Bill’s Winter Adventure In Iceland 2018

Friday 1/12/2018: What can I say but more of the same – rain and wind. – lots of both. We did do a little photography. We went to Reynisfjara beach for sunrise, but no sunrise just rain. We did do some photography in the rain on the sea stacks. The sea was rough. I also visited here one of my days alone and had similar conditions.

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We stopped and photographed a waterfall (Foss a Sidu) on our way to visit a glacier.

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It was so windy and rainy at the glacier we didn’t get out of the van. We plan on coming back when and if the weather gets better. So not a lot accomplished today photographically. I did have some good Icelandic meat soap for lunch and cod for supper with some Viking beer.


Thursday 1/11/2018: I met up with our photographic tour group. Two leaders, Jack Graham from the US and Orvar Thorrgensson of Iceland and five participants including myself. We set off at 8am in darkness. Once we got about 1/2 hour from Reykjavik it started to snow and the roads were bad. We almost got into an accident when cars stopped suddenly because of a major accident ahead. Orvar was able to pull of the van onto the shoulder drive a narrow gap with out sliding out of control. I really don’t know how he did it. The road ahead was closed because of the accident and we had to take a detour. Sunrise was around 10:45 and we stopped soon afterward to photograph a small photogenic church. The winds were incredible and as I got out of the van and walked up onto the road a powerful gust grabbed me and pushed me. I had no control and was running/being pushed rapidly towards a fence. I had to pull a quarterback slide on the ground to avoid going into the fence. We decided to move on to safer locations. We stopped and photographed the Icelandic horses for a while.

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We also stopped at a waterfall. The photography wasn’t to great but I tried some slow motion video. I’m hoping the video works I’ve never tried it in this blog before.

Wednesday 1/10/2018: everything got out of order. Hopefully I’m back on track. Returned the car, checked into my room in Reykjavik and got reacquainted with the town. I took a stroll down Laugavegur Street, the main shopping street to the famous hotdog stand of Reykjavik. Icelanders claim they have the best hotdogs (half lamb and half pork). This small landmark hotdog stand does serve a pretty good hotdog, but I’ve also had some not so good ones in Iceland. Maybe they should say some of the best.

From there I went to Harpa, one of Reykjavik’s most outstanding landmarks. It’s an event center/conference hall located on the ocean. The interesting thing is the architecture, it’s a glass building with distinctive multicolored glass façade that approximates the ballast columns that can be found in various locations on the island. Here’s an outside and an inside look at the building.

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Down from Harpa along the waterfront hiking and biking trail is Solfar (Sun Voyager) Sculpture which resembles the Viking ships that brought the Norse to the island.

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Sunday 1/7/2018: Not much to say except arrived at Keflavik at 7am, picked up the car and drove to Hveragerdi in sleet and snow in the dark – sunrise is about 10:30am. The roads were bad. I got checked in to Hotel Ork and stayed in. The snow changed to heavy rain with gusty winds not the best weather for photography.

Monday 1/8/2018: I got on the road early heading to Gullfoss waterfall and the Geysir geothermal field. The roads were still bad but it didn’t stop the large tourist buses heading the same way I was. I followed a snowplow for a while. I got to Gullfoss just when it started to get light. The sky was still heavily overcast, but there was some light for photography. Gullfoss is a huge two-tiered waterfall. This is the second time I’ve seen it in the winter, I’ve never seen it in the summer. From the pictures I’ve seed it’s really spectacular in the summer and you can get closer to it. The image below shows both the upper and lower falls. The path with a guard rail on the left give some perspective of the size of Gullfoss.

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Gullfoss means “golden waterfall” since on a sunny day the water takes on a golden color. It would have been to have some sun. The image below is a close up of the lower falls.

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My next stop was the Geysir geothermal field. Geysir is maybe the most famous geyser in the world and is the namesake for all erupting hot springs. Unfortunately Geysir now only rarely erupts, a couple of times a year and only a fraction of it’s former height. I decided not to wait for the eruption.

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Nearby Stokkur erupts on the average every 5 – 10 minutes and sometimes several rapid eruptions take place. Stokkur can reach over 100 feet, although most are probably 50 to 60 feet. I didn’t get the photos I wanted of Stokkur, it started sleeting really heavily and I decided to drive back before the roads got any worse, besides I was drenched.

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There are also various pools and hot springs in the area. Here are a couple.

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The weather tomorrow looks like rain again, but you never know in Iceland, things can change rapidly.

Tuesday 1/9/2018: Another rainy, windy day in paradise. I read yesterday that Iceland is the third windiest place in the world and nobody lives in the first and second place. I don’t think that’s really true, but you could have fooled me today. I went to the black sand beach at Vic to photograph the sea stacks, black sand beach and the ocean. I was hoping for a sunrise – no such thing. The waves were awesome you had to be careful to stay back. There were sneaker waves every so often. Really pretty dangerous today.

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The windy weather was churning up the ocean. It rained the entire time I was there. I finally got too wet and moved on.

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On the road to the black sand beach I found this small church. These small churches are all over Iceland. Many of the larger farms have their own churches. This one grabbed my attention since it appeared that some of the graves had been decorated for Christmas with lights.

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On my way back to Hveragardi I stopped at Skogafoss. This waterfall is located on the Skoga River and is one of Iceland’s most famous waterfalls. It falls approximately 200 feet and is about 75 feet wide. It flows over the former sea cliffs that remained after the ocean receded. I like it better in the summer since it frequently has a rainbow. I also stopped at Seljalandsfoss, another famous water fall up the road. In the summer you can walk up behind Seljalandsfoss and get some great photographs as the sun sets.

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Seljalandsfoss

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Not a particularly great day for photography. Bad light and lots of rain to get the equipment wet. I’ve never had to shoot with such a high ISO before just to get a few pictures. Tomorrow I return the rental car and head to Reykjavik to meet up with the photo tour I’m on. Looks like more rain. I did see a sliver of the sun briefly today.

I also did see a puffin today. I thought they were all out to sea.

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