Waylandscape. Fine Art Landscape Photography of England, Scotland, Wales and Norway by Photographer Gary Waidson aka. Wayland. Award Winning Images of British and Scandinavian Mountains and coastlines. Landscapes of Lake District, Snowdonia, Highlands and Northumbria. Castles, Ruins, Rocks and Lighthouses. Atmospheric Landscape photographs of the UK.

A Photographic tour of Iceland.

April 2014. Part II - The North.

 

Monday 7th April.

Hvķtserkur turned out to be a disappointing  location for us. Access at sea level is not easy, involving a scramble  down a loose cliff to a black beach below. The light was still flat and  not at all favourable on that evening.

I took a few shots and  hoped for better in the morning. At least we did get some up disturbed sleep that night but the morning was not much improvement.

Don't get me wrong, this is a location with some potential it just wasn't right when we were there.

Hvķtserkur (Hvitserkur), Iceland - Photo Expeditions - © Gary Waidson - All Rights Reserved
Icelandic Horses, Iceland - Photo Expeditions - © Gary Waidson - All Rights Reserved

Moving along As the light improved I decided to get a shot of some of the  horses that are found all over this land. They may look small but I'm  told that the Icelanders get annoyed if you call them ponies. These are  horses, and hardy ones at that. The Icelandic climate is a tough one at  times but these horses are one of the few domestic animals able to  withstand the harsh winter weather.

I had stumbled across some  pictures of a place called Kįlfshamarvķk online and it looked  intriguing. Twisted basalt columns surmounted by an interesting  lighthouse, what's not to like.

It was a bit off the beaten track but  that was even better because it hadn't been photographed as much as some of the other hot spots.

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  We set. Off down a clear gravel track only to  be confronted with a snow drift. It wasn't a big drift and it had tyre  tracks running through it already. I decided to try it slowly and  carefully. Mistake. The sump lodged itself firmly on the bank of snow in the middle of the road lifting the wheels and stopping the vehicle in  it's tracks. It wasn't much, if I had hit it faster our momentum would  have carried us through.

So we had to dig ourselves out. We had a small  dust pan, a few rocks lying about but nothing long enough to reach the  sump area that was actually caught except for my tripod.

Snow Drift

 Now I've always held that a flimsy tripod is a waste of space. I'll add to that now. A  tripod that is not strong enough to dig you out of a snow drift is no  use to man or beast.

A short while later we were on our way again. 

Kįlfshamarsvķk (Kalfshamarsvik), Iceland - Photo Expeditions - © Gary Waidson - All Rights Reserved
Kįlfshamarsvķk (Kalfshamarsvik), Iceland - Photo Expeditions - © Gary Waidson - All Rights Reserved

Kįlfshamarvķk was well worth the effort but unfortunately, due to the  time we lost and the fact that we had booked a cabin for that night, we  had far too little time here.

Without that booking to consider we would  have stayed the night for certain.

We have barely scratched the surface of this  very interesting location.

We met the same drift on the way back and hit it at a reasonable speed this time. Sure enough, no problem.

Kįlfshamarsvķk (Kalfshamarsvik), Iceland - Photo Expeditions - © Gary Waidson - All Rights Reserved
Kįlfshamarsvķk (Kalfshamarsvik), Iceland - Photo Expeditions - © Gary Waidson - All Rights Reserved

We passed  through Siglufjöršur on the way to Ólafsfjöršur where the cabin was.

Siglufjöršur (Siglufjordur), Iceland - Photo Expeditions - © Gary Waidson - All Rights Reserved
Cabin at Ólafsfjöršur (Olafsfjordur), Iceland - Photo Expeditions - © Gary Waidson - All Rights Reserved

The  cabin was far bigger than we needed but I booked it for two reasons.

 

The fact that it had a geothermal hot tub right on the veranda.

And the view from that hot tub.

 

 

A plan with almost no drawbacks. 

Ólafsfjöršur (Olafsfjordur), Iceland - Photo Expeditions - © Gary Waidson - All Rights Reserved
Icelandic Aurora, Iceland - Photo Expeditions - © Gary Waidson - All Rights Reserved

Unfortunately, it was  on the edge of a small community, so when the Northern Lights made  an appearance while we were enjoying a good duty free wine in the tub,  it was slightly degraded by light pollution from the street lighting  behind us.

You can't have everything can you?

Icelandic Aurora, Iceland - Photo Expeditions - © Gary Waidson - All Rights Reserved
Gošafoss (Godafoss), Iceland - Photo Expeditions - © Gary Waidson - All Rights Reserved

Tuesday 8th April.

Next day we visited Akureyri. mainly for supplies but also to visit a  mobile phone outlet. I had bought a SIM card on the plane for my mobile  WiFi but they sold me an ordinary phone and data SIM instead of the Data SIM I needed.

It seemed convenient at the time but I shouldn't have  assumed that the trolley dollies knew anything about SIM cards. My mistake.  This meant that we had been at the mercy of the weather and the brief  reports we could get at garages. With internet access things were at  least, a little more predictable. 

So far, the snow had only  interrupted our plans on the way to Kįlfshamarvik, at Gošafoss there  are normally two sides that the falls can be approached from but it was  clear on this day that the side I wanted to be on would be not be safe  on this occasion. That left me with the light, which was quite strong,  coming from the wrong side as well. Not ideal.

Gošafoss (Godafoss), Iceland - Photo Expeditions - © Gary Waidson - All Rights Reserved
Gošafoss (Godafoss), Iceland - Photo Expeditions - © Gary Waidson - All Rights Reserved

We took a few  pictures and advanced our plans by heading Eastwards earlier than intended.

The road  to Dettifoss was still showing as impassible on the road authority  website so we desired to take a look at the Myvatn area which we had  meant to bypass.

Myvatn is a popular spot in the Summer by all accounts  but didn't seem to offer much out of season it appeared.

Nįmaskarš (Namaskard) , Iceland - Photo Expeditions - © Gary Waidson - All Rights Reserved
Nįmafjall (Namafjall), Iceland - Photo Expeditions - © Gary Waidson - All Rights Reserved

The area around Krafla seemed much more interesting.

Wednesday 9th April.

We stopped  not far from another geothermal area I was keen to see, Hveraröndor Hverir.

This  was our coldest night. At dawn the temperatures were -5°c on an open  plain with no shelter but the van itself.

Not uncomfortable but a little cool.

Icelandic-Moonrise - Photo Expeditions - © Gary Waidson - All Rights Reserved
Hveraröndor Hverir (Hverarondor Hverir), Iceland - Photo Expeditions - © Gary Waidson - All Rights Reserved

Hveraröndor Hverir turned out to be  one of our highlights.

Powerful fumaroles and smelly steaming mud holes.

Everything a good geothermal area should be and no more than a few essential  fences to get in the way.

I must say that the Icelandic approach to  health and safety is refreshing.

There were a few signs to say “This is dangerous.” but by and large the attitude seemed to be “We have warned you, so if you are stupid enough to put your hand into a superheated fumarole or a pool of boiling water, then that is your own problem.”

Hveraröndor Hverir (Hverarondor Hverir), Iceland - Photo Expeditions - © Gary Waidson - All Rights Reserved
Debs at Hveraröndor Hverir (Hverarondor Hverir), Iceland - Photo Expeditions - © Gary Waidson - All Rights Reserved

I can live with that, it seems perfectly in keeping with Darwinian theory as well but I suspect such an attitude would soon attract a festering swarm of ambulance chasers in the UK.

Hveraröndor Hverir (Hverarondor Hverir), Iceland - Photo Expeditions - © Gary Waidson - All Rights Reserved
Hveraröndor Hverir (Hverarondor Hverir), Iceland - Photo Expeditions - © Gary Waidson - All Rights Reserved
Hveraröndor Hverir (Hverarondor Hverir), Iceland - Photo Expeditions - © Gary Waidson - All Rights Reserved

By this time the status of the road to Dettifoss had been upgraded to  "difficult" and with the warming conditions we decided to give it a try.

There were a few small drifts but they were fresh, thawing and already rutted by heavier vehicles. No problem with careful driving.

 Dettifoss  itself was not safe to approach. Deep sloping ice covered snow, with  uncertain cornices overhanging a precipitous drop into churning water.  Again, no signs or fences, but the Darwin Awards awaited anyone  foolhardy enough to push their luck.

Dettifoss, Iceland - Photo Expeditions - © Gary Waidson - All Rights Reserved
Jökulsį į Fjöllum (Jokulsa a Fjollum), Iceland - Photo Expeditions - © Gary Waidson - All Rights Reserved (Jokulsa a Fjollum)
Selfoss

Selfoss was another matter.  Although caution was still required, it was at least possible here to  see what sort of ground the snow was lying on. There were also some  interesting shots to be had in the canyon between the two falls. After  this we were ready to move East about a day earlier than we had planned.

Follow us East.

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Award winning landscape photography by Wayland
Award winning landscape photography by Wayland
Wayland at Selfoss, Iceland - Photo Expeditions - © Gary Waidson - All Rights Reserved