Hvitserkur, Iceland by Michael Thomas

Picture Story

I have visited Iceland a half dozen times. There is simply such a variety of landscapes that I'm drawn to return there. And it is a big island, the size of the US state of Virginia. It doesn’t hurt that it is convenient to those of us living on the east coast of the US. My favorite trip was a two week circumnavigation of the island with my wife in a small camper in summer.

One of our planned stops was the sea stack at Hvitserkur. Variously known as the Troll of Northwest Iceland, Dinosaur Rock, and Rhino Rock, it’s about 15 meters tall and fully exposed at low tide. To me it looks like the body of an elephant with the head of a Scottish terrier getting a drink of water. What I didn’t know until after my visits is that it is resting on a concrete foundation that locals poured to keep it from falling into the sea. Luckily the base isn’t obvious and doesn’t detract from images. Hvitserkur is about 30km from the Ring Road on a dirt/gravel road easily traveled by regular sedans. Visitors can access the beach either by scrambling down the steep slope from the observation deck or by taking walking paths that gradually lead down to the ends of the beach.

We arrived near sunset as the tide was going out, revealing wonderful ripples in the black sand beach. The sky had lovely cloud formations that were rapidly changing. I decided to do a number of long exposures as well as panoramas with my 24mm tilt-shift lens. I was so involved with the mechanics of this that I didn’t notice a fog bank rolling across the bay. Soon after, my fun came to an end so I climbed up the hill to our camper above the fog to a great display of pinks and blues in the sky above the landscape.

This shot is a 75 sec exposure through a 10 stop ND filter. The RAW file was processed in Lightroom.

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