Under the Influence of Gravity
Under the Influence of Gravity by cogdogblog posted 9 Nov ’08, 12.32pm MST PST on flickr


After a week in Iceland, I finally awoke to a sky in the strangest color- blue! It was a clear day here, and that meant getting out to see some sights. I drove up to first see this incredible waterfall, Gullfoss (Golden Falls), where the Hvita river takes a deep plunge into a narrow, dark, deadly looking abyss.

The drive here was lovely, open country with views of distant, yet not so distance mountains draped in snow, through towns of less than one blink duration, more horses and cows than I could count.

I was prepared to capture a Gigapan image here but was thwarted – first there was the spray from the falls, then I set u a shot and the rig’s batteries gave out after 8 photos of 45, and my hands were really too cold to deal with changing up.

So I opted to hike down for a look see up close, where ironically, there was less spray than above the big plunge spot. I did get a good set of images across the river above the falls, which stitched nicely in Calico:

Gulfoss Pano

And I traded with a couple from Holland on getting photos of myself

Checking Out Gulfoss

There was a steady parade of people shuff. It is obviously one of the prime tourist stops, but compare it to a similar spot in the US, where it would be a National Park with a $25 entrance fee and a lot of Interpretive Signs along the way, This place was walk-in with but a single restaurant / gift shop at the top. Basic, simple.

But there are just things that are impassible


And it was a short jaunt back down the road to visit Geysir, the original geyser from which we got the word. I think I was here in 2000 and it was out of commission, but Strukkor gave a nice little show (though I understand it has a little human prodding sometime).

So even if it is not on the scale of Yellowstone, there is something utterly fascinating about hot water gushing out of the ground:

Smokin' and Steamin'

which is not much of a surprise as Iceland straddles the mid-Atlantic Ridge, the volcanic seam of the earthly baseball, where new ocean crust is made and keeps pushing North America and Europe farther apart (but what is a few centimeters per year?).

It was then a drive down a different route back, through more open, nearly empty land (the novel I am reading has a character who quips that in Iceland, isolation is a national past-time).

Driving home, I was treated to a glorious orange, pink, purple (and all the un-named Crayola colors in between) painted sunset sky.

Sunset Colors

The only way to cap this day would be a little bit (no a lot!) of celestial aurora borealis.

And thanks to Skinna, my trusty travel partner:

My Navigator

The post "Iceland Shows Her Grandeur" was originally dropped like a smoking hot potato at CogDogBlog (http://cogdogblog.com/2008/11/iceland-shows-her-grandeur/) on November 9, 2008.


  • Barbara Dieu beespace.net

    Fantastic views and humbling experience, Alan! So many wonderful places still unspoiled. Thanks for sharing.

  • Mark Ahlness ahlness.com

    Beautiful Alan, thanks for sharing. A quarter Icelandic, I was a bit down in the dumps this AM reading about their financial meltdown… but this helps, thanks.

  • Frances Bell francesbell.com

    Great country (but I am biased as we have family there). One of my favourite places was Dyrrholai , a bird sanctuary near Vik. Here’s a pic http://www.flickr.com/photos/francesbell/1170737761/in/set-72157600062411592/ If you ever return, it’s worth going beyond the ‘Golden Circle’ tour, not easy in November. I agree with what you say about basic, simple. In UK, Health and Safety would have huge fences around those ‘holes in the ground’.

  • Tom Haymes

    Great shots! I’m really jealous. Have fun!


  • Scott S. Floyd scottsfloyd.edublogs.org

    Keep it up, Alan. I appreciate you sharing these beautiful photos of your journey. I was near your home office in Austin the other day. Nice day about 80 degrees.

  • Randy Sargent

    Beautiful pictures, and sorry about the batteries running out! Cold temperatures tend to make batteries hold less. Sometimes I’ll take the battery pack out and leave it in my pocket in between shots.

  • Alan Levine aka CogDog cogdogblog.com

    @Frances Bell: Wow, that is a great shot of the bird. Yes, I will be more off the path next weekend (have a month here). Plan to see that beach in Vik.

  • Barbara Ganley bgblogging.wordpress.com

    And grand the country is (or at least your photographs are grand). I love how you are writing with image and text, and that you intersperse character shots with landscape views. Seeing you and Skinna brings the grader down to a human level–ah, there are creatures there–while also making me aware of the scale of these stark vistas.

    Thanks for inviting us to follow along as you explore your temporary home. Did you see Northern Lights last night?


  • Gerry

    What a great adventure Alan, and great photos. Looks like Skinna is enjoying your company too!

  • Alan Levine aka CogDog cogdogblog.com

    @Barbara Ganley: Thanks for following my trip Barbara, that in itself is a huge compliment.

    No Northern Lights last night! I dont think there’s enoug stuff in the atmosphere. Or just I have bad luck.

Leave a Comment

All fields are required. Your email address will not be published.