Tag Archives: Glacier

In Search of the Northern Lights

I’m a bit behind in terms of this blog post… but as the saying goes… better late than never! I spent an incredible week in Iceland on a photography trip at the end of February… it was wet, wild and out of this world! The weather was extreme and challenging and the days were long, but it was totally worth it… I got to see and photograph some of the most spectacular landscapes I’ve ever seen!

I was initially attracted to this trip because of my love of photography and also my excitement at the possibility of seeing the Northern Lights… something that’s been on my travel list for a long time. But I got so much more out of the trip than that… I came face to face with gorgeous horses roaming around in the snow, gushing waterfalls with rainbows emerging, gigantic glaciers with deep crevasses, beautiful blue lagoons, volcanic black sand beaches and much more.

Icelandic horse playing in the snow

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Skógafoss waterfall

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Seljalandsfoss waterfall

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Vik beach

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People are always asking me why I keep visiting cold places… Patagonia, Antarctica and now Iceland… what can I say… sometimes you have to brave the elements to discover some of Earth’s natural beauty… and boy was it beautiful! Iceland is truly a photographer’s paradise. Rather than trying to describe it to you though, I’ll let you look at some of the photos instead… even they don’t do it justice!

Ripples and reflections in the water at Stokksnes

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Stormy day at Svínafellsjökull glacier

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Svínafellsjökull glacier covered in fresh snowfall

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Jökulsárlón lagoon

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Fjallsjökull glacier

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I have a bit of a reputation for being accident-prone when I’m away on trips but this time I think I outdid myself! Despite being warned, I was toppled over by giant crashing waves on Vik beach and nearly lost my camera, lenses and tripod all on the first day! I also managed to fall over a few times on the ice (very graceful!) and even got stuck in the mud while desperately trying to photograph the Northern Lights and stop my camera from flying away at the same time! But I came back alive, with all my gear, beautiful memories and lots of photographs… so it was worth every moment!

One of my best and most memorable moments was getting to walk out on to the Beiõamerkerkurjökul glacier and into an ice cave…. it was incredible… definitely something crossed off from my bucket list! Being able to photograph inside the cave (although probably the coldest I’ve ever been in my life) was an extraordinary experience!

Inside the ice cave in Beiõamerkerkurjökul glacier

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We spent a lot of time on Breiðamerkursandur (the ice beach) where pieces of ice of all shapes and sizes from the icebergs in the  Jökulsárlón lagoon were washed up on to the black sand. It was great photographing at that location, looking at different pieces of ice in different lights and how they contrast against the black sand… the beach never looked the same on any two days. I don’t think I’ve ever spent so long looking at (read stalking) a piece of ice… it was so beautiful I could have stayed there all week!

Waves crashing over ice on Breiðamerkursandur

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Ice on the black sand of Breiðamerkursandur

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Close-up of the surface of a piece of ice

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One of the things I really wanted to see on this trip was the Aurora Borealis (a.k.a the Northern Lights)… unfortunately my luck there wasn’t so great as most of Iceland was covered in cloud for the whole week. We managed to get a very brief sighting at around 1am on our last morning in the south of Iceland…. it wasn’t the most extraordinary Aurora sighting but I was over the moon just at getting the chance to see and photograph it! I’m definitely not done with the Northern Lights yet though… a lot more to see and many other beautiful destinations to visit where I might see them! I think I’ve used up my cold quota for a while now… so next stop… hopefully somewhere warmer!

Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) at Hali

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The journey south – Patagonia and the Lake District

I’ve spent the last three weeks on an overland tour through the Argentinian and Chilean Lake District and Patagonia, taking me from Santiago all the way south to Ushuaia in Tierra del Fuego.

It’s been one of the most breathtaking trips in South America in terms of natural beauty and landscape. Even after being surrounded by mountains for the last 3 months, I’m still not sick of them! The views became more and more spectacular the further south we went.

I had a great time for the most part of the trip with an inspiring, fun and really diverse group of people… we hiked, camped, rafted and spent long days on our truck (Rosita) together. It wasn’t all fun and games… camping was pretty tough mainly because of the harsh cold weather and biting Patagonian winds, especially during the night. I was really grateful to have a warm bed and shower after that was over!

Rosita (the overland truck) on the open road – Ruta 40

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We started our travel to Pucón and Bariloche in the Lake District of Chile and Argentina. Pucón was particularly fun because I managed to go white water rafting (in the freezing cold!) and also because of the majestic and still active volcano Villarrica in the background. I was lucky enough to be in both Chile and Argentina on my birthday and spent the evening in Bariloche, the Switzerland of Argentina.

Volcano Villarrica

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White water rafting on the Trancura river in Pucón

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As we went further south into Patagonia, we entered El Chaltén for some great hiking in Los Glaciares National park with amazing (and windy!) views, followed by El Calafate to see the spectacle that is the Perito Moreno glacier. It’s difficult to find the words to adequately describe the sight of this huge body of ice and the sounds of icebergs calving off the glacier and splashing into Lake Argentino below… it was definitely one of my highlights!

Hiking in Los Glaciares National Park

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Piedras Blancas glacier – Los Glaciares National Park

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Mount Fitz Roy amongst the clouds – Los Glaciares National Park

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El Chaltén town

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Perito Moreno glacier and icebergs – Los Glaciares National Park

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Leaving behind El Calafate, we began our three days camping in Torres del Paine National Park in Chile… I thought I had already seen amazing sights but those were nothing compared to the views on the hikes/walks we saw there. To top that off I got to see the Grey Glacier with the spectacular blue/purple hues of the ice and with an elephant head emerging from one of the ice caves… … see if you can spot it in the pics!

Torres del Paine National Park

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Grey Glacier – Torres del Paine National Park

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Guanacos getting friendly

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The icing on the cake was being able to see Magellanic penguins after leaving the National Park and arriving at the Seno Otway penguin colony near Punta Arenas. Although I didn’t get up close to them, they are such adorable creatures, waddling around and flapping their wings. It was a lot of fun just watching them go about their every day business, in particular listening to the sound of them braying and watching them splash about in the water.

Magellanic Penguins at Seno Otway

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Shipwreck on route from Punta Arenas to Ushuaia

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