We have had some very nice days, with non Icelandic weather. It all began in Reykjavik on a Thursday afternoon, arriving in Kelflavik Int. Airport with the other participants on the same flight to Iceland. After a short drive to Reykjavik, I met the other people in the group (1 SAF, 1 USA, 1 CAN and 3 NL) and of course Marsel van Oosten and Daniella Sibbing. After a nice welcome diner we didn’t stayed up late.
Next morning we started at a very nice waterfall. Because we wanted to be there on sunrise we had to get up early. First early morning shoot was the small waterfall named Öxarárfoss on the road to Þingvellir and later the Geysir and Gullfoss. By outstanding planning we arrived well before all other visitors and had enough time to play with the light. The fall was significantly smaller than the week before. At this size is was very nice to capture. I made several photographs on different locations, in the end the first position was the most appealing. Nice significant piece of ice and snow in the foreground and the fall’s in the background.
Later that day we would be at the Stokkur Geysir which is active every 4 minutes. In the afternoon the Aurora Borealis warnings played a big roll. Because there was no location scouted, Marsel and Daniëlla went out to find a beautiful lighthouse. But before I continue, I should not forget that we visited Gullfoss a two stage fall which is huge. After driving to the lighthouse at night and setting up we waited for almost 1,5 hours. Nothing happened, so we decided to pack our equipment and drive back to the hotel. On the way back Marsel looked out of the car window; “I see greens, it’s northern lights!” No time was wasted and we turned the car on a very small road and raced back to the lighthouse and placed our gear on the same spot as 15 minutes before. After an hour the northern lights faded, but we had our first images of Aurora Borealis.
Second day early morning we arrived at Sjelandfoss which has a special feature. You can get behind it, because of the water spray and the freezing temperatures you could skate to the stairs. So the mikrospikes did what they were made for. After positioning myself behind the falls the never lasting cleaning of the lens started. I finally managed to get some good images with out droplets.
After Sjelandfoss and a nice lunch we were on our way to Skogafoss, another waterfall. Because it was already tourist time we had to be flexible, no problem for us. Tourists are only in for a short visit. The falls power is best demonstrated with a person in front. Daniella volunteered, a massive hug for that brave move. I also climbed up on the right-side, also a spectacular view.
Next stop same day we went to the beach, not to bath, but to get a glimpse of the sea stacks near the coastline. Reynisdrangar are basalt sea stacks situated under the mountain Reynisfjall near the village Vík í Mýrdal, southern Iceland. Legend says that the stacks originated when two trolls dragged a three-masted ship to land unsuccessfully and when daylight broke they became needles of rock. We took our time and before dinner we visited the east side and after dinner it was time for the west side.
Late that evening we visited the beach on the west side of the stacks, there was a gale force wind coming from the north. Only one positive point to that is there was no spray from the sea getting on the lenses and other gear. Later that night we were surprised by Daniella and Marsel. During the day questions about a possible location for the possible Aurora shoot where answered by that there is a nice plain nearby. Aurora forecasts mentioned level 3/4 so we went out to the plain. After a short drive in the mini-bus Daniella pulled over to help a stranded vehicle, NOT. This was just the right kind of transport to get us to our destination, a big wheeled (48 inch) 4×4 with a 6 litre engine (customized Ford Excusion) ;-). Finally at the destination we found out about the plain, it was a PLANE.
Next morning still a little sleepy it was time for some exercise, a glacier walk was on the program. First we have to put on crampons, after that our guide was leading our climb up. Very impressive to stand on a glacier. After the walk the sun was in the right position to explore some ice-cave’s. We went in two ice-caves that day. The first one was huge you could park a bus in there. Second one had a small entrance leading to a bigger cave which was reached after an easy climb. I can tell, you can spend a whole day in an ice-cave photographing. That’s what we did.
During the day and evening we have had several aurora level warnings. At 22:30 we did see a nice aurora just in front of our hotel a few minutes later we went to the famous Jökulsárlón beach. It is where the glacier ends and a lagoon is formed with a connection to the sea. Ice blocks from the glacier in different sizes are pushed out by the current at low tide to the sea and thrown back on the beach. You have to see this with your own eyes to believe it.