Harpa in Reykjavik

Like Sydney, Reykjavik Iceland has an architectural gem along its harbor, and it is a music hall. While I photographed Harpa from our ship as we departed the city harbor in the evening, I did not have a chance to visit the inside.

#harpa, #reykjavik, #iceland, #architecture, #harbor, #music, #july, #windstar
Harpa, the music hall, is Reykjavik’s architectural gem. Its surface is reflective except when the interior is lit. I’m sure the building looks different during the long dark winter months.

I have started to make my list of things to do in Iceland for my next trip. Iceland is a photographer’s dream.

“Thar She Blows”

“Thar She Blows” was the cry of a sailor spotting a whale, but the expression came to mind as we stood waiting for the Icelandic geyser to explode with a massive force of steaming water.

About every 10 minutes, Iceland’s Strokkur geyser puts on a show — shooting hot water about 30 meters into the air. It’s a dramatic natural phenomenon that you can watch only a few places in the world. Yellowstone National Park and the north island of New Zealand are two other sites that come to mind. Geysers are an indication that you are standing in a volcanic landscape.

You would be well advised to keep your children and yourself out of the line of fire, but not everyone follows the rules or exercises good judgement.

#howto, #geyser, #geysir, #freezemotion, #iceland, #stokkur, #nikon
I chose to freeze motion with 1/1000 second exposure and f/11, the focal length that would keep the whole scene in focus. F/8 and f/11 will also give you a sharp image, edge to edge.
#strokkur, #iceland, #geyser, #geysir, #nature, #howto, #nikon
Strokkur reaches a height of about 30 meters. It’s startling to observe its power.

Melting Glacier in Iceland

As global warming continues, this beautiful Iceland glacier won’t be here in 80 years. We could hear massive melting while hiking, the sound of water rushing in rivers below the surface.

#glacier, #iceland, #snaefelljokull, #globalwarming, #hike, #nature, #landscape
Exposed lava and melting snow on the Snaefellsjokull north face.

This memorable day hike was a teachable moment. It made me wonder what sort of world we are leaving to our children and grandchildren.

#glacier, #lake, #snaefellsjokull, #iceland, #hike, #lava, #snow, #globalwarming, #nature,
This glacial lake on Snaefellsjokull collects the drainage from melting snow and ice: a rugged landscape with its own kind of simple beauty.

Advantages of cruising around Iceland

While driving the Ring Road around Iceland is a flexible and economical way to explore Iceland,  cruising offers lots of benefits, too. Our seven-day cruise on Windstar, offered only in July, allowed us to wake up in the morning to scenes like this:

#baypilot, #windstar, #akureyri, #cruise, #morning, #iceland
Bay pilot helps the Windstar Legend navigate the fjord into Akureyri.

and say goodnight to the midnight sun  with views like this:

#windstar, #midnightsun, #arctic, #july, #nature, #landscape, #daylight, #iceland
View from our cabin aboard the Windstar Legend as we closed the curtains close to midnight .

While the ship travels from one port to the next, you don’t have to drive. You can relax and enjoy a good book.

#cruise, #windstar, #reading, #iceland
Charlie reading on deck, enjoying a sunny day near the Arctic Circle.

The shore excursions arranged by Windstar offered us plenty of adventures: hiking a glacier (photos coming in future blog), whale watching, bird watching, hiking to a waterfall and sight seeing flights in small planes.

We also made some good friends on this small ship, which accommodates around 210 passengers. It was fun, and we have great memories. Highly recommend for 2018!

Alaskan Wildlife

My friend Tamra is leaving for a cruise to Alaska this week. I hope she gets to see lots of Alaskan Wildlife as we did when we sailed on Silverea’s Silver Shadow in 2004. We loved watching bears grab salmon from the stream and eat them, leaving leftovers for the bald eagles near Wrangell. July is a great time to visit Alaska.

#eagles, #bear, #salmon, #July, #alaska, #wrangell, #silversea, #wildlife
Silent teamwork: Bears grabbed salmon from the rushing stream, while Bald Eagles waited nearby for their turn to feed.

Whales were bobbing and breaching as well near Juneau, and in Sitka, we observed some colorful starfish.

#starafish, #alaska, #nature, #wildlife
Colorful starfish in Sitka where we took a bike hike.

As for me, I’ll be departing for Iceland this week, where I hope to photograph the Puffins as well as many waterfalls and volcanic landscapes.

Waterfall Wednesday

This waterfall from the Hawaiian Island of Maui is getting me excited about my trip to Iceland, which is just around the corner — next Wednesday. Waterfalls are plentiful in a volcanic landscape, so I expect Iceland to bear lots of resemblance to Maui, except colder.

I’m ready for rain, waterfalls everywhere, a black sand beach and a few extras like puffins, the midnight sun and some glaciers. I’m packing lots of lenses and guide books and layered hiking clothes, and I am hoping for lots of good photography to share with you.

#waterfall, #waterfallwednesday, #maui, #iceland, #tropical, #hot, #volcanic
The Travel Channel declared today Waterfall Wednesday, so I’m happy to share a waterfall I shot in Maui along the road to Hana in September 2016.

Tropical Christmas

It’s such a busy time of year. While the rest of my family members are on the highway or in the shops today, I am grateful to have a few quiet moments to work on some special photos from 2016.

This tropical bloom from the Big Island of Hawai’i says Merry Christmas to me today with its brilliant magenta and green colors. Can you identify it? Could it be ginger?

#hawaii, #pinkandgreen, #christmas, #tropical, #painting, #topaz
Merry Christmas from tropical Hawai’i. Photo processed in Lightroom, Photoshop and Topaz Simplify.