Tuesday 16 December 2014

Appendix 4 - Gulfoss

I took a lot of photographs at Gulfoss so it's taken a while to reduce the number for the post down to six examples.  I've tried to use different ones to the original post but I have reprocessed all the pictures so even where I have duplicated the choice they should look a bit different.  This first photo was taken from high above and is of the top falls then looking up river across the countryside.

Again from high up here are both parts of the falls and into the distance.

Taken from a little further right and using a wider angle you may be able to make out the path down to the falls on the left side and also a couple of people at the top viewing area also on the left.

The path had been closed for safety reasons but everyone was ignoring that and going down the path anyway. It was a bit slippy but easily navigable. This shot was taken from the path and looking down into the canyon below the lower falls.

This next shot is a close up from the top falls where there is a small pool below a minor part of the falls.

Below the pool from the previous picture there is this area of rapids before the water makes the first big drop of the falls.

 There is a viewing platform above the path down to the falls where I took the wide shot of the top falls and most of the bottom falls. Looking down at the people below gives a better idea about the size of the falls. It's very impressive and very loud.  

It's a pity it was so overcast and dull wile we were there but we had a great time there anyway.

Sunday 7 December 2014

Appendix 3 - Geysir

When you enter the Geysir area there is the small signs warning of the danger of hot water in the pools which are up to 100 degrees centigrade.  Then there is the big sign which was in the original post for day 2 with Ginny looking very worried about the message.

In the first picture you can see in the distance what looks like a small hut with steam shooting out of the top and front so here's a closer picture of it.  I assume this is where the locals are collecting some of the heat to keep their building warm.  It was something that we noticed very quickly that all of the buildings in Iceland seem to be very warm inside.

Here's a little pool or water which is bubbling away merrily.

This is the pool which is next to the blue pool from the original post.  It's quite shallow at the edges but appears to have a large hole going down in the centre.  There have been lots of coins thrown into this pool even though the signs around here request that people don't throw coins into them.

We climbed up to a viewpoint above the site where we could look down onto the site and the landscape beyond.  It doesn't look it in the photograph but it was quite a steep climb up to here.

At the viewpoint was this post which was covered in fresh snow when we first arrived.  Ginny and I cleared off the snow to reveal lines pointing to the individual geysers and other landmarks and towns on the island including Gulfoss which is nearby.

On the way back down the hill I took this photo with the two people half way down and looking toward the geyser which had just erupted.

The geyser which is currently erupting is actually called Strokkur and the original geyser is no longer erupting.  Here is a photo of the original which is now just a pool of hot water but which had been much bigger than the current one.

In the next post I'll include some more photos from Gulfoss.

Friday 5 December 2014

Appendix 2 - Yet more from Reykjavik

As I was looking through the Reykjavik pictures I found a few that I had overlooked because in their raw form they looked very dark and lacking interest.  However when I processed them I discovered that they weren't that bad after all.  The first five were ones taken out of the windows in the tower of the Hallgrimskirkja Church. This first one is looking inland a bit with the mountains in distance.

The second photo is towards the harbour.

This shot is straight across bay.  If you look closely the Sun Voyager statue is below the crane in the centre of the photo.

In this next shot the sun was lighting up the mountain below the clouds and creating golden reflections across the water in the bay.

Looking across to the South we can see the Pearl in the centre of the photo.

This final shot was taken from down near the waterfront and shows the amazing low clouds bubbling over the mountains across the bay.

More soon, probably starting with Geysir.

Thursday 4 December 2014

Appendix 1 - More of Reykjavik

Back from Iceland and I'm going through the thousand plus photos and spending a bit more time on processing them now I have more time available.  In the appendices part of blog I am just going to include ones not appearing previously although I will probably reprocess most of the photos from the original blog too and put the best ones on my website.  There may be more appendices than original posts depending on how it goes but in this first one I am using photos from the first day in Reykjavik.

I'll start with a photo of Hallgrimskirkja Church because it is such an iconic piece of architecture.  For this photo I chose an angle looking across the front face of the building which I haven't seen much on thee internet before but I think it works quite well.  To be honest it's hard to find and uninteresting angle to look at this building, I love the simplicity and the sweeping blockiness of the design.

I also made this photograph because the rear of the church doesn't appear much on the internet. That is a shame because I think the the curves of the almost mosque-like rear makes a strange contrast to the angularity of the rest of the church.

The inside of the church is just as stark and grey as the outside.  There are very few statues or paintings around the walls and aisles within the church.  The one striking item in the church is the array of organ pipes above the entrance to the church.  While we were there there was a young lady playing the organ and filling the church with beautiful music.

We took the lift up the tower of the church which let us out in the area behind the clocks.  Each one had a different set of pictures around but all of them was damaged or had words scraped into it.  This one was the least damaged.  It was quite interesting to see the electric clockwork in the centre.  All very different to the clocks in the big churches and cathedrals in England.

From the clock hall was a few flights of stairs up to the level where there were windows on all sides of the tower.  Out of the windows were some great views over the city and across the bay to the mountains.  Here's a photo across the bay with the mountains lit up by the early evening (1:30 pm) sun and the low clouds obscuring the peaks.

After leaving the church we made our way back down to the harbour where we had parked the car. I was interested in seeing the Imagine Peace Tower which is on an island in the bay but during the day there's not much to see from the city because it isn't lit up.  We had planned to return to Reykjavik in the evening one day to see it.  What we did find next to the harbour was the Sun Voyager statue which is very photogenic, so I took loads of photos from lots of different angles.

After taking a portrait photograph I just have to make a landscape one from a slightly different angle.

One more after undergoing a black and white processing.

In the original blog entry I included a photo including this statue but from a distance so I felt it was OK to use this one in the appendices.

I'll continue to work through processing more of my photos and make another post in a few days.

Tuesday 2 December 2014

Day 7 - A last look around

Our last full day in Iceland and following the wet and windy evening it had snowed overnight.  Here's a shot from the rear door of our apartment towards the other two apartment blocks.

We decided to revisit Thingvellir to see how it looked with a covering of snow and also stop a few places on the way there and back to have a look around.  Just outside Laugarvatn there is a picnic area which we have driven past a few times so we decided to stop here first.  In one direction is a view over the lake at Laugarvatn and the other way is this view towards the national park.

A little further there is a turn off onto the original road from Thingvellir to Laugarvatn which is much more windy and heads more into the mountains to the North.  The road was full of potholes and had quite a rough surface but it did mean there was plenty of grip for Vinnys' stud covered tyres.  Here's a view along the towards the mountains with Vinnys' tracks through the ice filled puddle.

Here's another shot showing the cloud covering the higher parts of the mountain.

Further along we had a good view of the mountains in the national park with the yellow sun lighting up the clouds above the mountains.

Near the end of the old road it turned into a very rough track which was full of deep holes and a thick layer of snow.  Poor Vinny bumped his underside on the ground a couple of times but easily managed to get us back onto the new road where we continued towards Thingvellir. When we reached the edge of the national park there was a parking place at the edge of the road where I took this photo across Thingvellir lake to the mountains in the distance.

From the same place this is the main road towards Reykjavik which is quite narrow and winding and was covered in snow and ice.

When we reached the car park we walked up the path towards to upper waterfall and passed this little patch of conifers which looked lovely with the sprinkling of snow on them.

Soon after we reached the waterfall the sun broke through the clouds to light up the waterfall and the rock face around it.  Some of the water had a layer of ice on it an the rope fence next to the waterfall had a line of little icicles shining in the sun.

Here's a shot looking down the canyon with the water rushing passed the snow covered rocks.

Here's a fisheye view of the waterfall from the edge of the decking. I love the reflection of the snow and rocks in the water between us and the waterfall.  The sky looked really nice and blue in this direction but there was still quite a lot of thick black cloud behind us which kept giving us snow showers as we walked about. This patch of sun went after a few minutes so I took as many shots as I could in the time it was here.

Here's a shot of the wooden decking with a fresh layer of snow on it.   It looks so different to when we were here the other day.

We were going to head back towards the church to get some new shots of it with snow on and around it.  On the way I stopped to take this shot across to the mountains where you can see low cloud drifting around and obscuring some of the lower hills.

As we headed towards the church some big black clouds came over and from a distance I just managed to get this shot with the orange sky behind the church before it went almost completely dark and started to snow hard.

We decided against walking all the way to the church because it looked like it was going to snow for a while so we headed back to the car park instead.  We set off to go back to the apartment an we took the lakeside road which joins up with the main road towards Laugarvatn.  On the way we stopped near the lake and I took a few shots including this one.

When we got back to the apartment we popped down to the Fontana Spa for a late lunch and a dip in the hot pools and steam rooms.  Around the pools there was snow on the ground and the rocks so it did feel strange sitting in the hot water and it was very cold when moving from place to place.  At one point it started to snow quite hard and we both had a layer of very white snow on our hair.

It snowed quite a bit all through the night and we had to set off to the airport about 8am the next day to go to the airport.  It was a long dark drive in the snow and ice but we made it home safely.  Over the next few days I will be processing more of my photos and will probably post some more different ones.

Monday 1 December 2014

Day 6 - Looking for Hekla

The weather has been none to great today, very windy and quite wet.  We decided to have a drive around and see if we could see the Hekla volcano from route 26.  I plotted a round trip where we went down to route 32 (Þjórsárdalsvegur) going up the valley and then up to meet the 26 (Landvegur) to go back down the valley to route 1 and pass Hekla about 10 km to the South.  On the way we were going to look out for places to stop which might be interesting and worth taking a few pictures.  

Our first stop was this ancient sheep pen which was a large oval shape in the centre and separate pens all the way around.  The separators had paths on then so you could walk around the top of the pens, presumably to keep control of the sheep.

Here's Ginny in a pathway between the pens as I was walking around the top.

Next to the sheep pen was a pile of rocks with a plate on it which we couldn't understand, but it made a nice foreground subject to the odd shaped hill behind.

A little further along the road was a sign which took us up a road to a car park but no explanation for why except there was a vantage point to see the water in the valley below.

A few miles further down we found one of the sites we were looking for at Þjóðveldisbærinn. Unfortunately we had missed the waterfall at Hjálparfoss, but we have seen quite a lot of waterfalls already this holiday. Þjóðveldisbærinn is a recreation of an old village using some of the traditional building methods.  Unfortunately it was closed but we had a wander about it anyway.  This first shot is of the small building with the little waterfall in the background.

The second shot from here was around the back of the large building showing the two little extensions.

The last photo is of the whole site with the little waterfall between the two buildings.  We has a short sharp shower of rain/hailstone while we were here and unfortunately on most of the other photos I took I had water droplets on the lens which I hadn't noticed at the time.  I may be able to fix them later.

A little further along again was this patch of rocks where there were lots of them piled up.  The main reason for the shot was to show the windmills but they have disappeared into the background a bit.

The next shot was from the same area but this time looking back to where we had driven from.

Not long after this we went past a small building on a stream which looked to contain electric water turbines which were being fed from the Sultartangalón reservoir higher up the valley.  We were in a very large lava field, presumably from Hekla and every so ofter there were small pillars of lava sticking up.  I took this photo with one of the pillars in the foreground and a small mountain in the background.

Soon after we met route 26 and turned to head back down the valley.  The road was quite normal for the first few hundred yards but then turned into a very rough, ash covered track.  The weather had become even windier and we were getting frequent bouts of heavy rain during the journey.  Ginny told me that there was a route that was marked for 4x4 vehicles only a little way ahead and when we reached it there was a parking area which had boards showing the ordinary cars were not allowed to take this route.  It was quite difficult to make out as a road but I'm sure it must have been there.  While we were there I took this last photo of another pile of rocks with the little mountain behind.

Eventually the route 26 track turned back into a proper road as we approached civilisation and then we made our way back to the apartment.  In the evening we went to the Linden Restaurant across the road from the apartment. We had a wonderful wild game meal which the chef brought to the table to tell us that he had prepared Rudolf, making everything from scratch.  After the meal he came back out to talk to us and asked us if we'd ever had shark meat.  We'd read about Hákarl so we were prepared to be given a sample of rotten shark and it was pretty awful.  He did include a shot of some white spirit which made it slightly more palatable and because Ginny does drink alcohol I had a second shot.   When we left the restaurant the weather had become even worse so the waitress let us out of the back door which was even closer to the apartment so we ran as fast as we could in the circumstances.

Last full day tomorrow, not sure what we're going to do, it depends on the weather and how we feel I guess.