The road between Hvammstangi, where we stayed in a small cabin, to Blönduós took us over a mountain pass (the first of many) that presented interesting driving challenges and beautiful views. Snow was an ever-present threat but I just loved the bleak winter landscape, the cool blues, greys and golden tones of the grasses, visible through the snow.
Making way for one of the many snow ploughs that work constantly to keep the roads clear, we stopped for a break; soup, sandwhiches and photographs.
We were heading for Akureyri and given the forecast, we didn’t want to waste any time in getting over the mountains but, I take photographs therefore stopping every few miles is obligatory.
Here’s a selection of photographs from this leg of our journey around Iceland. It still amazes me that I can stand in the middle of the Hringvegur (Route 1 Ring Road), the main road around Iceland, and take pictures without fear of being run down. :-)
It was a very early (3.30am) start again this morning to capture some photos as the sun came up. Standing on the beach in the dark, not a sound but the waves gently breaking in the distance as the tide was low, waiting for first light, all tension slipping away, I knew I would get a picture. I was again reminded that this is where I want to be. Under these conditions I can really engage creatively with my environment and as the birds started to sing and the first streaks of light appeared in the sky, my shutter started clicking.
We’re enjoying some lovely spring weather here in the UK and given the weather has been so poor the last five years, I feel I must take advantage. This shot was taken at Hawker’s Cove on the Camel Estuary. The village of Trebetherick can be seen on the opposite side of the river. It is at the village church, almost buried amongst the dunes, that the grave of the poet Sir John Betjeman can be found. I hope you enjoy the picture, I certainly enjoyed taking it! :-)
I’ve been involved in a lot of other projects for the last few months that haven’t allowed me to do much landscape photography. It’s easy to forget where we come from creatively and this weekend, it just came to a head, I was forgetting who I was as a photographer. I knew I needed to get back in touch with my roots. I needed to get out there at dawn, stand on a beach in the dark and in a biting, finger numbing cold wind to capture the start of a new day. This is where it all starts for me literally and figuratively. This kind of shoot nourishes my soul and my creativity in a very unique and very special way and it can’t get much better than that.
I went back to basics this morning and reconnected with the environment I love so much in the way I like to do it best, with a camera, a tripod and an empty beach. Despite growing, developing and exploring new areas of my photographic creativity which is how it should be, I needed this. This kind of creative exercise is like going back to your hometown after years away and rediscovering the building blocks that made you the person you are. It never does to lose sight of these things.
At this time of year in these more northerly latitudes, this meant an incredibly early start so this morning, I was up at 3.30, checking equipment and drinking loads of tea before heading out the door and driving towards a location I hadn’t been before, Harlyn Bay. I hope you enjoy the picture.. :-)
Click on the picture for a sharper image.
I mentioned the Loe Bar in my recent post, Porthleven and this is a follow-up to explain what the Loe Bar is all about.
The Loe or Loe Pool is the largest body of fresh water in Cornwall and hides what was once a valley formed by the estuary of the River Cober. When sea levels rose during the Holocene period, the Loe Pool formed when the estuary became blocked by a the actions of the sea that created a bar of sand and shingle creating a natural dam, blocking the estuary. At least that’s one theory as to the age and creation of the pool..
The drowned river valley, a geographical phenomenon known as a Ria, extends several miles out to sea. The bank of sand that blocked the estuary leading to the formation of the Loe or Loe Pool is known as the Loe Bar. It is thought that Longshore Drift plays an important part in the maintenance of the Bar, with a strong current flowing to the south-east from Porthleven to Gunwalloe, depositing shingle along the Bar. The ebb flow is not a simple reverse flow and is not strong enough to remove all the deposits. Yesterday, I had an appointment with my printer to view some proofs and with the Penrose Estate not very far away, it was the perfect opportunity to go and take a look.
70mm f/10 1/200 sec. ISO-100
The Penrose Estate and the Loe Pool are beautiful and I have Laura to thank, one of the National Trust rangers at the Penrose Estate, and Countryside Mobility South West, for making it possible for me to see it. Countryside Mobility South West are a National Lottery funded charity, working to make the countryside more accessible to disabled people. One way they do this is to provide Tramper mobility scooters to organisations willing to join the scheme. They also have specially adapted boats on several lakes around the county that allow for a wheelchair to be wheeled aboard.
The tramper scooters are the mobility scooter equivalent of an off-road 4×4 and are able to handle pretty much whatever you throw at them in terms of rough and steep terrain. This makes it possible for disabled people like myself to gain access to places our wheelchairs wouldn’t allow use to get to normally.
With an eye-watering top of 4 miles per hour I set off for the Loe Bar. The trail was rough and fairly steep in places but I suspect my wheelchair would have handled the trail but with it being so rough, I think it would have drained my battery fairly quickly and the worry of running out of juice is not one you want when you’re out to enjoy a beautiful spring afternoon in a very beautiful place. I had no such worry with the tramper.
The Loe Pool is long and thin as you would expect from a flooded valley, and as you follow its banks you’re treated to some beautiful views. I could smell the sea however and I was itching to get to the Loe Bar. This is what I saw when I got there..
52mm f/14 1/160 sec. ISO-100
Cornwall produces tons of daffodils for distribution around the country and for export and at this time of year and particularly in this part of Cornwall, you see many fields of daffodils just waiting to be picked, just like in the pictures below..
24mm f/13 1/250 sec. ISO-100
With the Easter holidays starting this week, is was nice to see people out enjoying the fine weather. These boys on their bikes were racing ahead of mum and dad, dawdling behind..
24mm f/11 1/250 sec. ISO-100
On occasion, to prevent flooding in up river Helston, the bar has been breached, a practice known locally as ‘cutting’, to allow much more of the fresh water to flow out to sea. The bar has always naturally resealed itself.