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The Snaefellsnes peninsula is a popular destination in Iceland, primarily for Kirkjufell, I suspect. Most folks take a clockwise tour of the peninsula, and there is plenty to see before arriving at that iconic mountain. If you enjoy seeing and photographing sea stacks and arches as I do, then Gatklettur, sometimes called Arnarstapi Arch, is worth a visit. It sits between the villages of Arnarstapi and Hellnar and is not far from the road. There is a viewing platform, but it is at an oblique angle to the arch, so it pays to move along the cliff edges to better frame the arch. My first two visits were in spring and summer under less than ideal conditions, so I was hoping the third would be the charm when I visited on a winter photography tour. Unfortunately even in February, winter wasn’t ready to visit the western coast except on the mountain tops and passes.
Since there was some color in the clouds and peeks of blue, I decided to use a long exposure. I also positioned myself so the distant mountains would be visible above the clifftop but could still include the foreground rocks in the composition. Despite the lack of snow in the foreground. I was very pleased with the result.
I’ve seen shots of the arch from sea level but wasn’t going to try to find a way down in heavy winter boots. Our tour leader would no doubt not have been too happy either. If you wish to shoot the arch at sunrise or sunset, there are small hotels in both Arnarstapi and Hellnar. Grundarfjörður near Kirkjufell is about an hour away and a better overnight stop if the mountain is your primary interest.
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Dimitri Vasileiou • Editor