The village of Saksun in the Faroe Islands has a kind of fairy tale feel to it. Most people take a photo of the church and the seawater lagoon. I walked along the road and climbed down to get a different perspective. I think if I ever get a big dog I’ll call it ‘Saksun’. “Here Saksun, come here Saksun!”. It sounds good to me. Click on the image to see a larger version.
A collection of 18 islands in the North Atlantic ocean between Iceland and Great Britain. The photo was taken in the capital city Torshavn which has a population of about 19,000 people. The Faroe Islands are rugged and rocky with some low peaks; the coasts are mostly cliffs. It’s a beautiful place to visit and explore with a camera. Click on the image to see a larger version.
I spent some time post processing this image. As a photographer I have mixed emotions about post processing my images. So much of what we see on the internet today is so heavily processed and not at all what the subject looked like in reality. Many people leave comments for the photographer on how beautiful their image looks, but to me, many of the photos are so heavily saturated and over processed. I like the birds in this image who were using the wind to effortlessly circle this rock formation.
This evening I was fortunate to see the documentary movie Antarctica: A Year On Ice. The film was directed by Anthony Powell and it looks at the lives of people who live at the McMurdo Station year round. In the Winter they have to endure four months of never ending darkness. It was visually stunning and I enjoyed the time lapse photography. It’s a dream of mine to one day take images in Antarctica.
A little post processing of an image from last summer. A rainbow after some heavy rain.
The Ring Road is a national road in Iceland that runs around the island and connects most of the inhabited parts of the country. The total length of the road is 1,332 kilometres and it was completed in 1974, coinciding with the 1100th anniversary of the country’s settlement.
Today I was thinking about the beautiful chunks of ice and icebergs that I saw this summer. I spent some time processing a few images from my trip. The blue colour is truly unique and cannot be reproduced by any artist.
It’s Labour Day in Canada and today I was thinking about my summer. I was very fortunate to visit Iceland and the Faroe Islands, even though the weather wasn’t so great for taking images. The photo below is a self portrait I took with my tripod, camera and self-timer in Iceland on the beach at Jokulsarlon. I went to sleep at midnight and woke up at 4:00 a.m. to find the black volcanic beach covered in huge pieces of ice. The North Atlantic waves wash the icebergs up on shore and as the tide falls their stranded on the beach. There was no one else around and it was a bit surreal walking and taking images amongst these beautiful pieces of ice. The ice is over a thousand years old and because it has been in the glacier under such tremendous pressure, there is no air in the ice, which is why it’s so crystal clear. The oldest ice also tends to be the bluest in colour.
My three weeks in Iceland and a week in the Faroe Islands has come to an end. On the last night I stayed in Reykjavik and in the morning I had some time to explore the city. I used my tripod and the self timer on my camera to take this self portrait.
On the way to the airport I was thinking about all the things I will miss about Iceland:
- the mountains
- the huge glaciers
- the large number of waterfalls
- Icelandic horses and their full manes
- black sand beaches
- funky churches. The church pictured above is called Hallgrimskirkja and it was designed to resemble the basalt lava flows of Iceland’s landscape. It’s one of my favourite structures in Iceland because of its art deco style and symmetry. It took 38 years to build and has a huge pipe organ inside. I went up into the church tower where there is a great view of Reykjavik.
- the wonderful Skyr yogurt. Blueberry was my favourite and you can’t get it here in Canada.
- Kleina which is an Icelandic fried pastry. It is made from flattened dough cut into small trapezoids with a special cutting wheel called a kleinujarn.
- getting a sandwich at the Sandholt bakery. They are worth standing in line for.
- listening to the Calm After the Storm by The Common Linnets and Lof by Hjalmar. I can’t stop listening to the song by the Icelandic Reggae band Hjalmar.
- watching Arctic Terns fly. They can hover like a hummingbird and feed by plunge-diving.
At home I’ve decided to put my images to the side for awhile. I need to take a break and then look at them again with an objective or fresh set of eyes. I will start uploading my favourite images to my website over the next few weeks.
This blog post has a great title because it includes rarely used letters like q, x and z. Anyway, I just returned from a trip to Zion, Bryce Canyon and Death Valley National Parks. One night in Bryce Canyon the water in my water bottle turned to a solid chunk of ice and in Death Valley the temperature reached a high of 100 degrees Fahrenheit. So I experienced a cold night and extreme heat.
In Zion National Park I tried some canyoneering in the Narrows which was the highlight of my trip. First I had to rent a drysuit, neoprene socks, canyoneering boots and a thick wooden pole. I thought the water would be really cold, and I wouldn’t last long, but I was determined to give it a try. The equipment allowed me to wade up the canyon with my camera pack and tripod.
In the Virgin River I had to negotiate my way through the occasional deep pool, over and around large boulders and make crossings in a fast current. The last thing I wanted to do was fall over with my expensive camera and lenses. After three hours I reached the Narrows where it was only about ten feet across and the sandstone walls of the canyon towered a 1000 feet above me.
You have to be very careful when you go into the canyon because there is the danger of flash floods. If the flow of water is more than 150 cubic feet per second the national park will shut down the Narrows. You can’t outrun a flash flood. I had three days of sunny weather with no chance of precipitation and it was reassuring to see nothing but blue sky above me. I became quite comfortable standing in the current with my tripod and taking images of this beautiful canyon. You can see some of my photos in a new portfolio I created on my website.