“Kleifarvatn” – South-East Iceland
“The very land oozed sulphurous steam, as if some ancient beast trapped below was exhaling through the cracks in the earth, yet the morning light filled the air with a quiet peace”
– Ed Lehming
Day 10, our final day in this wonderful land of contrasts: Fire and Ice, vast black plains and towering mountains. The land of endless waterfalls and barren lava fields.
On this final day, our loop ended where Highway 42 met Highway 427 along the south coast of Iceland, where our journey began on a dark morning at the end of October. We covered some 2,700 km of highways, side roads, and potholed dirt tracks.
The most amazing thing I discovered on this trip with my son is the incredible and indescribable diversity of this country. Every single vista, from majestic seaside mountains to the endless black and tortured lava fields is that there are surprises when you take the time to look closely.
I made far too many photos of the mountains we passed, but I fell in love with the Icelandic mountains, in their many forms, from tiered pyramids to flattened cones and every variation between. Some were pure black, made of ages of fine cinder and ash, while others were deep brown, covered in eons of moss. like ancient temples.
The deeper and more carefully you looked, the more wonderful they became, revealing details not noticed at first.
That is why I chose this as the final photo in this overview of our trip. When first composing the photo, I saw a lovely mountain lake with steaming volcanic vents in the distance. But, like the rest of the land, closer inspection reveals herds of grazing Icelandic horses and a farmhouse among the vents. The stark landscape opens up to be more than you first expect or see and the light, which shift sby the minute, always reveals more wonder.
The lake, in this photo, is called Kleifarvatn and is situated within one of Iceland’s many ‘rift’ valleys, areas of active geothermal activity. We drove around the lake, only a short drive from Reykjavik, on our way to the Krýsuvík Geothermal Area, a region of belching and bubbling mud pots, thermal vents, and hot springs as well as brightly coloured rocks, crusted with minerals. or final ‘photographic” destination before dropping off the rental car and heading to the airport.
Much of the trip was really about the journey and not the destination. As we drove to some of the more popular sites we were constantly amazed at the beautiful landscape between, despite low cloud and a constant dusting of snow at higher altitudes.
There are so many more places that we visited that a simple day by day review does not suffice. I will continue sharing some of the highlights of this trip over the next few weeks, retracing our journey around Iceland’s Ring-Road.
Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD @ 145mm
1/400 sec, f/10.0 ISO 200
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