. Reblogged this on texsteps and commented:

    March 22, 2015 at 10:42 pm

    • Thank you Tad!

      March 23, 2015 at 7:47 am

  20. Love the light!!! The waterfalls, glaciers (?) and rivers look just amazing!!!

    March 22, 2015 at 11:16 pm

    • Thank you very much! It’s a stunning landscape and one I enjoy photographing very much! :-)

      March 23, 2015 at 7:48 am

  21. The ice is incredible Adrian, and what an adventure you had! i’m afraid my days of driving through snow and ice on unknown roads are behind me so I appreciate your efforts even more – thanks for sharing!

    March 22, 2015 at 11:49 pm

    • Thank you Tina! It is perhaps an acquired taste, driving in conditions like these but for now, I enjoyed it very much and would give it another go like a shot! :-)

      March 23, 2015 at 7:49 am

  22. So very pretty, Adrian…and how sweet that you got to go back there again. You’ve captured some amazing beauty…nature-made. :)

    March 23, 2015 at 12:41 am

    • Thank you Scott! Nature at it’s most majestic! :-)

      March 23, 2015 at 7:53 am

  23. One stunning photo after another – a delight to look at and really enjoying your narrative too. The tough little Icelandic ponies, not even kitted out with a winter blanket, were lovely.

    March 23, 2015 at 1:38 am

    • Thank you very much Carol! Those ponies are tough! :-)

      March 23, 2015 at 7:53 am

  24. Utterly gorgeous images, Chilli! Sounds like you had quite the adventure getting them! Well worth it though.

    March 23, 2015 at 3:23 am

    • Thank you Gunta! We had our moments on this trip that’s for sure! :-)

      March 23, 2015 at 7:54 am

  25. Very nice . . . although, with the low loader already on site, I would have given it a try. Rescue would be but a few seconds away.

    I was also surprised to see the marina clear of ice. I gather it’s salt water, which freezes 4-5 degrees (F) lower temperatures than fresh water.

    I assume, then, that the sea water may be a bit warmer than that? perhaps due to some currents? I could probably look it up, but how often does one have someone with first-hand experience but a mere comment away?

    March 23, 2015 at 4:39 am

    • Thank you Emilio, giving it try did cross our minds and we may have got through but it was the getting back that was more troubling. With snow falling on the montains we didn’t fancy our chances terribly highly of getting back. Iceland benefits from the warming effects of the gulf stream so the water is kept very temperate. :-)

      March 23, 2015 at 7:58 am

  26. Great post Adrian. Those horses must have been … well freezing to say the least.

    March 23, 2015 at 4:57 am

    • The ponies are very tough. I understand they were brought to the island by Sweedish settlers in the 9th century. Only the toughest would survive. Very hardy little guys that’s for sure and so friendly. :-)

      March 23, 2015 at 8:00 am

  27. Beautiful set of images, LOVE THEM

    March 23, 2015 at 7:09 am

    • Thank you Malc!

      March 23, 2015 at 8:00 am

  28. Lovely photographs; I really like the soft pink sky and its reflection in the first (nice touch!) and the drama of the semi frozen waterfall.

    March 23, 2015 at 8:45 am

    • Thank you very much Noeline!

      March 23, 2015 at 9:07 am

  29. You keep impressing from your trip to Iceland. Once again gorgeous photos.

    March 23, 2015 at 5:08 pm

    • Thank you very much indeed Otto! :-)

      March 23, 2015 at 6:33 pm

  30. Oh my gosh, such stunning shots!

    March 23, 2015 at 9:46 pm

    • Thank you Elena!

      March 24, 2015 at 7:49 am

  31. I’m in love.

    March 24, 2015 at 12:28 am

    • Me too! :-)

      March 24, 2015 at 7:49 am

  32. Yasmin Loraine - Photographer

    Beautiful pictures of the falls!!!

    March 24, 2015 at 7:31 am

    • Thank you Yasmin! :-)

      March 24, 2015 at 7:49 am

  33. Magnifiques photos ! Je vais en Islande en juin et je ne pourrai sans doute plus voir ces paysages enneigés…

    March 24, 2015 at 12:05 pm

    • Merci beaucoup! Profitez de votre voyage en Islande! :-)

      March 24, 2015 at 12:16 pm

  34. What a superb gallery, Adrian. The penultimate one appeals to me particularly due to the repetitive shape of the mountains. But those waterfalls – so different from anything we are ever likely to see in this country and so beautifully captured. As for driving in the snow – I had to drive country lanes as a GP in all weathers and often I felt I was taking substantial risks.

    March 26, 2015 at 9:17 am

    • Thanks Andy. I was very glad of the app that meant someone, somewhere, had our position logged. I can imagine you did have to take substantial risks to get to people in need. Black ice is the worst and as most of us don’t have snow tyres, suitably deflated, on our vehicles in winter here, ice and snow become particularly treacherous. Driving up some of the inclines I was often chuckling to myself at the thought of how impossible this would be back home.

      March 26, 2015 at 10:28 am

  35. Such beautiful pictures! I love and admire your Works.

    March 26, 2015 at 8:18 pm

    • Thank you again Isabel! :-)

      March 26, 2015 at 8:53 pm

  36. Sublime and beautiful images, and as you note – a landscape that comes with some serious challenges in the winter!

    March 29, 2015 at 3:20 pm

    • Thank you so much Karen. :-)

      March 29, 2015 at 8:55 pm

  37. Nice set of images Adrian. I especially like the one with the figure standing by the waterfall. That deep green color of the water is amazing.

    April 1, 2015 at 7:55 pm

    • Thank you Jim! The colour of the water really was quite something.

      April 1, 2015 at 9:50 pm

  38. Such a peaceful town you show and then such vibrance with the waterfalls ~ you have touched something special here…

    April 3, 2015 at 11:51 am

    • Akureyri really is one of my favourite places. Naturally people head for Reykjavik, that’s where the airport is, it’s the capital of course and the ‘Golden Circle’ that includes Iceland’s most popular attractions keeps people close. A connecting flight or a 6 hour drive away is Iceland’s second city, Akureyri, and I think people miss a lot by not heading north. It is a special place. Thanks, as always, for your comment Randall. Much appreciated.

      April 3, 2015 at 7:06 pm

      • This is good info to know, as one day I hope to see the beauty of Iceland for myself… Truly some incredible places ~

        April 4, 2015 at 2:05 am

      • I hope you do Randall!

        April 4, 2015 at 7:54 am