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Skógafoss (Skogafoss), Iceland - Photo Expeditions - © Gary Waidson - All Rights Reserved

A Photographic tour of Iceland.

2014. Part V - Homeward Bound.

 

Some things are difficult to photograph.

It could be because there is so much spray that you have to keep wiping your lens to see anything at all.     That was certainly true here.

Some times the light is just not right or coming from the wrong direction.   It wasn’t brilliant here but I’ve seen worse.

It might be because you cannot seem to find the right angle to get the shot you want. That was not the problem in this case.

But sometimes, something is just so awesome you just have to be there and experience it for yourself.

I don’t think any photograph could do justice to Skógafoss.

Of all the falls we saw on this trip, I think this was my favourite.

Wayland at Skógafoss (Skogafoss), Iceland - Photo Expeditions - © Gary Waidson - All Rights Reserved

I did try to shoot the whole thing but it does not show the real majesty of this waterfall.

The shot of Debs just looking up at the decending sheet of water is the closest one for me.

 

The weather was turning from drizzle to rain and though we had intended to return to Thigvellir we wrote that off and moved towards Reyykjanes for the final leg of our trip.

Skógafoss (Skogafoss), Iceland - Photo Expeditions - © Gary Waidson - All Rights Reserved
Seltún (Seltun), Krýsuvík (Krysuvik), Iceland - Photo Expeditions - © Gary Waidson - All Rights Reserved

In any other country the Reykjanes Peninsula would be a remarkable place.

It sits right on the Mid Atlantic Ridge and the Earth’s energy can be seen leaking out of steaming holes all over.

Perhaps it is because we came here at the end of such a fantastic journey that we were less impressed than we might otherwise have been as we arrived in the rain.

We had a quick recce round and settled down in Krýsuvík  near Seltún for the night.

Tuesday 15th April.

Our last full day on the road.

Seltún is another Geothermal area, impressive in it’s own right but I found the best pictures required a bit of a climb.

Everyone tells you as a visitor that you must go to the Blue Lagoon but that is not really our sort of thing. We had already had our hot tub experience and we doubted it could beat that.

I was interested in the geology of the area though.

Seltún (Seltun), Krýsuvík (Krysuvik), Iceland - Photo Expeditions - © Gary Waidson - All Rights Reserved
Reykjanes Steam Engine, Iceland - Photo Expeditions - © Gary Waidson - All Rights Reserved

When researching an area for landscape photography I don’t just look at picture books and web sites.

While planning this trip I found some of the locations from historical sources and a couple from geological reports.

I had my eye on an interesting feature near Gunnuhver that I had found in just such a report but on the way we found this contraption.

Looking like something out of a Steampunk fantasy this was obviously tapping into the huge reserves of geothermal energy in the ground all around Iceland.

This area seemed to be a particular hotspot for such extraction judging by the shining steel pipes stretching every which way across the landscape.

We roughly located out target geology but decided that the inclement weather would not give us time to reach it between the horizontal hail storms and the squally snow showers. The wind was picking up and the weather reports were warning of gales.

We logged it for another visit and turned our attention to Gunnuhver itself.

The steaming Earth here is attributed to an unruly ghost called Guđrún that was trapped by a priest there some 600 years ago.

Gunnuhver, Iceland - Photo Expeditions - © Gary Waidson - All Rights Reserved

All I can say is if this is what she’s like after being laid to rest, I wouldn’t want to have met her in real life.  This is a powerful place.

In front of the platform in the picture above is the remains of another that was destroyed in a steam explosion a few years ago.

Debs lost a glove that was snatched by the wind and came to rest on the edge of one of the steaming vents. Needless to say neither of us felt inclined to chance a rescue attempt.

Guđrún has at least one warm hand now.

Gunnuhver Steam Engine, Iceland - Photo Expeditions - © Gary Waidson - All Rights Reserved
Reykjanes, Iceland - Photo Expeditions - © Gary Waidson - All Rights ReservedI

We planned to spend our last night on the road near Reyjanes Lighthouse, overlooking these sea stacks.

The sea was high and the wind higher. These shots had to be taken in the lee of the van just to stop the tripod blowing over. Even then many exposures were spoiled by vibration.

Reykjanes, Iceland - Photo Expeditions - © Gary Waidson - All Rights Reserved

As the light fell and the exposures grew longer the problem got worse.

The shot below is pretty well useless for anything above web resolution.

When it started snowing again we decided to head inland to avoid getting stranded at the end of a quiet gravel road.

Reykjanes, Iceland - Photo Expeditions - © Gary Waidson - All Rights Reserved
Bone Ice Skates, Iceland - Photo Expeditions - © Gary Waidson - All Rights Reserved

Our last two days In Iceland were spent in Reykjavik.

I didn’t take many pictures there. In fact after lugging my gear around for a fortnight I was glad to leave it in the hotel room and just carry a compact instead.

Anyone that knows us would be able to predict our movements for these days.

First the bookshops followed by the Museums. Nothing too remarkable to see in the museums, most of the collection I have illustrated in my library at home but a couple of things caught my eye.

First of all, the bone ice skates. These go back as far as the Vikings and I have seen examples many times but it is the first time I have seen them with the bindings in place. this pair post date the Vikings of course but it shows that the idea had some longevity.

Next were the sulphur matches. Again not a new discovery but I had often wondered if, given the plentiful supply of sulphur in Iceland, they were in use over here. (Which may indicate they could have been used as early as the settlements.) An interesting thought.

Sulphur Matches, Iceland - Photo Expeditions - © Gary Waidson - All Rights Reserved

If you ever find yourself in Reykjavik, treat yourself to a lunch at the Saegreifinn (Sea Baron) down by the old harbour. Wonderful Lobster soup and fish kebabs that take some beating.

I do admire efficiency and the transport system here is the model of that efficiency.

The shuttle bus arrived on time to take us from the hotel to the bus station. They loaded our bags while we bought our tickets and the bus dropped us at the airport within seconds of the scheduled time.

Tell me.. Why can’t things work like that in England?  

Map of our route in Iceland

After just a few days here we had already resolved to return. Our tour  was designed to give us a sample of what Iceland had to offer and it was clear that there was so much more to see. Debs and I will definitely  come back to this enchanting and magical landscape before too long.

 

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