Topic: Finnur (2 posts)

Iceland: Finnur's Trip 2

Way back I promised a report on the second day of my off road trip with Finnur in Iceland. Day 1 is here: Finnur's Trip 1. This one goes out especially to Mahala, my colleague and friend, who was a fellow artist at Baer with us in July. She is missing Iceland quite a bit, as am I. And we all are missing each other. 

On the second day of off roading with Finnur in Iceland we headed up the mountains to a kind of dessert on top, a long plateau of barren gray, rock and dirt country.

It was so vast and arid I found myself wondering if this was the real Iceland and that perhaps all the green and wet and beauty we'd seen on the way here was simply in the lower valleys and not the real island at all.

But, of course, there was still so much to see. On the start of heading down off the plateau we came to a small hot spring where we put on our suits and went in:

Surrounded by this barren landscape, this oasis in the mountains.

There were a few huts there for shelter in the winter: 

We saw many wonderful things:

In Iceland in the mountains in the summer there is water everywhere.

Early in the morning before we had breakfast, I walked down to the harbor:

and then, as we arrived back at the Baer Art Center, this was happening:

the sun breaking out on the fjord  where we stayed. Was this photograph enhanced? Yes, it is a combination of six frames, shot as under exposures on up to over exposures, blended together using a program called HDR Efex Pro, made by Nik Software. When used in modest ways, this method can give detail in shadows and highlights which would be lost if you just shot one frame.

Once again, thanks  to Finnur for a remarkable trip.

Topics: Finnur,Iceland

Permalink | Posted September 27, 2013

Iceland: Finnur's Trip 1

Finnur, Steinunn's husband, offered to take another resident, Scott Johnson, and myself on an overnight trip to the mountains in the northeast of Iceland. What a place! To say I was unprepared for what we were about to see is an understatement. Having been used to  the acutely minimal landscape where Baer is along the coast we plunged into the interior where the earth is in upheaval, where it smokes and fumes and burps from hot sulphur pools, where recent lava covers the land like a carpet, where there are slices in the ground that wind down to hot water pools,  where sheep roam free to pasture in the mountains and where most places off road you can just go, if you have the right vehicle. Did I just write "vehicle"? 

We went in this:

Finnur's Toyota HiLux heavily modified four wheel drive truck (that's Scott shooting). Transfer case, hi-low range, locking differentials, big wheels, extra fuel tank, fender flares, skid plates, built in air compressor, satellite phone, GPS, snorkel equipped; this thing sits so high you need a ladder to get into it. Got a river to cross? No problem. Mountain to climb? No worries. Unstoppable. So Cool.

We left early in the morning and drove into this long, green valley with a ridge at the top where two glaciers, one on either side, had left this sharp edge behind as they receded:

and drove for a couple of hours up to a long valley on a road that went from paved, to gravel, to dirt, to a muddy track, to something that resembled a trail that crossed rivers and snaked up the side of a mountain.

Iceland, here in the mountains, is all about water; water in glacial and rain run-off rivers that are two different colors, streams, waterfalls and rock falls, with this intense green moss that holds water like a sponge and is a color you can't believe it doesn't come out of a Day-Glo spray can called "Chartreuse":

We came across a touristy waterfall where I followed around twin blond haired blue fleece-shirted boys:

and took pictures of people taking pictures:

and, after a search, to a lava field:

where Finnur had been as teenager on a date to swim by climbing down a crevasse to a hot pool:

to a hot bath filled with noisy French having the time of their lives:

Did we go in? Was the water blue? Of course we did.

I'd better stop here. This may be too much for you to to take in just one sitting. At any rate, we stopped for the night at Finnur's cabin, or retreat or hut or get away man-cave (that he'd had moved from farther south a few years ago) and bar b'que'd lamb chops on the grill, drank beer, and told stories as guys do that may have been a little off color at times and laughed and went to bed.

Next up: Finnur's Trip Day 2.

Reminder: as always, click on an image and it will increase all the photographs in the post in size.

Topics: Iceland,Finnur

Permalink | Posted July 26, 2013