• Iceland,  Landscape,  Travel


    A long drive of about 400 km covered this day, which continued with clouds and streaks of rain after a short dry spell. Brief moments of light were replaced by dark, low-hanging clouds. In Kollafjarðarnes, on the 68, we came across a small church, which must have belonged to a farm, along with a small cemetery. A cold sky with a warm, yellowish lawn contrasted with the red of the church roof.

    Kollafjarðarnes Kirkja © Julian Köpke

    Some roads were unpleasant to drive because, despite roadside boundaries, the sloping landscape could not be assessed. And sometimes there was thick fog on top of that. On a sloping gravel road, the fog dissipated and revealed a fjord in glorious turquoise.

    Ice Blue Westfjord in Iceland (Arnarfjord) © Julian Köpke

    In the late afternoon in full autumn light with clouds and haze we reach Dynjandi. Wikipedia reports: „Dynjandi or Fjallfoss is a waterfall of the river Dynjandisá in northwest Iceland. It is 100 m high and broadly fanned out. In summer, 2 to 8 m³/s plunge down here, and in winter about half that. The waterfall is 30 m wide at the top and 60 m wide at the bottom.“

    We approach quickly to get ahead of the impending darkening of the sun by the clouds. Due to the fanning out of the waterfall, we find an area with many small and medium-sized waterfalls, which extends over several floors and shines in magnificent colours.

    Waterfalls Dynjandi in autumn light © Julian Köpke
    We are like ants in this environment © Julian Köpke

    The combination of long time exposure (LTE) and normal exposure (STE) on a waterfall creates a special dynamic that makes it appear more alive. In this image, one shot was stacked at 1/750s and one at 1/15s. The post-processing in colour and black and white each has its own charm.

    Detail of Dynjandi waterfall. Combination of LTE and STE. © Julian Köpke
    Detail of Dynjandi waterfall. Combination of LTE and STE. © Julian Köpke

    After Dynjandi, we reached our accommodation, Holt’s Inn, via good roads. A lady from the southern Palatinate, who had not made herself at home in Cologne, worked in reception. It was so comfortable to talk to a native speaker. Outside it was slowly getting darker, clouds and haze settled over the nameless mountains.

    Evening at Holts Inn near Flateyri, Westfjords © Julian Köpke
  • Iceland,  Landscape,  Travel


    Today was the day of forgetting. Super sunshine seduced us into relative inactivity bordering on planlessness. It was good for our exhaustion, because the last few days had been full of highlights and emotional highs. That is why we went whale watching.

    Two adult dolphins and a young, obviously at the swimming school © Julian Köpke
    Tail fin of a humpback whale © Julian Köpke

    We could have ended the day so calmly. In the early evening, shortly before nightfall, my friend Detlef remembered his most important waterfall: Aldeyjarfoss. He really wanted to go to Iceland for that. 50km of unpaved road lay ahead of us. When we arrived, it was not yet completely dark, the unsecured path high above the river valley was still passable.

    Aldeyjarfoss © Julian Köpke

    We had hoped for moonlight to shoot the waterfall, which was a 96% full moon. But it took its time and only rose when we had left the spot.

    Moonrise at Aldeyjarfoss © Julian Köpke

    The way back took us past the Godafoss car park. As if we hadn’t seen and photographed enough, a few sparse northern lights appeared. They were mixed with the clouds and the Big Dipper was in the middle.

    Polar light and clouds near Godafoss © Julian Köpke
  • Iceland,  Travel


    Yesterday a long drive from Höfn to the hotel near Husavik. The journey started in the rain, but by midday it was gloriously sunny. First contact with the big volcanic fissure in Namafjall with intense sulphur smell and mud springs. 

    Námafjall hot mud sources © Julian Köpke

    After a short tour around Myvatn we reached Godafoss.

    We decided to photograph Godafoss again early in the day before the sun rose. Thick fog greeted us at the East car park. There were few people, and those who came after us ran as if their lives were at stake. If you had a spot, someone was happy to stand in front of it, armed with a smartphone.

    Sunrise and fog near Godafoss
    Sunrise and fog at Godafoss © Julian Köpke

    Down on the riverbank I could take my shot in peace and without people. The warm sunlight first reached the rocks at the small waterfall to the right of the two big ones to the left. Through manual and software-based HDR, different exposure times were superimposed so that the river appears to be strongly moving.

    Godafoss at sunrise © Julian Köpke

    Today it was the day of the waterfalls. Each one is different, each one has a different photographic appeal. The Dettifoss waterfall made a viewer feel the force of nature. We reached it after a 130km drive by car, the last 50km on a road without pavement. So one was already emotionally prepared by the tangible road conditions.

    Dettifoss detail western drop edge © Julian Köpke

    An arduous 1.4km walk took us to the east side of Sellfoss, which I immediately liked. For a creative eye, Sellfoss is a veritable treasure trove. So many waterfalls at once !

    Sellfoss late afternoon © Julian Köpke

    Finally, we went to Hafragilsfoss, whose viewpoint could be easily reached by car. Because the feet didn’t want to carry the weight of the equipment any more. Here the picture was of an animated autumnal green-yellow landscape in the middle of a dead stone desert. Again and again, the stony landscape raised the question: on which planet are we right now ?

    Hafragilsfoss © Julian Köpke

    The water in Iceland ultimately comes from precipitation, which either glaciers, melts or penetrates directly into the ground as rain. A late summer rain in the early evening with the typical Icelandic light coming in from some side forced me out of the car on our return trip. I only noticed the rain outside when I walked around the car with my camera. It was weak and warm.

    Late summer rain driving the 845 © Julian Köpke
  • Landscape,  Travel


    Our first stop is Skogafoss, which we had already visited last year. At that time we were almost alone. Today it is crowded like at the Oktoberfest. Along the outflow of the waterfall, I moved along the bank of the current with the tripod forward to somehow capture the overwhelming scale of this place.

    Skogafoss © Julian Köpke

    In front of each monument you may recognize people posing or acting. If you wait long enough, there is always an opportunity for a special picture that shows the scale of the force of nature and the relative tininess of human appearance.

    Skogafoss © Julian Köpke

    In Reynisfjara at Black Sand beach we find flow that has become stone. Basal columns and many variations of them, to be viewed from above and marvelled at from below. Frozen movement shows the past time of unbridled geological power.

    Reynisfjara basalt formation © Julian Köpke
    Reynisfjara basalt formation © Julian Köpke

    The basalt columns on Reynisfjara beach are a place of joy for all those who have made the long journey there. Is there anything more beautiful than climbing on the rocks and being photographed ?

    I experienced a moment of peace in the Verzasca Valley in Ticino. It was late afternoon and I had climbed down close to the stream to take a picture of the rocks and their reflection in the Verzasca in a pool of greenish light. What a joy this morning, because the picture was put into the explore stream of Flickr.

  • Travel and break

    The changeable weather is a great blessing for the photographer, who is constantly surprised with new lights. In fact, there are wet days with lots of gray and humidity from all directions. Atmospheric images are best created in the transition phases to sunshine.

    The appearance of a parhelion on the beach of Reynisfjara indicates finely distributed ice in the upper layers of the air. The high humidity after a rainy day makes the light warm and soft in low sun. The photographic image approaches a painting.

    Colors of parhelion (Reynisfjara beach) © Julian Köpke
    Evening at Dyrhólaey © Julian Köpke

    Through fog one even reaches a conclusion of the composition in the distance.

    Vík í Mýrdal © Julian Köpke

    Most of the rainy Wednesday we spent indoors. Around 3 pm we got up the courage to drive to Dyrhólaey again, before it was closed again at 7pm because of the birds that were brooding on the ground. A finely distributed wetness at pleasant, but cool temperatures set us down without getting into us. With winds from the south, the sky suddenly turned bright and blue again.

    Lighthouse Dyrhólaey © Julian Köpke

    Our mood brightened up and we were hardly willing to go indoors again. In Vík í Mýrdal, the church stood on a gentle hill sheltered from the forces of the sea in the sun.

    Church of Vík í Mýrdal © Julian Köpke