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Iceland

A Visit to the Land of Fire and Ice in the Shadow of Bardarbunga

Story by Mike Levine May 31st, 2015

Waiting on Bardarbunga

The earth around us alive with earthquake, volcanic and geothermal activity, we took the ring road around the circumference of the island on a 9-day journey. On our return to Reykjavik I spent a day on a photo tour of the Snaefellsnes Peninsula. With a population of only 326,000, and a landscape shaped by extreme earth forces and weather, Iceland was a wide-open playground for my camera.

Before we left the Bardarbunga Volcano kept threatening to erupt but when it finally did there was no ash and was not a threat to air travel. While we were there Bardarbunga kept erupting and no one was allowed to get close except by air. Sometimes late at night you could see the red glow from the eruption off in the distance.

Waterfalls

There are waterfalls everywhere you look in Iceland. They cascade down the mountains fed by glaciers and other sources. These were some of the more magnificent ones.

Gooafoss
Dettifoss
Some kids at Dettifoss taking a selfie right at the edge.
Seljalandsfoss.
 You can walk behind this one.
Skogarfoss
Snaefellsnes Peninsula

Geothermal

Iceland is geologically active with many volcanoes and geysers. With the widespread availability of geothermal power, and the harnessing of many rivers and waterfalls for hydroelectricity, most residents have access to inexpensive hot water, heating and electricity. All these photos were taken at Namaskaro with bubbling sulphuric mud springs, geysers and crazy clouds from Bardarbunga swirling around.

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landscapes

I think Iceland wins the prize for the sheer variety of landscapes that reveal so much about how they were formed if you know where to look for the geological clues.

Dyrholaey Beach on the Southern Coast of Iceland
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Glacial Lagoon
I had never been this close to a glacier before; you could reach out and touch it.
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Bardarbunga is about 50 miles from this spot behind those mountains.
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False Crater
Lava field with rock that bent from the intense heat as the lava cooled.
Snaefellsnes Peninsula coastline
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structures and farms

As we traveled around Iceland, I couldn’t help but notice how many abandoned farmhouses and other structures there were. Farming is not easy in Iceland and the country was hit hard by the 2008 recession and financial crisis.

Black Church on the Snaefellsnes Peninsula
We stopped at the farm where our tour guide grew up.
Old Church on the Snaefellsnes Peninsula
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Old Farmhouse on the Snaefellsnes Peninsula
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Church at Laufas Iceland
Trolls are an important part of Icelandic legends. These trolls were in Akureyri, largest city in the North.
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Icelandic horses on our tour guide’s farm.
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Mike and Sumi somewhere in Iceland
Footnote: All photos taken by Mike Levine with a Sony NEX-7 camera.
Iceland