Tag Archives: diverse

Iceland Journal – “Across the Fertile Valley” – Southwest Iceland

“I am reminded that the most fertile lands are often built by the fires of volcanoes.” 
― Ed Lehming

On the seventh day of our Iceland journey, my son and I travelled through the high mountain passes at the base of the West Fjords, southward along Highway 60 to rejoin the Ring Road, just north of the town of Bifrost.

We were greeted by this spectacular view of a broad valley, filled with meandering rivers and lush farmlands, stretching to the horizon, some 30 kilometers distant, which is bounded by the Skarðheiði mountain cluster and dominated by steep sloped Skessuhorn, poking from a persistent cloud bank, which did not break up all day and kept the rest of the mountains obscured. I could not keep my eyes off Skessuhorn as we drove along, and eventually into, the valley, which is bounded in this view by the Norðurá river. The Norðurá joins several other rivers to form a small delta, just north of the town of Borgarnes, our final destination on this day of travels. I have included a link to the high-resolution version of this image, should you care to have a closer look.

This is a truly remarkable area for Iceland, in that it a very large expanse of farmland, though it is still a very active geothermal area, interspersed with hot springs throughout the valley. An aerial view of this region shows it to have been formed by glaciers, carving and eroding the volcanic bedrock and creating ideal conditions for rivers to flow and deposit their rich, mineral laden silt within the valleys carved by the glaciers.

It was this area that we intended to explore that day and it led us through the farmland, past steaming vents, cold glacial streams of turquoise, and up into the highlands and lava fields of the Hallmundarhraun and the peaks of Ok and Eiriksjökull. It was, in the typical fashion of Iceland, an incredible change in environments, within a fairly short distance of some 30 kilometers. The trip also included a stop at the magnificent Hraunfosser waterfalls, which I have already discussed in a previous post.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD @ 116mm
1/320 sec, f/9.0 ISO 200

For more images like this, please visit my website (images are available for purchase)

“Maidenhair Fern” – Secord Forest

“Northern Maidenhair Fern” - Secord Forest

“… the world can give you these glimpses as well as fairy tales can–the smell of rain, the dazzle of sun on white clapboard with the shadows of ferns and wash on the line, the wildness of a winter storm when in the house the flame of a candle doesn’t even flicker.”
― Frederick Buechner

Yes, I know, I have lot of photos from Secord Forest, but why not. This little slice of heaven has so much to offer. Photographing and learning about the plants and animals that inhabit this beautiful conservation area give me great pleasure. The 4.7km trail leads through meadows, rolling woodlands, wetlands (home to orchids), and farm fields, contains an incredibly diverse selection of plants, including many ferns, which I am just starting to recognize as being very different species.

The fern pictured above is the Maidenhair Fern (Adiantum pedatum) and is fairly easily distinguished from other native ferns by the thin dark stems and scalloped leaves. It’s also a paler shade of green than other local species. I can now identify 5 different varieties and working on more.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD
 @ 200 mm
1/160 sec, f/9.0, ISO 2500

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“Red Belt Fungus” – Hermon, Ontario

“Red Belt Fungus” - Hermon, Ontario

Wow, I wonder who came up with this brilliant name?

I came across this rather bright fungus during a recent hunting trip. Well, it was more like walking through the woods with a gun, and a camera. It was certainly not an ideal hunting day, but the subdued light and wet conditions (it had rained for 3 days straight) were ideal for photography. I had my 70-200 f/2.8 with me to make up for the dark conditions in the forest. With this lense I can shoot down to 1/8 second handheld because of the excellent VR. That saves carrying a tripod everywhere, like I used to do.

This photo was made on a wood lot just outside Hermon, Ontario, in the Bancroft area. It’s a beautifully diverse forest with wonderful ancient stands of red pine, cedar, and maple, bisected by steep rocky ridges so typical of the Canadian Shield.

It was hard not to stop and photograph this wonderfully colourful fungus which just glistened in the rain. I was tempted to move the branch lying across the stump, but it adds to the composition, I think.

There is something about mushrooms and fungus that is inexplicably appealing to me, as well as several other photographers I know. They (the mushrooms and fungus) are very diverse in their colour and texture and only last for a short period, so that may be it.

Yet again, this is one of those natural compositions I see on a daily basis and like to share. I hope you enjoy it.

Nikon D300
Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 135mm
1/30 sec @ f/2.8-.33, ISO 250

For more images like this, please visit my Facebook page:
or my website