5 Days in Iceland – A Photographer’s Eden – Part Two

I awoke in the parking lot at Jokularlon, the Ice Lagoon.  I had taken a few shots the night before, after all who could resist.  But now It was time to explore the area.  The beach where the ice washes up is on the east side of the highway.  The much larger parking lot and lagoon is to the west.  Serious crowds and tour operators start to show up early, including this entourage with a bride from China.chinese bride iceland

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People along the beach at Jokulsarlon, a very popular spot for sure.

I wandered around a while and then hit the road.  During the day is scouting time for me and I wanted to see what lie further down the road.  About an hour later I reached Hofn, a small town that would become my base of sorts.  I got some supplies at the local grocery, had lunch at Kaffihornið, a local restaurant and explored a bit.  There’s a large campground here with coin operated showers, a luxury I would put off for another day or two. At this point, my morning routine was to find a spot for espresso, use their WC after I had made my purchase and use the opportunity to brush my teeth and splash my face a bit.  All with considerable thanks expressed and gratitude.

Heading north on Highway 1, vast expanses again.  At one point I parked and just watched the shadows of huge clouds move across a hillside.

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Shadows of clouds moving across a huge slope during the day. Pretty mesmerizing!

I really didn’t know how much further I wanted to go at this point.  I was intrigued by a falls called Fossardalur, and hoped to find it.  One thing I was realizing about driving in Iceland was that the roads were narrow and pulloffs were, nonexistent, except for the occasional gravel driveway.  Usually what happened was I saw an incredible composition, then started looking for a pulloff with one eye in the mirror making sure I wasn’t holding up traffic.  Sometimes, however, I got lucky and there was an official parking area off the road.  After taking dozens of shots of other people, one time someone got a shot of me with my camera!

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And one time someone actually took a photo of me!

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My photo gear at the ready driving in Iceland

The rest of the day was driving north towards Djúpivogur, admiring the coast, dodging skuas and contemplating what was to be a gray rainy day the next day.

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My van, roadside again for the views

Eventually I found Fossardalur, and explored around the area there.  There is a lower parking lot (with the all-important porta-potties) which gives a hint of the falls and an upper one which puts you right in front of them  I got a few nice shots of the falls as the light began to soften in the afternoon.

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The various tiers of Fossardalur Falls

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The top of Fossardalur Falls Iceland

I explored around the falls area further and found a way down to the base from the lower parking lot.  There’s a somewhat tricky creek crossing but using my tripod as a stick helped get across it.

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The falls and various pools around the base.

More napping ensued into the late afternoon and I planned on heading back towards Jokulsarlon for the evening.  Rain was predicted by the next morning so I figured it was to be a day of scouting and rest.

 

In Through the Out Door

In Through the Out Door

After an epic raspberry freezer jam making session which involved about 19lb of fresh berries, I decided to head out on my second hike of the weekend. I chose Snow Lake because I had heard that the lake was mostly thawed. Weather also looked good and maybe by going on Sunday night, I would avoid the shopping mall on Dec 24 feel to the crowds of hikers there. It seemed they were all heading back to town. Traffic was at a crawl with everyone returning from the weekend.

I left about 7pm from the trailhead and reached the lake eventually. Lots of snow in the lake basin but not much on the trail. I think I got my best shots coming down the basin as the sun was reflected in the clouds. By the time I got to the lake’s edge, the evening fog had rolled in. Did I want to camp and stay for sunrise? Absolutely, but not tonight.

Getting Out of Bed at 3am: Manmade Baker Lake Charms

Getting Out of Bed at 3am:  Manmade Baker Lake Charms

Visited Baker Lake again this morning to look for Mount Baker reflections. Left at 445am. Found many bear tracks, a few geese and a couple of nice reflections. Really mean to go back again earlier for sunrise reflections but the whole leaving at 3am thing seems to conspire against me.

The water level is a lot higher now with snow meltoff which is a plus for reflections. Now If I can just throw myself out of bed earlier…