Alice Springs Photographer Blog

Iceland Photography Blog 3 - Snowed in through to the blue sky

I’m back in Reykjavik feeling a little down that my drive is over but I’m always looking ahead.

Before I do move ahead and set of for the mountains to skiing I must digest the last week or more of my time here. The task is not really coming to me at the moment but persistence will get me there, as usual, one way or another.

From the last time I wrote I’ve driven more than 2/3rds of the country and spent pretty much all that time on the move photographing and meeting people. The latter being more of a task than in the south but still meeting people and trying to understand them. The northerners are to be quite honest much more reserved than the people of the south.

This might not be entirely an unbiased assessment as during my time in the north the initial rush of travel adrenaline did ware thin. At times I found myself lacking in drive and enthusiasm tho I did keep going and doing what I was here to do… and not take it for granted which makes me feel even worse. Damn I better go feed the parking meter, and it snowing again!

OK back at the computer, so yeah I was a bit up and down the last few days and regrettably took moments for granted. This often happens when travelling alone when the bubble bursts so while it was a part of my days as I mentioned earlier I kept to task and on track.  As the photos currently load onto the computer I can’t say that I have anything to be too down about.

From the east where I last wrote I spent 2 days snowed in by a noteworthy blizzard to people all over the country it would seem. Often when I would stop for supplies or try and spark up a conversation with a stranger along the way it was a popular topic. This wether event and the delay did not bother me as much as the hundreds of kilometers of ice covered roads that followed. Driving through the Eastern Fjords I could see little more than the foot of the mountains and crept along the main highway at a snails pace. I had only minimal experience driving in these conditions making it a very taxing day and a half drive. It was disappointing to be effectively missing this part of the country because of the weather but at least I was no longer stuck.

However, at times I wondered if driving in these conditions was the best thing to be doing. The reassuring sight of an Icelander on the highway approaching from behind, waiting till the next mildly safe passing area and then overtaking me with a speed I though ridiculous let me know that it was just my lack of experience that was making me doubt myself. If I persisted with cautious driving I’d make it in one piece and gain confidence through experience.

Having lost 2 days of travel I made the decision to skip the north east of the country. The weather had closed many roads in the area anyway so the decision didn’t dwell on me too long. Form the east I drove into the northern high country where the weather kept on with its bleak disposition as did I it would seem.

As night fell on that second day of driving the snow and the wind really start to become a challenge. As I tried to find a place to pull of the highway I would discover time after time that the rest areas were under more snow than I could drive me car into. The only option as I saw it was to keep driving even tho at times the only thing I could see was the reflection of the highway markers through the whiteness. I did at the end of this drive admit to myself that it was fun, possibly a little dangerous, but mostly fun.

The next day I discovered that I had stopped right in the middle of a plateau with almost nothing to see except the snow covered ground. I would have thought I’d see a little more than this but it wasn't snowing, I could see patches of sky and I really couldn’t have ask for more. I began driving for the day now heading westward and within no more than 15 minutes the road dropped into a valley. Lined with black volcanic rocks, pebbles, and snow, towered over by mountains of white with a sky of pale pastel hues it stopped me in my tracks.

The sun that morning peaked in and out of the clouds making quite a morning for photography. At one point in the morning as I was driving between locations a gust of wind picked up the fine dry powder snow and blew it into my open window. These backlit crystals produced a flickering of light like nothing I had experienced before and it did take me a few seconds to explain. This little moment of joy made everything the last few days of tense driving had produced in me fade away.

These few days in retrospect were all in a Icelandic winters expectations and for me a desert dweller from Alice Springs it took some good reckoning to put it into perspective. The photos from these few days really couldn't have told the story of what it was like to anyone who hasn't themselves tried to move around and work in such conditions.