Day 4 in Iceland
Since it rained the night before I took the extra time to plan a road trip to the gorgeous Fjadrárgljúfur canyon (about 90 minutes from Vik). I left early. How long I stayed depended on the weather. On my way the weather conditions changed quite a bit. There was snow on the ground; not a lot, but just enough to paint the landscape in white powder. When I arrived at the canyon it began to rain. I hiked a short distance to a nice spot overlooking a beautiful waterfall pouring into the canyon. I had to wait for the rain to subside and I captured a long exposure that looked very suitable for a greyscale image. The curve of the waterfall was almost symmetrical to the cliffs.
I captured some more images and left when the rain turned into sleet. I drove back to Vik and the closer I got the better the weather became. I decided to go back to a different area of the black beach; I hadn't seen Dyrhólaey, another beautiful rock formation that attracts lots of tourists. By the time I reached my destination the sky was clearest I had seen it since my arrival in Iceland.
There were storm clouds approaching from the southeast so I photographed the storm at sea.
I've placed the color and the greyscale next to each other. I'm not quite satisfied with the greyscale yet. The scenery was quite beautiful.
The storm then began to push northward over the black beach. Another spectacular scene materialized with storm clouds over the sea and moving over the glacier.
The forecast and weather maps hinted it was time to leave, get something to eat in Vik and come back for the Northern Lights. The maps showed the sky would clear after 9pm and the solar activity forecast was pretty good at 4 Kp. After waiting out the clouds and wind the Northern Lights made an appearance but the intensity was not strong enough. I checked the weather maps and it showed more clearing back at Skógafoss, near my hotel, so off I went. I was fortunate to enjoy another light show at Skógafoss. Around midnight it began to rain for the rest of the night...
Day 3 in Iceland (October 2018)
My second day was quite long; from sunrise to 3am. After a brief sleep I had breakfast, the rain had stopped and it looked like the sky was clearing. I was out and on my way to the black beach. By the time I arrived the sky was blue with gorgeous textured clouds: perfect for greyscale (black and white) photography.
The clouds' were very shapely and translucent. As the sun was rising behind the clouds, the backlight was gave clarity and detail to the clouds. I was visualizing a dark sky with moon light; thanks to my my 4-stop filter I captured "Morning 'Moonlight' at the Black Beach."
For this image the subject of the image was the spectacular cloud over the rocks that appeared like a flying saucer about to land. The shutter speed couldn't be to slow or the beautiful shape and texture of that cloud would be lost and the sun would loose its round shape. The white rocks on the beach sparkled just enough.
It was a Monday, so the crowd of tourists was not too bad early. With the low tide I could walk east on the beach and capture more images with a dark, unworldly theme. I found an area surrounded by rocks and took some long exposures.
I wanted to capture the contrast of the different rocks and the black beach, the beach and black rock formations in the sea against the white-foamy crashing waves and the dark and light clouds. The 30-second exposure helped with the clouds and the sea. The 50mm lens allowed for the detailed texture of the rocks on the beach. 800 ISO gave me enough light sensitivity for post processing. The result is a "Haunted Black Beach."
After many takes at the rocks I headed west on the beach. The waves were now quite powerful, leaving lots of white foam contrasting against the black beach. The clouds were twirling and the sea was wild.
It was a beautiful day so I made the spot decision to go to Seljalandsfoss. I've been there twice and both times it was raining hard. The weather maps showed a relatively clear sky, so off I went. I was hoping I could photograph a sunset from behind the waterfall...
The weather was wonderful. Perfect for a few portraits of this gorgeous waterfall. I planned for protecting my lens from the wind spray, and with less tourists I was able to capture a nice profile of the waterfall.
This "Profile of Seljalandsfoss" was my favorite image during my visit to the waterfall.
I did get my sunset image; though, the sunset was not to colorful. The lighting was quite nice for a greyscale image, thanks to the contrasty sky. Next it was back to the hotel for a bite to eat before some more Northern Lights hunting. However, by the time I was eating the weather made a turn for the worse; and all my weather maps showed 100% cloud cover for the night...another good nights sleep to be ready for day number 4.
Keith A Manning
Photographer specializing in Cityscapes, Landscapes, Portraits and Fine Art.