light and shadow

Sunset at Reynisfjara / Dyrhólaey

The Landscapes of Iceland - Winter Edition (II)

Iceland won’t lives up to your dreams you have before the trip. It is often not the frozen winterish wonderly landscape you might expect – it is the all changing landscape that constantly redresses itself. Every time it changes, it does so with a huge cocktail of snow and ice and storm and sun and clouds and pink and blue and yellow and black and white.

Iceland in Winter: Different to your expectations

Although it’s hard to pinpoint what to expect exactly from a volcano in the far Northern Hemisphere, I was surprised of the different moods it finally presented. Snowstorms, ice and frozen waterfalls on Snæfellsnes. A smiling Kirkjufell hiding under the snow. Massive greyness accompanied by vastly illuminated cloudscapes during sunset in Southern Iceland (Þórsmörk, Reynisfjara and Dyrhólaey). Hardly any ice at Jökulsárlón and the glaciers and Diamond Beach due to massive rain and higher temperatures. Silent fields of pure emptiness. And in between: overwhelming beauty. Colors and impressions you will never forget.
Iceland does not live to the sterotype of a northern country in winter. It’s different, it’s surprising and it is worth every single step you make. Every mile you drive on oh those roads, those endless roads.


Sunset in Þórsmörk

The Landscapes of Iceland - Winter Edition (I)

On the one hand, winter obviously changes the look of Iceland. An island of color temporarily hides under a blanket and turns into a monochromatic dream of colors and tones. But on the other, it also changes the country’s acoustic appearance – and therefore creates an opera of light and change.

Iceland in Winter: snow, rough storms and Aurora Borealis

The desaturated country becomes a silent desert of snow and loneliness. The only sound that reaches for your ears is the roaring of the waves – and the scissoring blow of the storm that just appeared out of nowhere. But within a minute, the view and color and light and mood changed instantly. At Dyrhólaey and Reynisfjara, nature reinvented itself about a dozen times. From light to darkness, from eternal warmth to cutting coldness. The elements shapes the landscape and creates stunning vistas. The landscape around Þórsmörk is the perfect example. Volcanic rock and ice create strong contrasts – a bit like you might think about the moon Europa. Especially around Snæfellsnes (Arnastapi & Gatklettur) the effects become omnipresent. You cannot run away from its beauty – not even while trying to hide behind the waterfall Kvernufoss (Seljalandsfoss’ less visited brother). In the end, the Northern Lights will get you anyway. Hopefully.
Thank god you can take a rest and breath from the visual bombardement in the capital Reykjavik – especially at the amazing Hallgrimskirkja or the sculpture Sólfar by Jón Gunnar Árnason. Just for a moment though. You know you want to return. As soon as possible.


Faroe Islands, Sunset at Gásadalur

The Landscapes of Faroe Islands (II)

The Faroe Islands’ mountainous islands will keep you waiting. And wandering.

Don’t mind returning. Don’t mind waiting. Be patient.

You will probably visit the spots more often; you simply have to. The waterfall of Gásadalur, one of the most beautiful views of the island. The remote village of Saksun with its natural lagoon and old farm houses. Gjógv and its famous natural harbor. The village and fjord of Tjørnuvík. Kvívík, one of the oldest settlements of the islands. The lighthouse of Kallur on the island of Kalsoy – famous due to its appearance as the cover of National Geographic. The extraordinary landscapes of high mountains, sharp cliffs and the rough sea will keep you going. Constantly, through the mist. Waiting for the light to win its endless fight at least for a second.


Sunset at Tegalalang, Bali

The Landscapes of Bali, Indonesia

Turn around and start leaving the crowded beaches of Bali. Head towards the back country of the island and discover a totally different landscape.

Explore the rice terraces of Bali, Indonesia. Reimagine the color palatte.

Among the most popular destinations of Bali are the rice terraces of Tegalalang and Jatiluwih. Both are perfect examples of a more rural, more authentic Bali. This cultural landscape belongs to the UNESCO World Heritage. The cooperative water management and farming system known as subaks reflect the omnipresent philosophy of Tri Hita Karana. It draws together the idea of the spiritual mind, the human world and nature. You might want to rest for a while, enjoy the constantly changing light of the scenery and enjoy the aura of the landscape. Its richness of colors, the complexity of the arrangements and the connection to the area are simply overwhelming.

 

Next to the popular rice terrages of Jatiluwih and Tegalalang, you’ll find hundreds of terraces in the other parts of the Island – you might not want to miss the landscape around the village of Pupuan or Karangasem. All of them have a beautiful tiny little detail in common: little shrines of the Goddess Dewi Sri, constantly filled with lovely (and sometimes surprisingly weird) offerings.

 


Dettifoss, Iceland

The Waterfalls of Iceland

Some say it’s one of the most obvious reasons to visit the country: The Waterfalls of Iceland.

You have to see for yourself. And hear.

There is an endless number of waterfalls waiting to be discovered. You have for sure seen plenty of them on photographs before. However, you still have to experience them for yourself: Get an impression of scale. Of power. And beauty.
The massive amount of people around Gullfoss. The hidden paths and ridiciulously blue glacial water of Bruarfoss. The spectacular light of Kirkjufellfoss in front of the amazing mountain during sunrise. The waterfall of the Gods: Godafoss, probably the most beautifull waterfall of the island.  The pitifull Geitafoss right next to it, which is pretty often ignored. The waterfalls around the river Skjálfandafljót, especially Aldeyjarfoss (which looks like Darth Vader). The twin waterfalls of Ridley Scott’s Prometheus: Dettifoss and Sellfoss. The overwhelming moment when you realize how large Europe’s most powerful waterfall – Dettifoss – actually is. The brutal sound of the water. The incredible landscape of Hallormsstadhur which houses the famous Hengifoss. Skogafoss in the south of Iceland. You have to walk behind the sensational Seljalandsfoss and get soaked. Gljúfrafoss, which is hidden in a small cave.

 

And there are so many waterfalls of Iceland left to explore. Because it’s a country built of fire, ice and water.

 


Sunset at Hallormsstadhur, Iceland

Chasing Light - the Landscape of Iceland

These days, you probably won’t be the first person to visit this part of Iceland. You won’t be the first to photograph that landscape in this part of the world. You won’t be the first to drive down that road. But it is still the first time you see it with your own eyes. It is still the first time to encounter the landscape on your own. You, the landscape and the light. And your camera.

Iceland constantly changes. Light constantly changes. Time for a hunt.

There is no reason to stay at home.

 


Sunrise at Kirkjufell, Snæfellsnes, Iceland

The Light and Change of Kirkjufell, Iceland

Kirkjufell is located on the Northern coast of Snæfellsnes and is considered Iceland’s most popular and most photographed mountain.

Kirkjufell – the church mountain. Iceland’s Sugarloaf.

There is a simple reason for this popularity: First, glaciers shaped the 463m Kirkjufell, creating an almost iconic shape. Besides its astonishing visual look, the area around the tiny village of Grundarfjörður is also famous for the several cascades of the waterfall Kirkjufellsfoss. Plenty of tiny waterfalls create a landscape worth being shown in any fantasy movie. The river winds itself towards the fjord, guiding us towards the summit.

 

Be patient.

Light changes anything. The mountain recieves a totally different aura during the several times of the day. Sit down and breath during those few hours between twilight and dawn. Wait for the mountain to change during Golden Hour and during Blue Hour.

 

 

 


Sunrise at Gatklettur near Arnarstapi, Iceland

The peninsula of Snæfellsnes, Iceland

Snæfellsnes – Iceland en Miniature

Snaefellsnes, the peninsula in the western part of Iceland: Some of the island’s most beautiful landmarks create a stunning landscape.
Because of the remote location of Snaefellsnes, travelling on road 54 and 574 is the best way to get around. The Snæfellsjökull, a volcano whose summit is covered by a huge glacier, dominates the entire peninsula. Due to its almost mystic aura, this place is well known: According to Jules Verne, descending into the jökull of Snaefell marks the beginning of the Journey of the Center of the Earth.

 

Búðir, Arnarstapi and Gatklettur

We do breath some fresh air at the tiny village of Búðir with its few houses and one of the oldest (wooden) churches of Iceland: Búðakirkja.
In Arnarstapi, Jules Vernes last stop before the caves of Snaefellsjökull, the ocean created stunning views at the cliff of Gatklettur and its stone archs. Again, the sunrise paints a wonderful pink into the sky. But you probably want to continue: A couple of miles ahead, the basalt rock pinnacles of Lóndranger arise.

 

Be aware though: During all the hiking around the area of Snaefell, one should keep an eye on attacking birds – in the Alfred Hitchcock way. You constantly seem to come way to close to their breeding grounds. Better don’t be surprised if you see people carrying posts above their head. Or even tripods. It really helps.

Kirkjufell – how mother nature shows off at Snæfellsnes

Our tour continues to the famous mountain Kirkjufell and its attendant waterfalls: Kirkjufellfoss. It somehow feels like it is nature’s way to show mankind how to pause for a moment and simply accept its sheer beauty. The mountain constantly changes its significant shape. The light of those ridiculous short nights during the summer of July offers hours of magical moments.

 

For a moment, we need to rest here.

 


Lago di Garda, Italy

Easter at Lago di Garda, Italy.

Lake Garda is the largest lake it Italy, making it one of the most popular destinations in that area. Rightly, obviously. Shaped by the glaciers of the last Ice Age, populated by a lot of adorable villages, occupied and made alive by thousands of people.

More silent parts of the lake are rare, but exist in the more rural part of the Province of Brescia, the western part of the lake.

There are countless places to find your special part of Lake Garda. Shots were made during sunrise above Gargnano at the western part of the lake. Less touristic, less hectic. Endless cliffs make it more difficult to find the perfect spot though.

The eastern and more popular part of the lake makes it perfect for astonishing sunsets, such as at Malcesine and the sensational village of Sirmione.


Sunset at Eilean Donan Castle, Scotland

Landscape of Scotland

There is a saying in Scotland: “If you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes.” – Ok.

Photographs to prove diversity of light, landscape and weather of Scotland. Sunset and sunrise at the Quiraing and the beautiful Eilean Donan Castle, a dramatic storm over Staffin Bay at Isle of Skye. The eternal grayness of Coral Beach and its landscape near Dunvegan and Neist Point; the beautiful to and around The Storr. The neverending bens, glens and lochs of the Highlands: Loch Leven, Glen Etive. Worth the wait, looking forward to return.