Thursday, May 31, 2012

Keilir and Bessastaðir

Keilir ("the cone") is a very distinctive small volcanic cone in Reykjanes. It's visible from many places in the Reykjavík area. 
Here it is seen from the Seltjarnarnes golf course. The cluster of buildings is Bessastaðir, the official residence of the President of Iceland.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Places to visit in Iceland: Gullfoss

Gullfoss (The Golden Waterfall) is among Iceland's most popular and well-know sights and is considered a "must see" attraction for those visiting the south of the country. A stop on the Golden Circle tour, it is visited by thousands of tourists and locals each year. Unbelievably, there once were plans afoot to use the falls to generate electricity. There is an information centre up on the edge of the canyon above the upper falls where you can get information about the falls and buy food and overpriced souvenirs.

Here it is seen from the most photographed angle:


Looking down into the canyon from a cliff overhang beside the rapids at the top:

Looking down into the violently plunging lower falls:

For more photos see my previous Gullfoss posts.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Things to see in Iceland: Garðar BA 64

Here is a sight you can visit for a few minutes in order to stretch your legs, get some fresh air and take some photos on the way out to Látrabjarg in the West Fjords.


Garðar BA 64 is the oldest steel ship in Iceland. She was built in Norway in 1912 as a whaling ship with a steam engine and masts for sails and a reinforced prow and sides for sailing through ice. In 1945 she came to Iceland and was refurbished with a diesel engine and used to fish for herring. She went though many changes of name and ownership and was finally decommissioned in 1981 and deliberately beached in Skápadalur, a valley off Patreksfjörður in the West Fjords. She has become rusty and the wood is rotting and while you are advised not to go aboard to explore, you can still get some good photos.




Friday, May 25, 2012

Sequence

A multiple exposure created in Photoshop and GIMP, using a series of photos of ravens in flight.
I haven't ventured much into this kind of digital image manipulation before, but I have any number of photos in which I would like to showcase one or two elements but not the whole photo. I have therefore started exploring digital photo collage techniques. This is more in the nature of being a digitally created multiple exposure, but it's a start.


Thursday, May 24, 2012

Alien light?

The blinking safety light of an airplane creates a strange effect in this 15 second exposure:

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Munch, munch

Our horses love bread and at holidays we take from the freezer all the bread we have saved for them over the previous weeks and the family go together to visit the horses in the pasture. This one was munching on a hot dog bun which stuck to the roof of his mouth, producing the most ridiculous grimaces while he worked at getting it unstuck.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Faxi

This is an often overlooked but lovely little waterfall on the Golden Circle route in Iceland. It's name is Faxi - a common name for a horse and means "one that has a big/distinctive mane". It's easy to see why it was given that name.

Close by is a round corral, used for the annual autumn sheep and horse round-ups.



A three image stitch. Camera: Canon PowerShot.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Down by the shore


This shed is used to store bales of hay for horses that are pastured in the area over the winter.
 I wouldn't mind having a house with the view it has: 

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Memorial to the Unknown Civil Servant

It's a pity this humorous sculpture isn't on display somewhere more visible than is the case. To find it, go to the bakery/coffee shop in Lækjargata and enter the little alley beside it. Behind the house there is a small square, and there you will find the statue.
Edit, 23. September 2014: It has been moved and now stands on the bank of the Pond.

Artist: Magnús Tómasson, 1994.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Blossoming yarrow

Yarrow, or Achillea millefolium, is a common wildflower in Iceland. 
You see it in colours ranging from white to bright pink, often growing side by side.



Yarrow is a medicinal plant and its Icelandic name, Vallhumall (meaning "field hops") reflects its former use in the brewing of ale.

The weather in Reykjavík today

At 8:00 a.m.: Cool, bright and windy, sunny but with clouds on the horizon.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Climbing the Spákonufellsborg

I have posted photos of Spákonufellsborg before. This majestic mountain rises 646 metres above sea level and can be seen from far off. 
The view from the top is fantastic. Here are some photos from a climb up the mountain:

The view from the top, showing the village of Skagaströnd:



Near the beginning of the climb. The climbers are following old sheep-tracks. 
The guide chose what is possibly the longest (albeit not the most difficult) route up the mountain, starting from the west. 
The easiest and shortest route begins on the north side.


Taking a break before setting off for the top.
The mountain in the background is the Katlafjall.

The view from the top down the ridge that must be followed to reach the top.
The top itself is level and about 4 hectares in size. 

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Alien cocktail party

These tiny moss spores were growing in a crack in a pavement, but seen enlarged they look like a group of aliens at a cocktail party.

Digital photo, Canon PowerShot A430

Sunday, May 06, 2012

Wrecked fishing boat

This old fishing boat has been decaying on a rocky beach in the Reykjavík area for many years.


The collage was made with fd's Flickr Toys.




The decay looks even more brutal when it is rendered in black and white:

Saturday, May 05, 2012

Holy architecture and regular posting


Although I am agnostic I find religion fascinating, especially religious architecture. This is not just limited to Christianity (the religion I grew up in) and its churches, but also to the various temples, mosques, shrines, stupas and monuments to the dead of other religions, plus the attendant art, rituals and other trappings. I find the often highly decorated Hindu temple shikaras and the generally clean-cut lines of the Lutheran churches of Iceland equally fascinating.

Perhaps I am subconsciously looking for proof of the existence of a higher power in these things, or maybe it’s just that the architecture and other things connected with religion are so fascinatingly distinct from all other aspects of human culture. Whatever the reason, I enjoy photographing religion and the ways in which it manifests itself whenever I get the chance, with a special attention to the architecture. As I live in a predominantly Christian country I mostly photograph churches and Christian graveyards and monuments, but you don’t have to look very far back on this blog to find photos I have taken of Indian temples and religious trappings. 

Looking through my photographs recently I realised that I have a number of photos of churches, mostly Icelandic ones but also a few from other countries, that I haven’t posted, so I decided to devote one post a month to showcasing my church photos until I run out of them. I chose the first Saturday of each month as the day for posting them. Some will be single photos while others will be in pairs, series or photo essays.

But that’s not all. I decided to make all Saturdays into theme days. Henceforth you will find church photos on the first Saturday of each month (until I run out of them), other series and photo essays on the second (continuing over the following days if it’s a big essay), panoramic images on the third, and on the fourth Saturday in a month an article with photos about a place in Iceland or a travel-related issue (this last one may not run every month). When there is a fifth Saturday in a month (there will be three more this year in addition to the one in March), it will be devoted to the “etc.” in the blog’s title, namely phots from my various trips abroad.

Here is the first Church of the Month:  

Skálholt cathedral

Skálholt used to be the seat of one of the two bishops of the Icelandic Lutheran church.  It is unusual in that the tower is situated over the altar and not the foyer. Here is a link to the Wikipedia entry on Skálholt for those interested in finding out more about this place.

Digital photo, Canon PowerShot A430

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Strange and crazy clouds

I'm not sure exactly where I took this photo of crazy clouds, but that's the Snæfellsjökull glacier in the background, so it must have been somewhere in south-western Iceland:

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Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Foliage

I love the feeling of sitting under a tree on a sunny spring day and just watching the way the light and wind play with the leaves.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Driving in Iceland: 5 traffic warning signs and how to react to them

Spring is here and summer visitors will start flocking to Iceland soon. Therefore I thought I would post some travel advice for visitors to Iceland who are planning to drive around the country. This is the first. The rest will come at irregular intervals throughout the summer, as I think of subjects and get the photos I need to illustrate them. You can, if you wish, post suggestions for future posts in the comments.



Sheep crossing. They are a special danger in the spring when they have just been released from their winter confinement but have not yet been taken into the highland pastures, and in the autumn when they have been brought down again but not yet housed for the winter, but you will see the occasional naughty ones throughout the summer. No fence seems capable of holding an Icelandic sheep that thinks the grass looks greener on the other side. They are unpredictable and if you see them on both sides of the road, slow down and use the horn. If they take no notice of you, passing is probably safe, but you may just see a lamb sprint across the road to join its mother.
Location: Holtavörðuheiði.
--oOo--

Horses and riders crossing. A risk at any time of the year, but especially during the warmer months.
There aren't always riders. Unpredictable with or without riders. Slow down but do not use the horn, as they spook easily. Stop for herds and wait for them to clear the road, or inch through them very slowly.
Location: Hvalfjörður (I think).
--oOo--

Cows crossing. A risk during the warmer months.
Usually found in herds, sometimes walking in a line, nose to tail, and will not stop for anything.
Stop and let them pass.
Location: Skagi, northern Iceland.
--oOo--

Enough domestic animals. Let's see some wildlife:

Reindeer crossing. Seen in the eastern part of the country at any time of the year.
May come singly, in pairs or in small herds. Unpredictable.
Follow advice for horses.

Location: East Fjords.
--oOo--

Ducks and geese crossing. Mostly seen in towns near duck ponds, but also in occasional locations in the countryside where ducks and geese nest.
Will generally ignore you completely and do their own thing. Follow advice for cows.
Location: Downtown Reykjavík.

The sign you will not see, but should be there: 

 Dogs that chase cars. The best way to deal with them is to slow down and use the horn, or come to a gradual stop, open a window and shout at them. This will hopefully scare them from doing it again. On no account should you brake suddenly, as this can cause the tyre biters of the tribe to miscalculate their speed and get run over.

Ignore these warning signs at your own risk.

In a collision between a cow or a reindeer and a car neither can win. 

If you hit any livestock you may be liable to pay damages to the farmer. 

Hit a duck or a dog and you will feel like a murderer.