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.
When the Winter Sun Set by 4…
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.
A Glacier called Fagurholsmyri
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.
Do Birds Jump the Waves?
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?
The Eyes Have It
Why do I fall in love with the Icelandic horse?
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.
The Obvious Choice: X
Standing on the bluff overlooking ice fishermen on the frozen lake and a wide vista of snowy Utah mountains, I did not at first recognize the most dramatic composition — the one that included the X on the ground. “X” marked the landing pad for a rescue helicopter. Yes, the X attracts the eye and tells a story about a dramatic rescue that took place here.
Aren’t the best photographs, the ones that tell a story? Maybe not the most obvious story, but stories that happened in the past that we can only imagine?
Frozen lake’s sights and sounds
My eye followed the leading lines in this frozen lake across to the Wasatch Mountain Range. While the mountains were lacking in fresh snow, the temperatures were very cold, in the single digits and teens on this February day. Nearby, a well-bundled man was ice-fishing.
While I was taking in this vista, I noticed the interesting sounds the ice was making. Have you ever listened to the sounds of a frozen lake?
Attention Horse Lovers
Have you ever seen such a furry horse? The thick coat on this horse makes him look almost like part bear! Surely this blanket of fur helps this horse stay warm in the frigid Utah winter, when temperatures often lurk near zero (Fahrenheit).
If any of you horse experts want to chime in, I’m happy to hear your thoughts on what type of horse this is. I’m not sure if the legs are stocky, or the overgrown hair obscures slim legs. I have never seen a horse with this appearance.
As freezing temperatures grip the Northeast United States this week, we are reminded that a frozen landscape offers a new kind of beauty. The colorful palette of autumn leaves are nearly gone, and winter’s snow introduces a new aesthetic.
This image is one of 12 featured in Cathy Kelly’s 2022 Wyoming Nature calendar. There is still time to order one for the holidays. Email Cathy for details.
When travel restrictions keep a photographer at home for months at a stretch, it’s a perfect time to exercise one’s creativity with new ways to process images in the archives. On this sunny day in June, I pulled up one of my favorite images of 2020: my daughter and son-in-law on a dog sled in Wyoming with a stunning background.
I was so happy that my dogsled, traveling just behind Courtney’s sled stopped in an opportune spot for me to frame her sled before tall pines, snow-capped mountains and a happy sky, blue with puffy clouds. And for just one second, Courtney and her husband Scott looked up at me and smiled. The triangular composition gives the scene balance and also offsets the white dogs.
Our winter adventures in Jackson Hole will give us some interesting options for holiday cards this year, and maybe a 2021 calendar. I’m sure your photographs from your family trips bring you joy at this time.