Iceland – Pot of Gold at Landmannalaugar

There is something truly magical about the light in Iceland during the summer solstice. It’s more than the fact that it never really gets truly dark and that the waking hours are so long. There is a transparent ethereal quality to the light that seems to be a combination of extremely clean pollution free air and the oblique angle of the sun as it rises and falls at 66 degrees north. Its one thing to have gorgeous light as a landscape photographer; but its quite another to have gorgeous light that lasts so long.

As I have already blogged about my time at Landmannalaugar was extremely special to me – and not just because this was a location I had read so much about and had researched extensively. It was special and dear to me because my patience and that of my shooting companion Dmitry was so richly rewarded with wonderful Icleandic light after spending several hours freezing at the top of one of Landmannalaugar’s highest peaks.

The story goes that five of us had arrived at the summit of one of Landmannalaugar’s highest peaks to be greeted by overcast conditions, howling winds and a rapidly falling temperature a full three hours before sunset. We had been photographing extensively on the trek up to the summit, but had still arrived earlier than anticipated. Everyone except Dmitry and I quickly decided to bail out and head back to the 4 wheel drive for supper – and I admit the thought of a hot cup of coffee and a tub of that Icelandic berry yoghurt almost had me joining them.

Dmitry and I decided to tough it out and hunkered down as best we could on the lee side of the mountain in the hopes we would get some good light as the sun set. As the hours passed we got colder and colder until finally as the sun began to set the gods flicked the ‘magic’ switch and the clouds broke up, the wind completely died and we were rewarded with some truly stunning light. This photograph was taken from the summit toward the distant rain showers and rainbow as the sun threw beautiful golden cross light across the volcanic mountains. Even now, I get a real visceral thrill looking at the photographs from this shoot. For me, this photograph captures the essence of the magical translucent light Iceland is capable of. A higher resolution version of this photograph is on my Portfolio website under Iceland. Prints available upon request.

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