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

Time to finally check out Stokksnes.  I’d done some image research and decided to go around sunrise at 3:30am to see how the light looked. I arrived at the Viking Cafe, closed of course, and set about figuring out the self pay station.  The land owner charges a small fee to roam his land for photos.

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The Stokksnes Self Serve Pay Station. Took a few tries but it worked and only charged me once.

I headed north out of the parking lot, which I later learned was an error.  If you want the typical shot that most people get at Stokksnes, you need to head east towards the Radar Station.  I kind of regretted my error but then no because I got some unique vistas and was able to catch a great sunrise as well.

So I wandered across beautiful black and past the “Viking Village Movie Set along the massive peaks of Vesturhorn.  The beach was mostly dry, with a tiny pool of water showing at this point.  It would grow considerably later on on my way back.  I reached the bog around which I could see Brunnhorn peeking past Vesturhorn.

At this point, sunrise skies were on fire and I was backtracking all over the black sand getting shots. I was in my Salomon shoes, and getting soaked but didn’t care.

Looking back the other way was good too, as is often the case with burning sunrises.


Sunrise clouds above Vesturhorn on the beach in Stokksnes Iceland

I kept wandering back along the beach, while watching the sunrise.  I felt like I got some nice shots even though I didn’t make it out to the typical area.  I was thankful for the solitude, great light and calm smooth beach.

I got back to the pool of water on the black sand which was growing as I watched.  Looking back towards Brunnhorn, it looked like mercury reflecting the skies.

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Vesturhorn sunrise skies reflected on a mercurial pool of water.

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Vesturhorn and sunrise reflected

I made it back to the van and napped for several hours.  My Salomons were pretty much soaked to the core so I was happy I had several other pairs of shoes with me.  Eventually I ended up back in Hofn for coffee.  Daytime was either sleeping or scouting time.  I did a lot of both.  Checking the weather, I realized that the next morning was to be another day of gray rain so I had to make tonight’s sunset and sunrise count.  I planned on focusing on Jokulsarlon partially because I knew there was more to be found there and the ice had certainly been re-arranging itself. But also because I truly enjoyed being there.

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One more view of the beach at Stokksnes


First Visit to the Banff Area for Photography

I finally made a trip the Banff area for photos.  I think its hard to be a landscape photographer and not be aware of the beauty in this area.  June seemed to be a good time to go.  Lakes were melted out and the summer crowds had yet to hit hard.  We went for a week, flying into Calgary, renting a car and heading west.

Our first stop was a night in the Fairmont Lake Louise.  I was pleasantly surprised to be upgraded from our basic room to one of the 5 best rooms in the hotel .  Amazing views and it really set the bar high for our trip.

The weather, however, wasn’t as spectacular.  Clouds, rain, and wind were on the menu for the first few days.  This allowed a lot of scouting however and we drove all over figuring out compositions and how to get to certain places.

The remainder of our stay was in Canmore.  I learned not only is Banff mostly a sunrise location (to me) but also being in Canmore was a bit far from the spots I wanted to be at around sunrise.

A few highlights from the trip:

Moraine Lake Banff Sunrise Alpenglow Reflection

Moraine Lake Banff Sunrise Alpenglow Reflection

Peyto Lake 10mm Cloudscape

Peyto Lake 10mm Cloudscape

Banff Avenue and Snow Peak

Banff Avenue and Snow Peak

Mount Rundle and Vermillion Lakes

Mount Rundle and Vermillion Lakes

Fairmont Lake Louise

Fairmont Lake Louise

Peaks Above Moraine Lake at Sunrise

Peaks Above Moraine Lake at Sunrise

My Southeast Asia Travels – Angkor Wat Sunrise

I was heading to Beijing for some work and decided to swing down to Cambodia for a side trip to Angkor Wat. I stayed in Siem Reap for a week and each morning got up at 430am to go to the temple for sunrise. I got one great sunrise morning. I learned that you definitely want to go early as many people have the same idea. I also learned that there is a backside to the ticket plaza which is less busy. I recommend pulling your camera out of the bag as you arrive at the temple to let it acclimate to the humidity. There are two main reflecting pools. About 80% go to the left one which becomes a sea of selfie sticks and clamoring masses. Its a nice shot, but crowded. The right side pool is also good and less busy.

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Angkor Wat

This was a series of Zeiss 85mm Otus shots to create a pano.

Above the Clouds at Sunrise…Timelapse from the Columbia Center’s Sky View Observatory

One of my first time lapses taken on a morning when the fog was thick, but the 73rd floor of the Columbia Center was above it all.  Sony a7r and Zeiss 21mm lens.  Created in Lightroom and Photoshop CS6


Again in the Mount Rainier Saddle



Headed up this morning to Pinnacle Saddle with the promise of potentially cool sunrise skies. I went to bed (backseat of my car) with clear skies and got up around 5am and clouds were starting to move in. I started hiking around 530am and got to the Saddle by a little after 6. The sky was starting to come together with pinks and purples and I found the tarn for a nice Rainier reflection. At this point it had totally melted out which allowed for a panorama. The recent rains also gave a nice clear shot of Adams and Hood to the south. Hiked back down as the rain moved in around 745am.

To purchase a copy of this image, please visit http://fineartamerica.com/featured/rainier-soaring-sunrise-reflection-mike-reid.html

Peace in the Morning

Peace in the Morning

It seemed like a great morning to go sunrise hunting so I did. I didn’t see much in the sky for clouds so Kerry Park seemed bland. I had been meaning to go to Gasworks and went there. This is a multi shot pano stitched from Zeiss 100mm images.

Oregon Coast – One Day of Summer


Or at least it felt like it. Despite colder grayer predictions, we awoke at the Surfsand Resort to sunny and 65 degree temps. So much warmth in fact that our collection of windstopper, down and fleece seemed wildly miscalculated. Later on, the skies came together for an amazing sunset and sunrise the next day. Then back to gray and overcast as we headed back north.