Notes from Iceland II.

Continued from here. Hveravellir can be read as Hot Spring Fields and also looks and smells like that. In general, it's rather small geothermal place with smoking fumarolees and with colored boiling pools. You can jump and relax in one of them. It is an interesting experience to see and walk around but I was much more amazed by the surroundings of the road that led us there. Well, the road was sort of different, more adventurous of what we in Europe normally call road - our landcruiser proved to be the right tool to drive on it safely and relatively comfortably. Everything else around made me feel like I returned millions of years back in time. This is how the Earth must have looked like when it was being created.

Our toyota in the middle of summer night.

For some reasons, I do not have any good picture directly from Hveravellir. There were way too many people (surprisingly, given parched few hours on the road to get there from any side). The sky was too empty and too blue. The wind was blowing wrong direction causing the steam fly over pools all the time. So while Ota and me tried to look for something to shoot, our driver and co-traveller Peter chose to spend the time more efficiently, taking a bath and some nice conversation in the pool. The sun was slowly setting down, which triggered the right time to start getting back to spots identified on the way to here.

Name: Little No-Name Lake Near Hveravellir. Camera: Hasselblad H1, Lens: Hasselblad HC 35mm, Film: Fuji Velvia 50, Filter: Lee ND 0.6, Exposure / Aperture: unrecorded.

It was quite cold and very windy hence a decent visibility. This allowed me to use the wide angle lens in an attempt to emphasise the distance and communicate the space. Warmly colored sunset lit the small rock nicely. It got strong enough to be employed as the basis of my composition, together with distant mountains in the background. Also, I noticed the breeze leaving scars on the surface of the water. I knew I needed the smallest possible exposure time to capture the movement so I went a bit off the rock to reduce the aperture to somewhere around f/11 if I can remember. The sky played with me, too, and actually forced me to break the classic rule of thirds and try the sort of a “T” design. I found it graphically most pleasing from all of the options. Placing one of the subject in the middle can often get very static but I think it was not the case here as the dynamics of the image was built on close foreground - far background view angle and the contrasty relationship between the rock and the mountain, supported by movement on the water and the strong sky.

After couple of hours, we found ourselves deep in the middle of nowhere surrounded by nothing but absolute silence. As the dusk was approaching, we noticed vehicles and cyclists we had been meeting every now and then disappeared completely. Instead, strong winds little by little flew any thoughts of civilization away from our heads. In the midst of all this we stood watching sceneries and visualizing shots that shortly lifted us to the photographic trance and we were shooting like there was no tomorrow...

Name: A Glacier River. Camera: Hasselblad H1, Lens: Hasselblad HC 80mm, Film: Fuji Velvia 50, Filter: Lee ND 0.6, Exposure / Aperture: unrecorded.

Again, some no-name river featuring colors of melting glacier water as witnessed in the soft early morning light. We took about two-hour nap in the car parked nearby. When we woke up, the feeling of emptiness was really deep and very new to me. The silence was broken just by the river flow. I first tried to capture the large space around and the curve of the river with the wide angle lens but could not get rid of too many disordered fragments that had to be included in the scene, mainly a strange rock formation below me. And also, the mountains in the background were too small again. Freezing, I changed the lens and chose the frame and enjoyed a sudden feeling that this is how this place wants to be documented. :-)

I started to realize that from the two elements required for a good landscape photograph to come together (right time @ right place), one was there constantly wherever we went or looked - I just was in the right place all the time in Iceland. The only piece left to take care of was time...