Tag Archives: Fjord

Iceland Journal – “Trail to Sandfell” – Fáskrúðsfjörður, East Iceland

“Trail to Sandfell” - Fáskrúðsfjörður , East Iceland

“The path to our destination is not always a straight one. We go down the wrong road, we get lost, we turn back. Maybe it doesn’t matter which road we embark on. Maybe what matters is that we embark.” 
― Barbara Hall

During our journey along Iceland’s Ring Road, we took many occasions to satisfy our curiosity by hiking off the road when the opportunity presented itself. One of these opportunities was this gravel road, which leads up into the mountains that line the west shore of Fáskrúðsfjörður fjord.

The main reason we chose this trail was easy access from the main highway, meaning we could pull off the road safely and park our vehicle by driving part way up the road, till it became too rough to continue. Once parked, we donned our backpacks, filled with camera gear, and headed up the road, which soon narrowed to a rugged trail .Our goal: get to the snow line at the base of the mountains which you see in the distance. The highest peak, Sandfell, is 743 meters high. We were actually hoping to get part way up its slopes.

As our hike continued, the road banked sharply to the left, following a deep ravine toward the base of Sanfell. Something that is not often mentioned in the standard tourist literature is just how rugged Iceland’s terrain can be. Most scenes look quite smooth and simple to traverse, but in reality, the rugged landscape is filled with unseen obstacles, sharp rocks, ice-cold streams, and deep fissures The ravine I mentioned is just one such obstacle. A small glacial creek flows through it, but the banks are steep, jagged lava, and it takes time to find safe passage into the ravine and back up.

After crossing the ravine we were faced with a man-made obstacle, namely, a wide field of deep grass, to be used as feed for sheep or cattle. We only got a few meters into this dense, ankle grabbing grass, till we realized that crossing the field towards our goal would be absolutely exhausting. So, we turned back and forded the ravine once more. As I said, we had hoped to climb part way up Sandfell, but there was just too much terrain between us and the mountain

The other interesting thing we came across on this hike, was a ‘rustic; cabin at the end of the trail. Cabin near Fáskrúðsfjörður, East IcelendThe owner had built it at the edge of the mountains and I can only imagine the lovely view in springtime and summer. The mountains fill the view through one window and the other side looks down across the long fjord.

So, we stood, at the base slopes of these majestic mountains, simply enjoying the view and taking a break from driving.

iPhone 7 back camera @ 4.0mm
1/2200 sec; f/1.8; ISO 20

For more images like this, please visit my website (images are available for purchase)
http://www.edlehming.com

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Iceland Journal – “Stepped Waterfall” – East Iceland

“The best part of the journey is the surprise and wonder along the way.” 
― 
Ken Poirot

One thing I never got tired of in Iceland was the waterfall and there was never a shortage of waterfalls. For those following this series of posts in my Iceland Journal Series, this will come as not surprise. In fact, it got to the point where I was bypassing some waterfalls as ‘insignificant’ since I knew there was not time to enjoy them all.

Back home, I could spend hours exploring a waterfall, photographing it at different angles and exposures, trying to capture the ‘essence’ of that particular waterfall. Each has its own unique characteristics that set it apart from others.

This particular waterfall, somewhere along the eastern coast of Iceland really fascinated me. It captures the character of the East Fjords so well. The water steps and zigzags down the steep slopes as it flows through the ravine of its own making. Or, was this deep ravine already here, the result of some geological upheaval and the water just found a convenient path? Would have loved to explore it more thoroughly, but, like many of the roadside waterfalls, it’s on private property and numerous fences make it difficult to get close.

So, I just stood in the grassy field near its base and enjoyed watching the progression of the water, leaping and dancing from rock to rock; sometimes taking small careful steps while, at other points, plunging great distances into cool pools below. I never get tired of watching water move and there is such an abundance here, I could not see it all, even in a lifetime.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD @ 95 mm
1/100 sec, f/5.0, ISO 400

For more images like this, please visit my website (images are available for purchase)
http://www.edlehming.com

Iceland Journal – “Djúpavogshreppur” – East Iceland

“Djúpavogshreppur” - East Iceland

“Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature — the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter.” 
― Rachel Carson

I couldn’t help but match my favourite Rachel Carson quote with this image. The scene above left me breathless as I beheld it for the first time. I was captivated be the shape of the high mountains which bound this relatively short Eastern Icelandic fjord, Hamarsjörður, and the stunning play of light on both the peaks and the flanking foothills. When I return to Iceland, next time, I plan to spend more time travelling these spectacular fjords.

In the foreground is Nontindur, a stunning 935 meter high pyramid-like peak. I was enthralled by these mountains the first time I saw them, the recent high level snowfalls accenting the horizontal tiers that make the peaks in this region so unique.

The light that morning, as we followed the Ring Road along the southern coast eastward from the town of Höfn, was absolutely gorgeous and makes the ever-present yellow grasses glow with a soft golden warmth that we experienced so many times on our journey. I was concerned that travelling to Iceland at this time of year might make for some fairly dull images, but was so pleased when I revisited these locations in Google Street View to find that the light and colours that I experienced were by far better than that of summer, at least in the Google images.

As I composed the shot, from the side of the road, all the elements came together once more to produce this post card-like image that so wonderfully conveys the feelings I experienced while standing there, taking in the beauty.

In this case, as in several other shots I have been sharing, I deliberately put an object in the foreground to help establish scale. In this case, the freshly installed and sharpened fence post nicely echoes the shape of the mountains behind it and seems to be pointing to the peak itself.

Once more, I’m including the Street View link so you can also take in the surroundings that make up this shot. This is the exact spot I pulled off. You can even see the gate and fence post in the foreground 🙂

https://www.google.com/maps/@64.6428971,-14.4986801,3a,75y,263.14h,75.52t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1s4Vekihp9U0MLxbbRcHPAsg!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

Iceland Journal – “Eyjafjörður” – North Iceland

“Eyjafjörður” - North Iceland

“Mountains, according to the angle of view, the season, the time of day, the beholder’s frame of mind, or any one thing, can effectively change their appearance. Thus, it is essential to recognize that we can never know more than one side, one small aspect of a mountain.” 
― Haruki Murakami

More mountains, their scale lost against the massive northern Icelandic fjord, Eyjafjörður. The highest peak, at the center, Kerahnjúkur, rising to 1,097 meters.

This was our view as we continued our round trip of Iceland, descending from high passes to enter the region around Akureyri, Iceland’s second largest city, which sits at the innermost end of this 60 km long fjord, the longest in Iceland.

I was mesmerized at the stark whiteness of the mountains against the slate blue water of the fjord, coupled with the wonderful pinks in the distant clouds; layers upon layers of colour and texture. The entire region beyond these mountains, the Tröllaskagi peninsula, is defined by high, rugged, and glacier topped peaks and long, deep valleys.

The image was made at the end of October and yet, the entire landscape is like a scene from the arctic circle, which, while close, is till some 60 kilometers distant from this point. In fact, while Iceland is close to the Arctic Circle, none of the mainland is actually in the arctic, only a few northern islands can make that claim.

Once more, I’m adding the Street View link, so you can get a sense of scale. The image above is the mountains to the distant right on the Street View image:

https://www.google.com/maps/@65.8133392,-18.0352658,3a,75y,295.26h,92.2t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sx-j0zIt4HFdsOGNAyIe89g!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

Nikon D800
Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD @ 200mm
1/200 sec, f/7.1 ISO 200

For more images like this, please visit my website (images are available for purchase)
http://www.edlehming.com

Iceland – Day 8

“Hvammsfjörður” - Western Iceland

“Hvammsfjörður” – Western Iceland

“Those who live by the sea can hardly form a single thought of which the sea would not be part.” 
― Hermann Broch

There was a slight delay in my posts over the past few days. You see, for the last 2 days of my ten day Iceland trip, I was sick with some sort of gastro-intestinal infection. I have no idea where it came from. It felt like flu, but we really have had minimal contact with people, other than shopkeepers and our guesthouse hosts. In nay case, I was quite ill and fell behind on my posts.

On day eight we headed back inland and I have yet to process those photos. We left Borgarnes toward Reyjavik and decided to avoid the tunnel that connects the Akrenes peninsula with the mainland.

We had heard from on of our guesthouse hosts that there was still a whaling station active at the end of Hvalfjörður, Icelandic for the Whaling Fjord. It added a bit to our drive but was a wonderful side trip. Whaling season has ended, but the vast processing plant was interesting to see.

From the fjord, we headed inland, across high mountain plateaus toward Geysir, the location of the geyser that others took their name from. As expected, the place was packed with tourists ad a full sized restaurant and visitor centre had been built. It really was a fascinating site to visit, despite the crowds. Basically, anywhere within a 2 hour drive from Reykjavik is filled with tourists on day trips.

The original Geysir is now just a smouldering blue pool and an adjacent geyser, Strokkur, which erupts about every 4 minutes. The rest of the area is filled with bubbling hot springs and steam vents. It does reek of sulphur, which was not a great thing for my unsettled stomach. Once I get photos of Strokkur processed, I’ll revisit this location with its own post.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD @ 90 mm
1/80sec, f/4.5 ISO 200

For more images like this, please visit my website (images are available for purchase)
http://www.edlehming.com

Iceland – Day 3

“Berufjörður” - Djúpavogshreppur, East Iceland

“Berufjörður” – Djúpavogshreppur, East Iceland

“Welcome to driving Iceland, where every turn in the road opens up a brand new and astounding vista. Just when you think you have found the most beautiful sight in the world, another competes with it in an endless play of wonders.”
– Ed Lehming

Today’s theme is mountains, fjords, and glacial streams. First, the mountains are really a continuation of yesterdays mountains, though in line with my quote, the mountains today, as we departed Höfn, had a slightly different character than the glacial mountains we travelled through yesterday. Today’s mountains were ancient and terraced, made deep in under the oceans and heaved up by tectonic forces. They remind me of the Rocky Mountains of North America, with their angular peaks and banded appearance.

Between these rows of mountains, deep fjords cut into the coast of East Iceland, stretching for many kilometers inland and forcing roads to cling tenaciously to the edges of the mountains.

The fjords certainly added to our travel, but what a sight to see; enormous mountains to one side and fingers of the Atlantic Ocean reaching far into the valleys between. It was astounding to look back across and see the fine thread that represented the road we had just traveled, along the edge of the water.

Within the valleys of the snow-covered mountains, nearly every crack and crevasse flowed with clear, ice-cold, melt water. I can imagine this place in late spring. The hills must be completely awash with water.

I could not resist filling my water bottle at the base of a 1,085 meter high mountain. It was an amazing experience to drink this ice-cold elixir while looking high up to the peak that created it, the cool mountain breezes blowing on my face and refreshing my very soul. This, is glacier water, not the stuff marketed with pictures of mountains! This is the real deal.

We neared our day with a 6 km. drive though a tunnel carved below Kollufell Mountain, shortening our drive by some 35 km. Before settling in our room in Egilsstaðir, we decided to take drive around the long lake that if formed within the Lagarfljót River, Lagarfljót Lake.

At the south end of the lake is a trailhead that leads to Hengifoss, a VERY steep, 2.5 km hike up the side of one of the river valley’s bounding mountains. We made it to just past the 1 km mark, beaten by high winds, cold, and exhaustion, being the end of the day. At this point in the ascent, we were greeted by Litlanesfoss, a smaller falls below Hengifoss. I took the time to make a few photos and began our decent.

At the end of the day, a nice bowl of Icelandic lamb stew in Egilsstaðir made up for the cold and the memory of the experience with stay with me for a long time.

iPhone 7 back camera @ 4.0mm
1/2179 sec; f/1.8; ISO 20

For more images like this, please visit my website (images are available for purchase)
http://www.edlehming.com