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Blog

Portraits of Iceland

Joe Rossbach

Just back from Iceland and what an amazing 10 days it was on the island! We had absolutely  fantastic weather the entire trip, a real departure from the standard Icelandic weather of grey skies and rain. In fact, it only rained for a few hours on the first day and a few hours on the second to last day of the trip with every other day being either partly cloudy or sunny with the occasional storm clouds passing through.  I started my journey first heading to the Snæfellsnes Peninsula for a few days and then into the interior and finally to the east and south coast. below are my favorite images from the trip. I hope you enjoy them and will consider joining myself and Kurt Budliger for our Lost in Iceland Photo Tour next July (limited space and filling up fast). 

Church in Hellnar, Snæfellsnes Peninsula, Iceland

Nikon D810, 16-35mm, Singh Ray Mor-Slo 10 Stop Solid ND, 300 seconds, F16, ISO 50

Strong winds on this morning and heavy cloud cover allowed me to create a unique image of these iconic Icelandic churches by running a long exposure letting the clouds streak across the sky and the grass dance in the foreground. 

Moonrise near Olafsvik, Snæfellsnes Peninsula, Iceland

Nikon D810, 24-70mm, 30 seconds, F11, ISO 400

This image was captured at midnight as the moon rose across the bay. I used the spit of land in the foreground to provide an interesting shape mimicking the cloud formation in the sky. 

Abandoned, Snæfellsnes Peninsula, Iceland

Nikon D810, 16-35mm,  2 seconds, F22, ISO 30

We explored these ruins near Kirkjufell Mountain one evening as the sun set across the Ocean. I wandered inside the building and caught the last rays of the setting sun over the Ocean. 

Bruarfoss Blues, Iceland

Nikon D810, 14-24mm, Singh Ray 3 Stop ND Grad (soft edge), 2 seconds, F14, ISO 125

This is my favorite fall in Iceland! It is not nearly as big as the icons on the island, but is in my opinion the most interesting falls I have shot to date. I waited until the sunset casting under light on the clouds hanging low in the sky above the falls. 

Landmannalaugar, Highlands, Iceland

Nikon D810, 24-70mm, Singh Ray LB Polarizer, 1/60 second, F13, ISO 200

Who says you can't make great landscape images in the middle of the day? This is Landmannalauger in the highlands of Iceland. It requires a 4x4 vehicle and an entire day of driving rough Froads and fording many streams to reach this location. 

Fire & Ice, Jokulsarlon Lagoon, Iceland

Nikon D810, 24-70mm, Singh Ray 2 Stop ND Grad,  1,6 seconds, F14, ISO 50

By far the best sunset I have witnessed so far this year. What a bonus to be in one of the worlds most beautiful and surreal locations when it happened. The light this evening held on for over an hour painting the sky. 

Stranded, Jokulsarlon Black Sand Beach, Iceland

Nikon D810, 24-105mm, 1/80 second, F16, ISO 250

I love walking the blacks and beach in the morning looking for interesting chunks of glacial ice to shoot. This one really stood out to me and the light illuminating the ice and casting it's glow across the black sand was too good to pass by.

Ice Breaker, Jokulsarlon Lagoon, Iceland

Nikon D810, 14-24mm, Singh Ray 2 Stop ND Grad (soft), 1/2 second, F14, ISO 50

Theres nothing like getting pounded with waves to get your endorphins pumping. I shot these large bergs on the beach for a few hours this evening as driving winds off sea brought in huge waves pounding the ice. 

Vesturhorn Light, Hofn, Iceland

Nikon D810, 16-35mm, Singh Ray LB Polarizer, 1/125, F13, ISO 200

The Vesturhorn is one amazing mountain and it sits right on the edge of the ocean just outside of the small village of Hofn. I choose to photograph this mountain in the black sand dunes along the shore. I love the way the green sea grass dots the dunes breaking up what would otherwise be a flat composition. 

Mordor,  Laufskalavarda Lava Fields, Iceland

Nikon D810, 1/15, f18, ISO 125

Welcome to middle Earth! This area of extensive lava flow is now covered in a thick carpet of lime green moss. I searched out this small stand of tree's to add character and depth to this open and otherwise one-dimensional landscape.

Rainbow Falls, Skogafoss, South Iceland

Nikon D810, Singh Ray Mor-Slo 5 Stop Solid ND, 3 seconds, F14, ISO 50

As soon as I arrived at Skogafoss and set up a storm rolled through blocking the sun for almost an hour. I waited in the stream with my camera and composition ready for the sun to reappear creating this rainbow caused by the mist coming off the base of this gigantic waterfall. 

Seljalandfoss Sunset, South Iceland

Nikon D810, 16-35mm, Singh Ray LB Polarizer, 1 second, F13, ISO 50

On the second to last evening of my trip, I photographed Seljalanfoss at sunset. I was a bit worried that the light would not break from the clouds and I would once again miss this image that i have been shooting for for the past couple years, but thankfully the sun broke free and painted the falls and sky in magnificent and magical Icelandic light.

Reynisdrangar Dawn, Vik, Iceland

Nikon D810, 16-35mm, Singh Ray Mor-Slo 5 Stop Solid ND, 30 seconds, F14, ISO 125

On a morning with low tide, I made my way out below the sea stacks near the town of Vik. I was fortunate to have yet another display of great light on my last morning in Iceland! 

Nesting Puffins, Vik, Iceland

Nikon D810, 300mm, F5.6, 1/2000, ISO 400

I climbed a steep section of sea cliffs to get into range to photograph a huge colony of nesting Puffins. I wanted to capture and image that showed the Puffins in the context of their environment and I think this one really sums it for me. 

Flight of the Puffin, Vik, Iceland

Nikon D810, 300mm, 1.4 extension tube, 1/2500, F8, ISO 400

I spent an hour or more trying to capture an image of a Puffin coming in for a landing. I got lucky on this shot and nailed it!