Iceland In Winter

I have made two previous expeditions to photograph in Iceland, but both were in the summer. The sun rises and sets from the south in the winter, which results in different possibilities in addition to the winter scenes. We were there for about 10 days at the end of January.

We began our trip going to the Snaefellness Peninsula to photograph the iconic little black church that is on the southern coast. We were there in time for a wonderful sunrise, which gave us some great light on some of the surrounding mountains there.

Iceland, Snaefellness, Peninsula, Black, Church, Sunrise
Morning Beams : Prints Available

Iceland, Snaefellsness, Peninsula, Sunrise, Mountains, Ocean
Snaefellsness Sunrise : Prints Available
Iceland, Snaefellsness, Peninsula, Mountains, Clouds, Winter
Winter Peaks : Prints Available

From there we moved on to the waterfalls in front of the mountain known as Kirkjufell, which we were able to capture as the sun was close to setting behind us. I think I still prefer the colors at this location in the summer, but winter has its own appeal.

Iceland, Kirkjufell, kirkjufellfoss, waterfall, river, sunset, mountain
Smiling Sunset

On our way to the southern coast of the island, we stopped at a thermal geyser area known simply as Geysir. After an overnight stay, we were able to capture the eruption of the geyser in the morning with the sun rising behind it. The sun lit up the edges of the geyser spray with it’s warm, orange light. It was exactly what we had hoped for.

Iceland, Geysir, geyser, Sunrise
Geysir Sunrise : Prints Available

Our next stop was the sea stacks off the coast near the town of Vik at what is called Black Rock Beach. Rather than sand, the beach is made up entirely of small black stones. It isn’t much easier to walk in than sand, but it is very attractive.

Iceland, Vik, Black, Rock, Beach, Sea, Stacks, Sunset
Black Beach Sunset : Prints Available

Near the beach is one of the iconic waterfalls called Seljalandsfoss. Although my favorite image of Iceland is of this waterfall in the summer, I was pleased with how well it works in the winter. There may not be a bad time to capture this scene.

Iceland, Seljalandsfoss, waterfall, winter
Winter Falls : Prints Available

Also on the southern coast is the famous glacier lagoon at Jokularson. Ice calves off of the glacier and floats out of a canal to the ocean and is then washed up onto the black sand beach. The goal is to capture a long exposure of the water running past the icebergs back into the ocean.

Iceland, Jokulsarlon, iceberg, sunrise, ocean
Ice Whale : Prints Available

Iceland, Jokulsarlon, icebergs, lagoon, ocean, sunrise
Side Flow : Prints Available
Iceland, iceberg, Jokulsarlon, lagoon, ice, sunrise, beach
Three Berg Morning : Prints Available

One of the things that you can do in the winter, but not in the summer, is photograph inside one of the ice caves that is underneath a glacier. This was definitely on my list as I had never done this before. The following are two photos from the ice cave, with one showing another person in it for scale. These caves can be huge!

Iceland, Ice, Cave, Blue
Huge And Blue : Prints Available

Iceland, Ice, Cave, Sun, Light
Into The Light : Prints Available

A trip to Iceland just wouldn’t be complete without photographing the Icelandic horses. We spent some time with the owner of one of the farms that had quite a few horses. It was a special experience and we had some very close access to them. They can be extremely friendly and will walk right up to you. We learned a lot about them and how to properly interact with them.

Iceland, Icelandic, Horses, Winter, Snow
Looking Back : Prints Available

Iceland, Horses, Icelandic
Hello There : Prints Available

I leave for Norway on February 10 to return to the Lofoten Peninsula. I was there last year and the scenes of the mountains by the sea covered in snow along with the little red cabins was just so special that I had to go back to it one more time. There is snow in the forecast as I write this, which definitely has me itching to leave.

Thanks for looking and feel free to share. You can also follow the journey on Facebook for more current photographs that may not be on the blog. https://www.facebook.com/JosephFilerPhotography

Oregon Again!

After a couple of years of talking about it, my sister was finally able to accompany me on one of my photo expeditions. We had a fantastic time together and the search for images almost became unimportant.

We started this expedition in northern Oregon around the Columbia River Gorge. We were disappointed that the trails and waterfalls around the Gorge were still closed off due to the Eagle River fires of 2017. We did make one afternoon trip down to Trillium Lake for sunset before moving up our schedule to head to central Oregon.

The calm conditions at Trillium Lake were just what we had hoped for, but we didn’t figure in all the people that would be at the lake on a Saturday afternoon enjoying various summer activities. The kayaks and paddleboarders didn’t do the reflection any favors, but I do feel this image conveys the enjoyment of being out there with others to enjoy a great sunset.

Oregon, Trillium, Lake, Sunset
Summer Sunset : Prints Available

We moved on to central Oregon, basing in the town of Sisters, which is a wonderful little town northwest of Bend and close to the rivers and waterfalls we were targeting. There is a section of the McKenzie River, that for some reason, has a bright and deep blue color to it. You would think from looking at the images that it couldn’t really be that colorful and that I increased the color. The river really does have that much color!

Sahalie Falls is a large and powerful waterfall that you start out quite close to. To get the scene right, the trick is to get back from the falls to include the river. It’s a slippery, muddy climb down the embankment and you risk falling in the river, but the result is worth it!

Oregon, McKenzie River, Sahalie, Falls
Sahalie Falls : Prints Available

Just up the trail from Sahaile Falls is a wonderful log footbridge that goes over the river. I simply cannot pass up bridges like this. It was not possible to find a place along the river to photograph it from there, so I decided on an image of the bridge itself. As it turns out, this may have been good fortune, as I really like the image.

Oregon, McKenzie, River, bridge, wood
Summer Crossing : Prints Available

Our next target on the river was Koosah Falls. Photographing these falls was the biggest challenge of the trip. It was an extremely steep, muddy and root filled scramble down a steep 50 foot embankment to get in position. I wasn’t sure if I should do it, but I really wanted to capture this image. I was absolutely thrilled with the result and equally happy to make it back up the embankment to the trail.

Oregon, River, McKenzie, Waterfall
Koosah Blue : Prints Available

We searched for every possible location to access the McKenzie River and there was only one more that we found, at the end of the river before it poured into a reservoir. There wasn’t really a marked trail, but I could see that if I crawled under and over some downed trees, I could get to a small area with a great view up the river. I can’t begin to say how thrilled I was to find this spot. I have never seen it photographed from here before. The colors were vivid and the view spectacular.

Oregon, McKenzie, River, Blue
Blue Rush : Prints Available

Next up will be the Grand Canyon in mid-August during the monsoon storm season. I am hoping to capture some lightning images over the canyon along with some great sunrises and sunsets. This is another one that has been on my list for a while.

Thanks for looking and feel free to share. You can also follow the journey on Facebook for more current photographs that may not be on the blog. https://www.facebook.com/JosephFilerPhotography

Iceland Waterfalls & Canyons

Kelly and I went to Iceland four years ago, but it is too much to cover in one trip so we finally made our return in July. I had done much more research and planning this time so I wouldn’t leave out anything of importance. The first trip is always one of learning and you try to fill in what you missed on the second trip.

Road 1, or “the ring road”, circles the island. I really wanted to travel the entire road, which we did this time, driving clockwise around the island and over 2,000 miles during the 10 days we were there. This enabled us to photograph Godafoss, the largest waterfall, which is on the north side of the island.

There are challenges to photographing in Iceland. I can’t begin to pronounce any of the names of the locations. It is an old Viking language that seems closer to Klingon than anything else I am familiar with. Fortunately, cell phones and the internet works most everywhere so Google Maps on the phone kept us from getting lost. We didn’t have that advantage four years ago. Summer days are about 20 hours long, food and restrooms can be hard to find and some of the driving on the winding, two lane ring road is crazy. But who cares, we were in Iceland!

Flight delays in and out of New York’s JFK airport caused us to get there a day late and miss our first night near Kirkjufellfoss, but we cut short another location at the end and got there and had great success. You just have to be flexible with your schedule.

In the end, we accomplished our goals and came away with the images we were hoping for. There are definite some that will wind up on the wall. The person in the red jacket at the base of the waterfall is Kelly. She got a little wet, but it made the shot adding scale.

Next up will be an expedition in August to Maine to photograph some of the famous lighthouses there.

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Godafoss Sunrise : Prints Available
iceland, waterfall, godafoss, sunrise
The Curve Of Godafoss : Prints Available
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Hobbit Canyon : Prints Available
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Canyon Color Spectrum : Prints Available
iceland, waterfall, haifoss
Twin Fall Canyon : Prints Available
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Icelandic Cascades : Prints Available
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Pure Power : Prints Available
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Skogafoss Curl : Prints Available
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Seljalandsfoss Sunset : Prints Available
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Kirkjufell Sunrise : Prints Available
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Triple Falls : Prints Available

Spring In Oregon

When you think of Spring, you usually think of April. Flowers are blooming, the trees are lush and green, snow is still on the mountains and the water is flowing in the waterfalls. After some considerable thought as to where to go, Oregon was the choice to capture all of this.

We started with a couple of days on the coast hoping for some cool Pacific sunsets. It just wasn’t happening, so we headed inland for the Spring time targets.

First, we stopped at Silver Falls State Park, as I wanted to photograph Middle North Falls, which we had not done before. To get close the ferns for the foreground, I had to setup where water from an overhead outcropping was dripping heavily on my back. I was warm so I didn’t pack the waterproof jacket for the hike. Live and learn, I suppose.

Next, we headed out to the Columbia River Gorge. In spite of previous trips there, we had not photographed Latourell Falls, a thin, but very tall waterfall. As I stood there, I couldn’t help wondering why we had not taken the time to work this beautiful waterfall before.

The creeks in the Gorge are surrounded by such lush greenery, and to me, are much more attractive than those in the east that I grew up with. Along Gorton Creek, there is this wonderful footbridge that crosses it. The light was great and it made a captivating image.

Mount Hood was magnificently still covered in snow from the winter. We drove what seemed like every backroad there was on the north side looking for an open view where it would not be hidden by trees. On the last dirt road we tried, there was a clean pasture with a view. Persistence does pay off.

In the hills a few miles east of the Gorge, the flowers were in full bloom. It only lasts for a couple of weeks and we were fortunate to be there at the peak of color. We managed to find a couple of nice compositions, one with the yellow Balsam Root flowers under a really neat tree in the morning and another with them facing us in the sunset. This may be my favorite of the trip!

Next up in May are the Canadian Rockies. It should be early enough to still have snow on the mountains, but late enough for side roads to be open. At least that’s the plan.

Thanks for looking and please feel free to share. If you haven’t already, please “Like” our Facebook page to get more up-to-date reports on our expeditions.

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Water Drapes : Prints Available
Oregon, Latourell Falls, Waterfall
Spring Drama : Prints Available
Oregon, Columbia, River, Gorge, Gorton Creek
The Crossing : Prints Available
Oregon, Mount Hood,
Morning At Mount Hood : Prints Available
Oregon, Rowena Crest, Columbia River,  Gorge, flower, sunset
Rowena Sunset : Prints Available
Oregon, Rowena Crest, Columbia Gorge, flower
Flower Tree : Prints Available

Firefall and Flowers

In February, I headed to Yosemite National Park to photograph the phenomenon known as “Firefall”. For about a week in February, the setting sun lights up Horsetail Falls on El Capitan, resulting in a look of the falls being “on fire”.

Due to the California drought, it’s been about 6 years since there has been enough snow on top of the mountain to create enough snowmelt water for this to happen. Needless to say, there were some pretty big crowds to navigate. The result was well worth it!

In March, Jason and I headed up to the Carolina coast. Our first target was the trees in Lake Matamuskeet, North Carolina. Unfortunately, three days of skies that were either clear of any clouds or covered with solid heavy clouds. Either way, there was no sunrise photograph to be had, so we had to move on.

We headed down to Charleston to check to status of the spring lower bloom at Magnolia Plantation. The main targets were the long white bridge and the flowers under the oak trees. We were there last year, but it just wasn’t happening so we came away empty handed. This year, we were pleasantly surprised to see a rather healthy bloom and, over several days, captured exactly the images we were hoping for.

So, two very different locations and two goals accomplished. Next up, I’ll be leaving mid-April to Oregon with Kelly. It will be my fourth trip to Oregon, but we’ll be working some areas we have not gone to before. Oregon is, obviously, a target rich environment.

Thanks for looking and please feel free to share. If you haven’t already, please “Like” our Facebook page to get more up-to-date reports on our expeditions.

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Firefall : Prints Available
California, Yosemite, Half-dome, Winter, Moonrise
Yosemite Moonrise : Prints Available
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Magnolia Flowers : Prints Available
South Carolina, Magnolia Plantation, flowers, spring, reflection
Spring Reflections : Prints Available
Magnolia Splendor : Prints Available
Spring Oak : Prints Available
South Carolina, Charleston, Magnolia, Plantation, Bridge
Serenity At The Bridge : Prints Available