Home.. Höfn

A trip to Iceland, wouldn’t be complete without a visit to a place that has really captured my heart, Höfn.  As we were driving down the east coast from Akureyri to Höfn, I found myself asking ‘what time will we be home’.  I have made such good friends here and for a photographer, Höfn and the surrounding area, really takes some beating.

As we approached ‘home’ after a day photographing back along the east coast, the sun was low and preparing to set.  The light was magical.  I knew immediately that just after the tunnel, I would have to turn left and take the gravel road to Stokksnes.  The last time I visited I was with my good friend Ronnie and being with a local, I was spared the 600 kr per person entry fee that Omar, the land owner has imposed on tourists.  I must point out that this is extremely un-Icelandic behaviour and something that local people are horrified by but Omar is known for his love of the Krona so there it is, you pay to continue along the gravel road to this amazing beauty spot.

I paid my 600 kr and continued on my way but quickly became aware of someone in a pick-up truck persuing us.  I pulled over and the truck pulled up.  A man leaned out of the window claimed I hadn’t paid.  This must be Omar I thought.  He’d certainly checked that honesty box smartish.  I did pay I explained, I put the money in your honesty box’.  There’s a box outside the small cafe for you to pay should the cafe be closed.  However what I hadn’t realised was Omar was now charging 600 kr per person and there were two of us in the car.

I handed over the money and asked ‘last time I was here with Ronnie from the village’, someone Omar knows well, ‘he took us to an old fishing boat’.  ‘You want to take more pictures’ Omar asked.  ‘I do’ I replied.  ‘Follow me he said..’  He drove round the gate to the left that had a handmade sign strung across it.  A read circle with a white band across it, ‘No Entry’ had been added at the bottom just in case someone might not have got the message.

We followed Omar around the gate and through a puddle that came half-way up Omars wheels so I was guessing a little higher on my rented Kia Sorento.  Both myself and my passenger looked down to see if we were about to get wet feet.  Not this time thankfully.  On down the track Omar pulled up at the edge of the very shiny black sand.  It was high tide.  Something I only realised when we got to the edge.  I could see the surf crashing not too far out.

‘I’ll leave you here’ Omar said. ‘Keep within 50 metres of the green and you’ll be OK’, the green being the marsh grasses to our left, ‘but don’t stop mind’ at this, Omar made gestures that left us in no doubt that we’d sink if we did.  He reversed, smiling and waving.  Did I detect a certain mischievousness to that smile?  Surely not.

Behind us the sky was an amazing pink, ablaze as the sun was sinking lower.  I took a deep breath, I’m a photographer, I need to get my picture, and drove onto the wet sand.  The 4×4 was managing well, traction was good but the car felt the same way I’ve felt when walking across a very deep pile carpet, it was decidedly spongy.  As I made my way from one raised bit of dry sand to another, I was beginning to think that maybe this time I’d gone too far..  I should have waited for Ronnie except Ronnie was in Paris.  I was beginning to worry a little.  We were driving through porridge.  The spongy, squidginess of the going beneath us seemed to be increasing.  I checked my distance from the ‘green’.  I was about 25m away so apparently safe, nonetheless, I pressed the gass.  Did Omar send us out here only to charge us an exorbitant fee for rescue?  I banished the thought.

Thankfully, off in the distance I could see the track emerging from the sand and I knew we’d soon be on terra firma once more.  I drove on to the small cove where I knew the boat lay.  We made it!  The light was beautiful but we were very aware of the crashing surf.  It really looked as though the tide was still coming in..  Extra porridgey, spongy, squidginess to come.. Hmm.  I didn’t relish the thought.

Below is one of the pictures I took that white knuckle late afternoon.  I didn’t hang about.  I was keen to get back across the sands.  I began to worry that I’d never find that exit track in the gloom and we’d be left searching in the dark for a way off the sand.  I was comforted, sort of, that Omar would still be watching.  He wouldn’t wish us any harm I was sure.  We set off back across the sand, hopping from one small island of higher drier sand to the next.  Searching the horizon for the ‘exit’ I began to enjoy myself, weaving this way and that.

Passing the Viking Village on the right (A film set waiting for a film apparently) I knew it couldn’t be too much further when out of the gloom, I could see what looked like a track.  Sure enough, in no time at all I was off the sand and on our way ‘home’.  It was a big relief.  At no time were we in physical danger I’m sure.  Just in danger of getting stuck on the sand.  Not a welcome thought as it was a lot further than I could manage to walk.

As we passed the cafe there was no sign of Omar’s truck.  We hadn’t seen headlights departing as we approached dry land and we hadn’t passed it as we passed what I think was his house so at what point he’d left we just don’t know.  I must add again, Omar is very much an exception.  The Icelandic people are warm, friendly and extremely eager to help their ‘guests’ get the very most from their stays in Iceland.

Fishing Boat, Hofn, Iceland

14mm f/8 1/15 ISO-100.

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41 responses

  1. great shot! love the couloures…

    October 25, 2015 at 8:31 pm

  2. and the boat

    October 25, 2015 at 8:32 pm

    • Thank you very much Lenka! :-)

      October 25, 2015 at 8:36 pm

      • you’re welcome 😉

        October 25, 2015 at 8:43 pm

  3. Beautiful shot! Have you a good week!

    October 25, 2015 at 8:38 pm

    • Thank you very much! I hope you have a great week too!

      October 25, 2015 at 8:40 pm

  4. Oh, what we go through for that exceptional shot! But well worth it – it IS beautiful. Wonderful textures.

    October 25, 2015 at 9:31 pm

    • Thank you very much Lynn! It was an experience, a good story and a nice shot at the end of it. I’m certainly not complaining! :-)

      October 25, 2015 at 9:37 pm

  5. I always liked reading the back story. Nicely written. :)

    October 25, 2015 at 10:16 pm

    • Thank you very much Mekala! :-)

      October 26, 2015 at 9:54 am

  6. What a great story and the photo is a special bonus! Love all the textures and the way it moves your eye from the detail in the foreground to the distant colours of sea and sky.

    October 25, 2015 at 11:27 pm

    • Thank you very much Carol! I’m really glad you like the photo!

      October 26, 2015 at 9:54 am

  7. What an adventure. The image was well worth the white-knuckle driving.

    October 26, 2015 at 3:23 am

    • Thank you Gunta! I was pleased to get the shot and was fun.. in hindsight! :-)

      October 26, 2015 at 9:54 am

  8. WOW! Incredible shot! I bet this was a really cool experience.

    October 26, 2015 at 4:35 am

    • THank you very much Michael! It was pretty cool..

      October 26, 2015 at 9:53 am

  9. All the photo’s on your blog of Iceland from today and before are magnificient.!

    October 26, 2015 at 9:20 am

    • Thank you very much Marylou! It’s a pretty magnificent place! :-)

      October 26, 2015 at 9:53 am

  10. Stunning pic!

    October 26, 2015 at 11:28 am

    • Thank you very much! :-)

      October 26, 2015 at 2:47 pm

  11. Great shot, Adrian. I got nervous and very irritated with Omar, just reading your account. So happy you got safely there and back. :)

    October 26, 2015 at 11:48 am

    • Thank you very much Sylvia! It was a little more adrenaline fueled that perhaps we’d bargained for! :-)

      October 26, 2015 at 2:48 pm

  12. poppytump

    There’s just no stopping you in search of a shot ChillB ;-) … but what a lovely one to be sure ! It’s no wonder you wanted to chase those soft gentle colours, I feel there were precious few this trip … but when they DID appear , oh boy … fabulous x

    October 26, 2015 at 5:42 pm

    • Thank you Poppy! I was pleased I got the shot Poppy that’s for sure. Thought I’d gone too far this time though.. ;-)

      October 28, 2015 at 8:33 pm

  13. Sue

    What an experience, not one to repeat! But what a shot…fabulous colours, textures and decay…I love it!

    October 26, 2015 at 6:21 pm

    • Sorry for the late response Sue. Thank you so much. Omar is certainly a character and very un-Icelandic. One of my friends said she was so ashamed by his behaviour. I said it’s Omar that should be ashamed. It made for a good story at the end of the day! :-)

      November 4, 2015 at 7:46 pm

  14. A really terrific image and read. Thanks so much for sharing and I am certainly hooked to your work.

    October 28, 2015 at 12:48 pm

    • Thank you very much JD! :-)

      October 28, 2015 at 8:34 pm

  15. Very, very nice.

    October 28, 2015 at 6:38 pm

    • Thank you very much Emilio!

      October 28, 2015 at 8:32 pm

  16. Beautiful image and as you say……great light.

    November 1, 2015 at 5:06 pm

    • Thank you very much Mark, much appreciated!

      November 4, 2015 at 7:39 pm

  17. Ha, ha…not sure what I enjoyed more your incredible and surreal photo or your tremendous writing and story that sets up this photo so well. The definition of an artist right there. Well done again ~

    November 5, 2015 at 2:10 pm

    • Thank you Randall, you’re very kind! It was an intersting afternoon to say the least but a good story for re-telling and that light was magical. It happnened a couple of times this trip once, a golden sunset and for this shot, a pink sky sunset. As the sun is already low in the sky being so far north, when it starts to set, weather permitting, the late afternoon glow is really intense.

      November 5, 2015 at 4:44 pm

  18. Great shot…I like this boat with stones…

    November 26, 2015 at 2:55 pm

    • Thank you again! :-)

      November 26, 2015 at 3:40 pm

  19. I could have done with this location for my Abandoned entry in the Camera club

    December 18, 2015 at 2:49 pm

    • It would have worked!

      December 25, 2015 at 5:48 pm