Iceland, a country rich with roaring volcanoes, monolithic glaciers, icy mountains and deep fjords, has become a mecca for photographers looking to capture the raw, mystical power of its natural northern beauty.
The ruggedness of and stark contrasts present in Iceland’s landscapes makes them irresistible to photographers. Glacial floodplains, waterfalls, towering mountains, fjords and even deserts of volcanic ash can all be found in relative proximity to each other. Its small population (of roughly 325,000) also means that the majority of its natural wonder remains nearly or completely untouched, giving photographers the opportunity to capture a world that seems empty and almost alien in nature. And because of its northern location, enterprising night photographers can capture images of the mystical and stunningly beautiful aurora borealis as it dances over an Icelandic volcano or glacier.
Iceland is, in both geological and historical aspects, a relatively young country. Its violent geological upheaval is all due to its position at the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, which marks the separation point of the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates. It is believed that Iceland formed only 16 to 18 million years ago.
The eruptions of Icelandic volcanoes have impacted the course of human events throughout history. In 1783, the eruption of Laki caused widespread devastation throughout Europe, and even caused a famine in Egypt and interrupted monsoon patterns in Northern Africa and India. In 2010, the eruption of Eyjafjallajökull sent up clouds of ash across Europe, grounding thousands of flights.
For any photographer interested in capturing images of stunning natural landscapes filled with raw power, Iceland is an absolute must-see.
This 60 meter drop on the Skógá River cascades over an ancient sea cliff. When the large continental glaciers collapsed about 10,000 years ago, the ocean inundated portions of iceland’s coastline, shrinking the island dramatically. Since that time, the island has actually been expanding.
Iceland Day 2: Tectonic Plates, Geysers, Glacial Waterfalls
After exploring Reykjavik some more in the morning, I hopped on another tour bus to visit the national park areas in Iceland. Of course I hate tour groups, but it’s really the only way to see the outdoor stuff in the winter with the icy roads. And the outdoor stuff in Iceland is well worth seeing.
There’s only a few hours of daylight in mid December, and the tour took advantage of most of it. First we visited the mid-atlantic ridge, where the American plate is sliding away from the European plate and leaving a massive fissure in the Earth.
And oh man was it cold and windy. The snow in the wind was like sandpaper. Check out my “I’m fucking cold” face:
Afterwards we left to visit some geysers. The word “geyser” actually comes from Icelandic, which makes sense given the volcanic activity on the island. The guide warned us not to walk off the path, because the grass can be thin and you can step right through into boiling water.
I took her word for it.
Around the geysers it was really icy, which would have been fine except it was ridiculously windy too. It was like Iceland was conspiring against you: you’d be trying to walk slow and then the wind would try to push you down the ice.
Also I got paranoid about the stepping-through-to-boiling-hot-water thing, so I followed this fat guy. At one point he said to his friend “the ice is cracking” and I was like “ABANDON SHIP!!!”
Then, as the sun was setting we went to visit a waterfall. At first I was like “pfft fuck that who cares about a stupid waterfall.” But it was really amazing actually, since it was this massive waterfall cutting through glacial ice.
I couldn’t stay outside too long at the waterfall but it was really cool to see.
Really the majority of the 6 hour tour was spent in the bus. Which was actually cool to just drive around the Icelandic landscape. Normally I hate that style of tourism but in the Icelandic winter it makes sense since you really can’t stay outside for too long.
One thing I noticed was that even though the day was short, the sun took a really long time to set. So even though the official daylight period is pretty short, there’s a lot of dusk as well.
Bonus: on our coffee break I tried Skyr, which is this Icelandic yogurt product that is really yummy.
“Nobody looks like what they really are on the inside. You don’t. I don’t. People are much more complicated than that.”
Neil Gaiman | #whistler #canada http://eddyizm.com/sea-can-2015/ | #gothefuckoutside #neverstopexploring #rei1440project #vscocam #vscofilm #livefolk #liveauthentic #eddyizm #britishcolumbia #livebetterstories #adventuretime #theoutbound #trailrunning #running #mountains #pnw #pnwlife #pnwonderland #upperleftUSA #waterfall #rivers #glacial #literature #quote #quotes #quoteoftheday #lit
15,000 years ago, glacial floods caused by occasional ruptures of an ice dam sculpted the landscape of Palouse Falls State Park in the state of Washington. Palouse Falls drops 60 meters (198 feet) into a canyon formed by immense floodwaters cutting through basalt. The Palouse River merges with the Snake River, which is the largest tributary of the Columbia River, about 6 km downstream from the falls.