Hvalnes

Höfn is my spiritual home.  Some of my best friends are here.  I have been welcomed into homes and into the community and treated with the most incredible hospitality here and when I became ill here a couple of weeks ago, I was treated with care and compassion to the point that phone calls were made way beyond the call of duty to check how I was doing.  Yes, Höfn is where my heart is.

Hofn by Adrian Theze48mm f/11 1/320 sec. ISO-100

Besides the wonderful people and the incredible health and dental care, the scenery is just incredible and a short ride along route 1 and through the tunnel that takes you through a range of mountains you will come to Hvalnes.  If you’re from Höfn, which as I’ve mentioned before is pronounced h’up (the h is very breathy) you’ll pronounce Hvalnes with a sort of clearing of the throat k followed by va-ll-n-yes.

Icelandic is not easy but Iceland sure is easy on the eye.

Hvaines by Adrian Theze24mm f/11 1/125 sec. ISO-100

Whilst being blasted once again by winds gusting up to 70 mph that were literally pushing our car sideways on the Ice which when you’re driving along the highway is extremely unsettling, I managed to stop the car every now and then and take pictures that engender such incredible serenity in me but they really do belie the conditions.  Taking them, well, that was a real battle on this occasion.

Hvaines by Adrian Theze

24mm f/11 1/125 sec. ISO-100

The reindeer in the picture below were not at all bothered by the weather, settling down on top of the black sand spit, that separates the ocean from the frozen fresh water lake, to ensure they benefitted from the very best of the wind and its numbing windchill.  The ambient temperature was around – 12 °C making this feel more like, I’m reliably informed, -50 °C.  This was not the weather you’d want to spend too much time out of the car taking photographs.  Thankfully, having visited the location many times, I knew where I wanted to be and I got my pictures on this rather wild Sunday afternoon but they really were hard-won on this occasion! Nevertheless, I enjoyed taking these photographs and I very much hope that you enjoy viewing them. :-)

DSC_5471A70mm f/11 1/125 sec. ISO-100

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DSC_5436A14mm f/11 1/125 sec. ISO-100

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This post is dedicated to Svanhildur, a friend I got to know for all too short a time.  I will think of you always when I think of Höfn.  Rest in peace now..Spacer

94 responses

  1. bpvst

    Very nice pictures and story

    February 24, 2016 at 7:09 pm

    • Thank you very much!

      February 24, 2016 at 7:15 pm

  2. Really breathtaking photos, Adrian, and what a lovely tribute to your friend Svanhildur and also to the kindness of the people of Höfn. I hope you are fully recovered now. :)

    February 24, 2016 at 7:17 pm

    • I am fully recovered now Sylvia, thank you and thank you for your lovely comment! :-)

      February 24, 2016 at 7:26 pm

      • Happy to hear it. I don’t know how I would survive in those kind of temperatures. 😳

        February 24, 2016 at 7:43 pm

      • This was a bit extreme Sylvia. I didn’t hang about! :-D

        February 24, 2016 at 8:28 pm

  3. I really enjoyed getting he know a small piece of you. It brings even more to your photos.

    February 24, 2016 at 7:27 pm

    • Thank you so much! :-)

      February 24, 2016 at 7:46 pm

      • Sorry for the typo. 👍🏼

        February 24, 2016 at 7:59 pm

      • No problem! :-)

        February 24, 2016 at 8:27 pm

  4. Absolutely sublime and beautiful! I am a recent widower and images like this help heal my soul — thank you

    February 24, 2016 at 7:43 pm

    • I have MS and this I’m sure is one of the reasons I visit so frequently, I find this landscape incredibly healing. The fact that I have managed to convey this to you through my work is deeply satisfying so thank you for your comment. I’m so glad you found some comfort viewing these photographs.

      February 24, 2016 at 8:04 pm

      • The winter landscape around me has helped some – but not too often as this winter has been mild—- Yes – you have conveyed the feeling you seek to others – it is there! I do find solace in these photographs!

        February 24, 2016 at 8:40 pm

      • I do so hope that pain becomes easier to bear for you..

        February 24, 2016 at 8:49 pm

      • Thank you

        February 24, 2016 at 8:52 pm

      • Contact me by email or through my website, link at the bottom of the post, and I’ll happily send you a print of whichever photograph you like the most..

        February 24, 2016 at 9:12 pm

      • Wow – that is above and beyond – I will email you <3

        February 24, 2016 at 9:35 pm

  5. Great set!

    February 24, 2016 at 8:39 pm

    • Thank you Harrie! :-)

      February 24, 2016 at 8:46 pm

  6. Brilliant photos

    February 24, 2016 at 8:58 pm

    • Thank you Lou! :-)

      February 24, 2016 at 9:09 pm

  7. Enjoy these pictures and thoughts from Iceland; I have every confidence that you will enjoy them as much as I did. Please let the author know how are you appreciated his work.

    February 24, 2016 at 9:00 pm

    • Thank you! :-)

      February 24, 2016 at 9:13 pm

  8. Amazing photos! David over at Life and Random Thinking sent me your way. I appreciate the beauty in these photos and am in awe. Thank you.

    February 24, 2016 at 9:32 pm

    • Thank you for visiting Gary, much appreciated! :-)

      February 25, 2016 at 6:41 am

  9. I love these photos, I shared a link to this post on Twitter.
    Cheers!

    February 24, 2016 at 9:38 pm

    • I’m so glad you enjoyed the photographs, thank you for your visit and your tweet! :-)

      February 25, 2016 at 6:42 am

  10. The photos are lovely, but they make me shiver! :D

    February 25, 2016 at 2:38 am

    • It was a tad chilly Gunta, the wind was fearsome. Thank you! :-)

      February 25, 2016 at 7:01 am

  11. absolutely breathtaking

    February 25, 2016 at 2:48 am

    • Thank you Julz, Iceland really is a breathtaking landscape!

      February 25, 2016 at 4:27 pm

  12. What amazing serenity, I can so understand the healing aspect of this powerful piece of nature!
    All the best, Adrian, greetings from KL,
    Ron

    February 25, 2016 at 5:22 am

    • Thank you Ron! Good to hear from you. I hope you are keeping well out there in KL. A city I have a lot of fondness for. :-)

      February 25, 2016 at 4:27 pm

      • KL is still good for me, great base for exploring the area especially ;)

        February 26, 2016 at 3:48 am

  13. Sue

    Was just going to say the same, Adrian..seen your reply to Sylvia, so glad you are recovered from that episode

    February 25, 2016 at 8:14 am

    • Thank you Sue, I’m much better now. So glad you enjoyed the pictures. :-)

      February 25, 2016 at 4:28 pm

      • Sue

        As always, they are stunning!

        February 25, 2016 at 4:47 pm

      • :-)

        February 25, 2016 at 5:20 pm

  14. Sue

    That last image is just stunning….

    February 25, 2016 at 8:16 am

  15. Million thanks for sharing such beauty and such lovely, accompanying sensations! Cold isn’t that good for me, and I’m totally not used to it where I live, but it’s awesome to enjoy the splendour without suffering it thanks to a person like you! :)

    February 25, 2016 at 9:29 am

    • It’s a real pleasure and made all worthwhile to hear that people have enjoyed the photographs. Thank you.

      February 25, 2016 at 4:29 pm

  16. Oh I hope it wasn’t too serious and that you are feeling better now. Höfn is also very special to me, as we got engaged in the jokulsarlon and had a delicious meal in Höfn that day. Beautiful pictures as usual, love the blue tones.

    February 25, 2016 at 12:49 pm

    • Thank you Gin! Yes, I’d imagine Jokulsarlon would be a good place to propose although at the moment, it’s becoming a bit of a circus with the town council wanting to develop the area, put in a proper car park and toilets etc. while the owner of the land and the lease holder do not get on, the lease holder clearly wanting to get the most from the site whilst putting the least in, that age old story.
      I hope it will get sorted as the ruts in the car park when I last visited a few weeks ago were so deep that regular cars were unable to get around the car park without grounding their vehicles and people were parking all over the place meaning others couldn’t get access. In many areas, Iceland just isn’t prepared for the continued growth in tourism and when dealing with private landowners, as is the case here, the authorities can do little.

      February 25, 2016 at 4:36 pm

      • Oh gosh, I wasn’t aware of that. Thanks for mentioning it ! It’s true that Iceland is not prepared for massive hords of tourists. In a way I believe we should pay for all the sites we visit so it would be possible to manage them better (the vegetation wouldn’t be destroyed as it is right now, with people going off track all the time in sensitive places).

        We were considering getting married in Iceland in 2017.. we got engaged there, we felt in love with the country it would make sense. But i’m also afraid about being surrounded by tourists. I really need to look into that.

        March 1, 2016 at 11:03 am

      • Hi Gin,
        Yes I think that would need some very careful planning. I think as is often the case, politicians are being manipulated by those that stand to profit from tourism to the point where they may very well just destroy what it is that brings people to Iceland in the first place. Controls are not being put in place and some very beautiful places in my opinion are being destroyed. People will probably stop coming ultimately as who wants to stand looking at a waterfall with hundreds of other people, shoulder to shoulder. Iceland is a wild and beautiful place and it needs to be kept that way. Many local people I speak to are very concerned. I met some photographers who’d come to Iceland solely for the photography and within a couple of days they had realised they just were not going to get the shots they wanted as there were so many people in the way everywhere they went.

        March 2, 2016 at 1:25 am

      • I can imagine the locals being concerned.

        I don’t think people will stop coming though, it will just attract a different crowd. Look at the beaches in Turkey or Mexico, people are shoulder to shoulder but still go. Look on the great wall of china, people can’t move but still visit. It will attract another range of tourists.. the people who don’t really care about the wilderness of a place and who won’t respect anything, the people who just want to check in, to be able to say I was there. That’s what scare me the most ! Last time we were in the black sand beach in vick, I saw people carving their names on the basaltic rocks. I went there to talk to them but they just didn’t care :-( It was in 2014 and I can imagine things must have gotten worse in two years.

        March 2, 2016 at 9:16 am

      • I’m sure you’re right Gin, and the lack of respect for the nature of the island is what worries the Icelanders the most. While a few profit, the many see the potential for the disaster.

        March 12, 2016 at 5:23 pm

  17. On my travels I’ve always found the ‘average’ people to be welcoming, friendly and generous of nature – all we need to do is get of the others who think they can sort the rest of us out!
    Lovely photos once again although the first is an easy winner for me :)

    February 25, 2016 at 3:20 pm

    • So very true Noeline. This has always been my experience when travelling also. I think I was happiest with the first photograph! :-)

      February 25, 2016 at 4:38 pm

  18. Magical and stunning images.

    February 25, 2016 at 3:29 pm

    • Thank you Mary! :-)

      February 25, 2016 at 4:38 pm

  19. It is nice to have place where you ffeel welcome…this place is great…and photos too…

    February 25, 2016 at 4:23 pm

    • Thank you so much. Yes it is indeed! :-)

      February 25, 2016 at 4:39 pm

  20. Great as usual Adrian. I just noticed your picture in the header. Love it! Nice to put a face to the photographer :)

    February 25, 2016 at 4:44 pm

    • Thank you Edith! :-)

      February 25, 2016 at 5:20 pm

  21. Stunning photos! They would look great in a coffee tablebook….. I too have experienced the kindness of Icelanders. When I was there, my friend had a serious asthma attack (brought on by the cold) and had to be flown back to Rejkyavik for hospital treatment, urgently. The people with us (from the far east of the island) couldn’t have been kinder.

    February 25, 2016 at 7:49 pm

    • Thank you! I’m very glad your friend got the treatment she needed! I’m not at all surprised, the treatment I received was exemplary and the people so kind!

      February 25, 2016 at 8:49 pm

  22. Magnificent photos! All the best!

    February 25, 2016 at 8:11 pm

    • Thank you Bumba! All the best to you too! :-)

      February 25, 2016 at 8:50 pm

  23. What a superb set of panoramas, Adrian. I don’t recall seeing colours quite like this and knowing your attention to detail I an sure they are true.
    I’m so pleased to read from some of the comments above that you are recovered.

    February 25, 2016 at 10:46 pm

    • Thank you Andy! I’ve been pondering the light so very clearly favouring the blue end of the spectrum in these, and other pictures I’ve taken in Iceland during the winter time. We expect this in pre-dawn and post-dusk pictures but this series was taken in the afternoon with the sun up. I’ve concluded it must just be down to the light reflecting from so much ice which of course is naturally blue.
      The pictures certainly reflect how I perceived the scenes I was photographing but nonetheless, I’ve played around with the white balance to put this to the test and any adjustment results in some very unnatural looking images and distortion of other colours I know to be true.

      February 27, 2016 at 1:31 pm

  24. There are no words for these photos, Adrian…no words enough. i read in the comments about healing – and I agree, healing they are. There was a Swedish scientific research some years ago, where the results were clear: photos/pictures of nature on hospital walls made the sick heal faster. They tested with abstract art on the walls as well, but the results were not nearly as good as those who were given nature pictures on their walls. Love this, and love you for posting your work.

    February 25, 2016 at 11:05 pm

    • Thank you so much Ann Christine. I’m not at all surprised to hear the findings of this research and coincidentally, I’ve just been asked by a large hospital if I’d like to take part in an exhibition they are hosting under a programme called ‘Art fo Life’. I’m delighted to be asked and am very much looking forward to getting involved.

      February 27, 2016 at 1:41 pm

  25. Adrian i wish i could have meet you my friend. Thank you.

    February 26, 2016 at 12:57 pm

    • I knew that you were busy Ronnie and that your work must be helping you at this very difficult time.
      We will hopefully meet up again next time I am in Iceland. It’s been a while.

      February 27, 2016 at 1:44 pm

  26. Pics r really beautiful…

    February 26, 2016 at 1:43 pm

    • Thank you very much! :-)

      February 27, 2016 at 1:44 pm

  27. Great photos! Inspiring.
    I’m so looking forward to going to Iceland

    February 26, 2016 at 11:01 pm

    • You will enjoy it I am sure! Thank you! :-)

      February 27, 2016 at 1:44 pm

  28. Always enjoy your landscapes. I’m contemplating a 6 and 10 stop filter system for my Sony A7. I’m eyeing either the Lee slide-in system or individual filters such as B&W or Heliopan. Do you suggest one system over the other? I believe you use the Seven5 system.

    February 27, 2016 at 1:14 am

    • Thank you! I use Lee filters with my D800e and would definitely recommend a slide in system over the individualy filters you mention. Once the adapter ring in in place on your lens (and I don’t remove mine from my Nikon Lenses) you can attach the holder in seconds and you’re free to use whatever filters you have, as you need them, giving you tremendous versatility. I hope that helps!

      February 27, 2016 at 9:03 am

      • Thank you. I understand you can stack up to 3 filters with the Lee system too.

        February 27, 2016 at 12:10 pm

      • That’s correct, there are two additional slots allowing you to mix and match!

        February 28, 2016 at 2:36 pm

  29. Such sweeping photos of a masterpiece…a beautiful landscape shot Adrian. You’ve definitely found a home in Iceland, and Iceland has found a brother in you. Wonderful work.

    February 27, 2016 at 7:44 am

    • Thank you very much indeed Randal. I find great inspiration in the Icelandic landscape. It seems that the more challenging the pictures are to take, the happier I am with the results. I was particularly pleased with these as they really do seem to capture the serene energy in this wild and stunningly beautiful place.

      February 27, 2016 at 1:54 pm

  30. If Höfn is where your heart is, it surely seems to have capture you creative spirit, too. Only one word is necessary for these photos: Beautiful.

    February 27, 2016 at 1:24 pm

    • Thank you Otto! There is no doubt the Icelandic landscape inspires me and definitely brings out the best in me! I’m never happier than when I’m photographing the Icelandic winter or any other season come to think of it but winter especially. :-)

      February 28, 2016 at 2:35 pm

  31. Very interesting reading about your feelings regarding this place and the people there. Thank you for sharing all of this.

    February 27, 2016 at 6:50 pm

    • It’s a pleasure Shimon. I appreciate, as always, your visit and your comments. Thank you.

      February 28, 2016 at 2:33 pm

  32. I enjoyed the narrative Adrian, and am glad you’ve found this home and such warm connections there. The last photo, with that raggedy cloud towards the center, really gets across the vast wildness for me.

    February 28, 2016 at 6:25 pm

    • Thank you Lynn. There is something about Iceland that really touches me very deeply as a photographer and certainly seems to bring out the best in me. :-)

      March 2, 2016 at 1:27 am

  33. What a beautiful tribute to your friend and to the spirit of Iceland, Adrian. Yet another magnificent set of photos. Cornwall and the west coast through your lenses look beautiful, but you are definitely at home here, transporting the magic of the North in such a serene way. Outstanding!

    March 1, 2016 at 12:51 pm

    • Thank you so much Dina. Such a lovely comment.

      March 2, 2016 at 1:43 am

  34. Gorgeous photos!

    March 1, 2016 at 11:00 pm

    • Thank you Debbie! Much appreciated! :-)

      March 12, 2016 at 5:25 pm

  35. Your images are absolutely superb. Whenever I try a landscape I’m invariably disappointed as I can never do justice to it. But you’ve captured the vast icy spaces and made them look beautiful, atmospheric and potently evocative. Terrific, how I wish I could do that!

    March 5, 2016 at 7:14 pm

    • Thank you so much Finn. That’s a seriously nice compliment to receive. It’s much appreciated.

      March 12, 2016 at 5:11 pm

  36. Quite the landscape Adrian, and beautifully captured as always. Your affection for the place belies its severity but it seems the people are as warm as the temperatures are cold!

    March 6, 2016 at 2:06 am

    • Thank you so much Tina! They are indeed! :-)

      March 12, 2016 at 5:11 pm

  37. What a wonderful photo! So beautiful and calming.

    March 9, 2016 at 7:36 pm

    • Thank you very much! :-)

      March 12, 2016 at 5:10 pm

  38. Otherworldly beauty!

    March 28, 2016 at 12:09 pm

    • Iceland really is quite exceptionally beautiful Elena, thank you!

      March 28, 2016 at 1:58 pm