Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Yep, you guessed it: More Iceland!

As the title implies, this blog post is going to be about Iceland again woo!

I got back to the U.S. late on Saturday and have really had more of a chance to go through my images with more time, which has been helpful.

So I spent two weeks in Iceland, and I shared very few snippets of my first couple of days there, and I had written the blog post after having experienced a very scary couple of days of driving. So i'm going to go in to a little bit more detail about the stay in Myvatn before I move on to the rest of our trip with my next post.

Myvatn is a lake in the northern part of Iceland. Sometimes "Myvatn" could refer to the entire region that the lake is in. The lake is a protected site and one of the best places in Iceland for bird watching. The Laxa river can be found at Myvatn. The river has one of the largest colonies of Harlequin ducks in the world residing on it and I was pretty interested in searching these ducks out. I've been looking for them on the coast of North Carolina for several years and had never seen one, so I was pretty excited to find about ten Harlequin ducks bright and early one morning.

Myvatn is also home to geothermal activity and several volcanos, craters and pseudo craters. One of these craters, Hverfjall, resulted in a steep hike with beautiful views overlooking the lava fields of Dimmuborgir. These fields can also be hiked through, and the formations are said to be trolls who turned to stone when the sun came up. If you've ever seen or read Lord of the Rings or the Hobbit, this is where J.R.R. Tolkien got his inspiration for the trolls in the stories. I'm happy to say that I did find a formation that looked creepily like Gollum, so that was pretty cool.

That night, the sky put on the best light show I have ever seen. I've dreamt of seeing the northern lights basically my whole life. I've been staring at the sky for as long as I can remember, memorizing stars, constellations, planets, the movements of the moon. I've seen the lights as a misty cloud on the horizon in my hometown in Montana, but this was something entirely different. The night before, we had gotten a phone call at 3 am saying the lights were visible, and I had thought that those were spectacular. Those Northern Lights were dim compared to these ones.

They started in the early evening, before the sun had even fully set. I was photographing Godafoss, a waterfall not too far from Myvatn, hoping to get a nice long exposure of the waterfall at sunset. As the sun was setting, a cloud started moving a bit. It looked kind of weird, and that's when I realized that the Northern Lights were doing their thing. For four hours, I followed the lights from Godafoss to the far north side of Myvatn, taking photos, gazing at the sky, and dancing with my husband (we may have also taken a fairly cheesy photograph under the lights). You can see my other Godafoss photo that I love from my post last week, this week I included one from earlier in the evening.

I had three extremely memorable moments in Iceland, and seeing the Northern Lights like this was one of them. It was simply magical.
Harlequin Duck at the Laxa River
Majestic Myvatn sheep
Fall colors in Dimmuborgir
Gollum in Dimmuborgir

Godafoss at sunset
Cheesy NL photo. I'm a little see through because I kept moving during the exposure

Probably my favorite Northern Lights photo. I'm very excited by how this one turned out.