It has been awhile since I have had the opportunity to sit down and process some new work. I just finished up my 2019 Spring in the West Virginia Highlands Workshop and now heading into the last few months before the Iceland Workshop. I have already begun the planning for 2020 and 2021 Workshops which promise to be exciting options including a return to Iceland, and a foray to Scotland and Portugal. So, stay tuned for those announcements.
Goðafoss waterfall is located on the river Skjálfandafljót in north Iceland, the fourth largest river in Iceland. Although the main waterfall is the most visited and photogenic I actually found the lower falls more interesting. Just downriver from the main falls, the river narrows and is forced into a slot between volcanic rock formations. The small drop is slightly stair-stepped and creates several channels as the glacial blue water shoots through the slot. The sound is deafening and the sheer power of water hydraulics is on display.
Iceland is a country of immense beauty. In my mind it is one of the most diverse landscapes in the world despite being and island country. It is volcanic and glaciated and it is these singular natural forces that have largely shaped the landscape. From windswept volcanic planes, to the mountainous highlands, fjords, coastlines, glaciers, and myriad rivers and waterfalls, it is a place that presents one with so many photographic opportunities. The islands location in the Northern hemisphere also brings almost continuous light, with an extended twilight in the summer, and much shorter days in the winter, which affords one the opportunity to see the dancing Northern Lights. It is also a place of extremes, especially regarding the weather, which can change hour by hour. And in fact that is the old adage in Iceland that if you don’t like the weather, just give it an hour. The countries population of around 360,000 is out numbered by the sheep, and the number of visitors and tourists who flock there. The sheep of course are permanent residents. It is one of my favorite places on this planet.
The concept of place, and our connections to place, are powerful expressions in how we view our world. The Black Church at Búðir is one such location, that for me, expresses a powerful sense of place and identity. On a recent past blog post I wrote about this church located on a windswept point in a harsh landscape For me the church emotes a sense of hope, civility, and simple community which I think is a fitting concept for a Christmas Eve post.
Breiðamerkurjökull is an outlet glacier of the larger glacier, Vatnjökull, located in southeastern Iceland. Emerging as a tongue of the Vatnajökull, it ends in a small glacial lagoon, known as Jölkúsarlón. Breiðamerkurjökull is among the largest glacier tongues in Iceland and the flow of ice has a southerly direction away from the main icecap Vatnjökull. Over time, the glacier has gradually been breaking down and receding, increasing the size of the lagoon. Up to the turn of the 19th century, the glacier tongue advanced to within 200 metres from the sea but has retreated considerably, especially after 1930, creating the greater part of the Glacial Lagoon. At the ice calving site icebergs break away from the tongue of the glacier and begin a slow drift in the icy waters of the lagoon. Slowly the ice drifts to mouth of the lagoon and eventually reaches the ocean.
Of all of the incredible locations we visited in Iceland in 2017, Vestrahorn in Stokksnes, was the one place that literally brought me to tears. I have never seen such a view where mountains, coastline, black sand dunes, and sky all combined to create such wonder. There were compositions everywhere I looked and at times I just framed and shot, reacting to the light and my own visceral feelings. It was truly magic.