Vestrahorn, Stokksnes, Iceland by Maarten Venter

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Picture Story

As an amateur photgrapher my aim was to capture at least one memorable photo during my visit to Iceland in February this year. Nothing could prepare me for enjoying the vastness of this unspoiled natural site. Vestrahorn is a perfect place for photography and quiet contemplation. The shore features stunning lava dunes, that are constantly shaped by the natural forces of water and wind. Down towards the water, it is possible to get a perfect reflections in the wet black sand.

Having visited the site during the day we were hoping for some solar activity at night and as luck will have it, the predictions were pretty good. Vestrahorn is a short 10 minute drive from Hofn a small nearby village. I set up on the roadside overlooking the golden grass covered black dunes. In the foreground, a thin layer of ice covering the black sand and in the distance the wet sand perfectly reflecting and illuminating the middle of the scene. In the far distance the lighthouse at Estrahorn is visible. The night sky was crisp and clear. I waited in anticipation.

At first a faint 'fog' appeared in the distance in the direction of Estrahorn. Slowly the sky was turning to a soft mint green and then the color was getting stronger and more vivid.

This particular photo was taken at the early stages around 5 minutes from the start. I found 20 seconds exposure was good enough to avoid getting elongated stars and still allow enough light to capture the beauty and detail of the scene.
Once the camera was set up and the correct camera settings selected it was really just sitting back, enjoy the show whilst clicking away. The spectacle lasted about 45 minutes.

Experiencing Iceland in winter was in stark contrast to living in the Arabian desert. I will return to Iceland to explore more of this remarkable landscape during summer months.


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