Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Netla's flowers (and a little extra)

I'm on Flickr. Here's a sample of some of my floral photos. Why not visit me?

Steel sculpture

On a hill in Grafarvogur (a Reykjvík suburb) there are a number of steel sculptures scattered over the hillside without apparent rhyme or reason. Singly they are ok, but as a group they distract the attention from one another. This is my favourite:

From a distance:
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Up close:
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Monday, August 21, 2006

Animal portraiture

I have always thought goats looked both intelligent and arrogant.
Just look at this guy:
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No Billy, this. Definitely a William.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Reykjavík Culture Night 2006: Fireworks!

Every year now for several years running there has been a Culture Night festival in Reykjavík. It has got so big that all the activities can't be fitted into one night any more and the programs now start around noon, with art shows, performances by actors, artists and musicians, guided walks, open house at art galleries and museums and general merrymaking. It all culminates in a fireworks show and wild parties all over town. This year was special as they turned off all the street lights along the coastline for the duration of the fireworks show. Anyway, here are some shots of the fireworks:

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These are all taken with my digital camera set on "manual" and handheld, so the focusing is not perfect. I think it's remarkable how good they turned out, considering I didn't have a tripod to steady the camera. Of course, for every one good photo I took there were three bad ones... which is what I love about digital cameras: you can just erase the duds.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Last weekend's crop of photos, part 2

From the fish day festival we drove to Hrafnagil, near Akureyri, to attend a big handicraft and agricultural show. As before, these are only thumbnails.

Once we entered the show area, we heard roosters crowing in the distance and went to look. There was a long row of cages with hens and roosters, all belonging to the lovely and colourful Icelandic breed, and in fact there was a beauty contest going on. Unfortunately all the rooster photos I took were out of focus, but here are a couple of hens:



Among the other animales were goats, sheep and a sulky mare with a foal.
The foal was a lot friendlier than mom:

This mountain king seemed at ease in his pen, and loved to get scratched between his horns:


Colourful dyed wool:


A couple of interesting sculptures:



An interesting guitar-sculpture:


Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Last weekend's crop of photos, part 1

I went up north to spend the weekend with my parents and we took in two very different celebrations. The first was the annual Big Fish Day festival in Dalvík. In the course of 24 hours the people of Dalvík welcome all-comers to a free fish feast that starts with a 'fish soup night' on a Friday, when many homes open their doors to visitors and feed them fish soup. (We missed it). The next day people can queue up to sample different kinds of fish dishes and enjoy various fish-themed exhibitions and entertainment. It has been estimated that 30 thousand people attended. To put it in perspective, that's like 30 million Americans attending the same kind of event in the USA. Here's the day's crop of photos (click on the thumbnails to see the larger versions):

A couple of samples from the boat model exhibition:



The real thing: an old Faeroese fishing boat.


Some of the weirder exhibits in the fish exhibition, mouldering away in the sun despite being on ice:




The motorcycle parade. Not very fish-related, but fun to watch nevertheless:




Finally, some crowd scenes:
Down on the dock:

Kids watching a puppet show:


Friday, August 11, 2006

The Reykjavík jail

This has got to be the most attractive prison I have seen. This is for short term custody only. Prisoners who are 'doing time' are sent elsewhere.

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Prison wardens having a cigarette break.
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Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Stone trolls, part II

Here are more photos of lava formations with faces in them. They're hardly prime specimens of photography, but I love to look at them and try to count the faces, especially in the last one. The first two are from Dimmuborgir, a magnificent lava field near lake Mývatn that is full of strange and contorted rock formations, and the third is from Hellisgerði, a lovely little public park in Hafnarfjörður.

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This one looks a bit squashed, but you can see features: one eye open, one closed, a nose and a mouth. There's also a fish monster. How many other faces can you see?

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This one reminds me a bit of Jabba the Hutt, but there is also an orc profile.

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This one has a certain resemblance to the Easter Island stone giants, and I can see several other faces.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Ingólfur Arnarson, first nordic settler of Iceland

He is commemorated with this statue - sculpted by Einar Jónsson - on top of Arnarhóll in downtown Reykjavík.

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Sunday, August 06, 2006

Funky floral display

I spotted this on a walk down the Laugavegur last week. I really have to go back and get another photo without that van reflected in the window.

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Saturday, August 05, 2006

My favourite mountain

Yesterday I mentioned that I liked another mountain better than the Esja. Here is is: Spákonufellsborg, or Borgin to the people who live near it.

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The photo is taken from the beach near where the local fishing company keeps old nets and stuff not in daily use (foreground detail).

Friday, August 04, 2006

Mount Esja

The Esja is a small mountain range just across the bay from Reykjavík. The people of Reykjavík, especially those who are born and bred here, love the Esja with a passion. If you say anything less than complimentary about it, they get annoyed, even angry. I happen to have grown up near a much shapelier mountain (everyone loves their mountain best, I guess) the beauty of which was acknowleged but never talked of (we just knew it was beautiful, no need to discuss it), so I find this gushing admiration rather strange. I attribute it to the same kind of inferiority feeling that prompts many Icelanders to ask foreigners who are barely out of the airport how they like Iceland. Esjan is a nice, pretty mountain, but no more than that. It is shown here with one of our Coast Guard ships in the foreground.

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Thursday, August 03, 2006

Basalt columns seen from above

The basalt columns in Kálfshamarsvík make some wonderful geometric patterns:

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Location: Kálfshamarsvík nature reserve, Northern Iceland.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Reykjavík views

I had a blast taking photos in the sun yesterday. I left work at three, just when the harshest glare was gone and the warm afternoon colours could be caught on... what does one say when there is no film? on chip?

Here are some views from the top of Hallgrímskirkja (I have also updated my previous post about the church).
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The rest are clickable thumbnails:





I also snapped some views from the cafeteria at work – we have a fantastic view more suited to a luxury restaurant:

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

The people of Reykjavík on a hot day

It's been wonderfully warm outside in Reykjavík today, almost too hot in the areas where the breeze couldn't cool you down. My boss gave us the day off as soon as the office closed to the public at three, and I enjoyed the afternoon walking around downtown Reykjavík and snapping photos. Here are some of them, in thumbnail form. Just click to see the big versions.

Austurvöllur was thronged with people enjoying the sun:

These two were a bit overdressed for the weather:
A family outing:
I don't know what this guy was doing, but it looked like he was having fun:

And these boys were playing in the water feature by city hall:



In addition, I met a guy who was wearing a black leather suit. I can only imagine he must have been out to sweat away some weight.