Iceland 2019

Landið af eldi og ís

In the summer of 2019, I travelled to Iceland, one of the most beautiful countries in the world. It was an amazing four days, spent among some of the most awe-inspiring landscapes that can be found on Earth, and witnessing natural wonders such as the incredible Strokkur geyser, the desolate Reyjinsfara black sand beaches, and the truly mind-boggling Silfra Fissure,a rift between two tectonic plates. Here is a selection of some of my favourite photos from each day, and some notes on where and how they were captured.

Day 1

Exploring Rekyjavík

It could be a town in the centre of the Carribean with its rich blue ocean, scattered houses with brightly coloured rooftops and only a handful of white fluffy clouds to interrupt the inifine sky. It is only the mountains, thrusting from the horizon, that give away that this is a city unlike any other: Rekyjavík, Iceland’s capital, set amongst the country’s rugged and brutal landscape, it is home to about two-thirds of the country’s entrie population. It was a city I came to adore during my few short days of staying there and exploring, with its stunning architecture, beautiful scenery, and a general sense of warmth and tranquility I don’t think can be found in any other European capital. 

A testament to the Icelandic sense of humour, to the left is pictured The Monument to the Unknown Bureaucrat, one of the many excellent statues that can be found across Rekyjavík. This one in particular stood out for me though, and formed an irresistable subject to photograph.

Day 2

Golden Circle, Silfra Fissure and Blue Lagoon

This was the first day I ventured out of the city to discover what the rest of Iceland had to offer, and I was not dissapointed. Iceland is a country positively bursting with natural wonders that have to be seen in person to fully experience: the famous Golden Circle includes sights such as the colossal Gullfoss waterfalls, the immense and towering Strokkur geyser, and the heart-stoppingly spectacular Silfra fissure, nestled within the rugged Thingvellir National Park, caught between the perennial movement of two tectonic plates. To finish off, I visited the Blue Lagoon, a geothermally powered spa which is worth every penny of the entrance, but even more spectacular are the natural geothermal pools that surround the resort and can be walked through, which made for some beautfiul photos. 

Just as spectacular on the surface as below.

Day 3

Lava Tunnel and Whale Watching

Balanced between the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates, Iceland is awash with geological activity as the Earth slowly pulls itself apart beneath its soil. This leads to phenomenal volcanic activity, spewing ash into the air and sending molten rock — lava — flowing across the island, carving the landscape into what is visible today. It also leaves its trail in the form of lava tubes, one of which I was able to visit, a fasicanting place full of the most beautifully coloured rocks, yet when the lights are turned out a place of such sheer darkness I have experienced nowhere else. Iceland aand its waters are also home to many speices of wildlife, most notably wales, and it was amazing to see these magnificent creatures in their natural habitats.

Day 4

Reyjinsfara Beaches, Myrdalsjoküll Glacier, Skogáfoss and Selijalandfoss

As a result of its tumultuous history of volcanic eruptions and geological activity, Iceland is not framed with a coast of glimmering golden-white sand, but instead sosomething far more spectacular; a rick, deep, black, the sands of Reyjinsfara breach are made from basalt rock. Further in land from the coast sits one of the smaller of Iceland’s ice giants: a glacier, Myrdalsjoküll. From ground level, you can only see a tiny slither of its entire mass, a small tongue, yet even that is enormous beyond belief. Glaciers cover 11% of all of Iceland’s land, but unfortunately not long ago that number was 12%. Visiting this glacier provides the most visceral exposure to the effects of  climate change, as an 800m walk from the car park to the glacier face once never existed — in 40 years the glacier has receeded rapidly. A sombering thought in such a barren and desolate landscape. To finish my tour of Iceland, I visited two waterfalls powered by the movement of Iceland’s glaciers, Skogáfoss and Selijalandfoss. They are truly impressive and humbling sights, and it is no wonder they have become the focus for many a Hollywood film or TV show.