Notes from Iceland I.

If you’re flying to Iceland one day, it’s likely you’ll take Icelandair because there’s not too many services that connect Reykjavik with the continental Europe. In such case, don’t miss your chances to browse though the on-board entertainment options and listen to the Icelandic music (not talking about folk, which I avoided by miles). Apart from the usual suspects as Sigur Ros and Bjork (remember Sugarcubes? :-)), you can get to hear less known bands and musicians that are often nothing short of pure reflections of a meditative remoteness of the island. There’s no better preparation for ambient mood of the place than giving ear to Ampop or Blindfold in your headphones and watching icy toppings of volcanos, wrinkled faces of glaciers, black sand beaches framed by white lines of crashing waves or countless veins of rivers deltas as the plane have reached Iceland. And yes, if tired by the melancholy, play Emiliana Torrini.

We flew couple of hundred kilometers across the entire island and I was so amazed by spectacular and constantly changing landscape graphic designs and rhythmic patterns running below us that if we were to turn back right then, I guess I would still feel content about the trip. Obviously, picturesque sceneries down there swiftly drew the attention of all my visual fantasies. Within minutes, I took hundreds of mental photos. Soon I began to be more excited about getting there with my camera than how I was when first had kissed my wife (okay... it was similar). I knew at that point of time that the decision to travel and photograph Iceland was right whoever' idea it was. What I didn’t know was that the obsession triggers its shutter.

Name: Rivers of Despair, Camera: Hasselblad H1, Lens: 210mm, Film: Phase One P30, Filters: no filters. The view from below the top of Blahnukur. Amazing structures defined by rock shapes and colors are to be photographed near Landmannalaugar. I saw some aerial images of Iceland that were breathtaking and very graphic. One day I will rent a plane to witness and shoot them but before doing so, this image has to fill in. On my way up on Blahnukur, the highest peak of Landmannalaugar, I was trying to capture some of the colorful patterns of the rhyolite volcanic rock that typically surrounds the area.

The main road from the airport is a great intro to what you can expect to see in here. It’s surrounded by endless black lava fields with rare green spots. It was a strange feeling to watch the out-of-this-world parched moonscape in combination with the asphalt road and piles of the same cars that I left behind in Prague. You looked to the side and felt like Mr Armstrong but one glance to the front woke you up - commuting to work again. There are plenty of interesting spots near Keflavik where we landed that are surely beautiful (or better interesting) enough to start a photographic journey with. But we were thinking that it would be better to familiarize with the landscape and get true feel of it before we commit to anything else. Hence we had this cool plan to leave the ring road (main road around Iceland) as soon as it gets to go inland for one or two days with Hveravellir being our vague destination...

Name: This Is a Lie, Camera: Hasselblad H1, Lens: 35mm, Film: Fuji Velvia 50, Filters: Lee ND Graduated 0.6. One of the spots to visit on the way from Keflavik to anywhere else is definitely Blue Lagoon (Bla Lonid). While many other tourists are attracted by the spa inside, for a landscape photographer it's inevitable to stay outside and explore opportunities of the mineral lake. It's unbelievably white-blue and full of little rocks to play with, it provides for endless opportunities to fine tune compositions while capturing the essence of Iceland. Weather permitting, as always. I was blessed with a whole night spent there with some interesting lighting conditions that were changing rapidly. Still, the colors of the water and reflections in there was surprising as well as amazing.

Hveravellir remains our next destination and the journey deserves a separate slot in this blog with a little more information and photos that would fit into this post. Though if you think you read this somewhere, you're right. This is the extended version of my post in lightharmony where I shared the first of my stories of traveling Iceland in a compressed way. Stay tuned for more!