Friday, September 30, 2011

At the Country Festival

For many years my former home-town has hosted a popular country and western festival during the Verslunarmannahelgi, which is the weekend before the first Monday in August. For a time it got increasingly bigger and one year the usual population of about 650 souls swelled to around 10 thousand.
The festival is still being held, but on a much smaller scale and not on that particular three-day weekend. This is the view from the front yard of the house of the parents of one of my friends. The camping area is a public park that was converted for this purpose to accommodate the overflow from the other two camp-sites in town.

Digital photo, Canon PowerShot A430

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Which do you prefer?

Shot high to show more of the dark and menacing clouds:

Shot low, using an approximate rule of thirds, to show a balance between clouds, sunset and sea?

Since I'm digital, I did both, but I can't decide which one I like better. What do you think?

Digital photos, Canon PowerShot A430

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Reykjavík wall art

I think this is a stencil. I wonder it this guy is a disciple of the famous Banksy?


Digital photo, Canon PowerShot A430

Monday, September 26, 2011

Bye, bye view

This photo was taken through a third floor window of a place I worked in a number of years ago. It is no longer visible through that window because of the huge, ugly office building that has been erected in front of it. The white house in the distance is the famous Höfði House, where Reagan and Gorbachev held their 1986 Reykjavík Summit. When going out to get some fresh air during my lunch break I would sometimes meet tourists on the next street corner who were looking for Höfði and not noticing it because it is so much smaller than everyone thinks it is.

Digital photo, Canon PowerShot A430

Sunday, September 25, 2011

A bit of green

The yellow archangel (Lamiastrum galeobdolon) gets its name from its yellow flowers, but the leaves are just as attractive.

Digital photo, Canon PowerShot A430 (I think)

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Fríða frænka

Fríða frænka ('Aunt Frieda') is a true Reykjavík institution. It's a junk and antiques shop in downtown Reykjavík where you can buy anything from glass fishing floats and tin washboards to linens, antique porcelain, old ball-gowns, dolls, writing desks, sideboards and player pianos.

Edit, September 2014: Alas, Fríða Frænka is no more. The antique shop closed its doors early this years and there is now a cafe in the house.







Mixture of scans and digital.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Pastel sunset

I can't recall where I took this photo, but I think it was in Skagafjörður and I may have been at a Landsmót in Vindheimamelar at the time.

From my scanned photos

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Young swan

A young whooper swan. They can be recognised from the reddish-brown colour of their head feathers and the mottled appearance of their other feathers.
From my scanned photos

Monday, September 19, 2011

Mountain

To tell the truth I can't for the life of me remember where I took this photo, but I like it.

From my scanned photos.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Clinging to life

A tiny tuft of grass clings to life, forming a mound above the soil around it. Macro shot.
Digital photo, Canon PowerShot A430

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Withering scorn

What is it about a cat looking over its shoulder that makes it look scornful and disapproving?
I personally think it's the direct gaze. Cats rarely look you directly in the eye, and when they do, it's usually to threaten or challenge. Witness:

This one knows she's trespassing.

She was stalking a bird moments earlier.

My friend's mom's Demon Cat. I could tell you some hair-raising stories of him. He was not named Cain for nothing.



From my collection of photos taken on film.

Friday, September 16, 2011

The Pearl

Built on top of some very utilitarian water tanks, the Pearl can be seen from many locations in Reykjavík, and the view from up there encompasses the whole city, along with their neighbouring towns of Garðabær, Kópavogur and Hafnarfjörður. There is a revolving restaurant on the top floor.


From my scanned photos

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Drangey

The water-carved cliffs of Drangey show many interesting shapes and forms. Here grass struggles to grow on a steep slope but is threatened by rock-slides.

From my scanned photos.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Dreadlocked photographer

This guy was probably photographing the Snæfellsjökull, which is visible from Reykjanes on a good day.

Digital photo, Canon PowerShot A430

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Feeding the swans

A young swan accepts a gift of bread from a visitor. This sight is getting increasingly rarer by the pond in Reykjavík, as most of the swans have left it.

From my scanned photos

Monday, September 12, 2011

Skagafjörður sunset

Sunset colours tint the sky over Skagafjörður. Drangey can be seen in the distance.

I lived in Sauðárkrókur for several years, and I feel it is a privilege to be surrounded by so much natural beauty. From my office window I could see the view out the fjord, with the islands and the sea, and from my living room window I saw the mountains inland to the south. This image is taken from a vantage point above the town.

From my scanned photos

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Contrasts

The dark lava wall makes this purple-speckled white foxglove stand out in stark contrast:
From my scanned photos (I think)

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Rounding up the horses

These images are from two different years and two different locations, all from my scanned photos.

I am lucky enough that my parents live near the corrals where the two biggest horse round-ups in the country take place: Skrapatungurétt and Laufskálarétt. Both boast of being the biggest, but the numbers speak plainly: Skrapatunga is the winner with 800-1000 horses to Laufskáli's 6-800, but Laufskáli is the most popular, with around 3000 people in attendance, which can make it difficult to actually approach the corral itself. This is why I recommend Skrapatunga to visitors who want to experience this spectacle.

Both places are tourist destinations, with foreign and local horse enthusiasts paying to join in the round-ups and tourists arriving by bus to watch the spectacle when hundreds of horses flow across the landscape like a massive river before being driven into the corral in smaller groups.

From Laufskálarétt:
Penned horses waiting to be driven into the corral, or possibly the steeds of the people who took part in the round-up:


The campsite:

A cameraman filming the horses in the corral:

Horses in the waiting pen:

I never even got close to the corral due to the number of people who had arrived ahead of me and packed themselves around it.

From Skrapatungurétt:

Here the former headmaster of my elementary school helps herd horses towards the right compartment in the corral:


This guy has clearly immersed himself in the local cowboy culture (nearby Skagaströnd is sometimes called - tongue in cheek - the country culture capital of Iceland):


A young horse awaits its fate. Most of the summer foals are sold for slaughter, only the most promising being kept for taming and/or breeding:



Sniffing the unfamiliar smells of strange horses:

Imprisoned in a compartment:

This one doesn't quite know what to think:

Nodding off:

Resigned to their fate:



A frightened young horse being pushed/pulled towards a compartment:

Looking for a friend in the crowd?

This one was clearly annoyed, and started to bite and kick moments after I snapped this:

Friday, September 09, 2011

The Icelandic Parliament House

Built in 1880 to 1881, the Parliament House (Alþingishúsið in Icelandic) is one of the older building in Reykjavík. It is only one of several buildings that house the parliament's activities.



Not everyone knows this, but behind the Parliament Building there is a tiny garden that is open to the public. I have occasionally gone in there to have a rest from one of my walks around the city centre.


Both digital, Canon PowerShot A430

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Sunset clouds

This sunset looked kind of ominous with all the dark clouds, but the weather was actually lovely that night. Just a bit dark.
Digital photo, Canon PowerShot A430

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Girl and baby thrush

In the spring people sometimes bring orphaned baby birds to the Reykjavik Zoo & Family Park. This one was being hand-reared by one of the keepers:

From my scanned photos.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Attack goose

A goose making a threatening gesture. I think bread may have been involved.
From my scanned photos

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Rounding up the sheep

 The time of year has rolled around again when the sheep and horses that have been running wild in the highland pastures all summer are being rounded up and brought down into the lowlands, to be either housed or taken to winter pastures. In the area where I grew up, and indeed in most rural areas, the sheep round-up and horse round-up take place one week apart, usually on a weekend, which enables even townies with day jobs to take a part, even if it's only in assisting with the separation of the big herd into smaller herds belonging to different  farms. The photos below were taken at different times, at the Fossárrétt corral in Skagi. The round-ups there usually take place in September. Since we have a herd of horses, we have a duty to send at least one man with a horse to participate in each round-up.

The herd starts to arrive, on a foggy, blustery afternoon:


More sheep and men on horses come into view:


The groups start to coalesce into one herd. Here they got much better weather:


The sheep fill the corral and the farmers start looking for their marks:

A tired horse gets a well-earned bite to eat:

A boy looks at a sheep's mark. Maybe he's looking for his own summer lamb?

Dragging a reluctant sheep to the farm's corral compartment:

Onlookers sitting on top of the fence around the "almenningur" (commons) - a large area in the middle of the corral where unidentified sheep and sheep that need to be sent to other areas are kept:

An unhappy-looking sheep:

"Are you looking at me?"

A farmer examines a sheep's mark:

This one is feeling cornered:

It used to be the case that you could expect several of the men attending the round-ups to be happily drunk by the time they started dragging the sheep into the pens, but this hardly ever happens any more. This young man, for example, was quite sober, but still having fun:

At some point during the separating people will begin to trickle towards a large corrugated iron shed close by the corral, where the wives of the farmers sell refreshments consisting of coffee or cocoa and home-baked goodies. Many a tired rider has gone there for a caffeine rush and nourishment before the ride home.

Stay tuned for photos from horse round-ups next Saturday.


From my scanned photos