I mentioned a little while ago that I’d been shortlisted in the Weather Photographer of the year competition.
The organisers, the Royal Meteorological Society and the Royal Photographic Society received over 2000 entries from 60 countries for this year’s competition.
Quite bizarrely, whilst not taking the overall title, I came in first place. This is a link to the results – https://www.rmets.org/weather-photographer-year-2017-winners-announced
I wish I’d been able to attend the awards ceremony in London last night, that would have been my first. I’d have been worrying about just how happy I could look for the winners, certainly not expecting I’d have been one of them. However, I’m honestly very happy to be here in Fuerteventura, exploring a whole new angle to my photography. I’ve another post to follow about ruined and decaying buildings very soon.
I got a Google alert on the beach today (great to have 4G while lying in the sun) to say that I’d appeared on the BBC News website. Certainly not something I thought would ever happen.
Here’s the picture, once again, that got me first place..
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.. :-)
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.
This is a picture I took of Skogafoss, a waterfall in the south of Iceland which is some 200 feet (60m) in height and 82 feet (25m) across. You can just see the tiny figure of a friend of mine who braved the spray to take a closer look. On such a cold day, I was quite happy to keep a certain distance.
An iconic waterfall and a guaranteed stop on any Golden Circle Tour, Skogafoss is worthy of the attention it receives. The water cascades over what was once a clifftop but as the sea receded, the coastline is now just over three miles away, the cliffs remained. Due to the amount of spray the waterfall consistently produces, a single or double rainbow is normally visible on sunny days. According to legend, the first Viking settler in the area, Þrasi Þórólfsson, buried a treasure in a cave behind the waterfall. The legend continues that locals found the chest years later, but were only able to grasp the ring on the side of the chest before it disappeared again. The ring was allegedly given to the local church. The old church door ring is now in a museum, though whether it gives any credence to the folklore is debatable.
Whilst we were in Höfn, we had the opportunity to get up close and personal with Vatnajökull at Skafafell. Vatnajökull is the glacier that sits atop the volcano that erupted recently at Bárðarbunga. It was fascinating to see the shapes in the ice, freshly dusted with an icing sugar like powdering of snow. Glaciers can appear very grey and dirty looking in the summer but in winter, they look their best.
Heading out to the glacier there was a track of sorts but this quickly diminished and we were left with the task of finding our way across a gravelly delta of meltwater, streams and ditches. I’m grateful to Poppy of poppytump.wordpress.com for the pictures of Chillbrook tackling the first of many of what turned out to be a very deep ditches.
As we made our way across the delta, out of the blue, we came upon a group of jacked up pick-up trucks with outsize tyres parked around what appeared to be a large hot tub, clearly fed from hot springs below. It seemed so incongruous, in the middle of nowhere with temperatures way below zero and a gale blowing, to come upon half-naked people running around, apparently oblivious to the biting cold, getting in and out of a large wooden tub. We didn’t feel compelled to gate crash this Sunday afternoon hot tub party although it was clear that everyone was having a great time.
With one last push up a very steep incline we made it to a car park of sorts with a fabulous view of the glacier. The lake, which in summer would no doubt offer superb reflections of the mountains surrounding the glacier, was frozen of course in the depths of winter. These are the photographs I took that afternoon..
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. :-)
..On our last day in Iceland, where better to watch the fiery colours than from atop an active volcano, billowing steam and sulphurous gases, before our descent into Reykjavik for one last night before an early flight home tomorrow. It has been an awesome journey; Poppy and her BB, C and Me on an excellent Icelandic adventure, circumnavigating the island of Iceland in the middle of a winter that, even by Icelandic standards, has seen super low temperatures and very high levels of snowfall.
We spent this afternoon battling through blizzard after blizzard in an attempt to reach Haifoss, a real highlight from my last visit here and one I wanted to share with Poppy and her husband on our final day. Waist deep snow at our final turn from route 31 made the ascent to the waterfall impossible. A foot or two of snow had been neither here nor there up to that point (well mostly neither here nor there*), but four and five feet of snow was a bit much to ask of our Jeep Cherokees..
I have a lot to share over the coming weeks and lots of blogs to catch up on. Thank you so much for your patience.. See you all back in Cornwall.. :-)
*While driving down a steep mountain road in your lowest gear, you brake and turn the wheel to make the tight turn necessary to avoid the precipitous drop down the mountainside (no barrier) that lies before you but, the car keeps going in a dead straight line (despite the ABS, sending its gravelly feedback to the brake pedal beneath your foot) and when every cell in your body is screaming to keep braking and keep turning the wheel away from the edge but that one sober brain cell sparks a synapse that sparks another and another that at lightening speed brings about an almost instintive flick of the steering wheel towards the edge whilst coming off the brakes to recover the skid before I have time to consciously come to the conclusion that this is the only way to keep the car on the road.. this is what I meant by mostly neither here nor there.. :-0