Today’s adventure took us to the Lake Mývatn area in northern Iceland. With Geothermal a huge power source for Icelanders it was interesting to see one of their geothermal plants as we drove up to visit the Viti Crater. The crater used to be a volcano that blew its top. In summer there is a beautiful blue pool of water at its centre; in winter…you get snow.
It took 5 shots to photograph this crater – it is immense. Waking its edge makes you feel like a small ant trudging its way around an enormous landscape.
Back down the the mountain and across the ring road lies Namafjall Hverir. Here one can experience the joy of hot stinky steam vents and 80º – 100ºC sulphur pools. Yup, it’s that toasty. I felt as though I was on a different planet walking around this area.
This place was so different than anything we had seen so far. I didn’t know what to photograph first. Using my ultra wide angle I got low for this shot to really showcase the sulphur pool at my feet and still get a sense of place and the vents at the back of the scene. What an unbelievable place!
On the southern end of the lake lies a bunch of pseudo craters. These volcano-like shapes are created when hot lava crosses water causing an explosion of steam. This explosion creates the craters we see below.
When seen from the sky you can almost envision bursting bubbles caught at a specific moment in time. Nature is pretty amazing when she creates.
Our last stop in the Lake Mývatn area was Dimmuborgir, a lava field full of giant pillars, chimneys and tubes. Taking one of the longer hiking trails through the park we experienced these amazing lava formations up close and personal. Sometimes walking on a path and other times scrambling over the rocks themselves.
A surreal experience to end a day of weird and wondrous places.
Our second day on the peninsula looks promising as the rain seems to have given us a short break although the clouds still loomed above. Our first stop was Kirkjufellsfoss, the waterfall with a view of Kirkjufell mountain – otherwise known as Gandalf’s hat in some circles. The gloomy weather meant that the crowds were minimal. Only two other photographers were there when we arrived so we were able to get some decent shots before heading out to our next spot – a “secret” spot that the receptionist at the hotel told us about the other night.
A place were a golden beach was hidden away and two lighthouses of different colours waited at opposite ends. Driving down the very sketchy road we soon found ourselves in sight of an orange lighthouse. The road became more difficult to drive so we decided to park and hike in. We explored the lighthouse and the cliff edges when I spotted this sea arch. I love how the ocean is able to carve out a neat little hole in the cliff. The power of mother nature astounds especially here in Iceland.
After exploring the area we hopped in the car to check out another sea arch on the southern portion of the peninsula. The Aarnastapi Arch is fairly well known and sits close to a magnificent park written about by Jules Vern in Journey to the Centre of the Earth. At the parking lot sits a memorial to his work and only a few short steps in lies the arch. Of course we didn’t go to that lot but drove further to another parking lot not knowing how close the arch was to the monument. Silly us.
We had to walk about two kilometres from where we parked to the arch but we did find some goodies along the way.
I am glad we did park this far because we found the most photographed house in Iceland here. The lone red roofed house sits at the base of a mountain and on the edge of the cliffs by the ocean. Can it get any better than that?