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Hveravellir (Icelandic “field of springs”) is located in the remote Kjölur valley, between the icy volcanic domes of the Longjökull and Hofsjökull glaciers. At first sight, the lava flats here seemed bare and unexciting, but wisps of steam seeped out of the cracked terrain to reveal this as one of Iceland’s most active hotspots. From the visitors’ lodge, a wooden boardwalk took you around the geothermal area, about the size of a football field, and enveloped in shifting clouds of steam, as sheep wandered through, oblivious.
The main attraction was Bláhver (“blue spring”), a milky-blue hot pool that appeared to almost glow under the overcast skies. The clouds of steam immediately posed a photographic challenge; the wind direction was causing the vapour to obscure what I considered to be the optimum perspective of the pool from the safety of the boardwalk. Daylight was quickly fading, and it was time to call it a day.
Returning at dawn the next morning, it was apparent the wind had abated and changed direction overnight. The steam was now being pushed away to clearly reveal the pool in all its serene, cerulean glory. I had noticed the evening before that the edges of the pool were encrusted with white salt deposits that formed a bright, irregular margin, contrasting with the surrounding dark terrain.
Responding to the horizontal oval perspective of the pool, I decided to place the tripod towards the left edge of the boardwalk. To my eye, this balanced the visual weight of the pool with the foreground area of interest in the bottom right of the image. Finally, this implied diagonal axis was suddenly given focal perspective at the top left of the image, when the clouds parted on the eastern horizon to reveal a thin slice of silver dawn.
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