Djupalonssandur Sea Stacks, Snaefellsnes, Iceland by Peter Clark

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Picture Story

The black lava Djúpalónssandur sea stacks are situated on the Snaefellsnes peninsula on the West coast of Iceland and the main stack is known as the Kerling or Troll Woman. Folklore has it that trolls are turned into stone when they see daylight and Kerling is said to represent a woman with a bundle of fish on her back. The black lava Pearl beach is made of small black smooth pebbles and is the site of the wreck of the British trawler the Epine GY7, of which little remains, which wrecked here in 1948. The weather can be atrocious on this part of the coast as it was when I first visited in February 2015 with high winds and a heavy sea pounding in.

I was immediately attracted to the potential of the sea stacks combined with the pounding surf and managed to find a relatively sheltered spot under a massive lava outcrop to set up my tripod. The scene basically composed itself with the smaller rocks providing a strong lead in to the main sea stack and I was not at all concerned that the horizon lay across the middle of the image as the sea stacks dominated. Attempts to capture the breaking waves with a fast shutter speed failed to impress and I resorted to using longer shutter speeds to smooth out the sea and was most satisfied with this image shot at 30 secs through a 9 stop ND filter.

This was my first visit to Iceland with photography in mind and it was unfortunately cut short when I slipped on ice at Kirkjufellsfoss the next day and broke my hip and spent the remainder of the trip in Reykjavik hospital. Nevertheless I became hooked on the country and have subsequently travelled there twice a year to date. My preference is for winter when the snow and the light combine to give amazing possibilities – if you can accept the subtleties of the Icelandic weather!

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