Reykjanes, Iceland

Reykjanes is off the beaten track in Iceland. Although Keflavik International Airport is located on Reykjanes, many pay little attention to this peninsula. On my trip in June I also wanted to explore Snaefellsnes and a lot of what can be found along the ring road - the Myvatn area, the numerous glaciers in the southeast and the large waterfalls in the south. But Reykjanes has more to offer than many think. As my pictures show, it is worthwhile not to miss it.

Those who travel to Iceland often arrive late at night. At midsummer it is not dark then, but not quite as bright as during the day. During the approach with the airplane, I could therefore see the newly erupted volcano on Fagradalsfjall.

The entry formalities and the corona test took some time, so I wasn't at the accommodation until 2 a.m. Time to walk past sleepy Icelandic horses to the nearby beach and see the approaching sunrise.

The next day I first explored the outer tip of Reykjanes (“Smoke Tip”). There is a bridge there that stretches from Europe to America - more precisely between the tectonic plates of these continents that meet here. I found it less impressive there than the Allmänner gorge at Thingvellir, which also separates the continents.

A little further south you will pass a rather inconspicuous crater called Stampar. But it is worth climbing up and marveling at the archaic lunar landscape. Incidentally, the large broken area on my second photo was not easy to find after walking down.

From there you can already see an industrially used geothermal area with hissing steam springs. But there is also an impressive hot water spring called Gunnuhver, which, with its steam and a large fountain of boiling water, seriously competes with the famous Strokkur geyser. A bridge that once existed there could not withstand the force of nature.

On the south coast with its lava rocks there are naturally formed pools of water, of which the Brimketill is best known. They look like hot tubs, but it's icy sea water. My photo shows a basin that is near the Brimketill.

The journey continued via Grindavik near the active volcano on Fagradalsfjall. The mountain from which the volcano could be seen is now surrounded by lava on both sides and is no longer accessible. But you can go to the valley into which the lava flows. There, too, you have an impressive natural spectacle. On the surface the lava is only lukewarm, but you can see from the smoke that it looks different underneath. Depending on how long the volcano is still active, it is possible that the valley will be flooded and the lava will destroy the main connecting road to the coast.

A little further there is another geothermal area, Seltún at Krýsuvík. The weather wasn't inviting, but it made the area even more eerie than it already is.

On the way back I drove near the blue lagoon over a gravel road to the little-visited volcanic chain Eldvörp. They are only small cones, but they do not hide their volcanic origin.

Finally, of course, a visit to the blue lagoon was due. The drained water in the rugged lava field looks a bit surreal.

There are no impressive waterfalls on Reykjanes, and no glaciers either. Nevertheless, the small round trip was worth it, and I would recommend every Icelandic traveler to have a look around there. There is more to discover there.

For those interested in technique

Opposite to my previous journey to Iceland I had my Fuji X system with me this time. The equipment consisted of two X-T2 cameras (one in reserve) and three zoom lenses. These were

  • Fujinon XF 2,8/8-16
  • Fujinon XF 2,8/16-55
  • Fujinon XF 2,8/50-140 witch 1,4x converter
All three lenses are weatherproof and offer excellent image quality. However, they are also considerably larger, heavier and more expensive than their smaller counterparts, without having to accept major compromises in terms of image quality. The super wide-angle zoom in particular is a large and expensive chunk, but less flexible than the XF 4 / 10-24, which also has an image stabilizer. The 8-16 zoom offers a much larger angle of view, but I've hardly used it to this extreme. It also has two other disadvantages besides weight, size and price. On the one hand, because of the curved front lens, it cannot be used with a regular gray filter, which is often necessary for landscape photography. Furthermore you have to change the lens more often because of the limited zoom range, which is problematic in bad weather. The weatherproof seal does not help here.
I have mixed feelings about the equipment I have chosen. Very good, but also bigger, heavier and more expensive than it has to be. But it is not really big and just fits into the compartment of my Evoc CP 18 backpack. It's relatively small and can still hold an raincoat in the upper compartment. In this respect, I can live with having opted for the best image quality for APS-C for this trip.
I supplemented the equipment with a Gitzo Traveler tripod GT1545T (Series 1 with 4 sections). It is expensive and not without problems either. In particular, the screwed-in parts occasionally loosen (rubber feet of the legs and the end plate of the center column), and the ball head developed for the traveller series is not as good as it should be. However, with a small pack size and low weight, it offers an excellent working height and stability, so that it will usually be my tripod of choice on future trips.

What people talk 2 Comments

7. November 2021 Mario A. Scarati

Noch einmal, habe ich mit extremem Interesse eine Foto Story von Herr Vorberg gelesen, und die entsprechenden Fotos nachgesehen. Alle Fotos dieser Fotochronik haben einen besonderen Charakter, und jedes Foto ergreift das Wesen dieser trostlosen und faszinierenden Orte. Ausserdem, ist zu bedenken die Schwierigkeit bei schlechten Wetterbedingungen diese kunstlerische Fotoarbeit zu machen.
Auch noch, ist die technische Beschreibung der verwendeten Fotoausrustung sehr komplett und interessant.
Mario S., Mailand

7. November 2021 ewald

Vielen lieben Dank, Mario!
Es freut mich immer, wenn meine Bilder geschätzt werden. Island ist so faszinierend, dass man gern tausend Bilder machen würde, aber wenn man sich auf das Wesentliche konzentriert kann man den Charakter der Landschaft besser vermitteln. Meist mache ich meine Landschaftsbilder ja mit der Hipstamatic – die kann sehr gut die Stimmung einfangen. In Farbe ist es etwas schwieriger, aber es geht auch.
Die Technik ist eigentlich ja nicht so wichtig, aber ich erfahre auch immer gern was wofür geeignet ist und gebe auch meine Erfahrungen gern weiter.
Herzlichen Dank nochmals für den Kommentar
Mit vielen Grüßen nach Mailand

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