Mývatn is a lake in the north of Iceland and to the south of Akureyri.  The name of the lake comes from the Icelandic mý (pronounced me ) which means midge and vatn (the n is silent, sort of) which means lake. This gives clues as to why the area might be best avoided in high summer.  Attracted to the carbon dioxide we all breathe out, midges bite, they swarm around your face and mouth and get in your hair and I, for one, will go to great lengths to avoid them.  I’m very glad we were visiting the lake in the middle of winter.

It really is a very beautiful, spiritual place and an area of very active volcanism.  The shrub, clinging to the rock in the picture below reminded me of a bonsai.  Very Zen and that’s how it was.  We’d just sit, listening to the silence, very meditative.

Mývatn in the depths of winter  24mm f/11 1/160 sec. ISO-100

Steaming, boiling pools and vents emitting hot sulphurous gases creating mole hill type structures can be found dotted around.  Watching the steam billowing from beneath the earth, hissing and spitting, is a powerful reminder of the tremendous heat and energy that is locked up beneath us all, it’s just that much closer to the surface in Iceland.  Using this energy to great effect, Iceland is the greenest country on the planet.

Steam Venting27mm f/11 1/60 sec. ISO-50

spaceBubbling Pool45mm f/11 1/60 sec. ISO-50

spaceCrator70mm f/11 1/200 sec. ISO-50

spaceMyvatn II70mm f/11 1/250 sec. ISO-50

spaceMyvatn III40mm f/11 1/250 sec. ISO-50

spaceMyvatn IV26mm f/11 1/320 sec. ISO-50


spaceAdrian Theze Photo logo_2space

74 responses

  1. Great shots again Adrian……especially the first one which is just beautiful for some many reasons.

    March 26, 2015 at 6:35 pm

    • Thank you Mark! Much appreciated. It was such a very beautiful spot. A gift to photographers.

      March 26, 2015 at 6:47 pm

  2. Never stop posting such wonderful photos from the North, Adrian! As far as I’m concerned, it could go on forever. ;-) The images are so crisp and clear, I feel refreshed just from looking and admiring. Great post!
    Oh, am I repeating myself??

    March 26, 2015 at 6:36 pm

    • Thank you so much Dina! I don’t mind you repeating yourself.. ;-) it’s lovely to hear that you are enjoying the pictures so much. :-)

      March 26, 2015 at 6:46 pm

  3. Mirror Lake should be its name. What a divine shot Adrian. Zen indeed. I think I’ll sit next to you if you don’t mind.

    March 26, 2015 at 6:52 pm

    • Thank you Jude! I don’t mind at all. The silence is overwhelming and the beauty breathtaking. A magical place indeed. I can understand why there is so much myth and folklore surrounding this area. Trolls and elves abound..

      March 26, 2015 at 7:03 pm

  4. Sue

    What a wonderful area, magical indeed… I love your Zen Bonsai!

    March 26, 2015 at 7:11 pm

    • Thank you Sue. This was right on a bend in the road and thankfully, traffic being so light (well non-existent actually) I was able to stop, just sit and enjoy this beautiful spot before taking the picture. One can get very used to not being bothered by other people, other road users. Returning home this time I experienced real culture shock. It took quite a few days to accept the way things are here now and to stop being angry that people drive so selfishly and aggressively and that they are right there, sitting on your bumper, wherever you go.

      March 26, 2015 at 7:25 pm

      • Sue

        And you don’t even live in the most congested part of the UK…..

        March 26, 2015 at 7:28 pm

      • I know it! Cornwall seems determined to catch up though. It’s changed so much since I moved here 8 years ago.

        March 26, 2015 at 7:44 pm

      • Sue

        I’m sure it has….

        March 26, 2015 at 8:36 pm

  5. Wonderful!!! I’m a fan of your pictures! Good evening

    March 26, 2015 at 7:31 pm

    • Thank you, that’s very nice to hear. I hope you have a good evening too!

      March 26, 2015 at 7:45 pm

  6. Ah, Adrian – you sweep me off my feet with these…Iceland is magically serene in summer, but even more so in wintertime. Keep posting!

    March 26, 2015 at 9:08 pm

    • I’ve a few more to go yet Anne Christine.. I’m about halfway round now. I’m so glad you’re enjoying the pictures. :-)

      March 26, 2015 at 9:58 pm

      • Looking forward to every piece of it…!

        March 26, 2015 at 10:22 pm

      • :-)

        March 27, 2015 at 8:27 am

  7. Splendid photowork!

    March 26, 2015 at 9:38 pm

    • Thank you Hans!

      March 26, 2015 at 9:59 pm

  8. This is so totally cool. I can’t wait for my August visit.

    March 26, 2015 at 9:45 pm

    • I’ve no doubt you’ll have an amazing time Gabi! Thanks for visiting! :-)

      March 26, 2015 at 10:00 pm

  9. Wonderful sights, you’re finding on this trip. It’s a great pleasure to see them. Beautiful photography too. I just hope you’re not suffering from the cold.

    March 26, 2015 at 9:55 pm

    • Thank you very much Shimon. I’m back home now and enjoying warm spring sunshine here in the UK. I did have some problems with my finger tips splitting in the cold. I needed my fingers free so I had fingerless gloves but they weren’t good enough. When I’m taking pictures, I don’t seem to feel anything but what I’m seeing through my lens and my fingers got very, very cold on too many occasions. I had very deep open wounds develop in my thumbs and forefingers. Probably from fumbling with clips on my tripod when I couldn’t feel my fingers leading to injury. Thankfully, now I’m back in the warm, my fingers have been healing nicely. I know to take greater care of them next time, and there will be a next time but for now, it was all worth a little pain and discomfort to experience the beauty of it all. :-)

      March 26, 2015 at 10:20 pm

  10. Magnificient Iceland !

    March 26, 2015 at 10:40 pm

    • Magnificent Iceland indeed Lou! :-)

      March 27, 2015 at 8:27 am

  11. Gorgeous, Adrian!

    March 27, 2015 at 12:41 am

    • Thank you Robyn! :-)

      March 27, 2015 at 8:27 am

  12. All nice photos, but the penultimate photo had more of an impact than the others.

    Very nice series.

    March 27, 2015 at 1:03 am

    • Thank you very much Emilio!

      March 27, 2015 at 8:26 am

  13. Your first photo is just so beautiful, Adrian. You’re so right, the tree does look like a bonsai. How interesting to know that Iceland is the greenest country on earth. Those sulphurous pools with the steam remind me of my visit to Yellowstone National Park.

    March 27, 2015 at 2:29 am

    • Thank you very much Sylvia! With all the geothermal activity, there is no need to burn fossil fuels. :-)

      March 27, 2015 at 8:26 am

  14. All great shots, but the first one is my favorite. Glad you avoided the midges! I hate them things, too!

    March 27, 2015 at 4:45 am

    • Thank you Gunta. I’ve encountered midges in the past, especially in Scotland. Definitely to be avoided.. the midges that is, not Scotland. :-)

      March 27, 2015 at 8:23 am

  15. Truly inspiring landscapes…..i love the tones…can I ask if you are post processing much? : )) trees

    March 27, 2015 at 5:22 am

    • Thank you very much Therese. I shoot in RAW so there is always some processing to do but it’s minimal. Contrast and colour usually need a tweak as does colour balance sometimes. Takes a few seconds.

      March 27, 2015 at 8:19 am

  16. smackedpentax

    These are superb! What an amazing place to visit.

    March 27, 2015 at 8:55 am

    • Thank you very much. It is indeed!

      March 27, 2015 at 9:16 am

  17. Still more gorgeous images!
    By the way, I have a DVD for you of images from the Solihull Exhibition of British Photography. If you email me with your address I’ll pop it in the post :-)

    March 27, 2015 at 9:19 am

    • Thank you and thank you Rhys. That’s very kind of you to sort that out for me. :-)

      March 27, 2015 at 10:51 am

  18. poppytump

    You’ve some beautiful memories captured here ChillB … That *special magical aura of Iceland can be found in every one of your photographs . Wonderful x

    March 27, 2015 at 10:41 am

    • Thank you so much Poppy! I’m so glad to hear you feel I’ve captured that special something that infects most people who visit the island I think. :-)x

      March 27, 2015 at 10:53 am

  19. thedistrictrebellion

    this is magnificent. I would do anything to study under you! well done. cheers.

    March 27, 2015 at 2:21 pm

    • Thank you very much Kathleen. Perhaps you could join one of my workshops at some point in the future. They will be advertised on my blog. :-)

      March 27, 2015 at 5:15 pm

  20. I love the contrast between the tranquility of Mývatn and the barely suppressed power of Mother Nature in the form of vents.

    March 27, 2015 at 4:06 pm

    • I agree with you Noeline. It was interesting sitting there, the views so relaxing, thinking there could be an eruption of the volcano any minute.. :-)

      March 27, 2015 at 5:14 pm

  21. Don’t publish anymore photos, because then I have to go to Iceland just this minute. Or, that is a joke of course (with some reality), the photos are magnifique, and I love them!

    March 27, 2015 at 4:10 pm

    • Thank you so much Bente! I know you would love a trip to Iceland and although it’s not the most obvious time to go, winter is my favourite time so far. This is despite the difficulties with driving around and not being able to get everywhere we wanted to because of closed roads. There wasn’t any shortage of fantastic, magical landscapes to capture.

      March 27, 2015 at 5:08 pm

  22. The feature image is the shot of the trip in my book

    March 27, 2015 at 4:30 pm

    • Thank you very much Scott! I was pretty pleased with that one. :-)

      March 27, 2015 at 5:02 pm

  23. Very zen indeed! I can see exactly what you mean about the little shrub. So calm and peaceful :-)

    March 27, 2015 at 9:37 pm

    • Thank you Sarah! It was very calm and peaceful. The silence is deafening sometimes. Fabulous!

      March 27, 2015 at 9:59 pm

  24. Another superb gallery of which the first is the cream of the crop – such a well crafted composition and the light is superb. And that ‘Bonsai’ tree and its supporting rock sits just at the right point in the frame. What an amazing trip this has been, Adrian

    March 27, 2015 at 10:48 pm

    • Thank you Andy! It was an incredible trip yielding lots of photo opportunities despite the difficult conditions for a lot of the time. The top picture was just one of those occasions when you spot something out of the corner of your eye and you know you have to stop the car and turn around or reverse. It’s easy to let those go by thinking there’ll be another chance but of course there rarely is. I’m glad I nailed this one.

      March 28, 2015 at 8:50 am

  25. Liv Sewell

    Incredible photos and very interesting 💛

    March 28, 2015 at 8:08 am

    • Thank you very much Liv!

      March 28, 2015 at 8:46 am

  26. I would assume it is also the greenest country because living things must be incredibly strong to survive through the harsh winters. I especially liked your opening “zen” photo Adrian – beautiful!

    March 28, 2015 at 11:10 pm

    • Thank you Tina!

      March 29, 2015 at 6:51 am

  27. The color, texture, contrasts between the ethereal and solid, perfection!

    March 29, 2015 at 12:27 pm

    • You’re very kind Elena, thank you!

      March 29, 2015 at 1:55 pm

  28. Achingly gorgeous, Adrian. What acdream landscape to be in and to make phitigrasphs of. Your eye and the landscape in glorious harmony.

    March 29, 2015 at 3:11 pm

    • My tablet is going wonky with spelling! Ugh.

      March 29, 2015 at 3:12 pm

    • Thank you Karen. It really is a dream landscape and a gift for landscape photographers..! :-)

      March 29, 2015 at 3:53 pm

  29. Great captures again, Adrian! That first one is so amazing, it makes me happy to know that there’s such beauty in the world :D

    March 29, 2015 at 5:31 pm

    • Ahh thank you Camilla. I’m glad the photo made you happy! :-)

      March 29, 2015 at 9:24 pm

  30. Wonderful images again, Adrian. And what a good idea to visit Mývatn during winter. In summer the air is almost unbearable full of mosquitoes and even though they don’t suck blood, the shear amount is quite disturbing. :-)

    March 29, 2015 at 7:10 pm

    • Thank you Otto! I can imagine it would be very bad. Thankfully they don’t like the cold. :-)

      March 29, 2015 at 9:23 pm

  31. Another great set. It’s in the high 60s (F) here, but I can feel the cold. :-)

    April 1, 2015 at 8:08 pm

    • Thank you Jim! If you can feel the cold, my job is done! :-)

      April 2, 2015 at 7:20 am

  32. A perfect picture of zen…indeed. The color, water and then the great contrast with the burbling water of hot-springs. Great series yet again!

    April 3, 2015 at 11:44 am

    • Thank you again Randall. Iceland really is a photographer’s dream location!

      April 3, 2015 at 5:56 pm

  33. I appreciate that you went beyond presenting beautiful images and reminded us about the spirit of the place – the steam and ice, and the way residents have put it to good use. I love the stillness of the water in the first one (what a contrast to the bubbling!) and the pink clouds.

    April 5, 2015 at 11:05 pm

    • Thank you Lynn. It’s so very easy to forget just how active and area of volcanic activity Iceland is when you’re there. It’s rather nice to come across areas where steam is bubbling from the ground or you see a stream steaming in the cold air because it’s hot water.. It’s a nice reminder of what our world was, and has become and how much natural power there is beneath our feet. We might have to dig a little deeper than Iceland does to reach it but it’s there. Lets hope we develop the technologies to make the most of it and to make our planet a nicer, more comfortable place for generations to come. Geen considerations aside, our fossil fuels are running low. :-)

      April 6, 2015 at 3:11 pm