A Blizzard at the Beach

Having just returned from enjoying some lovely warm sunshine in Fuerteventura, here are some pictures I took when I was in Iceland in February.  Quite a contrast.

When traveling through Vik (pronounced Vig) in Iceland, you can’t fail to notice the rock stacks that extend from the cliff into the sea.  These rocks are known as Reynisdrangar.

The black beach at Vik can get very busy as can the beach at Reynisfjara just to the west of Vik with people wanting to view the rocks but a short drive east, just out of town and by negotiating a very rutted and decidedly icy and snowy track, I found myself on the beach with not another soul in sight.  Just how I like it.

This blizzard had been following us along the coast all day, it was finally making landfall and as ever, the road conditions got interesting thereafter..

Vik and Reynisdrangar by Adrian Theze 24mm ff/11 1/60 sec. ISO-100

SpacerBlizzard Approaching Beach, Vik, Iceland by Adrian Thezef/11 1/50 sec. ISO-100

Spacer In the picture below, hundreds of sea birds took to the air appearing like specs of dust on my lens.Reynisdrangar, Vik, Iceland by Adrian Theze45mm f/22 1/100 sec. ISO-100

SpacerRough Icelandic Sea by Adrian Theze

70mm f/11 1/200 sec. ISO-100


..And as always seems to happen whenever I get near a beach, even a beach at -10ºC or 14ºf with a fearsome windchill, I got wet.  Whilst focusing on the rocks, literally, a wave curled around and snuck up behind me…

Reynisdrangar, Vik, Iceland by Adrian Theze70mm f/11 1/60 sec. ISO-100

SpacerAdrian Theze Photo logo_2Spacer

89 responses

  1. I look forward to your writing and photos. I even feel tempted to see Iceland to feel the cold winter wind and take home some great memories.

    March 30, 2016 at 5:03 pm

    • Thank you very much. I have no doubt that if you were to visit Iceland, you would indeed take home some very good memories.

      March 30, 2016 at 5:11 pm

  2. I knew you were holding out! I really enjoy the one with the birds over the water. The light shining down is breathtaking. Thank you!

    March 30, 2016 at 5:13 pm

    • Thank you very much! I’m so glad you enjoyed these pictures! :-)

      March 30, 2016 at 5:25 pm

    • Thank you very much. :-)

      March 31, 2016 at 5:20 pm

  3. Nothing quite like the colour of those cloudbanks that hang off the coast of Iceland! Nice images!

    March 30, 2016 at 5:13 pm

    • They are incredible aren’t they? Thank you Simon!

      March 30, 2016 at 5:25 pm

  4. Iris

    Great shot, great scene!

    March 30, 2016 at 5:14 pm

    • Thank you very much Iris! :-)

      March 30, 2016 at 5:26 pm

      • Iris

        My pleasure!

        March 30, 2016 at 5:26 pm

      • :-)

        March 30, 2016 at 5:54 pm

  5. Sally

    Amazing images. Thank you. Sally

    March 30, 2016 at 5:22 pm

    • Thank you Sally! :-)

      March 30, 2016 at 5:26 pm

  6. Wonderful photos, looks like an amazing place. I can just imagine myself being there, wanting to stay on that beach to appreciate the beauty and solitude, and yet also desperately wanting to escape the cold and get back to a nice warm hotel! :-)

    March 30, 2016 at 5:24 pm

    • Thank you Chris. It really was quite special on that beach but you’re right, it was incredibly cold and although dressed for the weather, I couldn’t stay long. Especially once I had wet feet. :-)

      March 30, 2016 at 5:27 pm

  7. We were just in Iceland in February ourselves, what an amazing place! Nice photos, you definitely captured the feel.

    March 30, 2016 at 5:52 pm

    • Thank you! Yes it is an amazing place. :-)

      March 30, 2016 at 5:54 pm

  8. Stunning captures. The colors and light are fantastic.

    March 30, 2016 at 5:55 pm

    • Thank you Tommy! :-)

      March 30, 2016 at 6:06 pm

  9. Stunning Adrian….those skies are so dramatic

    March 30, 2016 at 6:19 pm

    • Thank you Mark. I sent a text to a friend back in the UK at the time, it was a photography day. One of those rare days when you just can’t help but come away with some great pictures. I’m still working through them. I have to say, I was glad of the 32GB memory cards I have in both cameras. That said, as I process the pictures I see my available storage diminishing. I’m going to need yet another hard drive very soon. I’ve already had to install a PCI USB rack in my computer to accommodate the drives I have. ;-)

      March 31, 2016 at 6:00 pm

      • Yeah with your full frame cameras the file size will be massive. Even with my micro 4/3 Olympus (about half the size of yours) I have a 2TB hard drive, plus 500 GB on my iMac and a 3TB backup

        April 1, 2016 at 7:05 am

      • Storage is definitely becoming a problem! :-)

        April 1, 2016 at 10:51 am

      • I tried one of these personal cloud storage hard drives (fancy terminology for wireless) it was useless because it took so long to transfer large photo files and doing a backup took hours and usually failed. It went back and I got two wired hard drives instead….much more stable and secure. Fortunately the cost of memory is considerably cheaper now than it was say 10 years ago.

        April 1, 2016 at 1:00 pm

      • It certainly is Mark, cheaper and on the whole, more reliable. The problem with Windows is it can only handle 2GB drives so when you see a 4GB drive, you know in reality it’s 2 x 2GB in a box so no advantage. I’d really like a mini server under the stairs but that really is expensive but again, getting cheaper. Having said more reliable though, I’ve just had a wired hard drive fail, as has a friend. I’m still trying to recover what was on it. I’ve a feeling it was mainly back-ups but I can’t be sure :-/ I’ve tried everything and used all the tools I can think of but Windows is just not seeing it.
        I’m not terribly organised, I file by date and I seem to have the last four years covered so hopefully, it was just duplicates of files I was trying to organise in a slightly more meaningful way.

        April 1, 2016 at 1:18 pm

      • Oh no…….I hope you get that sorted. So far, touch wood, I’ve not had one fail.

        April 1, 2016 at 9:14 pm

      • Thanks Mark.

        April 2, 2016 at 6:38 am

  10. Sue

    Wonderful wild images!

    March 30, 2016 at 6:19 pm

    • Thank you very much Sue. It certainly was wild but hugely exhilarating to out there with my camera! :-)

      March 31, 2016 at 5:21 pm

      • Sue

        I bet!

        March 31, 2016 at 5:32 pm

      • :-)

        March 31, 2016 at 5:54 pm

  11. You surely seem to enjoy solitary places where you can capture the splendour of Mother Nature in your own, special, beautiful way. These are gorgeous photos, and yes, quite different from the landscapes you captured in Fuenteventura.

    March 30, 2016 at 6:51 pm

    • Thank you very much Otto! You’re so right, by seeking solitude in the landscape, I really feel at my best, most connected, and I’m sure that is reflected in the photograhs I am then able to produce. It’s not that I don’t like people, far from it. It’s just the way I like to work, by doing things this way I feel better able to distill nature in the raw and convert that into a two dimensional and yet, at the same time, multi-dimensional image.

      March 31, 2016 at 5:25 pm

  12. Black Lightness

    I like winter scene on photos…I start missing winter…

    March 30, 2016 at 6:59 pm

    • Dziękuję Ci bardzo. Mogę zrozumieć, dlaczego chcesz zacząć miss zimy. Jest to bardzo piękna pora roku w niektórych częściach świata. Nie tyle w Wielkiej Brytanii, gdzie wydaje się być po prostu mokra i szary. :-)

      March 31, 2016 at 5:32 pm

  13. I love that group of rocks; fine set of photo’s, Adrian.

    March 30, 2016 at 7:38 pm

    • Thank you very much indeed Harry!

      March 31, 2016 at 5:33 pm

  14. Great sense of drama in all these images. Brilliant impact and colours making me feel chilly. Success!!

    March 30, 2016 at 7:53 pm

    • Thank you very much David. They made me feel quite chilly processing them!

      March 31, 2016 at 5:34 pm

  15. Magical photos

    March 30, 2016 at 8:21 pm

    • Thank you as ever Lou! I always appreciate your comments. :-)

      March 31, 2016 at 5:34 pm

  16. Wik is a great place to be – any time of the year. beautiful.

    March 30, 2016 at 8:28 pm

    • Thank you very much Leya! You are so right. The only time I haven’t visited is summer. Perhaps next year ;-)

      March 31, 2016 at 5:35 pm

  17. Very dramatic photos, great effect.

    March 30, 2016 at 8:58 pm

    • Thank you very much! :-)

      March 31, 2016 at 5:39 pm

  18. Magnificent shots, Adrian. I love the black clouds, the large waves, the raining clouds… The colours are so lovely.
    Thank you!

    March 30, 2016 at 9:11 pm

    • Thank you very much indeed Isabel! :-)

      March 31, 2016 at 5:40 pm

  19. Awesome shots!! Im sure I’ve said this before but the tone of this place is just amazing. I could feel that wave curl up behind you! I cant imagine how cold that must have been ….in awe Trees from oz

    March 30, 2016 at 9:38 pm

    • Thank you Trees. It was very cold indeed. They say never turn your back on the sea when you’re close. It’s great advice. I didn’t have my back to the water but I was so wrapped up in the photos I was taking, I really didn’t spot the sudden surge. I soon dried out but it was a little uncomfortable for a while! :-)

      March 31, 2016 at 5:42 pm

  20. Beautiful pictures. I love the colours!

    March 30, 2016 at 11:39 pm

    • Thank you so much. When I’m processing these pictures I’ve very keen to ensure that colours remain true. These snow clouds really are this blue. It’s very beautiful!

      March 31, 2016 at 5:44 pm

  21. Remarkable images. In the top on the vertical stalks look like they are all leaning towards the vague blur of the sky. The third one almost looks like a movie set. That flip of waves in the 4th one could be nature can-can dance.

    March 31, 2016 at 12:33 am

    • Thank you Karen. I really could have stayed on that beach all afternoon. The sea was so wild, as was the sky. The birds were soaring, diving, clearly enjoying the conditions as I was. I was beaten though when I got wet. I had to beat my retreat to the warmth of the car. :-)

      March 31, 2016 at 5:45 pm

  22. Amazing photos, Adrian. They are all my favourites. :)

    March 31, 2016 at 1:52 am

    • Thank you so much Sylvia. I’m glad you enjoyed them. As I said to Poppy, it was one of those photography days. Everything was just perfect for some very dramatic photographs.

      March 31, 2016 at 5:46 pm

  23. Impressive! And the idea of waves creeping up, yes… they always do that!

    March 31, 2016 at 3:44 am

    • Ahh they will if you turn your back on them! :-D Thank you very much for your comment! :-)

      March 31, 2016 at 5:47 pm

  24. Aah, more memories Adrian! Those skies are magnificent, the first one is like a watercolour. Wonderful photos, thank you!

    March 31, 2016 at 9:00 am

    • It’s my pleasure Anna. I’m so glad I was able to bring back some lovely memories for you! :-)

      March 31, 2016 at 5:48 pm

  25. Love the low light and the deep blue of the storm! Fantastic photos! I can even imagine the cold and the wind! :)

    March 31, 2016 at 9:01 am

    • Aww thank you Mercedes. I’m so glad I was able to capture the day and pass it on! :-)

      March 31, 2016 at 5:49 pm

  26. No one can make the cold look as beautiful as you! You also talk so casually about bad weather rolling in – do you have a driver familiar with local conditions?

    March 31, 2016 at 11:38 am

    • Hello Carol, thank you, such a lovely compliment. I don’t have a driver. Me and my friend, friends on several trips, hire 4x4s at the airport and over time, we’ve gained a lot of experience in dealing with quite extreme conditions. We’ve had a few close calls, the driving on this trip was particularly difficult due to rapid thaws and refreezing creating a lot of slush which is really horrible to drive in. We managed however and notched up a bit more experience. :-)

      March 31, 2016 at 5:53 pm

  27. Utterly gorgeous shots, but they do give me the shivers.

    March 31, 2016 at 8:51 pm

    • Thank you very much Gunta. It was on the cold side, standing on that beach! :-)

      April 1, 2016 at 10:49 am

  28. The Stacks at the end of the headland are extraordinary – they remind me of the Buttes in Monument Valley in a strange way. Spectacular seascapes, and I love the contrast of the sow against the dark volcanic sand. Another stunning place in dramatic weather.

    March 31, 2016 at 9:28 pm

    • Thank you Andy, the black sand certainly gives the scene a very dramatic edge and with the contrast against snow, you can’t help but create an interesting image.

      April 1, 2016 at 10:50 am

  29. So much drama! Those black sand beaches really make for some fantastic contrasts. Those skies are something else :-) I can practically feel the storm whipped up around me!

    April 1, 2016 at 8:00 am

    • Thank you Sarah! I’m glad the pictures had impact! :-)

      April 1, 2016 at 10:51 am

  30. Brilliant captures, Chillbrook!

    April 1, 2016 at 9:32 am

    • Thank you Klausbernd! :-)

      April 1, 2016 at 10:52 am

  31. Very powerful waves!
    Wonderful pictures! :)

    April 1, 2016 at 9:36 am

    • Thank you so much! :-)

      April 1, 2016 at 10:52 am

  32. These are just gorgeous – those skies – I love the watery power in them.

    April 3, 2016 at 3:03 pm

    • Thank you Lynn. It really was a photography day! I can still feel the cold but the power in the ocean and in the storm swirling around me was so exhilarating! :-)

      April 3, 2016 at 3:52 pm

  33. I am a sucker for storms and the coast, so when you put the two together something magical is bound to happen, and this is exactly what you have captured. A bit chilly and miserable weatherwise to be out shooting, but I am guessing with camera in hand, you felt there was nowhere better to be!

    April 5, 2016 at 4:29 am

    • Once I’m behind the lens Randall I don’t feel the cold, the wind, I’m just so wrapped up in the moment as I know you are when taking pictures. It was one of the reasons for taking up photography, as a distraction from the difficulties with MS. I never in my wildest dreams realised just how good a distraction it was to become to the point where in Iceland, in super sub-zero temperatures, I’ve had to be reminded I’m out of the car and don’t have a coat on. :-)

      April 5, 2016 at 9:35 am

      • You’ve defined the passion of photography with this comment Adrian ~ simply perfect. Best part “in super sub-zero temperatures, I’ve had to be reminded I’m out of the car and don’t have a coat on” And then take a look at your images, and this is the result of your passion. Wonderful work you do produce!

        April 5, 2016 at 12:56 pm

      • Thank you so much Randall. Coming from you that’s a real compliment! :)

        April 5, 2016 at 2:34 pm

  34. wow, this is incredibly beautiful .

    April 8, 2016 at 5:12 am

    • Thank you very much! :-)

      April 8, 2016 at 5:51 am

  35. These are wonderful – they capture the storm beautifully. ‘Bad’ weather is always worth the effort but getting wet at -10ºC doesn’t sound like fun!!

    April 8, 2016 at 3:35 pm

    • Thank you so much Noeline. I was really in my element out there but when that wave caught me, I knew is was time to get back to the car. It’s not the first time we’ve driven around Iceland with my socks hanging from the dashboard and the vents blasting out warm air. Surprisingly, this is an extremely efficient way to dry socks and wet trousers! :-)

      April 8, 2016 at 4:06 pm

  36. Absolutely glorious!

    April 9, 2016 at 12:46 pm

    • The time I spent on the beach that afternoon Elena, despite the bitter cold, was blissful. I couldn’t have been happier! :-)

      April 9, 2016 at 2:44 pm

  37. It’s always a pleasure to visit your site with a lot of magical photo’s

    April 11, 2016 at 7:56 am

    • It’s always a pleasure to have you visit Lou! Thank you so much! :-)

      April 11, 2016 at 3:08 pm

  38. Definitely a wet cold experience for you, Adrian, shiver. And what a treat for us. Love the dramatic touch to the scene, beautiful work.
    Greetings from North Norfolk,
    Dina & co

    April 16, 2016 at 12:33 pm

    • As ever Dina I was so involved in what I was doing I really didn’t see that wave. I certainly felt it! Not for the first time I was travelling on Icelandic roads with socks draped over the heater vents in the car! Thanks for your lovely comment. Have a fabulous weekend! :-) x

      April 16, 2016 at 2:58 pm