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.

 

Rainier Sunrise Fog Time Lapse Video

I’ve been working on these since watching how many people are absolutely mesmerized by the time lapses shown at the Sky View Observatory.  I use the Sony in camera app on my Sony a7r and a Zeiss MF 50mm lens.  For this one, I took 700 RAW images, processed them in Lightroom 5 and then made the time lapse in Photoshop CS6

 

Sony a7r Reflections So Far

Sony a7r Reflections So Far

I recently shipped off my Canon 5D Mark II to move my gear in the direction of the new mirror-less Sony A7R. I had rented the Sony enough times to convince myself it was a worthy swap. I think it was mostly the size of the camera and the dynamic range of the sensor that convinced me. So far I haven’t had any regrets. For those of you who haven’t heard, the big deal is that Sony, the maker of the sensor in the Nikon D800e, widely considered to be the Holy Grail of landscaping cameras, decided to put the same full frame sensor into its own model, the A7R. There are some shortcomings; mainly miserable battery life, lack of native lenses, slowish AF, no optical VF, etc.. You can go read the whines over on FM for more details. For me, since if a person wanders into my photo, I patiently wait for them to move on so as to not ruin the image, AF isn’t a big deal. Once you settle on an adapter for your lenses of choice (mine being Zeiss primes), you find heaven.

So far its been a worthy move.

Leaving Canon for Sony A7R

Leaving Canon for Sony A7R

That is, I am selling my Canon 5D Mark II to move along to a lighter, higher resolution Sony A7r. After much contemplating and renting of sample gear, I decided the move works for me. I am keeping all my lenses, however, and using them with a Metabones adapter. I hate buying new, so I scrutinized the forums for months to find a used A7R at my price point. I finally nailed one down last week 🙂

Went out into the Arboretum last night for one last round of Azalea shots before I ship the 5D2 off.

In other news, I have a small showing going on at the Phinney Ridge Starbucks. Feel free to stop by and check it out.