Iceland: Gaukshöfði, Vik, Laxa i Kjos, Strandarkirkja

In this blog post I will share 4 images, of 4 amazing locations in Iceland. Some well known and "touristy" others a little more undiscovered.

Gaukshöfði

A small detour from the Rte 32, a steep climb up the rocky cliffs — and you’re rewarded with fabulous views over the wide aquamarine Þjorsá river. In the distance is the low mound of Hekla volcano.The overlook point, with narrow trails on two rocky hills, perhaps 300 feet tall, is named for Gaukur, a 10th century resident of nearby Stong, a viking longhouse. The stories say he was murdered by his foster brother. Bones and weapons were found at the base of the cliffs, which everyone assumed must belong to the combatants.

Gaukshöfði

Vik

Iceland has several volcanic beaches along its coastlines, but Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach is by far the coolest and most famous on the island. It is easily accessible from the main road running through Vík í Mýrdal and taking a walk on the black sand beach is a must. Together With basalt columns, unique lava formations, towering cliffs, and caves the area is a nature lovers delight. 

Vik

Laxa i Kjos

The Laxa i Kjos is the centrepiece of one of the most stunning glacially forged valleys in Southern Iceland.  A narrow upper canyon splays into a gentle, peaceful, arable valley before cascading down the final falls and pools into the sea.  This exceptional river and its beautiful tributary can be reached within an hour’s drive from Reykjavik.

Laxa i Kjos

Strandarkirkja

Strandarkirkja is a Lutheran (Church of Iceland) parish church in Selvogur, on the southern coast of Iceland. The church, rising from the coast and pointing its tower towards the heavens, has been a beacon for those travelling at sea. It has more supporters all over the world than any other church in Iceland and is often referred to as the 'miracle church' with the locals' longstanding belief that it has profound, divine powers. Many miracles have been attributed to Strandarkirkja and there was a time when it was one of the richest churches in Iceland from the donations of Icelanders coming from all over the country in hopes of having their prayers and wishes realized.

Strandarkirkja

Too late for sunset.

I didn't expect to get away with a decent shot yesterday evening. Because I arrived to this local spot a little bit to late. Right after sunset. I though all color and detail in the sky was gone by the time I was there.

De Beegderheide. Probaly my favorite landscape location close to home.

Rushing out of the car getting all my gear ready, I didn't even look up the sky that much. Because I was, yeah rushing myself. As soon when I had me gear ready to go I started walking towards the waterfront, and actually really came to a sudden halt. Wow!!
How wrong was I? There was still quite some drama up in the sky! This fine image is the result of my amazement and awe admiration for gorgeous sunsets during sunset. Or in this case, a little bit after, haha.

Tech: Nikon D500 & Nikon 17-55mm F2.8 ED DX

Spring is here!

The temperatures are rising again, the trees and flowers are turning green and colorful again. People awake from their winter sleep and head out into nature. As much as I love the winter, Spring is always welcome. I just love the seasons, as they pass. They all bring their own beautiful assets to the table.

Therefore my wife and I decided it was time for a little bit of outdoor fun today. And we drove down to the south of the province that we live in (Limburg) To the town and area around Gulpen. Its so gorgeous. Super green, nice hills (which are rare in The Netherlands) and we just had the best weather for a decent hike. Below are some shots from our day in Gulpen, check them out. And if you ever are in the area be sure to make your way outside of the town for a bit, to get a amazing panoramic view over the town

*All shots in this blogpost were shot on my Iphone 8 and edited with the VSCO photo editor.

Panorama of Gulpen

Daytrip to Germany

So after not doing too much over the holiday times, with christmas and all that I recently thought it was time to go out on a decent daytrip again. Because it has been a while. Time to kick off the new year with a decent daytrip!!

Vertical panorama out of 11 separate shots.

Vertical panorama out of 11 separate shots.

My buddy Tom and me took off early in the morning again. To Germany. We spend the day at several locations. We started out down at the water over at the Rursee in the Eifel area. We went to the pretty town of Monschau, and to end the day we went to "Bieley" (that rock on the German/Belgian border where I've been before) We had some decent conditions for photographs. Not the sunset we were hoping for, but hey... at least it did not rain or anything. Take a look at the photographs below, and leave me some feedback/comments. Thank you!

Burg Eltz, Germany

Get ready for a bunch of photos from this amazing location in Germany. I drove up there with my friend Chris Kuik to catch the castle waking up to a new day. So without boring you with a lot of words, ill have the photographs do the talking for me. It was a nice early morning photography session, I can tell you that.

Here are the results. 

"Brand new" photographs from Iceland

Oh my! Today I was working on editing photographs for a beautiful wedding I shot earlier this year. And editing these wedding photos got me really in the mood to edit some more of my travel/landscape photographs. Although I have a lot of new content waiting to be processed and presented to you, for example: my recent trip to Denmark, Sweden and Germany last week. But even still, I always keep on scrolling through my Iceland maps on my PC. I think that I have edited most photos in these folders like multiple times. But I have only shared the "best" shots before. There's just something about these shots that makes me coming back to them and play around with new ideas how to create a nice look and feel.

Obviously this results in a lot of photographs that are just sitting on my computer and never being posted anywhere for you to see them. Well, today is the day that I decided to present you a selection of photographs from my Iceland trip back in June last year.

The very well known Kirkjufellsfoss waterfall just outside the town of Grundarfjörður.

The very well known Kirkjufellsfoss waterfall just outside the town of Grundarfjörður.

All, or at least most shots have never left my computer before. The most of the photographs you will see in this post were taken on the Snæfellsnes peninsula in the west of the country and in the more north western located Westfjords region. 

A very typical view down the number 61 road just outside of Hólmavík towards Ísafjörður in the Westfjords. 

A very typical view down the number 61 road just outside of Hólmavík towards Ísafjörður in the Westfjords. 

As soon as you leave the town of Hólmavík going up north deeper into the Westfjords you will make this climb up onto this plateau that is snow covered for at least a decent amount, all year round. Temperatures were also quite low, even in June. Back in Hólmavík it was 16 degrees Celsius and sunny for example. Only to meet temperatures just above freezing point as soon as I got up on the highest point of the climb. I loved it, these temperatures and the not so sunny but moody weather hit the feels, and made me really enjoy Iceland in all its pureness.

Little and beautiful church in Breiðabólstaðar on Snæfellsnes

Little and beautiful church in Breiðabólstaðar on Snæfellsnes

Churches, those small beautiful and very typical Icelandic countryside churces. They are everywhere. From the famous church in Vik down in the south to the ones that almost nobody even knows about them being there. this particular one in Breiðabólstaðar on Snæfellsnes being one of them. Its is literally located in the middle of nowhere. It is located on the road between Búðardalur and Stykkishólmur. Its serving a bunch of farms that are spread out in the area surrounding the church. Walking up to it, hearing nothing but the wind. No people, no cars, just me and this holy place in beautiful Iceland really moved me. I am not super religious or something, but there is no denying the beauty of these small houses of God. Especially those in Iceland that look like this, right?  

You will see a lot of (old and new) bridges crossing these streams or river, throughout the country.

You will see a lot of (old and new) bridges crossing these streams or river, throughout the country.

Iceland is rough, and it can be rough to travel and get around. Not as much as it used to be back in the days ofcourse. But I can only imagine how times were before people had the ring road, or even cars to go from place to place. A fundamental piece to the puzzle for Icelanders (and tourists these days) to travel the country are bridges. And just like the churches, a lot of them. Basically every stream or flow of water you see close to a road will have a or even multiple bridges. There are these very photogenic bridges that are not in use anymore that really make a little stop for a few shots a must for whenever you are exploring the country. This particular bridge is located just north from Búðardalur next to the road towards and coming from the Westfjords.

Snowcapped mountain peaks on Snæfellsnes

Snowcapped mountain peaks on Snæfellsnes

The Snæfellsnes area is often called "mini-Iceland" because it has every kind of landscape that you can find on other places in the country. Glaciers, fjord like bays, lava fields, sharp peaks, black beaches, waterfalls and quite some lakes just to name a few. Below are a few more shots taken in Snæfellsnes.

Driving on Snæfellsnes is great fun, there's plenty of decent and paved roads that will take you to the most know places, like Kirkjufellsfoss and Arnarstapi. But there are also quite a lot of these rough gravel roads. These are the roads that I enjoyed driving the most. Less people (at least tourists) use them so its usually quite nice to be able to slowly make your way on these twisting and turning and sometimes challenging roads. Behind every corner hides a marvelous view towards the sea, or the mountains or anything else amazing Iceland will throw at you. Take your time and enjoy these sights instead of just always following the "easy roads"

Driving on Snæfellsnes is a great experience, it can be tricky sometimes. But you get treated with breathtaking views!

Driving on Snæfellsnes is a great experience, it can be tricky sometimes. But you get treated with breathtaking views!

the town of Grundarfjörður on the right, as seen from the Kirkjufellsfoss waterfall. 

the town of Grundarfjörður on the right, as seen from the Kirkjufellsfoss waterfall. 

To end this blog in style I thought it'd be cool to show you a shot from the same location as the first photo in this blog post. Although the same location this photograph looks quite a bit different. All I did is just move away from shooting the very beautiful but intensely photographed waterfall and mountain. I just aimed my camera a bit more to the right to reveal the little town of Grundarfjörður in the distance. Grundarfjörður is a very nice and small fishing village that is growing in population as we speak. It is still a small town though, there are about 875 people living in Grundarfjörður if I am correct. It is very popular due to the mountain and waterfall laying just right outside the town. Anyways, the real story behind this photo is; Don't always go for the classic shot, look around, try to use some different angles and come up with some other shots. There is probably so much more to capture then just that one frame you had in mind, Get creative!

Thank you for checking out my site and reading this blog. Leave a comment and a like, and feel free to share. That means a lot to me.

þakka þér kærlega fyrir! / Thank you very much

Hoge Venen & Bieley

Last week we had a public holiday, Kings-day. We celebrated the 50th birthday of our King. I had this day off just like many other Dutch people. I went and celebrated this day, you guessed it... Not in The Netherlands, haha. Instead of staying home I got into my car and drove off southbound. Into the Hoge Venen in Belgium and in Germany. I have always wanted to pay a proper visit to this area. And the weather was pretty good, skies full with nice clouds so off I went.

I first made my way down to this area just down south of Monschau, Germany. I have seen some photos of this rock called the "Bieley" and I was quite curios to how it would look and what kind of photographic perspective it offered over the valley beneath. I have seen a few photographs that looked promising. And boy, was I right. I had to walk for a few kilometers over some well organized paths through the forest to finally come up to a much smaller and "less traveled" path. At first I was skeptical to take this path and see where it would end up. Although I was pretty sure that this was going towards the rock I was looking for. So off I went deeper and deeper into the woods. All of a sudden I saw the rock peep out between the trees and overlooking this little valley beneath. Breathtaking place. With a little stream curving and finding its way through the valley. Surrounded by mighty pine forests. On top of this rock it really felt as if I was in the Alps or something. Really spectacular viewpoint and location. It was so good to be alone for a bit, taking in the environment around me and enjoying it. This place is so good to photograph, everywhere you look there's great shots waiting to be captured.

After making my way back to the car I decided to drive back home through Belgium. And I had a little stop in "Parc naturel Hautes Fagnes - Eifel" close to Ternell.
I got out the car and shot some more photographs in these great forests that are all around you in this area. The road that I drove crosses these massive woods. You really feel like you are alone with nature, something I really love and makes me feel comfortable. With everything. A nice way to spend a day off and an even better way to recharge. 

“Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.” – Gustave Flaubert

Out and About 1: Leudal

Hi all, I am going to start this series of blogs called "Out and About" This series will be blog posts about National Parks and other great outdoor locations in and around the area where I live. I will be showing you some of the most known, and lesser known spots and places in these areas.

So today I went to "Het Leudal" which is a beautiful nature reserve in the municipality of Leudal, In The Netherlands
Leudal is a municipality with close to 40.000 people living in it. With it being the biggest municipality in Central Limburg it is still very green, and has this great outdoor feel to it. No big overcrowded cities or busy highways here. The nature reserve is quite big (for Dutch standards) It extends over 900 hectares. And is filled with beautiful forests, little streams, wide open fens and plenty of hiking trails. Great place to forget everything around you, and breathe some fresh air.

Below are some photographs that I've taken today, all of them were taken between "Heythuysen" "Roggel" and "Haelen". All three are towns located in and around "Het Leudal" The nature reserve is much bigger then the tiny area I covered today, perhaps I have to dedicate a second "Out and About" blog to "Het Leudal" to cover some more areas of this place, and show you some more beauty of it through photographs!

The weather was quite dramatic today, a bit windy, heavy clouds. But that all made for quite dramatic conditions, conditions that I like to be out in. And that really work for landscape photography. Enjoy!