Iceland Day 5

A windy and rainy morning for a change. But we got a bit of relief when we did our shooting in a cave, the only problem was that the cave wasn’t really big enough for 8 photographers and their tripods so I took my pictures in a bit of a hurry (I wasn’t inspired enough to spend the whole morning on shooting the same basalt walls) and then spent some more time on the beach, despite the weather. I really like the pebbles on these shores, they are worn smooth and round just like the pebbles I’ve been collecting at Ljusnan, but the difference is that these are most often black and only occasionally do you find other colours. But oh that wind… a couple of times when I bent down, the wind knocked me down on my butt!

Basalt cave
Basalt cave
Tough weather
I had to clone off lots of water drops, impossible to protect the lens from all the wind and rain and sea spray!

After two nights in Vellir, it was time for us to move to a new place again. We drove west and made a few stops along the way, the first being the famous waterfall of Skogafoss. It’s a tourist magnet so it was hard to get a view of the waterfall without getting somebody in the picture, and this is not even high season. Don’t even want to think what this is like in the summer! You can avoid the foreground problem if you climb up and the Icelandic weather showed us its sunny side for a brief moment, just long enough to catch the rainbow over the falls.

Skogafoss with a tourist taking a selfie. It’s practically impossible to avoid getting people in the picture if you shoot the falls from here.
Skogafoss from a higher vantage point, and a rainbow!
Skogafoss from a higher vantage point, and a rainbow!

There hasn’t been very many waterfalls so far on this trip (and I’ve actually managed not to shoot two of the biggest ones we’ve seen so far) but today we got our waterfall fix. The next falls we visited was Seljalandsfoss, you can actually walk behind the walls but I concluded that there wouldn’t be any great pictures to be taken there so I didn’t bother (hmm maybe I should sometimes do things even when there’s no picture as a reward…). I’m sure that these would be photogenic falls under other circumstances, but now we had this wind to deal with and I noticed that the water was really not falling straight down. The smaller fall in fact didn’t always fall down at all! The water just disappeared in the wind before hitting the ground. And the bigger fall kept bending in the wind. When we were driving, you could see in many places that the small waterfalls coming from the mountain suffered from the same phenomenon, the wind just simply grabbed the water and pushed it up. So the waterfalls became waterups – another Icelandic specialty!

Seljalandsfoss taking a beating from the wind
Seljalandsfoss taking a beating from the wind. The smaller fall on the left doesn’t even reach the ground!

But then we finally found one waterfall that was obeying the gravity. There was a nice canyon and I would have liked to follow everybody in it, but unfortunately it mean walking in the water in a few places and I just didn’t have the boots for it. But luckily I found a path going up the mountainside so I could follow the canyon’s rim and finally I arrived at a spot which gave me a full view to the waterfall where the canyon ends. And this canyon by the way is one of the few places where we saw mountain birch in great numbers. There really isn’t much forest in Iceland and most of the forest you can find is planted, not natural.

The surprise location with some birches
The surprise location with some birches

When we arrived at Hof in Snæfellsnes, it was already very late and everyone was tired and hungry. The dinner was awesome and everyone just sat quietly and gulped down the food, I even took seconds which I normally never do… and then our hostess told us there a gorgeous aurora going on outside. I was tired, need to get up at 5:30 again, I had too much to eat, and now I would need to go somewhere to find a good view to the aurora? No way…. so I took the camera and tripod just outside my cabin and fired off a few shots. I’m so happy about those aurora pictures from Helags a few weeks ago, so I didn’t feel any pressure to capture this aurora now!

Aurora next to my cabin, I was way too tired to find a better spot.

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