Sandwich Day

Lake and mountain panorama in the Vatnaoldur region, Iceland.
Camera: Canon EOS 7D | Lens: EF-S17-85mm f/4-5.6 IS USM | Date: 25-08-2011 12:13 | Resolution: 5184 x 3456 | ISO: 100 | Exp. bias: 0 EV | Exp. Time: 1/60s | Aperture: 10.0 | Focal Length: 20.0mm (~32.4mm) | Location: St�ra-Fossvatn | State/Province: South | See map | Lens: Canon EF-S 17-85mm f4-5.6 IS USM

… and I don’t mean the nice ham and cheese one I had for lunch! :)

I asked for a less dramatic day today and got it. We started with a relatively short drive through a completely empty black sand desert. Apparently the sand and the layer of lava below it are so porous that the substantial rain and snow drain very rapidly through to the next non-porous layer. Combined with Iceland’s low temperatures and high winds this creates completely barren areas but where the water gathers they are dotted with large rivers and lakes providing oases of fertility, and welcome splashes of colour.

The weather was glorious, sunny, calm, even relatively warm (about 9C), and the visibility was amazing, with distant peaks and glaciers clearly visible.

During the middle of the day we moved into an area known as Vatnaoldur consisting of a large number of these lakes separated by slight ridges providing panoramic views from colourful foreground right to the mountains and glaciers in the background. Lunch was taken in a charming little spot by one of these lakes.

However, our guides, and Iceland, were just lulling us into a false sense of security. To get back we had to traverse another enormous desert area. This was an impressive demonstration of our drivers’ skills, as it occasionally meant navigating the jeeps over large areas of bare rock, and it provided a couple of interesting photo opportunities at interesting rock formations.

The wind was starting to get up, and by the time we made the last stop of the day (a waterfall, surprise, surprise) it was almost too strong to stand in holding a camera steady. However, the forecast is good and we’d had an excellent day, a real “desert sandwich”.

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