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THROUGH MY LENS: Skaftafell – A special place on earth

Skaftafell, where sands meet mountains and glaciers.

I want to tell you about a place where I spent my first years in Iceland. A place of pure beauty and landscape that you will remember for a long time. Many would call it the true definition of “in the middle of nowhere” and it’s not for everyone to live here. Sorrounded by nature this is a perfect place if you’re a nature child or if you want to escape reality for a while.

The place I’m talking about is Skaftafell and is situated in the south east of Iceland in an area called Öræfi (translated desert). The area is located  just underneath Vatnajökull, one of Europes largest glaciers. When you drive through the area you will understand why it got it’s name. On one side you have a black sand desert that stretches all the way to the ocean, on the other side you have the massive Vatnajökull ice cap with many high peaks, including Hvannadalshnúkur, Iceland’s highest mountain.

During my time in Skaftafell I spent my free time hiking the area and exploring the nature around. I also caught an interest for photography and bought my first DSLR camera. I often thought to my self how lucky I was to live in an area that people payed a lot of money and spent a lot of time and effort to get to. There I was, able to enjoy some of the best moments offered through many years, with my camera held high.

Here below are some of my favorite pictures I took while living there and I think you will understand why I talk to highly of the place once you see the photos.

Summer and sunsets

The summers in Iceland are magical and the days are literally endless. There isn’t any shortage of sunsets and burning skies in the beginning and end of the summer either. Here are some of my favorites.

Sunset in Skaftafell nationalpark

PHOTO: Sunset in Skaftafell nationalpark is best enjoyed in the company of friends

Sunset in Skaftafell nationalpark with Mt. Kristínartindar

PHOTO: Sunset in Skaftafell nationalpark. In the background is Mt. Kristínartindar dressed in clouds.

Skaftafell nationalpark farmhouse

PHOTO: The old farmhouse in Skaftafell nationalpark

The main ring road in Iceland looking towards Skaftafell national park

PHOTO: The road to Skaftafell from the east right before you come to Skaftafell. On the left you see Skeiðarárjökull.

Burning skies over Skaftafell national park

PHOTO: Burning skies over Skaftafell with it’s surrounding mountains

Svartifoss waterfall in Skaftafell nationalpark

PHOTO: Svartifoss waterfall which is located close to the Skaftafell visitor center and campsite. A 20 minute walk up the hill and you’ll find one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Iceland.

Svartifoss waterfall in Skaftafell South East Iceland

PHOTO: Svartifoss waterfall which is located close to the Skaftafell visitor center and campsite. A 20 minute walk up the hill and you’ll find one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Iceland.

Waterfall by Svínafellsjökull

PHOTO: A quite hidden waterfall close to Svínafellsjökull glacier. When strolling off the beaten path in Iceland you can stumble upon nice surprises such as this one.

Summer sunset over south Iceland

PHOTO: The end of a summer day in Skaftafell. This photo is taken in Svínafell looking towards Skaftafell. You can also see the silhouette of Mt. Lómagnúpur in the distance.

 

Northern lights (aurora borealis)

Northern lights, the lovely Aurora Borealis is best seen in remote areas far away from any light. The Skaftafell area does not have many man made lights and is therefore a prime spot to photograph this mystic light. During my time in Skaftafell I got to experience the most amazing northern lights I’ve ever seen. Here are some of my favorite northern lights pictures from that time.

Northern lights over Svínafellsjökull and Öræfajökull

PHOTO: Aurora borealis over Öræfajökull and Svínafellsjökull.

Northern Lights over Hotel Skaftafell

PHOTO: Northern lights (aurora borealis) seen over Hotel Skaftafell beneath Svínafellsjökull.

Northern lights (aurora borealis) over Hotel Skaftafell

PHOTO: Northern lights (aurora borealis) seen over Hotel Skaftafell beneath Svínafellsjökull.

Northern lights over Hotel Skaftafell

PHOTO: Northern lights (aurora borealis) seen over Hotel Skaftafell beneath Svínafellsjökull.

Northern lights over Hotel Skaftafell

PHOTO: Northern lights (aurora borealis) seen over Hotel Skaftafell beneath Svínafellsjökull.

Northern lights over Hotel Skaftafell

PHOTO: Northern lights (aurora borealis) seen over Hotel Skaftafell beneath Svínafellsjökull.

Winter and glaciers

Winter and snow arrives in Iceland in October/November and stays until spring and stays in the mountains until early summer. This gives great opportunities for spring skiing. Glaciers is also a common sight in Iceland and especially the Skaftafell area.

Svínafellsjökull glacier close to Skaftafell, an outlet from Vatnajökull glacier

PHOTO: Svínafellsjökull glacier, a great glacier for trips and tours, easily accessible from Skaftafell nationalpark. Many parts of movies and shows has been filmed here, I.E. Game of thrones and Batman Begins.

Öræafajökull seen from Skaftafell with some of Iceland's highest mountains

PHOTO: The Öræfajökull glacier seen from the campsite at Skaftafell. Covered in clouds is the top of Öræfajökull and Iceland highest mountain Hvannadalshnúkur.

Skaftafellsjökull glacier and Kristínartindar

PHOTO: Skaftafellsjökull during mid winter with Kristínartindar towering in the background.

Powerstation in Skaftafell Nationalpark with a frozen waterfall

PHOTO: The old electricity power station in Skaftafell nationalpark. This is just off the path on your way to Svartifoss waterfall.

winter and sunshine

PHOTO: Winter and sunshine by the river

Flood barrier and sunset in a winter Skaftafell

PHOTO: The flood barriers in the sands seen on a winter day from Skaftafell. This is to prevent glacial floods to flood the area and destroy things such as the important ring road.

Blue ice on the glacier

PHOTO: Inside a blue Ice tunnel on one of the glacier tongues coming down from Vatnajökull. Glacier tours with one of the companies operating from the national park visitor center is highly recommended!

Dogsledding in south Iceland during winter

PHOTO: One of the locals dogsledding during mid winter.

Dogsledding in south Iceland during the winter

PHOTO: One of the locals dogsledding during mid winter.

 

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