Tag Archives: hiking

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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“Hillside Path”

“Hillside Path”

“It isn’t enough to pick a path—you must go down it. By doing so, you see things you couldn’t possibly see when you started out; you may not like what you see, some of it may be confusing, but at least you will have, as we like to say, “explored the neighborhood.” The key point here is that even if you decide you’re in the wrong place, there is still time to head toward the right place.” 
― Ed Catmull

This image came together almost immediately. As I stood at the edge of a steep gully, looking across miles of forest for this high vantage point the path along the edge beckoned me forward. I had just changed lenses from my 90mm macro to my 70-200 mm telephoto so that I could shoot a bit wider than my 90mm allowed.

My first glance through my viewfinder yielded this scene. The slightly winding path and the placement of the trees made for a simple composition which nicely represented the scene before me. The slight movement simply accents it and the long exposure saturates the colours a bit more, and also brings life to the image.

This spot was about half way around a loop trail and tied in nicely with my theme of gradual transition from summer to autumn because of the presence of more yellows and oranges. Not quite autumn, but definitely hinting at it; a turn in the path and in the seasons.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD @ 70 mm
1/4 sec, f/18.0 ISO 200

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

“The Gentle Way”

“The Gentle Way”

“Once you have traveled, the voyage never ends, but is played out over and over again in the quietest chambers. The mind can never break off from the journey.” 
― Pat Conroy

This image, while slightly darker than some of my prior posts, represents so well my typical experiences on the trail; bright sunshine streams between the branches light above, the canopy has a slight yellow tinge, as the days shorten, there are wonderful shifts in the light, each tree reflecting a slightly different shade of brown gray, or silver; far in the distance, a bright meadow shows through a gap in the trees, my destination, or just a glade along the trail edge?

The path, soft and sandy, littered with leaves, has become my gentle way. I tread these trails in reverence for the beauty they lead me through and am grateful to those early conservationists who had the foresight to set this land apart, so that I and many more could enjoy the wonder of the forest trails .

Nikon D800
Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD @ 70mm
1/4 sec, f/9.0 ISO 200

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

“The Light that Lights My Way”

“The Light that Lights My Way”

“It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.” 
― Ursula K. Le Guin

Scenes like this are one of the reasons I hike. I’ve referred to these dappled pools of light as “God-Light”, to quote C.S. Lewis. These small patches of golden light, like pools of energy seem to appear on all but the most overcast days. They are but one of the many effects in the forest which have a profound impact on me. In the forest, I feel in tune with my surroundings, the busyness of the workweek fades to a dull memory and my world come alive.

There is more to the light around me, while it lights my way, it warms my spirit and brings out the child in me. I find myself transfixed by the wonderful diversity of the forest paths, and grinning at simple things like a butterfly trying to land in the wind. Many of these scenes go undocumented, too brief to be captured as a photo, but remain with me as beautiful memories of my walks through the woods.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 (272ENII)@90mmm
1/4 sec, f/10.0 ISO 100

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

“Just Around the Next Bend”

“Just Around the Next Bend”

“Never forget that anticipation is an important part of life. Work’s important, family’s important, but without excitement, you have nothing. You’re cheating yourself if you refuse to enjoy what’s coming.” 
― Nicholas Sparks

Part of the enjoyment I get from hiking is the anticipation, the ‘unknown’ about what’s around the next bend. Though I’ve hiked these trails for years now, there is always something new to discover. On days where I feel uninspired, all I have to do is get on the trail, look around that next band, and I’m almost always treated with something unexpected, some play of the light, or a new plant that I had not noticed.

In this image, along the theme is anticipation, along with the broader theme of this series of photos, there is the knowledge that autumn is also just around the bend, as evidenced by the colour shift from deep green to hints of yellow and even a few coppery-orange leaves to be found along the trail. The changes will soon accelerate and “In the Blink”, it will be autumn. Given our weather this summer, I’m anticipating some beautiful colours.

For those who look at my camera settings (below), you will have noticed that I have been adjusting the ISO and aperture as lighting conditions vary throughout this hike. I keep my shutter speed consistent at 1/4 sec, as this is the speed I feel produces the best results with my process.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 (272ENII)@90mmm
1/4 sec, f/11.0 ISO 100

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

“Light Along the Way”

“Light Along the Way”

“Let me bring you songs from the wood:
To make you feel much better than you could know
Dust you down from tip to toe
Show you how the garden grows
Hold you steady as you go
Join the chorus if you can:
It’ll make of you an honest man.”
– Jethro Tull

Strangely, the Jethro Tull song that I chose for my quote kept going through my head for much of this hike. How appropriate is that?

One of the things that I really notice as I hike is the marvellous play of light through the canopy, high above. I’ve talked about this before, how the forest floor fairly glows as beams of light penetrate the leaves.

This light is nearly always present, wit the exception of overcast or rainy days, and even then some stray light seems to make it through.

On this day, an extended 14km hike gave me lots of time to drink in this light as it reflected off the trail and cast a warm glow on the surrounding trees. It’s this wonderful contrast of light and shadow that I enjoy so much as a photographer and participant in the life of the forest. This was a fairly hot yet breezy day and the light was constantly shifting. As I did not have my wide angle lens handy, I resorted to my iPhone to try to capture one of these moments along the trail.

The resulting image was OK, but as I find with many stills, they fail to portray the light an energy of the living forest, so I used a Photoshop plug-in called Topaz Impressions to modify the photo till it ‘felt’ right. Which reminds me, I need to pick up my paint brushes again 🙂

iPhone 7 back camera @ 4.0mm
1/30 sec; f/1.8; ISO 25

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

“Pondside Tamarack”

“Pondside Hemlock”

“It doesn’t matter whether you are looking for a reason to be happy or sad, you will always find it.” 
― Kamand Kojouri

In this hectic world, I am usually looking for things that bring me peace. I find this peace in simplicity and often in the most obscure things.

Last weekend I went out with the intention of going on an extended hike and make some photos of my experience. It’s been too long since I have been on the trails. Between extremely hot weather and a chaotic work schedule, finding the time and conditions to get out has just been a challenge lately. So when I found a few hours, I decided to take that time and get out there, simply to recharge. It was still hot and humid, but bearable. As I entered the familiar forest trail I was greeted by a cloud of mosquitoes unlike anything I have ever experienced. Despite a healthy application of bug spray, I was still overwhelmed by them and resigned myself to head back to the car.

Disappointed in the conditions, I decided to head to a different trailhead and try my luck. Despite this disappointment, my eyes are always drawn to something unique, some play of light, or interesting from, and as I walked back to the car I noticed this tamarack branch, covered in cones with a large pond in the background. I looked through my viewfinder, the composition formed nicely and offered me this image.

Such a simple moments brings peace to me and looking at the photo now, a few days later, it transports me back to that moment and the calm that ensued.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 (272ENII)@90mmm
1/250 sec, f/8.0, ISO 200

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