Snæfellsnes wide-angle.

The 9-18mm lenses I’ve just bought are, in the words of the photographer who won the chance of endorsing them, “perfect for panoramas”.
In a rare astronomical conjunction where marketing met reality and they both shook hands with user requirements a set of wide-angle lenses was precisely what I needed, for Snæfellsnes turned out to be panorama country.
Doubter are you? Master Yoga would say. If so, allow me to show you some examples that, hopefully, will explain. (Just remember can you can click/tap on any photo to see it in widescreen format).
A storm brewing across the fjord.
The day was blustery to the extreme, omen of the waves of snowstorm that were to lash the coast throughout the following 24 hours. We were driving along the Hvalfjörður as yet another squall rolled in from the howling sea. I remember thinking “What if we took bikes?” and shudder despite the heated seat.
Lava field.
It was a short drive from Lýsudalur – 3 houses, one stable, something looking like a school – to Búðir, one hotel and a chapel. Between the two places a volcano, now long gone, had left a trail of scoria: a tormented landscape of corrugated rocks twisted and turned by incomprehensible forces. A lava field.
A dance of snow and sun.
We were having to stop every half-hour or so to scrape the powdered ice that would inevitably plaster itself all over the car’s rear lights. As we did so the weather kept on turning like the mood swings of a spoilt brat: sun followed white-out and wind followed calm. Briefly, on the road between Hellissandur and Ólafsvík, we were able to witness that changing-of-the-guard moment.
Kirkjufell.
The “most photographed mountain in Iceland”, or so some claimed, lived up to its fame on a rare moment where the crowds with whom we shared it trickled down to just a handful of visitors impregnable to the icy wind, as well as a dog apoplectic with joy at the sight of snow.
Columbus’ digs.
Within spitting (with wind in favour) distance from Hellissandur lies Ingjaldshóll. Once a farm; now a church, graveyard and not much more. As the story goes a young man wintered here after arriving at the nearby port of Rif on a ship from Bristol. During those long winter nights he came to learn more about the Vikings’ voyages west, to Greenland and further on to Vinland. That man was none other than Christopher Columbus.
On the beach.
Echoes of Neil Young would be welcome if only Ambulance Blues wasn’t so sombre. A beach just outside Grundarfjörður, deserted but for a man with a drone – thankfully far away. A black beach dotted with purple sea shells, flanked by white hills and covered, in places, by a thin water film over which the blue, golds and greys of the sky can run like a cinema screen.
Mountain views.
Past Grundarfjörður is a road turning right, running over the mountains that make up the spine of Snæfellsnes. That road, sneaking as it does up an inviting mountain pass, is an utter joy. And it’s not just because of the driving pleasure: it’s also gifted by great, great views. More on that later on.
The medieval chronicler.
Not too far from the Laugarsbrekka farmstead that saw the birth of Guðríður Víðförla is a locality known as Staðarstaður. There’s a monolith there but, unlike that monolith, it hadn’t mysteriously appeared to make apes intelligent. Soiled as it was by a sacrilegious bird, the monolith is a monument to one Ari Þorgilsson, cleric and XII century chronicler. Author of Íslendigabók, Ari told the story of Iceland between the times where she was settled by Norse outcasts and the conversion to Christianity. I don’t know about you, but if, 1000 years from now, I could be remembered by a monument this grand in a place this supremely beautiful, it’ll be a great, great satisfaction.
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24 Responses to Snæfellsnes wide-angle.

  1. Bama says:

    Looking at your photos I can’t help but think of the comparison between Iceland and Lebanon. The former has roughly twice as much land area, but the latter has almost 17 times of the population. Despite its popularity these days, Iceland seems to be still relatively untouched, which makes it even more appealing. But I literally have to travel halfway across the globe to reach it. Quite a journey, I imagine.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh so lovely for you and your readers that you have that wide angle lens. Perfect for such a compelling landscape. I’m not drawn to visit Snæfellsnes but I sure enjoyed looking at your visit and vistas. I know that kind of weather and I stay away 🙂
    Alison

    Liked by 1 person

  3. J.D. Riso says:

    Gorgeous photos, Fabrizio. That third one is pure Heaven. You have a knack for capturing the beauty in desolation.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I wouldn’t want a monument to me to upend that breathtaking geography. I’m thankful to the wide-angle lens you recently bought for giving you the power to capture such stunning landscapes. “A Dance of Snow and Sun” and “Mountain Views” are my favorites.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Dave Ply says:

    Nothing like a wide angle for big landscapes. (And seascapes, I quite like that one). You should be able to use the 8mm for milky way pics too, try 30 seconds, f4, 6400.

    Liked by 1 person

    • awtytravels says:

      Thanks Dave! But can you believe that I’ve never seen the Milky Way? I don’t even know how it’d look like to the naked eye. Hopefully we’ll see it in Chile. Speaking of nightscapes, do you think that it’s some sort of requirement to focus on something in the foreground (e.g. a mountain, building, or something along those lines) and not on the stars themselves? I found that my camera can’t quite focus on the sky, not even if I put it to infinite.

      Like

      • Dave Ply says:

        Not surprising you haven’t seen the Milky Way. If you’re around city lights, or even a lot of moonlight it’s probably not going to happen. And even if you are somewhere remote, you’ll still need to be up at some ungodly hour. The next few nights are pretty good for viewing w/o moon interference, with the center (thickest part) of the M.W. visible between 2:45 and 4:45 AM. (I have an app that’ll tell me when it’s good.) It’ll always be somewhere in the southern skies. If you’re in the right place, at the right time, looking in the right direction, it’s still not super easy to see; it’s kind of a misty-looking band. Your camera will be able to see it better than you can, given a long enough exposure.

        As far as nightscapes, autofocus doesn’t work in sky level dark even on the fanciest cameras. Milky Way shots call for manual settings on everything, including focus. If you have digital zoom on your camera, point it at a star, zoom all the way in, manual focus, then zoom out to compose your shot. Foreground items will need to be far enough in the BG to still be in focus at the low aperture you’ll be using.

        If you would like to chat in more detail, you can always hit me up via the contact email on my About page.

        Liked by 1 person

      • awtytravels says:

        Thank you so much Dave! We’re going to Chile this May, hopefully I’ll have the chance to put your advices in practice.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. varasc says:

    Great story and reading. Superb pics!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. lexklein says:

    Wow – what a difference from spring to early summer, when we were there on the peninsula. Still a bit brooding, but much greener and covered with horses. Were they out and about in the cold and snow?

    Liked by 1 person

  8. All of these photos are really magnificent but I am really drawn to the one with the beautiful reflection. The wide angled lens seems perfect for this kind of expansive landscape that is for sure. Beautiful.

    Peta

    Liked by 1 person

  9. erinwrote says:

    These are unbelievable images. Or…something else, because “images” feels in inadequate as a descriptor. Unbelievable moods, or moments, or messages or something. Chapeau!

    Liked by 1 person

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