It’s going to be a scorcher in Southwest Florida today — record breaking 92 degrees in the first week of April. What a perfect time to enjoy the frozen waterfall Skogafoss in Iceland — where I shot these photographs in January.
Be sure to scroll down to enjoy all four photographs. The last one may be your favorite.
Have you ever witnessed the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) or the Aurora Australis (Southern Lights)? World travelers, put them on your bucket list.
I traveled to Iceland in winter and hoped for a cloudless night and the right solar conditions. My group of photographers was rewarded with two such nights during our 10-day sojourn. The green and purple lights swirled from the horizon to soar above our heads and at times surrounded us in every direction. They seemed to erupt like lava over distant cliffs or nearby mountains. I shot dozens of long exposures during the awe inspiring action.
The Hraunfossar Falls in Iceland stretch for a kilometer — where glacier melt penetrates through layers of lava and flows into the Hvita River. I was captivated by the clarity of the flowing water against the black lava and the vibrant blue color of the glacial water when it pooled in the river.
I knew I was in Iceland. The sun was up for just four to five hours during our stay, and the sun followed a low path along the horizon. So the light was golden all day, you might say. (In early January, the day was four hours long. The day got noticeably longer during the 10 days we were there.)
Enjoy this golden light in the foreground of these snow-covered mountains in West Iceland.
The Icelandic people really know how to name their glaciers! It might be better to call this glacier the one we visited on January 16 at sunset. Allow me to treat you to a wide view of this awesome sight and a detail of the icebergs on the frozen lake at the foot of this frozen giant.
Detail from the lower left of this scene, including two photographers near the lakeside icebergs.
In Florida, I watch pelicans and osprey dive for fish, and sandpipers run from the approaching wave on the beach, but I have never witnessed a whole flock of birds jump the waves. That’s why I was intrigued by this sight in Iceland.
First of all, it amazes me that horses, birds, reindeer and seals can withstand the bitter cold and gale force winds of the Iceland winter. I saw all these types of wildlife roaming free and feeding on what Nature provides.
Then, I found myself at the foot of Vestrahorn on a black sand beach at dusk, which is mid-afternoon in January. I was photographing the mountain towering over the beach and reflecting in the wet sad. But a flock of birds floating near the shore caught my eye.
I liked the rosy tones in the sky, the snow in the mountains and the repeating waves approaching the shore. What do you like about this image?
I remember that I asked my parents for a horse when I was a young child, too young to understand that the answer would always be no. I remember how I loved to ride horses at summer camp. And I remember learning how smart horses are, and how some can unlock their own stable door. These reasons are part of the story.
Perhaps the most authentic reason is the way I feel when a horse looks at me, and I try to read their thoughts and feelings. Our true connection is found in our eye contact. I cannot explain it, but I can show it.
Iceland owes its rugged landscape to volcanic origin, dark and bitter cold winters on the Arctic Circle and deforestation by the Vikings. There are a few equally rugged farmers and fishermen who live in rustic isolation. It’s hard to imagine this life in the summer, not to mention the winter.
Iceland is a hot destination now, and for good reason. Airline bargains abound, and the scenery is amazing. If you haven’t discovered this beautiful country for yourself yet, I highly recommend making the trip. Whether you have just been or hope to go, you will be interested in the ASMP Photography exhibit in Pittsburgh this Friday July 9 at 803 Liberty Avenue. I will be exhibiting some large works from my recent trip to Iceland.
Volcanic eruptions are in the news now with action in both Hawaii and Guatemala. Iceland has been formed by volcanoes, and it has experienced recent eruptions. The Icelandic fishing center Heimaey Island, just southwest of the mainland, has recovered from a two-year eruption beginning in the 1973. You can learn all about it at the Museum of Remembrance and walk its quiet streets now lined with new homes.
If you like hiking, landscape photography and exploring quiet places on your own, you will enjoy a visit to Iceland.
I’m busy today making prints for a July 6 exhibition: the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust Gallery Crawl. It’s a fun evening, and you can find some cool photography by ASMP* photographers at 803 Liberty Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA.
I have decided to feature some of the amazing landscapes and birds I saw in Iceland last summer. Whoever said that Iceland is the land of “Fire and Ice” is right! Volcanoes have created some rugged landforms and interesting vistas. On Heimeay Island, one can just imagine how frightened the residents felt when a massive eruption woke them in the middle of the night in January 1973. (All residents fled via fishing boats in the harbor, and the eruption continued for two years.)
Then you can experience “Ice” even in mid-July, as you bundle up in a parka, hat and gloves and strap spikes to your boots for a hike on an icy, albeit melting, glacier. This glacier was atop an extinct volcano on the Snaefellsness Peninsula.
Please come to the Pittsburgh Gallery Crawl on Friday evening July 6. It’s free.
*American Society of Media Photographers: ASMP.org.