Iceland,  Landscape,  Travel

Patterns and glacial flows

This morning we were far from convinced to book a photographic sightseeing flight. Because the clouds were hanging 20m above the ground when we left our hotel. The closer we got to Skaftfell, the brighter it became, but still plenty cloudy. Only on the peaks of Vatnajökull was there plenty of sun.

The experienced pilot was sure we would have fun. And so it came to pass. Because our pilot liked to take pictures from the air himself and knew exactly how to get the best light conditions in front of our lens in the clearing weather. How impressive it was may be understood by pointing out my rapidly aching hands, which from focusing, positioning the camera and releasing the shutter on both sides had me feeling the saddle joints after only half an hour.

Our flight was a complete success thanks to this young pilot whose machine was more than twice his age. Only the engine was new, he said.

Glacial flows and patterns on Iceland © Julian Köpke

After crossing the first glacier flow, we reached the glacier itself. With the old Cessan we slowly crept up the glacier. I felt reminded of films where the altitude limit is reached and the hero has to dare to jump. The cold downdraft winds were hard on the plane, but the pilot still guided us safely up the slope.

The sight of a glacier reminds me of frozen waves that take you up and down with power. The frozen glacier seems less dangerous, almost still.

Flying up the glacier Vatnajökull © Julian Köpke

We left the glacier area again to approach the glacier lagoon Jökullsarlon. From above, everything looks small, I didn’t even notice the many icebergs I would later find from the plane.

Flight from Vatnajökull to Jökullsarlon © Julian Köpke

In one hour I took 700 pictures, which is about 50 GBytes of data. At the end, the exhaustion of the hands and body was noticeable. We only had bananas and nuts for breakfast, as we had to leave the hotel before breakfast. Fortunately, we had gloves, scarf and hats to brave the cold that came in through the open plane windows.

Glacial flows and patterns on Iceland © Julian Köpke

Deep sleep had been indicated and possible before the evening excursion. With a small diversions via Hafnarnesviti lighthouse, we reached the Viking Café in Stocksness at 11 pm. Many cars took the same route. Northern lights at Vestrahorn were the final destination for all. For the first time I experienced polar lights with my cam under clear skies.

Polarlights at Stocksness © Julian Köpke
Polarlights at Stocksness © Julian Köpke

I like to make things visible the naked eye isn't able to see. That's part of my profession as a radiologist, too.

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