“The clouds roll in, but don’t persist, they bring a welcome contrast and make us more aware of how lovely the sunshine is.”
– Ed Lehming
I really can’t imagine Iceland without its marvelous clouds. During our ten-day trip, every day had some cloud. Often, there are multiple layers, each slightly different and moving in different directions, creating a magical yet fleeting, play of light.
As a photographer, the quality of light is very important and I did not have to wait long for lighting conditions to shift. The clouds would tease and taunt me as they danced among the mountains, often hinting at what lay within their shroud and revealing glimpses of high mountain tops. Sometimes shafts of sunlight would pierce them, creating brilliant patches of illumination.
I’ve seen the photos made by other photographers, of places I visited, in bright sunshine, but some of the character is missing. It seems to me, that Icelandic landscapes require some quantity of cloud to show their true essence. This is, after all, a wild and rugged country and the ever-changing weather is part of that.
In the photo above, one of the last ones I made as we departed Reykjavik and headed toward the airport, by yet another ‘indirect’ route. The lake is Kleifarvatn and is a moderately sized lake about 15 kilometers south of Reykjavik. Our destination on our final day was the geothermal hot springs at Krysuvik, just south of the lake. The road followed the shore of the lake for some time and gave the opportunity for several final images of this enchanted land.
The water was just smooth enough to give a soft reflection of the flattened Vatnshliðarhorn mountain to the north, the sun brightly illuminating the yellow grasses along its base.
It’s this wonderful mix of sun and cloud that has provided the beautiful mood for many of my photos; ever-changing and creating new vistas by the moment. I look back on these photos fondly as I near the end of this series and close out the year feeling blessed to have experienced this majesty with my son.
Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 G I AF-S VR Zoom @ 70 mm
1/320 sec, f/9.0 ISO 400
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