In the morning a short review of the Vestrahorn in the hotel at the computer. The warm light of the morning sun was reflected in the dune grass, which grew into the black sand in repeated small domes. And in the mountain range that gave the name to the place.
I liked the simplicity of the house forms in Iceland. I’d like to photograph them all. Remotely, they are reminiscent of the wooden shapes of the houses and hotels of a Monopoly game.
A road that didn’t seem to be difficult on the map should take us to the foothills of Eyafjallajökull. On the way there we met riders who used the same road with Icelandic horses. They were clearly faster and, as if by magic, always quite a bit of us. The road was interrupted by watercourses that our simple car could not pass through. We had to turn around.
After a visit to Seljalandsfoss and Gljúfrabúi we drove to the ferry port, which takes you to Vestmannaeyjar (Westman Islands). Hefty wind and thin rain awaited us. The lens could hardly be held straight with the hand. Some grains of sand from the black beach penetrated into my left eye and keep me busy for some time.
With a slight disappointment we arrived at the Jökullsárlon for the third time. The weather forecast had promised sunshine and we were already there at 9 o’clock. We were alone at the location, a rare privilege. However, we encountered an almost closed cloud cover, which could not be pushed away by the strong downwind of the glacier. Only on the glacier itself was a remnant of blue sky to be found.
The name Diamond Beach comes from the small pieces of ice that come from broken icebergs that the glacier has calved into the glacier lake Jökulsàrlon. They glitter in the sun like fairy-tale diamonds – when the sun is shining.
Using frame averaging, I was able to get long-term recordings without using a neutral density filter. I left this one in the car. In 8 seconds, with around 45 pictures that are averaged, I achieved vivid results in landscape photography.
The furthest eastern destination of our trip was the Vestrahorn. With a private beach of black sand, this place is interesting at low tidal ranges because of its reflections. The nice lady at the entrance gave us a ticket for morning and evening. So we came there in the morning and in the evening hours.
The blue colour of the reflections deceives the fact that a warm morning sun illuminated the beach. My friend Detlef is almost lost in the vastness of the beach.
Sometimes I find it difficult to make panoramic shots because I can’t plan the picture in my head. Every panorama always contains a small surprise. On the Vestrahorn I made this panorama with reflections from 2 shots with identical parameters.
You don’t go to Iceland to watch a solar eclipse. The visibility of the event is unlikely. Taking a solar eclipse with you as a by-catch on a trip has a different quality.
So we managed to record the early and late phases with a tripod, we had to miss the maximum due to heavy rain and dark clouds. Only a few minutes later than the maximum at 10:16h local time we drove off road into the wilderness and took this photo through the clouds.
With a picture like this in the box, every other photo of the day is a gift. The icebergs of Jökulsarlon were a cool attraction with reflections, sunshine and rain showers alternating.
After a short visit to the hotel we drove back to Diamond Beach, which is located right on the southern coast of Jökulsarlon. The many small ice blocks formed by the icebergs broken by the surf gave the beach its name.
It is a not too short distance from Arnarstapi to the Güllfoss in the heart of Iceland. The constantly changing weather is a stroke of luck, as are the long days. As a driver of a car, my pleasure increases with leisurely speed and music appropriate to the landscape.
Detlef and I have been going on astronomical adventures in different combinations for 10 years now. This time we’re going on our own for the first time.
Modern cars allow you to bring your own music with you via your mobile phone. This way we discover our preferred composers and musicians have a broad commonality.
Today it is Arvo Pärt’s turn, which has written music that could be taken to a planet that is still uninhabited or sparsely populated. This fits perfectly with the early plant settlements on the volcanic rock and the April weather of the island. With Arvo Pärt’s music, the rugged features of Iceland disappear and turn into gentle forms.
On the way to the hotel at the Güllfoss waterfall we come across Strokkur, a reliable geyser with the same blue colour of the water when it starts to rise driven by steam.
The weather got better and better, but remained changeable, which gave us plenty of opportunities for beautiful shots. Detlef had already programmed all stops in the navigation system, so we could go there in peace as we wanted.
The weather varied considerably from region to region, sometimes necessitating quick decisions. Or a chance to take a nap.
On our way to Budir a second time we passed by the foothills of Snaefellsjökull.
The small hotel near the red beach of Budir has an excellent location and its own charm. Prepared for tourists are two old cottages, decorated with milk jugs.
It was impossible for me to sleep really long. The long day in Iceland and the tension about when the test result would arrive kept me awake. In the end, it was 12 hours that we waited. We spent the quarantine in the car on the way to the hotel as indicated. After12 hours of tiring waiting, the result – a negative test -was as a text message on our mobile phones.
The weather was constantly changing on the way. In addition to great photo opportunities, there were also boring sections with rain or dull views. At the end we arrived in Arnarstapi. Again along day with excursion to the basalt coast with finely distributed rain.Despite the unpleasant rain, the sky was full of interesting light conditions that the eye was not accustomed to correctly estimate.
Our flight to Iceland started in Germany with summer darkness, which was far from reaching its maximum. To the north over Germany and to the northwest over Scotland, th edusk could be seen in the west, and after not too long already the dawn in the east. The topology of the sphere allows us to see the evening in the left plane window and the morning in the right plane window.
Red clouds, sometimes dense, sometimes filigree, hovered over an almost closed cloud cover over the sea. Seeing the sun was reserved for the captain of the flight.
After a Covid test, we had to go into quarantine. Outside it was still bright as in our home on a winter afternoon at 4 pm. Everything was deserted, so I took a photo session at the harbor without violating the purpose of the quarantine. I was greeted by a strong eruption of the Krýsuvík-volcano system in the Fagradalsfjall mountains, for which I was only partially equipped in camera technology.
In the morning I was able to see the volcanic region again from the pool of the hotel. A half-full wine glass was on the edge. In the night three young mermaid have had loudly their fun in this pool.
Ansel Adams was a pianist. There’s even an edition of recordings of him from the 30s. For a long time he struggled whether he should become a pianist or a photographer.
Reading his book “The Negative” not only gives me insight into the technical processes that the “analogue” photographers had to struggle with. His often short sentences or comments on the image evaluation are an inspiring source, which always evoke in me the image of a qualified musician from Ansel Adams. He didn’t loose the spirit of music when photographing or processing.
His comments on infrared photography inspired me to rework a color image of the northern part of the island of Sylt and to study the effect of different color filters on contrasts and tonality.
The contrasts in the color image are weaker, the color also distracts a little from the mood of an impending thunderstorm. A bit of luminosity or radiance comes out better in the clouds in the black and white image.