Don't Break the Rules!

There are many blog posts and videos about breaking the rules in photography. This post isn't actually about this. I personally believe that you should use or not use whatever rules you want to create images that you like.

No, this blog is about some of the rules and guidelines that we have in Iceland that are worth knowing about before you visit. I have picked a few common ones that I feel are the most important to be aware of. When people ignore these or break them they make national news here so they're not insignificant.

Don't Duck Ropes to Closed Off Areas...

...or ignore the signs restricting access to these areas. At many of the tourist locations you will come across areas that have been closed off. These can be marked by a simple sign or small rope barrier. Whilst they may seem easy to circumvent, and the area closed off may call out for you to hop over that rope, please don't! 

There are two main reasons these areas are closed off. 

For your own safety. The changing landscape here can mean that once safe footpaths may have eroded and may lead to a dangerous cliff, crevasse or other peril. In areas where there are geothermal hot springs for example, the ground can be extremely weak and the possibility of falling through into a vent is real. Honestly, even if you think the area looks safe, if it has been closed, please do not ignore the signs.

For the protection of the wildlife. We have a very delicate ecosystem here in Iceland. The extreme weather and wild swings between seasons means that there are only small windows for the wildlife to do what it needs to survive and flourish each year. As such, the authorities often mark areas off as being closed for the protection and regeneration of an area. Or they may close an area where there are nesting birds (usually July to September). Unfortunately, with the larger number of visitors to Iceland, areas are becoming damaged faster and for longer. Therefore more and more areas are being closed to allow them to regenerate.

Here is one example where Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon was closed to allow it to regenerate: 

Canyon Closed to Protect Vegetation Damage

One month later, note the updated story:

Visitors Causing Serious Damage to Canyon

Iceland_2015_fjadrargljufur_jamestomas.jpeg

Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon in South Iceland

I appreciate that people visit Iceland on once-in-a-lifetime trips and therefore finding one of the most popular areas closed can be frustrating. Please note that if you decide to ignore those closures, your once-in-a-lifetime trip can have much longer term consequences for the vegetation and wildlife here. For example, the moss is extremely delicate, takes many years to grow and just the simple act of walking on it can be enough to damage it for decades! I always take care, even when walking in marked areas, to avoid standing on any of the vegetation here.

Don't Drive Where You Aren't Supposed to

This may seem like obvious advice but it still happens. This is also something that is split into two areas.

Firstly, don't ignore the signs if it says that the road ahead is closed or impassable. This happens most often during the winter when some of the smaller roads are not cleared and the authorities just close them. Some of these closures are only marked by a small bollard which is seemingly easy to get around. Please don't! Our fantastic rescue service has been far too busy in recent years as people have found themselves in difficulties. Even some of the major roads can quickly become dangerous in difficult weather conditions so try to imagine how bad a road can get for it to be closed off for 6 months.

I am currently still waiting for one road to reopen nearby here. You can see it marked on the image below. I know this road and it's bad even when it's open. Considering that it's now late May and still hasn't opened, it must be pretty awful. As desperate as I am to get to a location along here, I will wait until it goes green before even trying it!

   Note the red road towards the bottom of the map which is still closed at the end of May

Note the red road towards the bottom of the map which is still closed at the end of May

For the best up to date information on road conditions in Iceland, please visit: www.road.is. I have also written a separate blog all about driving in Iceland here.

The second thing I'd like to mention about driving is to please stick only to marked roads and tracks. There have been quite a few controversies over the years here where people have taken their cars off roads and onto beaches or other areas to either get somewhere or just have fun driving about. As with ignoring closed areas, this can be dangerous for you and damaging to the environment.

I actually contacted one influential photography YouTuber, Peter McKinnon, about this after he posted up a video of them driving off road to the plane wreck on the south coast. He removed this footage from the video after I pointed out the potential damage he could have caused. It may have looked like great fun but he was bouncing and driving over areas where Arctic Terns are known to nest. 

Don't Chase Waves

This may go hand-in-hand with not ignoring signs but I think it's deserving of its own mention. There are two very popular locations (among many) where it's possible to visit black sand and pebble beaches. These are Reynisfjara in the south and Djúpalónssandur in the west. At both of these beaches there are big, clear signs warning of "sneaker waves". 

There is an article about this written here by Guide to Iceland detailing a fatality caused by these waves along with some other very useful information. There have been more accidents since then too. 

These places are incredibly popular now and on every visit I have seen people chasing the waves or getting too close. Please take the signs seriously and don't go near the sea, even if it looks calm.

 Reynisfjara beach and the Sneaker Waves

Reynisfjara beach and the Sneaker Waves

Have Fun, Be Safe, Respect the Environment

I know I have written "don't do this or that" or lot in this post but I thought it was important to provide some useful information on why some of these rules, warnings or guidelines are out there. I have spoken to a few visitors who didn't even realise why crossing a rope was a bad thing and were pleased to have been made aware about the potential danger/damage it could cause.

My advice is to follow the rules. They are there for your safety and to ensure that others can enjoy the environment in the future. If you want to visit locations that are off the beaten track or that aren't marked, hire a specialist guide or take a tour that safely lets you explore these areas without damaging you or Iceland.

All Night Golden Hours - Land of the Midnight Sun

In Iceland we have incredible variations in daylight depending on the season. As a photographer I have experienced all the seasons here and the various lighting conditions and I wanted to write a little about what I have found.

 

Summer - Midnight Sun

 

Most people are aware that in the summer here we have very long days. In fact it sometimes doesn't get fully dark and can stay quite bright at night, with the sun only just dipping below the horizon. This presents some unique opportunities for photography, whilst also presenting some challenges you may not be aware of.

If you like the Golden Hour then this is a good time for you mainly because we tend to get upwards of 7 hours of it! I've posted up some screenshots from an iPhone app I use called "Golden Hour" to show how the light changes during the summer months.

So from May 20th until July 23rd you can expect Golden and Blue hours lasting pretty much all night. 

This is perfect for photographers because there is no rush to grab that picture during a brief 10 minute Blue Hour - you now have 3 hours to capture the image and you can wait for the right weather conditions. Similarly, the soft golden light that we get feels almost endless.

There are a few things to keep in mind. Firstly, the light is very good but comes from a narrow direction so you will need to plan you shots carefully if you want the light to hit a particular subject e.g. a mountain or glacier. I recommend you use the Photographer's Ephemeris which has a web app and some excellent apps on iPhone and Android. This way you can plan where the light will hit and at what times. You won't get caught out when it dips behind the hills!

  Taken just before 10pm in August from our family's summer house you can just see the famous Eyjafjallajökull volcano. I used the Photographer's Ephemeris to plan for the sun hitting that spot so I could capture it. 

Taken just before 10pm in August from our family's summer house you can just see the famous Eyjafjallajökull volcano. I used the Photographer's Ephemeris to plan for the sun hitting that spot so I could capture it. 

The other thing to keep in mind is that this means possible long days and long nights to make the most of conditions. If you are coming here purely for photography then you can change your sleeping cycle to the day and stay up all night. However most people are here on a holiday so if you want to make the most of the good light, be prepared for some long hours!

The main benefits of the summer nights are that you can visit places that are normally very busy and find yourself almost alone in the middle of the night. Admittedly this is becoming rarer but it's still possible at even some of the most popular locations. The other benefit is that the weather tends to be calmer and warmer (relatively speaking) meaning you are able to spend longer outdoors and you have a better chance of getting the great light conditions.

 

Winter - All Day Golden Hours

 

If the days in summer are long you would be right to assume that the opposite is true in the winter. Whilst on some days during summer it never truly gets dark, in the winter there are some days where it doesn't become fully light.

You may be thinking that the shorter darker days don't offer up ideal photography conditions but there are actually some benefits to the winter light conditions.

Here are the winter versions from the Golden Hour app:

As you can see, we have two straight months in the winter where we have Golden Hours that last sometimes for over 7 hours a day! In addition, there are no early morning alarm calls or late night sunsets required. You can get up at your leisure, have a casual breakfast, capture the sunrise for about 3 hours followed immediately by 3 hours of sunset photography before making your way leisurely back in time to get changed and have dinner somewhere.

In terms of the light, it is quite different to the summer. The colder winter air certainly has an effect and the sunrise/sunset tones tend to be much more muted and pastel in colour.

You will see from these images that there is some incredible light available. On a very cold day, December 10th, I was able to leave my house at around 9am, travel an hour to the area I wanted to visit, prepare for the sunrise at around 11:45am and spend the next 4 hours making the most of the Golden Hour(s). At the end of the day I captured the sun setting on the way back and I was home in time for tea.

I have found that these shorter winter days tend to lend themselves well to productive photography. They are short enough that you avoid the fatigue that can come from having a long day of photography. You are also not rushing to chase the light as it's the same all day - you can really take your time to get the image. The late starts and early finishes are certainly a bonus too!

Of course, there are some disadvantages to these conditions and the main one is the unpredictable weather. There were stretches during the last winter lasting up to 2 weeks at a time when conditions were too poor to venture out at all. High winds, storms, ice, snow - you name it, we had it all and it sometimes set in for a long time. This can impact people who are visiting here for only a limited time.

Secondly, it is not easy to spend all day out in the wilds of Iceland in winter. It can be bitingly cold! For the first image in the above gallery I was out all day in gale force winds with windchill down to -20 Celsius. The driving conditions were challenging to say the least and whilst it was a shorter day, I was exhausted by the end of it! I had high hopes of capturing the famous Kirkjufell on this day but I couldn't stand in the wind, let alone get a nice long exposure of the waterfall. I had to settle for an image taken whilst laying on my front in deep snow with my iPhone steadied against a rock!

  Yes I am wearing 4 layers on my head alone. Kirkjufell did not want to be photographed on this day!

Yes I am wearing 4 layers on my head alone. Kirkjufell did not want to be photographed on this day!

The low sun in winter can also provide some challenges if you are wanting subjects to be nicely lit. If there is even the smallest ridge line, hill, mountain or tree in front of the suns passage, then it'll block the light. Planning using something like the Photographer's Ephemeris is again essential. That said, the low sun can create some gorgeous shadows and reflected light conditions. 

I just want to mention one last winter benefit and that is the appearance of the Northern Lights. The long nights provide excellent windows of opportunity to see and experience this amazing phenomenon. On most clear nights there was almost always some activity to be seen during the winter and I know this is one of the main reasons that photographers (or anyone) visit Iceland at this time. However, don't forget to spend time making the most of our amazing all day Golden Hours - after all you can have a nap between sunset and our darkest hours meaning you're fresh and ready to capture the Aurora when they appear!

 

Spring / Autumn - The Transition Months

 

I have spent a long time writing about the summer and winter months, primarily because these are the times that offer up the best light conditions for extended periods of time.

Spring and autumn do offer good lighting conditions for photography though. The days are just more normal in their structure with the Golden and Blue Hours fitting to a schedule that most photographers will be familiar with.

Of the two, autumn is a better time to capture the colours as the flora and fauna turn. We may not have many trees or forests but they can put on a colourful display, as can the moss and lava fields. We do tend to have some storms in the autumn however and the conditions can be pretty unpredictable, especially the wind.

In spring as the days get longer the snow and ice starts to melt and the landscape beings to emerge. If I'm honest, there's a transition period here where things appear to be many shades of brown and hiking about can prove to be a bit of a soggy affair. That said, later in spring the flowers and trees suddenly bloom and we are given fields of lupine that paint the landscape purple!

I hope this post has been helpful for those considering visiting Iceland and wanting to know about the light conditions. The summer and winter months offer unique chances to experience a never-ending Golden Hour that lasts for over 7 hours on some days. If you have ever felt rushed chasing the light, come visit us in Iceland and spend a day (or night) taking your time in our all day/night Golden Hours!

Icelandic Seascape Photography - Part 2

In Part 1 of my article on Icelandic Seascape Photography I described a couple of my favourite locations for seascape photography. Luckily two of them are about a 30-40 minute drive from home for me. 

This week I go a little further afield to describe 3 other places I have enjoyed visiting around the coast.

Djúpalónssandur

This beach is located just a little drive further along from Londrangur in my last post. Following Route 574 after Londrangur you can take a little detour first to visit the Malarrif Lighthouse and visitors centre there. A good place for a comfort break too. Once back on Route 574 you continue on for a short while before reaching a turning onto Route 572 marked as "Djúpalón 2". I point this out because the beach itself isn't signposted - the 2 here signifies the 2km drive to the car park.

 

The road is paved and in good condition although it is narrow with a lot of blind corners. At the car park there is a small toilet but this is closed in the winter months. There are a few path options to choose from taking you to different points. If you have time it's worth exploring them but if you want to visit the beach take the path down into the little canyon. In winter you definitely need ice grips on your boots - I speak from experience here! Along this path you'll walk between some impressive lava formations including a hole in the rocks where I'm sure some creative framing fun could be had (it was too icy and cold on my visits to scramble about).

Following the path to the beach you will come across 4 different sized stones, if they are not covered by snow! These were a lifting game by fisherman with them competing to see which of the heaviest stones they could lift. Give it a go but be careful! You then walk up a slight rise where you'll see the wreckage of the British Trawler Epine strewn about. I think there is potential for some interesting detailed images of these parts and intend to return when there is less snow to explore more. 

Over the rise is the beach itself with it's famous smooth black pearl pebbles. Depending on the conditions, the sea here provides opportunities for some fun images. In windy conditions it crashes up onto the sea stacks. In calmer conditions it would be a nice spot to practice some long exposure photography. I still haven't visited in ideal conditions and my images so far have been more scouting images but there is lots of potential here. One word of caution: this beach is famous for its "Sneaker Waves" which can reach up remarkably high as some people discovered in this video here. Please be extremely careful here, even if it looks peaceful enough as the currents can catch you out quickly.

I personal love this beach more for the amazing rock formations that surround it. Some of the fractured lava here makes for some interesting detailed landscape images.

In short, there are a huge variety of image taking opportunities here and if you are able to, I highly recommend spending some quality time exploring the area. It's also not dissimilar to my next location but tends to be much quieter.

Reynisfjara

Ok, this one makes it on the list as it's still a fantastic location despite the exponential increase in visitors it is receiving. Located off Route 1 on the south coast, after a short drive on Route 215, is the black sand beach of Reynisfjara. There is a large car park and cafe at the entrance. Keep in mind that this place has become VERY popular. If you want to visit when there are less people I recommend the early morning/late evening when the visiting day trippers from Reykjavik haven't arrived/have left. In the summer head over in the night when it is still light anyway. Alternatively I have enjoyed it here in poor weather which offer some moody image opportunities and have the added bonus of keeping the crowds away!

 

On the beach to your left are the basalt columns which make for some interesting shapes and tower above. If you walk around the corner on the left you will see the famous sea stacks, said to be the frozen stone remains of trolls who were pulling a ship to shore but were caught by the rising sun. There are some lovely seascape image opportunities here. Long exposures would work particularly well on a calmer day as they may have the added bonus of removing the people who would be walking in and out of frame. On dramatic weather days the seas crashes up here and allows for some spectacular images. There is also a cave in the cliffs with interesting rock patterns and formations.

As with Djúpalónsandur, this beach is dangerous because of its "Sneaker Waves." In fact, people have died here having been dragged out to sea. Every time I visit I still see people playing with the incoming waves though without realising that just off the beach is a sharp drop which is where they could be dragged if one of the larger sneakers caught them. In high tide and windy conditions, don't even venture left around the cliffs as the sea can come right up to them.

The images I have shared from here are all iPhone images from my last trip in 2017. The weather was changeable to say the least. Some of the waves were spectacular and the view down towards Dyrhóley was spooky. Incidentally, Dyrhóley is another place to visit with great views on offer from the lighthouse on top of the cliffs. 

Reynisfjara is another great location to explore and you can find areas away from the crowds here still. In fact I would make a particular recommendation here. If you plan to visit this area and take in Dyrhóley, Reynisfjara and the aircraft wreck, as many typically do, I say skip the wreck. The car park is miles away from it, the walk is not very nice, it's really busy and the plane doesn't look nearly as good as it once did. I think people have stolen a lot of the parts! I would spend more time at the other locations instead.

To get some different views of the sea stacks it's also worth visiting the beach on the other side, just through Vík. Fewer people visit here for some reason but it offers some nice images.

 My wife and our two dogs taking a walk on the emptier beach found by driving through Vík

My wife and our two dogs taking a walk on the emptier beach found by driving through Vík

Húsavík to Hringsbjarg

This is less of a single location but instead a drive I would highly recommend which offers up some lovely opportunities to see the coast in the north of Iceland. I have only driven it once but I'm desperate to get back up there with my big camera and try to capture some of the coastline.

Húsavík is a pretty fishing town in the far north of Iceland. You reach it from Akureyri following Route 1 towards Mývatn before taking Route 85 north towards the coast.

 

 

There is a great fish restaurant in Húsavík called Fjaran where we had a lovely lunch overlooking the picturesque harbour. Here there opportunities to photograph some of the pretty fishing and tour boats and colourful buildings in the town. This would also be a good place to take in a whale sight seeing tour. I believe that these are only possible in the summer but this may have changed. This could provide an interesting opportunity for some unique nature photography and the advantage with this location over others is that it receives less traffic. You are therefore likely to get onto a quieter tour.

From Húsavík the road hugs the coast passing numerous farms and crossing small streams and rivers. On a clear day it really is spectacular and the views out to sea are special. There are a lot of places to stop along the way to photograph the coast. I imagine in the summer during the sunny nights, this would be a great location to capture the midnight sun just dipping below the horizon - you only get full 24 hour sunlight in Iceland from the island of Grimsey which is in the Arctic Circle to the north of here. The leisurely drive probably takes about 45 minutes in total but longer if you are stopping constantly as we were. 

The images for this part of the trip are iPhone images from my honeymoon. It wasn't a photography trip for me so these are just some snaps.

At Hringsbjarg there is a small car park which sits up on the top of some very high cliffs. On a clear day you can see right across the estuary area and over to the far side of the bay. There are a lot of birds here so bring your long lens. This would be another great location to capture the midnight sun and the coastline. On a wild day I image the view may not be as spectacular although it still may be possible to capture some waves crashing into shore.

If you are up this far north already I can recommend camping in Ásbyrgi which has good facilities and is very quiet. Plus the Ásbyrgi canyon is spectacular and empty. I want to revisit there this year and if I do will write up a separate post on this special location.

There are many more places to visit along the coast of Iceland including the grand east fjords, the west fjords and also the islands. I'm sure I will add to my posts in the future with other blogs about some of them but for now, this wraps up some of my favourite spots around the country for seascape photography.

 

 

 

Plane Spotting - The Reykjavik Airshow

Alongside photography, I have another passion: aviation. Aircraft and flight have always fascinated me and it was part of the reason I decided to study Aerospace Engineering at university. It isn't often that I get to combine my two interests but last June, we decided to pop down to Reykjavik Airport and visit the Reykjavik Airshow. I took along my camera of course.

Reykjavik Airport is slightly unusual in that it is just on the edge of the city centre. Therefore in the right weather conditions, when you are in town, you will often see and hear the Air Iceland prop planes roaring very low overhead as they go in to land. For the airshow there is lots of parking around the airport area although there are traffic queues to get in. I'd actually recommend parking in town and taking the nice walk over to the airport which will probably take about 20-30 minutes.

Entry to the show was free and once in the airport grounds there were a number of static aircraft on display. There were aircraft with tundra wheels, presumably for those pilots wishing to explore difficult to reach areas of the country. There were also a number of aerobatic aircraft including some impressive bi-planes. Keilir Aviation Academy sent two of their pilots and one of their Diamond DA20 training aircraft along - I have been lucky enough to go up in one of their bigger DA40 aircraft for a flight around Reykjanes. You can see a cheesy YouTube video of this here: Flying in Iceland. All the aircraft were accessible with some open to allow people to sit in the cockpits. There were also companies showing off their impressive film drone collections. Alongside DJI consumer drones were some incredible eight prop professional filming drones.

In the early afternoon the air display started. It was pretty impressive for such a small show. Small private aircraft did fly pasts, sometimes in formation. There were aerobatics which looked impressive against the backdrop of the city. And then there were the stars of the show, the Icelandair aircraft.

Icelandair had two aircraft there for the show. First was their DC-3 which Icelandair introduced into their fleet in 1946 and flew them right up until 1972! This aircraft is painted in the current Icelandair colours and I particularly like the yellow engines. I was stood behind the aircraft on start up and the engine backwash was fearsome! It was lovely to see this old aircraft flying over the city.

Next up was Icelandair's Boeing 757-200 Freighter. Icelandair has long been using 757 aircraft as their workhorses capable of flying short and long haul. This year they have started to introduce the new Boeing 737-Max but the 757 will always remain my favourite of their aircraft. We were stood right next to the aircraft and watched the pilots prepare for the display. The engine start up was predictably loud, the Rolls Royce engines making an impressive racket. AVGeek fact - the engines are the same as those on the Boeing 747 (which has 4) and as such are very high powered for the size of the aircraft. This can be felt most on take off in certain conditions when the plane literally feels like a rocket!

The aircraft performed some impressive fly pasts, especially when at high speed. It was hard to capture in camera but they put on a great display.

Last up (or was it? See below) was the Canadian Airforce CF-18 Hornet. This was easily the noisiest aircraft of the day and the hardest to photograph as it was going so quickly. In fact, I messed up my camera settings (turned auto focus off by accident) so didn't get many in flight shots. I have instead shared the annoyingly well captured silhouette that my wife took...on her iPhone!

That was supposed to be it for the show and we all started to make our ways to the exits. Suddenly, however, everyone noticed a growing roar and looking out over the city, a purple plane could be seen making its way to steal the show. Yes, young Icelandic airline WowAir was coming along to conduct their own (unplanned) display of their Airbus A321 aircraft. For the next 5 minutes it performed some maneuvers that (cough) wowed the crowd in a blatant but fun attempt to outdo rival Icelandair. I have to say I was impressed with the performance of the Airbus and the purple colour scheme looked great in the light. Well played WowAir, well played.

And that was it for the show. The private owners started moving their aircraft out for their flights home. It was nice to watch them getting ready and saying goodbye to everyone. I particularly liked seeing what I assume was a father and son heading off together. The young lad will one day realise how lucky he is to have had these experiences at such a young age.

It was a great little airshow, more so because it's open to everyone and absolutely free. They have announced the date of Saturday June 2nd 2018 for the show this year so if you find yourself stuck for something to do in Reykjavik and want to have a bit of fun, I highly recommend the heading to the Reykjavik Airshow.

 

 

 

Icelandic Seascape Photography - Part 1

Iceland sits alone in the North Atlantic Ocean. It's a wild ocean up here providing photographers with opportunities to capture the raw power of the sea as it pounds against the island. You won't find crystal clear tropical waters here!

I have spent considerable time in various locations, and in somewhat extreme conditions at times, trying to capture some of that power in my images.

 Bracing against the wind I try to capture the waves crashing against this sea stack 

Bracing against the wind I try to capture the waves crashing against this sea stack 

There are a few locations I would recommend visiting if you would like to try and photograph the sea here.

Brimketill

Located on the Reykjanes peninsula, Brimketill is a perfect location to capture waves crashing against cliffs, to see birds surfing the air currents above the water and generally feel the raw power of the sea. 

To reach Brimketill you first travel out to Grindavík along Route 43. Just before Grindavík you take a right turn onto Route 425 and follow the road for about 10 minutes until you see a small sign saying "Brimketill." Incidentally, on the way there are a few places you can stop to see the ocean also. There is a graveyard close to the sea where the waves can be impressive on a stormy day.

 

At Brimketill once you have parked and if the weather is windy you may see the waves crashing up and over the cliff tops above the pathway. In my experience, if this is the case, be a bit careful when you start going up the steps and onto the walkway as the waves can crash up and over here from the right hand side making for a quite scary experience. Generally speaking, this only happens if the wind is directly from the South or South West. It's an impressive but unnerving thing to see! I have been up here in extremely stormy conditions and I will admit that it is frightening!

The walkway extends out onto the clifftop. On a still day there are a couple of tide pools visible. Please don't do as some have and go for a dip! The currents and sea here are extremely unpredictable. On a windy or stormy day you can watch the waves come towards you and break up into huge plumes crashing over the cliffs around you. The noise and energy here is unbelievable!

Valahnúkamöl

About 5 minutes further along the road from Brimketill is another great location for sea photography, Valahnúkamöl. Accessed off Route 425 by following the signs for Reykjanesviti lighthouse, this a safe and fun place to capture a range of seascapes. 

 

Follow the road towards the light house (which is Iceland's oldest) going up and over the small hill. As you come down you will see the coast and car park area in front of you along with impressive sea stacks. Once parked you can spend time walking around the area here to photograph the large sea stack off the coast (see image of me at the start of the article) or further stacks just off to the left. In the distance is the island of Eldey where the last Great Auk was killed. There is a monument of one looking out to sea here which I always find quite poignant.

It is possible to sometimes walk up the cliffs to the left but the municipality will close these off if it is a) not safe or b) they're trying to allow the area to recover from damage. Therefore it is closed, please don't try and get up anyway, something I see all too often here. This is a great location to photograph sunrise, particularly in the winter when you don't have to get here so early!

Londrangur

Londrangur is located on the Snaefellsnes peninsular in the west of Iceland. Famous for its towering basalt cliffs, which are up to 75m high, there are some great opportunities to photograph dramatic images of the sea here. The cliffs are ancient volcanic plugs which have been eroded by the sea. Farmers do not use the area as the two cliffs are believed to be an Elf Church and an Elf Library. There is certainly something mysterious about the place.

 

You can reach Londrangur off Route 574 on the south coast of the peninsula. You cannot really miss them and there is a clearly marked car park on the left. The walkway here leads up onto the cliffs and a number of viewing points where you can photograph the coastline in both directions. The view, on a clear day, of Snæfellsjökull behind you is nothing short of spectacular also.

That's it for Part 1. In Part 2 I will cover another location in Snæfellsnes, Djúpalónssandur, as well as Reynisfjara beach in the south. I'll also mentioned a rarely visited coastline in the north of Iceland.