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.
52mm f/11 1/80 sec. ISO-100
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. :-)
Travelling on Route 42 between the south coast of the Reykjanes Peninsular to the north (where you’ll find Keflavik and Reykjavik), you’ll come upon Kleifarvatn. Kleifvatn is a very beautiful lake which when we visited, was largely frozen.
With no river running in, or out, of the lake the depth at around 97m or 318ft, varies with ground water levels. After an earthquake that struck in 2000, a fissure opened up beneath the lake and the water began to drain rapidly. It was like a giant bath plug had been pulled. The fissure has since been sealed itself however and the water levels have gradually returned to pre-2000 levels.
Rather like Loch Ness, a serpent like creature the size of a whale is said to inhabit the lake and has been seen to surface for as long as two minutes on occasion. With no photographic evidence to go on, not even the shaky rather dubious kind that Loch Ness has produced, I’m going to have to go with the Nessie model on this one and guess the two are related. There are, after-all, very close ties between the Icelanders and the Scots given that when the vikings visited Scotland, they wooed dozens of Scottish lassies with the tap of a big club to the back of the head and carried them off in their Viking long boats. Thinking about it however, if they’d wooed a Nessie with a particularly big club, even a youngster, we might have historical accounts of such a feat, a Nessie Viking saga at the very least.
Taking route 42 turned out to be quite interesting on a day when the winds were near hurricane force and blizzards descended every now and then but we’ve had a lot of those, interesting experiences I mean, motoring through Icelandic in February.
In the photo below, although the weather is clear ahead having left the heavy snow behind us, you can clearly see snow being blown from the top of the bluff on the right. Not having such good eyes these days I thought that it was cloud on the horizon when I took the picture, but we soon learned otherwise. It’s not always falling snow you need to worry about when the wind’s blowing of course.