Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The falcon

The symbol of the Danish ambulance service, Falck Redningstjeneste, on an old fire-truck in the automobile museum in Billund, Denmark:

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Monday, August 29, 2011

A rock covered with sea-lettuce (I think) is exposed at low tide on the shore near the Grótta lighthouse:


Digital photo, Nikon D7000.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Dew-kissed flower

This should actually be in portrait format, but I thought it looked better in landscape.

Digital photo, Canon PowerShot A1100

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Dem bones

This skeleton from a whale hangs aboard one of the whale-watching boats in Reykjavík harbour and is used to explain whale anatomy to tourists.

Digital, I think.

Right about now I should be in Snæfellsnes, enjoying a spouse-less, child-less weekend with my girlfriends. Yee-haw!

Friday, August 26, 2011

The big church

I can always find new ways of photographing this church. Here it is seen from the Skólavörðustígur, a street that angles off from the Laugavegur. It's full of interesting shops, cafés and art galleries.
 


From my scanned photos.
Here are my previous two posts with photos of the Hallgríimskirkja: first post, second post.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Flying high

The black-headed gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus) is common in Iceland. This small gull often nests on the edges of Arctic tern colonies and its eggs benefit from the protection of the aggressive terns. Some of them are scavengers, but in the battle for bread down by the pond in Reykjavík they lose out to the bigger and more aggressive lesser black-backed gulls. Incidentally, "black-headed" is a misnomer - their heads are actually a dark chocolate brown.



Digital photos, taken with my Nikon D7000.
Again the light was not optimal, but I am pretty happy with the results nonetheless. The thing I love about digital photography is that you can take as many photos as it takes to get a good one and you don't have to wait to get film developed to see the results, and the only thing it costs you is the cost of electricity to recharge your camera battery. These were the best out of between 20 and 30 photos of these gulls I took in that session.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Spákonufell

Yet another photo of the Spákonufell, as seen from the harbour.
From my collection of scanned photos.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Seedhead

I'm not sure what kind of flower produced this seed-head, but I think it was a cornflower. If you know better, I would appreciate it if you would leave a comment and tell me.

Digital photo, Canon PowerShot A430

Even the best laid plans...

Tonight is Culture Night in Reykjavík, an annual event where cultural events take place all over the city, starting around noon and going on until the early hours of the morning. The high point is the fireworks show and since I have a new camera, I decided to see how I would do photographing the fireworks.

My little Canon PowerShots both have fireworks programs and I have taken some pretty good fireworks shots with them, but the Nikon D7000 does not have a pre-set fireworks program, so I started by finding out what would be the best manual settings. Then I went out and scouted for a good location, rejecting several places because they were either likely to be too crowded for a photographer with a tripod, or I would have to walk for half an hour to get there because the city centre was closed off to car traffic. I got to my chosen location at Sæbraut around 10:35 p.m., 15 minutes before the start of the show, set up my camera and shot some test shots to determine the exposure for the ambient light, because the light of the setting sun was still colouring the horizon right behind where the fireworks would go up. Then the show started, and:




So far, so good. Then something unplanned-for happened. It turned out I had forgotten to take the wind, and the mild breeze that was blowing blew the smoke from the fireworks straight towards the place where I was standing. Therefore the rest came out like this (needs Flash to run):



Oh, well. At least I got some practice for the big one on New Year's Eve.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

"Are you looking at me?"

One of Reykjavík's numerous free-roaming house-cats observes me from the top of a fence.
From my scanned photos

Friday, August 19, 2011

Masks

I was taking photos during the Reykjavík Arts festival some years ago when I spotted this rooftop balcony that was decorated with puppets and rubber masks of famous politicians (mostly Icelandic). 
From the left: Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson (current president of Iceland), Steingrímur Hermannsson (former Prime Minister, now deceased), someone I can't figure out, Gorbachev, Davíð Oddsson (former PM), Jón Baldvin Hannibalsson (former minister and MP), andother Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson mask.


From my scanned photos

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Cast ashore

A small bladder of bright yellow kelp lies on the black sand, waiting to dry up in the sun.

Digital photo, Canon PowerShot A430

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

What on earth...?

What is the last thing you expect when you take a walk in the country? 
A lone shower-post in the middle of a field must surely be one of them.

From my collection of scanned photos.

Location: Fnjóskadalur, northern Iceland.
There is actually a primitive bathing spot nearby, but you really have to look around to find it.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Pests

The lesser black-backed gull (Larus fuscus), is a pest in Reykjavík. At some point these large gulls discovered that they could get easy food by going down to the pond in Reykjavík to snatch breadcrumbs from under the beaks of the pigeons, ducks, geese and swans, and by frequenting back alleys where trash containers aren't always properly closed. They also eat most of the chicks hatched by the ducks on the pond. They sometimes wake me up in the morning with their unpleasant screeching, which my cockatiels have unfortunately learned to imitate.





Digital. Taken with my Nikon D7000 camera.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Snæfellsjökull

This photograph, overexposed and taken ages ago with a point-and-shoot camera, is still the best photo I have taken of the Snæfellsjökull glacier. The reason is simply that there is usually a cloud covering the top of the mountain and in all the trips that have taken me near the mountain since, it has always been wearing that cloudy hat.


From my collection of scanned photos.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

"Hey! Does that camel have an extra hump?"

"Nah, that's just B. goofing off for the camera."

An old friend of mine poses for the camera with a Bactrian camel.

From my scanned photos.

In the unlikely event that you spot this, B., and would either like it taken down or to get a copy,  leave a comment with your e-mail address (I will not post it) and we can catch up.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Sunset with flying saucer cloud

We call these disc-shaped clouds "flying saucers". 
I am certain that at least some UFO photographs are of such clouds.



From my scanned photos.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Waiting for the bus

A girl waits for the bus in Hlemmur, one of the bus hubs in Reykjavík.


Digital photo, shot on one of my Canon PowerShot cameras. The original was in colour, but it only took about 20 minutes in Photoshop to desaturate everything else in the photo.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Arctic terns

The Arctic tern (Sterna paradisaea) is one of the wonders of nature. This petite bird flies a round trip of about 71 thousand kilometres each year, between Antarctica and its breeding grounds in the Arctic and sub-Arctic regions. This is the longest annual migration of any animal.

These photos were taken with my new camera. They were shot just before noon when the sun was high in the sky and the light harsh, so they are not of the best quality lighting-wise, but they prove that for some birds at least you don't need an ultra-long zoom lens, but just a fast medium zoom. The terns are aggressive when defending their nesting territory and will come very close. I have had one land on my head and give me a quick peck before flying off again. My grandfather, who loved to eat tern eggs, once came home from an egg-collecting expedition covered in blood after a direct hit.




Monday, August 08, 2011

The mountains of Strandir, northern Iceland, seen from across the Húnaflói from Skagaströnd. On a clear day like this was they look so close you feel you could swim over there in a matter of minutes.
Earlier I posted a photo of the fishermen in their boat.


From my collection of scanned photos.

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Gay Pride 2011, part 2

Continued from yesterday.
It isn't a proper parade without a drag queen:

...or two. This is Iceland's drag queen of 2011 with her king:


These two are regular participants. The last time I saw them in the parade (I've missed it the last two or three times), they were in company with a BDSM group, but they seemed to have arrived by themselves this year:

One of the queens gets a touch up:

Two young (presumably) lesbians (you never know in this parade):

Supportive families:

I felt sorry for this person, because it was hot and sunny and it must have been baking inside all that faux fur:

The final and usually most highly decorated float in the parade each year is that belonging to pop star Páll Óskar Hjálmtýsson
This year there were at least eight of him on the float, all wearing costumes from his collection:

The audience was enthusiastic and some climbed up onto statues and sculptures to see better:

There was not much naked flesh in the parade this year, but his guy, one of the Páll Óskar clones, was probably among the most underdressed of the lot:

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Gay Pride 2011, part 1

I have just returned from the Reykjavík Gay Pride parade, and here are some photos I took, of the parade, the participants and the audience. 

Here the flag bearers arrive holding the rainbow flags aloft:





I wonder if this would have been allowed if McCain had won the election?


This couple gracefully danced along the street:

These gentlemen looked as if they should have been riding something more glamorous:


The rainbow flag casting a multi-hued shadow on the street:


The balloon "worm" is a regular participant in the show:


These angelic young ladies rode a float with the message "Everyone gets to Heaven", a reminder that the parade isn't just about fun and glamour, it's also about human rights, including the right not to be told you are going to go to Hell because you love someone of the same sex.


These signs show the year in which important steps were taken in Iceland towards equal rights for lesbians and gays:

Continued tomorrow.

Glæsir

This is Glæsir. The name means "Gorgeous". In my defence I will say that I was only 12 when I got him. He was my riding horse for many years and while he may not have been a show specimen, he was a smooth-gaited pacer who never trotted, which was good for my bad back.


He bonded strongly with my father's horse Skjóni, who was his stable-mate, and when Skjóni had to be put down he became grumpy and isolated within the herd. Eventually he was was put down as well, due to bad health.


From my collection of photos taken on film.