“October Afternoon at Kirkjufellfoss” – Iceland
“People are very busy; they are so busy that when they walk in the crowds they see no one, no one but themselves; they hear no voice, no voice but their own voice!”
Today was a day of long travels, over broken dirt roads, navigating a quicker route to our destination, the only real ‘destination’ we have had on this trip, apart from lodgings.
So far, we have ‘winged it’, simply driven between one overnight stop to the next, taking in the wonders along the way, enjoying the surprising gifts of beauty this country has to offer, and always expecting the unexpected.
Yes, we have a maps and guidebooks to help us find landmarks along the way, but till today, we did not set out with the intention of visiting a particular site. This has removed any pressure or expectation and has put us in places we had not expected to end up. It’s put us in places we see photos of, but really had no idea where they were, all the while avoiding the summer crowds during this off-season. Mind you, white outs and near impassible roads have helped with that too. Despite unforeseen weather and driving challenges, it has been and continues to be a completely amazing and soul-restoring trip.
Back today. We set out from our lodgings in Svinvaten, in North-East Iceland towards the town of Grundarfjörður, the home of Kirkjufellfoss and the crazy pyramid looking mountain that seems to be on everybody’s Instagram feed. To get there in reasonable time meant taking a few ‘shortcuts’.
Iceland’s road system includes a series of remote wilderness roads, knows as “F” roads, that take the traveller, with an appropriate vehicle into Iceland’s more remote locations. These roads are now closed for the season and our rental contract forbade using these roads. However, we found a few routes that parallel the F roads and cut directly cross-country to cut significant distances that result in sticking to the coast-hugging main highways. The roads we travelled were gravel, pot-holed tracks through open county, bounded by mountains and across vast plains of nothingness. It was beautiful, but slightly un-nerving.
In the end we reached our destination, only to find it filled with crowds (yes, even this time of year) of people with the accursed selfie sticks, posing in precarious locations around the falls.
My main reason for attending this location was to see for myself what the falls looked like and how some of these beautiful images I see are made. Having been there myself now, any shots without people are the result of patience or post-processing. People were everywhere, each in their own world, oblivious to others. Some balancing and posing for extended periods, and making it next to impossible to get a good shot.
I really don’t like crowds, primarily because of this mentality, which seems so pervasive with the inception of Instagram; everybody trying to outdo the other for that ‘wow’ shot.
As for me, I set up in a few locations, waited between ‘waves’ of visitors and snapped a few shots, hoping for something worthwhile. I was pleased with the image above. I could not imaging going back to this place in the summer, despite its beauty and surreal appearance.
TAMRON SP AF 17-50mm F2.8 XR Di II LD Aspherical IF A16NII @ 32 mm
1/4 sec, F/29, ISO 200
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