Day 7/10 – Part 1/2

Skaftafell National Park

This morning I’m taking things easy again. The sky is overcast so I’m not in a hurry. Today I will continue to Höfn on the south coast. It’s only 230 km this time and I have only one goal: Skaftafell National Park with Svartifoss. Around 09:30 I’m on my way after a rather meager breakfast of two thin sandwiches. Imcomparable with the experiences earlier this week. They are also kind of inpersonal here. Haven’t seen a smile since coming. Just like I’m only a pain in the ass or something. Well mayby that is just the case.

This part of the south coast is a lot more beautiful then the part I drove yesterday. Much more variation. While driving I shoot a couple of videoclips again.

Earlier than expected I’m arriving at the national park. Svartifoss is a beautiful waterfall situated in an amfitheater of basalt pilars. I’ve seen it before. This time I also want to visit the glacier nearby. Last time I’ve followed a long path to the base of the glacier but there was nothing interesting to see. It seems I have to follow path number 6 for 6.5 kilometers to see both the waterfall and the glacier. It will take approximately 2.5 – 3 hours. The trail ascends for a couple of hundred meters and is muddy because of all the rain of the past weeks.

After a banana and a few gulps of water, I’m starting the walk. After 10 minutes already I can shed off the first sweater. You generate so much heat while climbing. Along the route are a number of waterfalls, but non are easy to photograph. Too many bushes in front of them. I’m doubting about one of them for a while, which does seem like a possible candidate, but a lot of branches stick into view from the underside. Maybe if I lift the tripod to it’s maximum position, but then it will become very difficult to get everything sharp into view. I let it go for now. Maybe next time.

Svartifoss comes into view soon after. First a couple of photographs from a distance.

Svartifoss

Zooming in a little for a cleaner picture.

Svartifoss

Then continue to the water. Whatever striking it always looks on photographs, it’s quite a small falls in real life. There are many folks out here. A few minutes ago, a large party of walkers have landed here. One of them is stamping a bit rude on the ice with his size 48 (European) and plunges through. That one has a wet flipper hehehe and can return with a soaking foot.

I wait for most of them to have left and get my own spot. Soon after I enter a kind of flow. Very different from the hectic feeling I experienced yesterday. Completely focussed I shoot them one by one. Both left…

Svartifoss

… and right provide for nice compositions.

Svartifoss

Although I like to shoot water with slow shutterspeeds, like the photograph above, sometimes it’s also a good idea to combine a couple of photographs with shorter shuttertimes in camera like this one.

Svartifoss

To be honest I have to admit that the sky in all Svartifoss photos has been replaced by a sky of another photo, shot in Australia. I’m not ashamed because of it though. For me it’s all about the final image and not about the weather of the day. Today the sky is completely white and that causes the photos to be flat and boring. While processing the photos, this is what keeps attracting my attention and just screams for an improvement. It’s just a matter of trying to find the right color and intensity in my large collection of photos. Some look applicable but appear to be too bright when applied. After a while I’ve found the right type of blue, one that fits the weak todays light. I almost never need this kind of change, but these photos definitely do need it.

Shooting these videoclips is starting to get default behaviour. They are so easy to get, because the camera is already in the right position. Colossal ice pinnacles are hanging next to the waterfall.

Svartifoss

These are a couple of photographs worthy.

Svartifoss

Just like the pipes of the organ in a church.

Svartifoss

Very nice.

Svartifoss

Now I have to continue further upwards to the glacier. This is the spot where both my shoes desintegrated the last time I was here. Quite bizar. The shoes fell completely apart within 50 meters walking. Really comfortable if you have to walk that whole stretch down over boulders and rocks. Bare feet is not an option. I believe I bound the remains together with my shoe laces and continued shuffling down carefully. This also was the only pair of shoes I had with me. A pair of slippers was the only alternative but these lost parts soon after as well. Luckily this all happened during the last days. Almost arrived back home bare feet (-;

This time they are much newer, so I hope they will keep up. The trail continues via a coiling path through a heather field: the Austurheidar.

Austurheidar

That large loop in the trail reflects some kind of serenity, but the many details and brown tints in the previous photo have something as well. Still not sure which one I like most. The river on the plains in the back seems to continue the trail in the foreground. This didn’t occur to me before.

Austurheidar

There is absolutely no wind and the view is fantastic. Behind me the mountains, in front of me the drainage area towards the ocean and the glacier is already coming into view from the left. I shoot a 360 movie at this point as well.

Quite unexpected I stumble upon a waterfall I didn’t know about. I just can’t leave it undocumented.

Austurheidarfoss

It appears to be the Austurheidarfoss, in other words the waterfall of the eastern heather.

Austurheidarfoss

Then I continue towards the glacier.

Maps, Charts & Downloads

GPS Map with color coded altitude information

Color coded distance/altitude chart

Color coded distance/altitude chart, Iceland Winter 2013, Day 07

Download the original gpx file here.

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