Author Archive

Any day at the beach is a good day..

Saunton Sands - Adrian Theze

Whilst I was visiting Bude recently, I had to deliver some pictures that are being featured in an exhibition in Taunton, Somerset.  This journey took me from north Cornwall to south Devon, on into somerset and rather than return the same way I’d come, I decided to drive north to the north Devon Coast.

In 1976, here in the UK, we had the most extraordinary summer.  Weeks of Mediterranean type weather.  I was lucky enough, as an 11 year old boy, to spend that summer staying with a great uncle in North Devon.  Everyday we visited the beach.  Saunton Sands was the destination of choice and this was somewhere I really wanted to revisit.

Unfortunately, the weather was certainly not that of the summer of ’76 however, it was great to see people enjoying the beach regardless.

Saunton Sands - Adrian Theze24mm f/11 1/250 sec. ISO 100

 Saunton Sands - Adrian Theze70mm f/11 1/250 sec. ISO-100

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Bude and the North Cornish/Devon Coast..

I have just returned from a week of much needed R&R staying in a lovely barn conversion just outside Bude in North Cornwall with my good friends Poppy and AJ.  Poppy is now blogging again with a shiny new photography and art blog so if you haven’t checked it out yet, follow this link.

The north Cornish and Devon coast is rugged, the surf fantastic and as ever for me, a pleasure to visit.  One particular feature of Bude is that it has a sea pool.  The pools were constructed in the 20’s and 30’s for people to be able to enjoy a swim in the sea, without having to swim in the sea.  A safe environment without the waves and treacherous currents so much a feature of many Cornish beaches and coves.  These pools cropped up all over the country but few now remain.  The Bude Sea Pool has been restored with donations and fundraising and for both Poppy and myself, a sure fire subject for a photograph or two.  The pool is replenished with fresh sea water at every high tide and it was high tide that was bound to elicit the best pictures.

With spring tides in the offing and occuring very accommodatingly at around 10 in the morning, on one of the few sunnier days, we were there, tripods at the ready.  Surfers often use the pool to launch themselves into the water, timing the moment with great precision.  I was able to capture one such surfer, contemplating and timing the waves.  This picture forms part of the series below.  I hope you enjoy them.. :-)

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Sometimes you just get lucky..

Penarth Pier - Adrian Theze

A trip to the passport office in Newport, Gwent, South Wales doesn’t on the surface appear to be the most likely of chores to illicit a photograph but one just never knows.  With a 4 hour wait between handing in the application and picking up the finished passport, a trip along the coast to Penarth, just the other side of Cardiff seemed like a nice distraction.

Arriving at the pier and parking the car, it was immediately clear that there was something really quite special about the early autumn light.  A thin layer of high cloud was obscuring the sun that promised an unseasonably warm Indian summer’s day.

Crossing the road and claiming a bench, a group of swans put in an appearance and the following pictures were the result of a very pleasant hour spent by the sea.  Shooting into the partially obscured sun, the effect was quite magical.

The moral of the story, always, always always take your camera with you.  Even if you’re just making a trip to the supermarket.  You just never know.  You might just get lucky.  I hope you enjoy the photographs.. :-)

Penarth Pier - Adrian Theze33mm f/11 1/320 sec. ISO-100

Penarth Pier - Adrian Theze24mm f/11 1/1250 sec. ISO-100

The Bristol Channel70mm f/11 1/1250 sec. ISO-100

The Bristol Channel70mm f/11 1/1000 sec. ISO-100

Bristol Channel70mm f/11 1/1000 sec. ISO-100

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A Wild Encounter..

Wells-next-the-Sea - Adrian Theze

I was visiting with my good friends Hanne and Klausbernd in North Norfolk again last week.  I met Hanne and Klausbernd through our respective blogs and it was such a pleasure to see them again.  The weather was superb, the end of August.  It was evident that Autumn was nipping at the heals of summer first thing in the morning but during the day, we enjoyed glorious warm sunshine and I did something I thought I would never do in the UK again, I went into the sea.  The North Sea at that!.

I struggled down to the water’s edge on my two crutches, dipped my toe in and was surprised to find the water was really OK so I went in further.  As a wave crashed in, surging water, that suddenly seemed a whole lot colder that it had initially, up over my belly, that was it so I thought I’d have a swim.

Of course swim is a fairly loose term when you’ve two crutches strapped to your arms but I floundered about a bit for a while.  The waves were quite large so it was a bit of a struggle but I was managing OK when I saw two people pointing at me.  I figured at first they were a bit concerned about the guy with the crutches getting washed about by the surf but then I became aware of something in my peripheral vision.  A dark shape.  I turned to face whatever this was in the water and came face to face with the most beautiful seal with the blackest, deepest eyes.

We bobbed there in the water for the longest time, just blinking at each other.  He ducked under the water, swam around me a few times but always bobbed back up again to face me.   I honestly believe this seal was concerned for my welfare and when he was sure I was OK.  He swam away.  It was one of those very rare encounters with a wild creature when you know you’ve connected.  It was incredibly moving and I will never forget it.  These sea mammals are super intelligent and seem to possess something that sadly far too many human beings lack, empathy.

These photographs were taken on my previous visit to Norfolk.  Norfolk with its creeks and salt marshes, broads and of course the ocean, is all about boats and I love boats.. :-)

Blakeney, North Norfolk - Adrian Theze14mm f/11 1/320 sec. ISO-100

Blakeney, North Norfolk - Adrian Theze14mm 1/400 sec. ISO-100

Wells-next-the-Sea - Adrian Theze14mm  f/11 1/400 sec. ISO-100

Wells-next-the-Sea - Adrian Theze14mm f/11 1/400 sec. ISO-100

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The Sun Also Shines – Part Three

In the third part of my series showing photographs taken on sunny days as opposed to my preferred, rather more dramatic weather days, I’ve included pictures of some of Iceland’s most iconic landmarks, in the sunshine.  Some of these images you will have seen before but I think they can stand a dusting off and a second showing. The reality for a lot of people visiting Iceland is a lot of very grey weather.  I’m lucky to have visited enough times now to capture some of these places at their very best.

The Seljalandsfoss pictures were bizarrely taken at midnight after a very long day of commercial photography in the central highlands for a Reykjavik car hire company.  Getting back to the apartment late after a long and difficult drive on deeply rutted dirt roads, I saw the barely setting sun and I knew my day wasn’t over.  I had to make the hour long drive to the falls.  I’m so glad that I did.

Click on the images for a larger, sharper view.. :-)

Skogafoss

SkogafossGodafoss

Godafoss

Hreyndýr í Álftafirði, East FjordsHreyndýr í ÁlftafirðiSeljalandsfoss

SeljalandsfossBúðir Church, Snaefellsnes Peninsular

Búðir churchSólfar (Sun Voyager) Sculpture, Reykjavik

SólfarGodafoss Dawn

Godafoss DawnJokulsarlon Sunrise

Jokulsarlon SunriseHeveravellir hot springs, Highlands, Central Iceland

HveravellirHaifoss

HaifossSeljalandsfoss

Seljalandsfoss 2Dettifoss

DettifossHvalnes

Hvalnes

I hope you’ve enjoyed this tour of Iceland on the sunny side over the last few posts.  I’ve been very lucky to visit Iceland many times now experiencing all seasons and all weathers.  An incredible and very beautiful place and very warm and welcoming people.  I have made a lot of friends in Iceland.  Their hospitality second to none.

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The Sun Also Shines – Part Two

Jökulsárlón

Last week I posted some sunny pictures from Iceland.  These are not the pictures I like to take of the dramatic weather that happens there but when the sun shines, it’s a delight and so I decided to share some of my sunny day pictures for a change.  These pictures were taken of the Vatnajökull Glacier as it spills down from the massive volcano summit at two of many locations, the much photographed Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon and the not so often visited Hoffellsjökull.  I say not so often visited, I mean by tourists.  There are hot spring pools here that are very popular with local people. 

The day we visited there were a plethora of huge oversize wheeled pick-up trucks, the bigger the wheels the better apparently, as is the way with some Icelandic men and I have to say, probably unfairly, a certain piece of banjo music came into my mind.  I’m sure in reality, they’d have been very welcoming (no not welcoming in the “Deliverance” sense) if I’d stripped off to my shorts in the sub-zero temperatures and joined them in the wooden tubs fed by the hot springs but I had photographs that needed taking.  Maybe next time.

For those of you not of a certain age, I apologise for the movie reference made in this post but can recommend the film Deliverance, made in 1972 with Burt Reynolds, John Voight and Ned Beatty.  A very scary movie with a brilliant bit of banjo playing at the beginning.  Look up Duelling Banjos on YouTube if you’re not familiar.  The film follows three guys who decide to take a canoe trip into back woods USA with terrifying results.

..And now I feel old.  I’ve just realised that when I was a youngster they’d only just mastered sound on films 4o odd years old and certainly hadn’t cracked the colour equation yet.

But I digress, here are some pictures of these two beautiful locations.  Glaciers can look downright grey and dirty and not at all attractive in the summer months but in winter, they are stunning.. :-)

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The Sun Also Shines – part one..

As followers of this blog will know, I like bad weather.  At least, I like to photograph dynamic weather.  As a result I feel sometimes that I do Iceland a disservice as many of my photographs tend to be taken when the weather is doing its thing.

However, of course the sun also shines in Iceland and when the sun shines in the winter months, it’s magical.  Daylight is very limited, just a few hours a day and with the sun hanging so low in the sky, the light has a wonderful quality.

Last week I shared some pictures of Vik in the Sunshine.  This week I’m sharing a few more blue sky landscapes.  As I started to go though my archives, I realised there were far more sunny days over the last couple of winters I’ve been in Iceland than I’d remembered so I’m going to be posting these picture postcard winter landscapes over several posts.  I hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoyed taking them..

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Vik, Iceland

Vik (pronounced Vig) has the dubious honour of being the wettest place in Iceland.  Having visited many times I can certainly vouch for this however, on one particular winter’s day this year, driving from Höfn in the east of the island, as we headed toward Vik, a sort of half-way point between Höfn and Reykjavik, we emerged from heavy snow and  leaving the blizzard behind, we drove into a wonderfully bright sunny day.

Here’s a few rare, at least in my collection, picture postcard photographs of Vik in the sunshine. The town is hidden behind the dunes but the church can clearly be seen up on the hill.  The rocks are known as Reynisdrangar and are basalt sea stacks.  I’ve also included a look back at the blizzard we left behind which incidentally pursued us relentlessly as we continued our journey to Reykjavik.  Finally catching us up a few hours after we arrived in the capital, it made the drive to the airport the following morning for our flight home a little more hazardous than we’d have liked as it was still snowing.. :-)

The Church at Vik by Adrian Theze32mm f/11 1/160 sec. ISO-100

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Cromer Pier

Cromer Pier by Adrian Theze

Cromer is a small seaside town on the North Norfolk coast.  I visited Cromer whilst staying with fellow bloggers Hanne and Klausbernd in Cley next the Sea.  Cromer is very popular with families looking for a stay at home, good old fashioned seaside holiday.

There are records of a pier at Cromer dating back to 1391 although then it was more of a jetty. In 1582 Queen Elizabeth I granted rights to the inhabitants of Cromer to export wheat, Barley and Malt with the proceeds to go toward the maintenance and well being of the Pier and the new town of Cromer. In 1822 a 210ft pier was built of cast iron but this structure only lasted 24 years before it was destroyed in a storm.  The current pier at Cromer was completed in 1902 and opened to the public.  Today the pier has a theatre, bars and restaurants and is a popular place for an old fashioned promenade.

Cromer Pier by Adrian ThezeLee Big Stoper, 24mm f/22 45 sec. ISO-100

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SpacerCromer Beach by Adrian Theze24mm f/11 1/640 sec. ISO-100

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North Norfolk

Cley next the sea by Adrian Theze

I have just had the tremendous pleasure of meeting and staying with a couple of blogging friends in Cley next the Sea in North Norfolk.  Many of you will know Hanne and Klausbernd from their blog, The World According to Dina. We’ve had a fabulous week of hospitality, photography and great conversations over some lovely meals in this very beautiful area of the country.

North Norfolk is somewhere I visited as a teenager and haven’t been back since.  I’m so glad to have had the chance to visit now.  I’ll be posting a little bit from Norfolk over the next couple of weeks but for now, here’s a taster.  I’d like to say a huge thank you to Dina and Klausbernd and to encourage other bloggers to meet when they can.  For me it’s always been such a positive and rewarding experience and this was no exception.  I will now be catching up with all your blogs over the next week so bear with me.. :-)

Cley next the sea by Adrian Theze15mm F/11 1/250 sec. ISO-100

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Snow and Ice

This picture was taken as a blizzard blew in from the sea on the south coast of Iceland backed by gale force winds.  Within minutes of taking this picture we experienced white out conditions and were very grateful for the yellow markers every few meters along the road that let you know you’re still on it.

The wild, raw nature of the winter in Iceland always makes me want to go back.  When you’re alone in this wilderness you cannot help but feel alive and connected in a way I’ve certainly never experienced anywhere else.  It sounds crazy to some perhaps but when I’m battling the wind, trying to keep my tripod from toppling over let alone steady, trying to keep my lens clear of snow and some kind of circulation in my fingers as the sub-zero temperatures and wicked wind chill get to work on them, I’m really never happier.

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Sete Cidades – A Lost World

Rim of the Caldera, Sete Cidades by Adrian Theze

While driving towards Sete Cidades on the island of São Miguel in the Azores, a glance backwards may well reveal the island laid out before you.  A glance forwards more often than not will reveal a bank of clouds obscuring the summit of the Sete Cidades volcano.  As you drive into the mist, you wonder what you might possibly see.

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SpacerApproaching the rim of this massive caldera however, the clouds give way to one of the most stunning views I think I’ve ever seen.  A lost world. Lost in the clouds.

Within the Caldera a community thrives shrouded in the clouds that form over the island as moist warm air from the Atlantic makes landfall and starts to condense.  I’ve posted about Sete Cidades before here.  These are a selection of pictures taken both on the caldera rim and down at the caldera lake.  I hope you enjoy them.. :-)

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Blizzard

Blizzard in Iceland by Adrian Theze

While I sort through the many pictures from the Azores and try and organise them into some kind of coherant and meaningful order, I thought with the temperatures unusually for this time of year reaching 80°f outside, I’d dip back into some winter pictures from Iceland.  This one was taken in February 2015..

Blizzard in Iceland by Adrian Theze26mm f/11 1/100 Sec. ISO-50

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On a Dull Day..

Rock Stacks at Mosteiros by Adrian Theze

When you’re cooped up inside looking at a wall to wall dull grey day, the last thing you want to hear from somebody whilst feeling sorry for yourself is that there is always a photograph to be had, regardless of the conditions.  As landscape photographers we thrive on dramatic light and flat grey skies just do not provide the light we crave however, there is always a photograph to be found and on dull days, long exposures are always an option.

I mentioned before that there is a good reason why the Azores are so green.  Moist warm air from the southern United States finds landfall in the Azores and has a tendency to condense over the mountains. Remember the water cycle from high school geography?  The Azores provide a classic case in point.

All that said, the weather wasn’t perfect during my two-week stay on the island of São Miguel but we only had one, really dull day and armed with a Lee big stopper, I headed for the beach.  The beach at Mosteiros was strewn with lava and rocks that would have been thrown up by the Sete Cidades volcano not so very far away. I loved the colours and textures of the different types of rocks found here and after finding my spot on the beach with a composition I was happy with, this is the photograph that I managed to get..

Rock Stacks at Mosteiros by Adrian Theze24mm f/22 90 sec. ISO-100

SpacerWhen creating pictures like this one, it’s a good idea to make sure you’re facing into the wind.  I picked this spot on the island as I knew here, I would be facing directly into the north-westerly wind that was blowing and I would be able to capture the nice streaked cloud effect you see here.  Despite having a Lee Big Stopper filter, I still had to close down the aperture to f/22 to extend the exposure as much as I could.

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Sete Cidades

Sete Cidades, Sao Miguel, Azores by Adrian Theze

Sete Cidades is a small town that sits within the caldera of the Sete Cidades volcano.  The caldera or crater is three miles across and the interior of the structure is occupied by diverse volcanic structures and four lakes. It is an almost circular caldera (5 kilometres (3.1 mi) in diameter and up to 400 metres (1,300 ft) high walls) formed through three phases of eruptions.

Sete Cidades has erupted at least eight times since ca. 1444, with six of these eruptions from submarine vents west of the volcano. The eruption in 1638 formed the ephemeral islet of Sabrina. Subaerial eruptions include a large explosive event on the southwest side of the caldera in 1444 and on the west flank of the volcano, at Pico das Camarinhas, in 1713. The most recent eruption was from a submarine vent in 1880.

The settlement of Sete Cidades has clearly been there sometime however, a friend of mine took a geological tour of Sao Miguel, guided by a geologist and volcanologist from the island’s university and when asked if she would live in Sete Cidades, she gave a very emphatic negative reply.  This is still very much an active volcanic region.

One of the main lakes is allegedly blue whilst the other is green and were, as legend has it, formed when a princess fell in love with a shepherd boy, a relationship that displeased the king somewhat and they were forced to part.  It is said that the blue lake was formed from the blue tears of the princess whilst the shepherd boy’s tears were green.

Much of the tourist literature does indeed show a blue and green lake but to be honest, in all the visits I have made to Sete Cidades in the last couple of weeks in all kinds of different weather and light, the two lakes have remained, resolutely, the same green no doubt from the algae and weed one finds in most lakes.  I had to resort to a bit of Photoshop trickery to reproduce what we see on all the tourist literature and what all the tour guides tell the tour groups they should be seeing..Sete Cidades, Sao Miguel, Azores by Adrian Theze

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This is my origianl image..

DSC08248originalSpacerI’ve only ever seen two green lakes as I’ve said but I’m entirely happy to accept that on occasion, a blue and a green lake might be seen under the right weather conditions and light besides, it’s a fun story and this is just such an incredibly beautiful place, who cares?

I will be posting quite a few pictures from Sete Cidades when I get around to processing all the photos I’ve taken but here’s a taster of what one finds down by the lake..

Sete Cidades, Sao Miguel by Adrian Theze14mm f/11 1/100 sec. ISO-100

SpacerI’ll be flying home from the Azores tomorrow with lots of photographs to process and I’ll be catching up with everybody just as soon as I can..

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A Cup of Cha Anyone?

Sao Miguel tea plantation by Adrian Theze

I didn’t know that the Azores produced tea.  Much more so in times gone by than now but it was with great interest that I visited one of the two remaining tea plantations on the island of São Miguel, the capital island of the Azores archipelago.  The neat rows of tea bushes make an interesting subject for a photograph or two.

Much of the original 19th century machinery, developed by the British company Marshalls no doubt for use in Indian tea plantations, is still in use here.

I’m very much looking forward to trying the Pekoe, Orange Pekoe and Green tea blends that I purchased in the plantation shop.

The skies in the following pictures give a clue as to why the Azores islands are so lush with vegetation, we are however having a good mix of sunshine and clear blue skies as well as rather dramatic ones as moist air from the Atlantic condenses over the mountains.

Sao Miguel tea plantation by Adrian Theze35mm f/11 1/250 sec. ISO-100

SpacerTea Plantation, Azores by Adrian Theze24mm f/11 1/200 sec. ISO-100

SpacerAzores Tea Plantation by Adrian Theze14mm f/11 1/250 sec. ISO-100

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On My Travels in Search of a Photograph..

Setting off at midnight from home to Heathrow, a flight to Lisbon and then flight from Lisbon, having been about to take off and then having our take off aborted due to a technical fault and then changing planes, I found myself, 26 hours after I set off, in São Miguel, the largest island in the Portuguese archipelago of the Azores.

Known locally as the ‘Green Island’ I can fully understand why.  Here, stuck out in the Atlantic, the islands get an awful lot of rain and weather but the result is a humid volcanic island cloaked in dense forest and verdant pasture.  It’s simply beautiful.

On my first trip around the island I’ve seen manicured tea plantations (a subject I will return to) and turquoise volcano caldera lakes shrouded in mist.  I cannot wait to explore more.  Here’s just a taste of what’s to come..

Soa Miguel, Azores, Adrian Theze55mm f/11 1/400 sec. ISO-100

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More Snow..

Icelandic Winter by Adrian Theze

Here are a few more snowscapes from my recent visit to Iceland.  From complete white out to the scene as the blizzard recedes, these pictures depict the harsh beauty of winter in Iceland.

Iceland Winter by Adrian Theze42mm f/11 1/160 sec. ISO-100SpacerIcelandic Winter by Adrian Theze48mm f/11 1/320 sec. ISO-100

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Jokulsarlon

Jokulsalon, Iceland by Adrian Theze

This is a photograph taken at Jokulsarlon, Iceland’s famous glacial lagoon.  There are others but this is the one that most people visit.  Here huge chunks of ice break free from the Vatnajökull glacier and float in the lagoon somtimes for many years before they are finally washed out to sea..

Jokulsalon, Iceland by Adrian Theze70mm f/9 1/200 sec. ISO-100

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A little more minimalism..

Let it Snow - Winter in Iceland by Adrian Theze

Here are a couple more pictures from my recent visit to Iceland.  These vast empty spaces I find so energising, restorative, beautiful, of course, and the need to photograph them quite profound.

Let it Snow - Winter in Iceland by Adrian Theze35mm f/9 1/200 sec. ISO-100

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Ice and Snow

Frozen lake, Iceland by Adrian Theze

I imagine this is what Europa, Jupiter’s smallest moon, must be like – a keen contender in the search for extra-terrestial life.  This picture however was taken in Iceland in February.  The stark, raw, wild beauty of it touches me deeply..

Hofn, Iceland by Adrian Theze40mm f/11 1./60 sec. ISO-100

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Book Covers..

It’s always nice when your work is recognised and I’m really pleased that one of my photos has been chosen for the cover of The Malice of the Waves, a thriller by Mark Douglas-Home which is to be published on the 19th of May by Penguin.  My photograph is featured on the hardback edition.

Here’s the book cover..

Malice of the Waves

Copyright Adrian Theze and Arcangel images

 

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A Blizzard at the Beach

Reynisdrangar, Vik, Iceland by Adrian Theze

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

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..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

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Blue hour in the Mountains – Fuerteventura

On my recent visit to Fuerteventura, I decided one morning to get up very early and drive into the mountains to wait for dawn.   I didn’t have any particular destination in mind but given the island’s landscape, I knew if I took a mountain route, I was bound to find a photograph or two.

The following pictures were taken during the blue hour, the hour between first light and the actual rising of the sun when the light is very much at the blue end of the spectrum.  Next time I’ll post a few more pictures from the mountains taken as the sun started to rise and the light and colours changed significantly..

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SpacerDSC07241fr70mm f/4 1/125 sec. ISO-100

SpacerDSC07243fr70mm f/4 1/125 sec. ISO-100

SpacerDSC07313fr70mm f/8 1/125 sec. ISO-100

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