Tag Archives: mountain

Iceland Journal – “Mountain Retreat”

“Mountain Retreat” - Northwest Iceland

“There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
There is a rapture on the lonely shore,
There is society, where none intrudes,
By the deep sea, and music in its roar:
I love not man the less, but Nature more” 
― Lord Byron

This was a common scene along many stretches of Iceland’s Ring Road; beautiful cabins on the mountainsides. I’m a bit envious. I’d love to stop at one of these retreats for a few days, surrounded by mountains and waterfalls. I know I’d spend my time reading and writing, inspired by the wonders of nature. Some, like this one, have small groves of trees planted around or near them, probably as a wind screen or source of firewood. The ever-present yellow grasses and mosses bring a splash of welcome colour to the wind-whipped landscape. Though the scene is primarily rock and snow, there is a peaceful and humbling majesty to it.

There were a few times, as we hiked some of the lower mountain trails when I would simply stand still, listening to the sounds of water flowing down the hillsides, the wind howling far above, and sometimes, just silence, peaceful, blessed silence.

My trip to Iceland last month was a balm to my soul; a much-needed pause in a busy and increasingly stressful world. For me to spend ten solid days with my son, with no real schedule, no firm plans, and to simply ‘be’ in this wonderful place has restored me.

To have the ability to capture some of what I experienced in photos is a blessing I am so thankful for. I can sit and review these moments and memories, each one stirring my soul and reminding me that there are still places of peace and wonder in this busy world.

In a way, the photos have become my cabin on the hill, a place that I can visit when I need to pause for a bit and restore myself. Though it’s not quite the same as the actual cabin, it brings be closer to that place.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD @ 116mm
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

Iceland – Day 6

“October Afternoon at Kirkjufellfoss” - Iceland

“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!” 
― Mehmet Murat Ildan

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.

Nikon D300
TAMRON SP AF 17-50mm F2.8 XR Di II LD Aspherical IF A16NII @ 32 mm
1/4 sec, F/29, ISO 200

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