Reykjanes Peninsula

Iceland is well known for it's stunning landscapes and seascapes, and is turning into one of the most heavily photographed places. Finding unique and places or different approaches to Iceland is not a easy challenge. During my visit I was recommended by my Icelandic family members to visit the Reykjanes Peninsula and the lighthouse Reykjanesviti. Since this is not one of the most photographed places, I honestly had no clue what to expect. Of course I did some research first, and I was surprised how beautiful this place was. 

The Natural Light Bleed

Now, just because the Reykjanes Peninsula isn't one of the most touristic places, doesn't mean that there isn't tons of images taken there already. I found great pleasure in enjoying a place like this without crowds of tourists nearly walking on top of me or taking a selfie right infront of my camera. 

The Reykjanes Peninsula glowing during a intense sunset.

The Reykjanes Peninsula glowing during a intense sunset.

The image on the right is taken from the parking area, which at the moment was empty. When arriving the light was getting better and better for every minute, and at this moment I knew that this trip would result in some great images. Day 1 and a sunset like this, how great is that? 
When I was taking this image I couldn't help thinking of Ryan Dyar's Light bleed technique, a method I find really nice when used correctly. I guess this was nature's own light bleed, so saturated that parts of the image needed to be desaturated in the processing. 

Photographing from this ledge wasn't a shoot without challenges, the combination of strong winds and huge weaves hitting the cliffs led to my lens getting sprayed with water. Between every shot I had to wipe my filters to get a image where you could actually see the scenery. Wipe, shoot, wipe, shoot, wipe, shoot..

Exploring New Approaches

Reykjanes-sunset-beach

After getting the shots I wanted from this spot, people slowly started to arrive to the parking lot. As more and more people came, I decided to climb down the ledge and head down to the beach facing a huge rock that caught my attention when arriving. I spent probably an hour or so down by the water, and to my surprise not one person came anywhere near me. Either people were scared of getting to close to these rough weaves, or people are just lazy. I guess most people aren't interested in seeing something else than what they have already seen online. 

Having the beach for myself isn't something I'm complaining about at all, on the contrary it was fantastic to be able to enjoy this by myself. After almost falling a couple times on slippery rocks, while walking around with the camera mounted on the tripod, I found this pond reflecting the sunset that was still glowing. Again I was mesmerised by the beauty displayed in front of me, remembering it still was day 1! 

Some times you visualise the end product when you are shooting, but often the end product turns out quite different. This time was the opposite, it turned out exactly as what I visualised at that moment. To fully utilise the pond, I decided to go for a low composition. With the big rocks on the side, I felt the focus point already was working in my advantage.       

Small pond reflecting the intense sunset at the Reykjanes Peninsula

Small pond reflecting the intense sunset at the Reykjanes Peninsula

The Rugged Landscape

When walking down to the beach, I notised a really dramatic landscape that I had to photograph. But I knew that with such a dramatic foreground, a beautiful and colourful sunset wouldn't be the best option. Capturing this scene in the darkening sky would create a much greater atmosphere. Knowing this, and hoping I would be right, I decided to wait capturing this scene until I was done at the other places I had spotted. 

Rugged landscape at the Reykjanes Peninsula

Rugged landscape at the Reykjanes Peninsula

The rough and rugged landscape looked even more dramatic in the desaturating sky than I had imagined, and for the third time during this session my jaw remained dropped.

The "broken cliffs" made a excellent foreground, and walking around on them in the constantly darker light was just as exciting, especially since I paid more attention on finding a good composition rather than watching where I put my feet! By small margins I managed to stay on the surfaces and both me and my camera left without a scratch! 

To this day I am amazed that it is possible to get this amount of shots that I feel really pleased with, during just one session. I remember telling my father earlier that day, that it wasn't sure I would get even one shot during all of the trip that was worth keeping, because you never really now how the conditions will be on Iceland this time of the year. Boy was I wrong! 

After being at this place, I've been doing some research about it and also looked at many images. I have still not found any similar shots to the ones taken away from the parking area. Being able to find somewhat unique compositions and approaches to places like this makes me proud and motivates me to keep exploring and hunting for new approaches. There is nothing wrong in taking some "classic images", but I could never imaging going to a place to get a image as similar as possible as something I've seen a thousand times before! 

Thank you for reading, everyone! Be sure to follow my journeys on Instagram and Facebook