Friday, August 31, 2012


In August 2012 we finally got to check out Snaefellsnes. It is always said, that Snaefellsnes combines the best of Iceland in a small place. And I bet, there is a lot to be said for this.

We took a trip through Berserkjahraun - the Berserk's lava flow. The story behind this name and location I will reveal another time. It seems to be a very interesting story and stems from Eyrbyggja Saga. For now I just want to show you the beauty of this place: The lava flow is still really young, it is only about 4000 years old.

For me, it is hard to believe that lava will look no more eroded than this after the short little period of 4000 years. 

Thursday, August 30, 2012


After a day of being chased by rainbows - I will tell about that in a different posting - the sunset over Stykkisholmur was just incredible. This is a handheld HDR of 3 exposures. 

Stykkisholmur is the main town on Snaefellsnes, an peninsula north and west of Reykjavik.

Summer of 2012

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

chased by rainbows

On our first day in Stykkisholmur we were chased by rainbows. I litterally mean that we were sick of seeing rainbows at some point. Not only were there a lot of them beasts, but they also popped up all the time and kept "following" us around. At some point you just grow sick, even of rainbows, butterflies and sunsets, right?

Well, this here is the smallest rainbow I ever saw, I think. It must be so small because the sun is standing low on the horizon, right?

It was rooted in the harbour on both sides - and this was such a small harbour!

Snaefellsnes, Westiceland. Summer of 2012

Tuesday, August 28, 2012


I did say we got really close to the humpback whales. Well, this is how close you get on a whale cruise from Húsavík, Iceland. The photo was taken with a Canon 60D and 77mm focal range. And the thing you see in the foreground is the railing of the boat we were on. Behind it you see the pectoral fin of a humpback whale.

These whale cruises are just incredible and I can only really recommend it to everyone who get's a chance.

Ich hab ja gesagt, wir sind richtig nah an die Buckelwale herangekommen. Hier seht Ihr, wie nah. Wir waren auf einer Whale Cruise in Island in Húsavík. Das Photos ist gemacht mit einer Canon 60D und 77mm Brennweite. Das Ding, was ihr im Vordergrund seht, ist die Railing unseres Bootes. Dahinter ist die Brustflosse eines freundlichen Buckelwals.

Diese Walfahrten sind unglaublich und ich kann sie jedem nur wärmstens empfehlen.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Craters all over

Since Iceland is of vulcanic origin, most of the surface still bares hints of vulcanism. In a lot of places there are craters of various types and kinds visible in the landscape.

This crater we saw from the edge of another one.

West Iceland, summer 2012

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Mini Movie - Hvitserkur

This is a Mini Movie of Hvitserkur in Vatnsnes, Northern Iceland.

I know you are curious about more whales

I do not want to keep my whale pictures from you for long, since I know that a few people are waiting for more here.

So: More humpback whales from Húsavík! Summer 2012

Humpback Whales in Husavik

This summer we went onto our second whale cruise from Húsavík. This bay offers optimal food conditions for a great variety of marine mamals - especially for a lot of types of whales.

The last time we took one of the cruises is a few years back. Then we did get to see humpback whales and a blue whale.

This time we got to spot about 12 humpbacks, though no other whales or dolphines. 5 or 6 of the humpbacks were really close to the boat and we stayed with them for quite a while.

You almost get the impression that they almost like the presence of the boats. They come up right next to them and seem all calm. Sometimes you get the feeling that they play with the boats. There are only a few boats out in the bay at a time - now also Zodiacs - and they are very careful with the animals. When another boat is already close to a whale, usually no other boat will go there anymore. Only rarely you see two boats next to the same whale.

After a few surfacing cicles and amazing flukings we left each whale and puttered over to the next. The boats are small and wooden and travel relatively slow. Marine researchers confirm, that the whales see no harm in these visits by people.

Húsavík is the world capital of whale watching for a very good reason.

This is a picture of a humpback - summer of 2012 - that shows pectoral and dorsal fin - a rare sight. I will dig up a few fluking pictures soon, too. Check back in if you like whales.

In diesem Sommer haben wir zum zweiten Mal eine Whale Cruise von Húsavík aus gemacht. Die Bucht bietet optimale Nahrungsbedingungen für alle Arten von Meeressäugern, vor allem viele Arten von Walen.

Das letzte Mal als wir eine dieser Fahrten unternommen haben, haben wir einige Buckelwale und einen Blauwal gesehen. Dieses Mal haben wir etwa 12 Buckelwale gesehen, 5 oder 6 davon sehr nah am Boot und blieben eine ganze Weile, allerdings keine anderen Walarten oder Delphine.

Man bekommt beinahe den Eindruck, dass die Wale die Gegenwart der Boote mögen. Sie tauchen unmittelbar neben dem Boot auf und scheinen dabei sehr ruhig. Teils bekommt man den Eindruck, dass sie mit den Booten spielen. Es sind nur wenige Boote - und neuerdings auch Zodiaks - draußen in der Bucht auf der Suche nach Walen und die Betreiber sind sehr vorsichtig mit den Walen. Wenn ein Boot bereits bei einem Wal ist, dann fährt in der Regel kein anderes Boot mehr dorthin, damit der Wal nicht gestresst wird. Nur selten sind zwei Boote in der Nähe eines Wals und nie mehr.

Nach ein paar Durchgängen des Auftauchens, Mitschwimmens und Abtauchen haben wir jeden Wal wieder verlassen und sind zu einem anderen hinübergetuckert. Die Boote sind klein und aus Holz und nicht außerordentlich schnell. Die Meeresforscher bestätigen, dass die Wale durch die Besuche keine Gefahr sehen.

Húsavík ist damit aus gutem Grund die Welthauptstadt des Whale Watchings. 

Dies ist ein Bild eines Buckelwals - Sommer 2012 - bei dem gleichzeitig die Rückenflosse und die Brustflosse zu sehen sind. Das ist selten. Ich werde bald ein paar Bilder von der Schwanzflosse und vom Abtauchen heraussuchen. Guckt mal wieder rein.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Snaefell mountain

Yes, that is a double. Snaefell ist already called the snow mountain, but I bet not everybody here speaks Icelandic (and I do not speak it, just figure it out). Also: Americans tend to speak of the Sahara desert. So these names seem to be ok to some degree.

The flag was placed at the mountain hut up there. We went inside and got great advice. We did not stay the night up there, though. Which would definitely have had fun.

summer 2012

Friday, August 24, 2012

A funny guy

In Iceland you also find art - of commerical and home made type - in a lot of places. In the harbour area of Seydisfjördur I came across this funny guy that was sitting infront of a little house - which I think was a museum.

I took his photo and knew he might make quite a bit of fame one day - I had plans with this picture.

I know a lot of people who do photoshop art and composings. They, of course, are always looking for interesting photos as part of their works. I was planning on giving this photo away for this purpose.

I was only back for 2 days and had just browsed through the photos once quickly when a bunch of people were thinking of starting a speed battle in photoshop. They were looking for a stock picture for it so I handed it out right away.

The battle is pretty simple: 4 hours of time from the first glimpse of the stock photo to handing it in for the voting. The stock picture has to be used as a central element in the composing. There are no other rules about how much else you include or what topic it has to serve.

My little photo of a piece of nicely carved wood now made a key element in a bunch of cool composings. If you want to check them out, look here:

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Crazy Little Clouds

This pier is located on the southern side of the Seydisfjördur fjord, looking across the fjord.

Have you seen those crazy clouds up ahead? Those are really neat, I think.

Iceland, East Fjords, Summer of 2012

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


A view down into Mjóifjördur in the Icelandic East Fjords is very promissing. The fjord is steeply settled between the mountains and the pass road that we drove is only open in the summer. It is, however, the only road into Mjóifjördur. Though the fjord is known for good weather, the winter conditions are hard and the people living in the town that you seen on the left hand side of the fjord can only travel by ferry in the winter.

The steep and winding road down is a rewarding journey, though. The views are spectacular, the waterfalls countless and lined up neatly - though no photo motive in the late afternoon because the main falls were backlight horribly - and an interesting ship wreck at the bottom. You can see it in the picture. Can you find it?

There are also the remains of a whaling station but we were running late that day and you just can't drive everywhere, can you?

The blue berries were absolutely amazing, though, so we did not feel left out of anything.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Whimbrel

This Whimbrel was announcing our presence to everybody around - which was a lot of birds but no people. It was really cute how he kept us company and hopped and fluttered ahead and back, singing loudly. He seemed to have a liking in us, since he stayed close by but was eyeing us happily.

...and off and away he flies - only to return shortly after.

Iceland, East Fjords, Seydisfjördur.

Summer of 2012

Monday, August 20, 2012

At Látrabjarg

Látrabjarg in the Westfjords is a grand bird paradies. The cliffs are mulitple kilometers long and really tall. We visited the tip of it in strong wind, summer 2009.

Here is a series of pictures from there. 

don't get blown off! ...

...because it is THIS high!

Look at the person on top of the cliff above for a judgement of scale!
cliff side housing for a seagull

It is really hard to believe that they can cling onto that rock face, even in the adverse winds and storms. And they sit, they nest, they sleep, they raise their young ones.
and another one
 The white stuff on the rock is bird droppings. You can see where everyone lives very easily.

joint apparment for the bird families

flying by the nesting sites

Sunday, August 19, 2012

We are back

We came back from our vacation in Iceland this week. We got to enjoy the grand circle this time. Renting a Jeep we made a full circle from Reykjavík around Route 1 with lots of detours. We did skip the Westfjords, since we had been there so much in the last years. But we did include Snaefellsnes in the end, making the circle turn into a figure eight loop of sorts.

We really enjoyed the vacation and got to see a lot! And of course we took a lot of photos.

Next to landscape photography we put a stronger emphasis on animals and wild life this time. 

We got to see a great amount of birds - partially with their chicks! - wales, seals, but no reindeer. Even though we kept our eyes peeled until they hurt, reindeers never poked their antlers out at us. But then: you can't have it all and that is the beauty of wildlife!

We did also take photos of horses, sheep, dogs, even goats.

So be prepared for a long stream of photos showing Iceland at its best: Nature.

Of course landscapes will still play the biggest role in this blog.

I hope you swing by every once in a while since I will continue to post at least one new entry every day.

This time we did more video than before, too, and I am looking forward to combining everything into one big adventure so that you can get a closer look at Iceland as we see it.

Elbe in the sunset

Spending a quick visit in Dresden in July this year we got to see an incredibly intense sunset over the river. Here is an impression.

Both pictures are HDRs of 3 exposures, taken with tripod. 

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Puffins are just cute

In the summer of 2009 we drove through the Westfjords. We drove the whole way to Látrabjarg. Unfortunately for us it was an incredibly windy day and we had to fight pretty hard to be safe out there. 

This puffin is squatted down hard onto the rock to hold on.

We did not see many puffins in the air that day, because the weather was just too rough.

The classic puffin photo (without fish) I can add in as well, though.

Friday, August 17, 2012

The weirdest tunnel of them all

The weirdest tunnel I have ever been in we came through on our way through the Westfjords when leaving Ísafjördur.

The tunnel started out as you expect a tunnel to behave. Then all of a sudden, the tunnel split into two directions. You just don't think, that roads underground, under a tall mountain would ever do that.

Well, the building of the tunnel was so much work in that hard rock that for the most part of it, it was a one lane drive. We were the unfortunate side: We had to get out of the way every time someone came the other direction. And that happend a lot, for whatever reason.

You don't believe this tunnel exists? Check it out on the map!

Here is a photo of our drive and you can see a truck coming up to us. 

We found out it is really hard to judge how close a vehicle is and how fast it is coming if you have no real reference point and no guage.

Please excuse the lack in photo quality. I was more focused on not getting hit by a truck and not losing my tunnel vision. I didn't want to keep the story from you, though.

We were there in the summer of 2009.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Traditions and cell phones

Dresden, summer of 2012. The cart driver has the horses under controll but also his cell phone out. His look is very dubious indeed. That is, because I am kneeling in the middle of the road while he comes up with this double decker horse carriage and I seem not to give way. Well, of course I did, but the look was just priceless.

Does he remind you of a rogue version of Charlie Chaplin with that hat?

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The Cork Truck

In Portugal we got to see a lot of cork trees and cork forrests. The cork gets peeled off a part of the tree, mostly just the bottom of the trunk, sometimes also some of the branches. They do the peeling every 9 years - at least that is what we learned in this region. To know when the tree was peeled last, they write the last digit of the year onto the trunk. 1 means the last peeling was in 2011 and 6 means that the last peeling was in 2006. 

This tree was very unusal as it was obviously harvested in two different years. 

The cork rind was stacked near the forrests and in barns to dry and then gets transportet to the places where bottle corks or cork clothing and home decoration, like pinboards and such, is made.

We followed a truck that was transporting cork rind. Since the shots were taken out of the moving car in bright sunlight, I do not have to explain their quality, right? But it still is worth seeing, I think.

a cork tree that is being double harvested

cork rind on a tree

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Iceland is wide

Volcanic landscape near Myvatn, seen from the Hverfjall ash crater.

These are my shoes after hiking the ash crater.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Old couples

These two old couples we came by in Évora, Portugal, April 2012. The views of local people above about 60 or 70 years of age was pretty dominating in Évora, so I thought, these two couples were good representatives.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

The Fuel Pumps

These fuel pumps are in the backlands of northern Iceland. I think they are very photogenic.

Last year a friend gave me a novel and asked "Do you know this already?" - meaning the novel. "Yes", I screamed, and ran to my computer. She thought, I was talking about the novel, too. But I was talking about the cover picture. The novel had these two pumps on the front. We got a good laugh out of it.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Watch the Gap

This is a typical sight from NYC and New York State but I think it gets too little exposure in photos.

With the evening sun on the platform like this the picture is gleaming nicely.

Friday, August 10, 2012

the mist of the fall

Between Myvatn and Husavík there is a row of waterfalls that are really impressive. This one was really great about the mists that keep steaming up. I am not happy with the quality of this photo that I took in 2008 with a different camera. It is just not sharp enough and not true to color.

But the waterfall is great.

Driftwood Horse

This horse made of driftwood is placed in a lonely bay in the Westfjords of Iceland.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

The Street Sign Washer

In Coimbra, Portugal, I wittnessed a scene I have not noticed ever before in any city: A man with a bucket and an extremely long broom was washing the street signs. I thought, you would like this, too.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Waterfall in the wild

A rough and unrulely waterfall in the Westfjords. This is just the very top of the fall.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

a sign that means it

When you come by a sign like this in Iceland: you better take it serious. What if it means it?

This is close to Askja, well, as close as real roads get.

How did the holes get into the top sign?