Icelandic Horse

Fujifilm X-T1, ISO 400, FL 80 mm, 1/180 sec @ f/8

Fujifilm X-T1, ISO 400, FL 80 mm, 1/180 sec @ f/8

South Coastal Road, Iceland

Fujifilm X-T1, ISO 500, FL 50 mm, 1/125 sec @ f/13

Fujifilm X-T1, ISO 500, FL 50 mm, 1/125 sec @ f/13

Vatnajokull National Park, Iceland

Fujifilm X-T1, ISO 200, FL 50 mm, 1/15 sec @ f/14

Fujifilm X-T1, ISO 200, FL 50 mm, 1/15 sec @ f/14

South Coastal Road, Iceland

Fujifilm X-T1, ISO 200, FL 50 mm, 1/60 sec @ f/8

Fujifilm X-T1, ISO 200, FL 50 mm, 1/60 sec @ f/8

Vik, Iceland

Fujifilm X-T1, ISO 6400, FL 55 mm, 1/8 sec @ f/10

Fujifilm X-T1, ISO 6400, FL 55 mm, 1/8 sec @ f/10

Vík í Mýrdal is located in southern Iceland.  It is most known for the sea stacks located off it’s black volcanic sand beaches.  The legend is that the imposing basalt Reynisdrangar sea stacks located not far from the surf’s edge are trolls that were turned to stone when they attempted to plunder an anchored schooner.  In the early morning dawn hours, I was with a group of photographers who went to the beach to photograph the sea stacks.  But what caught our eye was the village church that was warmly lit beautifully against the craggy mountain cliffs behind it.  The wind was horrific and I was struggling to capture this image.  My travel tripod, while convenient for increasingly restrictive airline travel,  was just not up to the demands of the Icelandic wind.  My only recourse was to shoot with the highest ISO my camera could deliver and so, that is what I did.  I also had to hand hold the camera with a relatively long exposure time of 1/8 second.  As a consequence, my image was not as sharp as I would have liked and it is noisier than I would have liked.  Nonetheless, shortly after this image was taken, the floodlit church went black as the village became bathed in early sunrise light and so I considered myself lucky to have captured the image and to have seen it for myself.

Leaving Iceland

Fujifilm X-T1, ISO 200, FL 50 mm, 1.0 sec @ f/20

Fujifilm X-T1, ISO 200, FL 50 mm, 1.0 sec @ f/20

I’m leaving Iceland today and I think I am going to start planning another trip soon.  I think I would like to see Iceland in all seasons.  It is an incredible country of contrasts and wild, rugged environments.  The Icelandic people I met were all friendly and helpful.  But one characteristic that also seemed to predominate in the Icelanders that I met was a self-confidence and certainty about themselves.  In some of the countries I have traveled where tourism is a large part of the economy, the locals are often TOO accommodating.  I feel as tho they are sacrificing their own identity in order to make foreigners feel at home.  But I never saw that in Iceland.  It’s as though the Icelanders KNOW they live in one of the most beautiful places on Earth and they are very proud of their country.  They don’t mind foreigners visiting but their attitude seems to be more one of pride and deep satisfaction with their own country, their culture, themselves.  They are generous in sharing with other people from around the world and take deep pleasure when others enjoy their country as much as they do.  But they have no desire to be anything other than what they are – a proud, Scandinavian culture living in one of the most sublime countries on Earth.

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