Iceland 2012 Trip

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Iceland 2012 Trip

Snaefellsnes to Seljalandsfoss

Sunday 27 May 2012

There was a loud knocking at the door to my hotel room.

“Peter, you awake?”

“I’m up”, I lied. I looked at my clock and it showed 2.00 a.m., which meant I had overslept. Why hadn’t my alarm gone off? I looked again. My alarm was set for 1.45 p.m., which was obviously wishful thinking.

“Sorry”, I called. “I’ll be there in five.” Nothing worse than keeping a group of tired photographers waiting, but fortunately all was in readiness and I was out the door, into the vehicle and we were on our way. And yes, I did get quite a bit of ribbing for being late.

Of course, it wasn’t at all dark. In fact, at this time of the year it doesn’t get completely dark and we could see that the weather had improved.

Budir Church under more interesting skies.

Another angle, this time with the surrounding mountains creating an interesting backdrop.

When we reached the church, there appeared to be a beautiful pink light on the white wooden window frames and gate, but it was coming from the opposite direction of the pink clouds in the sky. I finally traced it to the spotlights on the church, so it wasn’t a special Icelandic illumination after all!

In the distance, the snow-capped mountains and glaciers were lighting up with the sunrise and the harsh volcanic plane surrounding the little church took on an eerie glow. It was interesting to see the priorities the different photographers had. Some were interested in the church itself, some in the church as it sat in the landscape, while others didn’t worry too much about the church at all, preferring to shoot the coastline. All were valid subjects.

We spent an hour or so milking the location for all it was worth before driving on to Arnarstapi. The wonderful rock arch we had photographed the day before in the rain was now backlit by a strong morning sun, so we drove a little further around to the harbour and walked along the cliff edge back to the arch. There was so much to photograph from dramatic coastal landforms to quaint little buildings reflected in small ponds with towering volcanoes behind. I could return to this location many times and not tire of it.

No trouble with the roads in Iceland. A main highway circumnavigates the entire island.

The crew at work on the roadside. We made many stops, most of them longer than we should have.

What a location! Arnarstapi.

Another angle at Arnarstapi.

We stopped a couple more times for photography and then around 8.00 a.m. made a beeline back to our hotel for breakfast. It was hard to believe we had been up and out for over eight hours by the time we finished breakfast at 10.00 a.m.

I guess this is the difference between a normal ‘bus tour’ and a PODAS. The number one priority for the PODAS is to take great photographs and if that means changing the itinerary and getting up incredibly early, that’s what happens. And let’s face it, it makes a much better story on your return than lamenting the opportunities you missed!

After breakfast, we bundled back into the vehicles with all our gear and set off to Hvolsvollur on the south of Iceland. We grabbed snacks for lunch and ate an early dinner at 6.00 p.m., and then set off for Seljalandsfoss waterfall.

The waterfalls along the southern coast are quite remarkable in that they appear to come from nowhere. There is a flat coastal strip which the road follows, but it is bordered by steep green and black cliffs inland. Every so often you’ll pass a waterfall cascading over the side, but from so low down, you can only guess where the water is coming from!

Access to Seljalandsfoss is very straightforward - straight from the carpark.

You can walk around behind Seljalandsfoss - but you can also get a little wet!
Another angle of Seljalandsfoss

Seljalandsfoss is instantly recognisable by anyone who has visited Iceland or simply looked at photographs or books of Iceland. A grassy park leads up to the falls and there is a walkway that goes up around and behind the waterfall itself. Our timing (intentionally planned by Kevin and Daniel) for shooting the waterfall couldn’t have been better with the setting sun lighting up the falls. There is a lot of spray and depending on the wind direction, there are places around the falls you simply can’t stand without quickly becoming saturated. There is also a lot of spray swirling around, so a lens cap in between exposures was a really useful preventative measure.

We photographed until sunset, so by the time we reached our hotel, we had been on the go for 21 hours. Bed never seemed so good and no one complained when we decided to miss sunrise a few hours later. An 8.00 a.m. breakfast sounded eminently civilised!

Next: Skogafoss and Jokulsarlon

Back: Snaefellsnes Peninsula

Peter Eastway Uses

Peter Uses

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