Vestrahorn Reflections, Stokksnes, Iceland by William Butler

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Picture Story

We had been driving all day, stopping frequently to photograph ponies, mountains, and waterfalls. Of eighteen days touring Iceland, this was one of the three days where rain, sleet, snow, blizzards, and a winter cyclone were in abeyance. Yes, I said winter cyclone. In it, we suffered through sustained winds of 140 miles per hour with gusting to 170 miles per hour, all the while hunkering down in a very pleasant hotel. Let’s face it, we were ready for some nice weather. Within 48 hours of the cyclone, we rolled onto the famed black sand Stokksnes beaches at the foot of Vestrahorn mountain.

It was late afternoon. The sky had nary a cloud while the wind was whipping the ocean and rippling the seawater puddles. It was crisp and it was cold. We gathered together for a brief information huddle, discovering the celebrated nature of this setting. Shortly thereafter, our guide set us free and our photo-tourist group split apart like the blossoming burst of light from a fireworks’ mortar. Each photographer swiftly jockeying for the best location. Me, one of two novices, having little experience, found myself wandering about taking in the magnificent scenery. Well, I just happened upon a small puddle that was both at once serene and silky. That lasted but a moment. I snapped the picture as a gust broke the calm, easily seen coming in from the right. Off in the distance, one of our real photographers can be seen with a tripod, giving scale to this stunning winter landscape.

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