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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.


Sunset at Kandy Lake, Kandy

The Landscapes of Sri Lanka (II)

Within a mile, the landscapes and views of Sri Lanka change constantly. So does the smell, so does the sound. The waves of mountains, endless oceans and beaches. Buzzing cities of life and chaos.

A new Sri Lanka around every single corner. What’s next?

The sunrise at Ella Rock, the famous mountain around the city of Ella. The strange rock formation at Sigiriya Rock and Pidurangala Rock, located in central Sri Lanka. The roaring city of Kandy, the combination of spiritual life and hard commerce. The silent beaches in the South around Tangalle. The railway system.
Keep on walking, keep on discovering a country of life and beauty – who knows what’s around the next corner. Things might change.


Sunset at Lake Gregory, Nuwara Eliya

The Landscapes of Sri Lanka (I)

The country of Sri Lanka offers a charming combination of a stunning tropical landscape presented by lovely people. A more and more popular destination, but still a silent gem in the south of India.

Sri Lanka. Be ready to be amazed and confused at the same time.

In recent years, Sri Lanka has become more and more popular as a travel destination. After the end of the civil war in 2009, the country can finally be visited without any unnecessary worries. Thankfully, as it offers so much impressions that you’ll easily be overwhelmed. Eight UNESCO World Heritage sites are waiting for you to be discovered, mostly in the cultural north. The ancient city of Anuradhapura. The stunning landscape around Sigiriya Rock and its temple (hint: best viewed from the adjacent Pidurangala Rock). The Old Palace of King Parakramabahu in Polonnaruwa. The impressive Buddha Caves around Dambulla. The list of beautiful cultural heritage is sheer endless.
Continue to visit the colonial history in the South and the Highlands. Visiting British-ish cities like Kandy, Ella, Nuwara Eliya. Discover the buzzing and hectic sound of multi-cultural melting pots. Be prepared to be overwhelmed by the different smells and sounds. Endless beaches around the south coast – villages like Tangalle of Weligama Bay.
And finally: Take your time. Use public transport. Don’t rush, life isn’t fast anyway.


Sunset at Passo di Giau

The Landscapes of the Dolomites (I)

Exploring the Dolomites / Dolomiti, an Italian part of the majestic Alps, is a unique experience and offers countless possibilities to worship mother nature.

The Dolomites, an UNESCO world heritage site

The landscape can be visited during the entire year. This tour leads us to awesome lakes and mountain passes during the beginning of winter. Autumn colors are still visible, but the harsh contrast between the snow whites and the mountains’ blacks, the colored fog during sunset – all those monochromatic tones change the way you perceive the mountains significantly. I always reminds me of those stunning views in Norway.
The winding roads of Passo (di) Giau lead us to the summit around the mountains Monte Nuvolau and Monte Averau. Sunset is the best time to enjoy the colors.  The surrounding municipalities of Selva di Cadore and Cortina d’Ampezzo are worth visiting as well.
Also, don’t miss the stunning lakes of Lago di Braies (Pragser Wildsee, an instagram famous) and Lago di Dobbiaco (Toblacher See). Another highlight is the remote valley of the comune di Villnoess (Villnöß / Valle di Funes) near Bozen/Bozano. Especially the views around St. Magdalena / Santa Maddalena Alda  are worth freezing like a maniac.

Part 2 (ongoing) will be published soon.


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.


Faroe Islands, The Falling Lake (Leitisvatn)

The Landscapes of Faroe Islands (I)

The Faroe Islands is sometimes regarded as Europe’s best secret. Hiding in the mist of the North Atlantic Sea, somewhere between Iceland and Scotland.

The Islands of Silence and Weather.

A country of 18 islands, diving away from the waves of the rough sea. Mountains shaped by volcanoes, framing calm and endless fjords and green valleys. Moorlands, mostly – it’s hard to find a single tree. Usually, those landscapes hide themselves in obscure fog banks, keeping their secrets for themselves. Every now and then though, the sun breaks through the clouds, illuminating a ridiculous beautiful landscape. Lakes hurling themselves into the ocean (Sørvágsvatn, one of the most iconic places of the islands). The Waterfall of Gásadalur, a place so remote it was hard to reach before they’ve built a tunnel. The island of Mykines, the home of the famous puffins. Or Tindhólmur, the fantastic islet west of Vágar. Sometimes, you only get the chance to explore its endlessness only for a few moments. Then, the countryside grants a few minutes of ohhh and awe. But mostly, it will only reveal a small amout of itself.

The constantly changing weather seems to be the most dictating element of your trip. In summer, you might experience 21 hours of grayness. Wind cutting your face, water apparently coming from everywhere. All the time it seems to be slightly wet, even while the sun is shining. It’s a confusing experience – especially combined with the smell and sound. The overwhelming silence. The smell of nature, ocean and animals.

The islands’ tentacles will catch you. Adamantly. Thankfully.


Sunrise at the Bavarian Caribbean: Eibsee, Germany

At the base of the Zugspitze, Germany’s highest mountain and close to Garmisch-Partenkirchen lies the world famous Eibsee with its eight smaller islands.

Eibsee. The Caribbean in the Alps.

The crystal clear water makes it stunning to look at. The background with the overwhelming Wettersteingebirge in the South and the beautiful but smaller Ammergauer Alps in the North creates an amazing natural habitat and a pretty popular destination among the people.

One of the hardest moments to do in landscape photography is getting up early to capture the best light possible. The light around sunrise demands getting up in the middle of the night. But that’s also one of the most important things – and when it is achieved, it also becomes the most satisfying thing. Even regardless the outcome. Experiencing the mood and light situations at those spots makes it worth the fight at night, the driving through darkness and the strange feeling wandering around in utter silence at dawn. I’d suggest to do it.


Pura Tanah Lot, Bali

The Landscapes of Bali, Indonesia (II)

You might easily get overwhelmed during the first sunset at Bali. During rainy season, just before the storm reaches the island, the light changes. It paints a different world.

Bali. I wish I could listen to those colors.

Instead, I try to capture them. Let them paint a landscape some might never see again. The beaches and landscape around Candidasa. The temples of Tanah Lot with the stunning rock formations. The famous temple of Ulun Danu Bratan, built in the Lake of Bratan, surrounded by mountains. Wait patiently for the people to walk by, let the light and clouds do the magic.
Continue your journey. Open your mind and follow countless paths. Explore, adore, repeat.

 

 


Jökulsárlón, Iceland

Harmony and Contradiction - Color and the Shape of Iceland

Iceland is a country of many faces. Experience vast impressions of the planet’s shapes and colors. You’ll be frozen by glaciers, get soaked to the skin by rivers or burned by sulfur mines. Be ready to get lost in the sheer infinity of the countryside.

Iceland’s Color and its Shape. A story of harmony and contradiction.

Most of all, join the tour to the famous Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon. It is a large glacial lake at the head of Breiðamerkurjökull glacier. Feel the cold of the icebergs getting dragged into the ocean. Occasionally, the pieces are running ashore at the black beach creating a sensational contrast. But maybe you might want to listen to the power of the river running through Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon. Smell the sulfour at the geothermal fields of Hverir around Mývatn, one of the most bizarre and colorful landscapes of Iceland. It is an area of active volcanism.

 

The country of harmony and contradiction. Even when you get lost in the middle of nowhere, between anywhere and anytime: You can not stop standing in awe-stricken silence. Then you turn around, and it has suddenly changed again. You have to keep up. Keep on exploring.