I was somewhere on Iceland's Route 1, the Hringvegur (Ring Road). Two hours earlier I had passed, going east, through Vik í Myrdal and only a half hour earlier had stopped at a small restaurant in Kirkjubæjarklaustur. It was 9 p.m. and I was still some distance from my goal of reaching Höfn in the east. It was here, in 1783, that the priest Jón Steingrímsson gave his Eldmessa (Fire Sermon) after which a massive lava flow stopped sparing the town.
That lava came from somewhere north of the town, in the Laki Craters. Today only remnants remain of that gigantic 8 month long eruption that sent lava fountains a kilometer into the sky and spewed forth over 15 cubic kilometers of basalt from the earth in addition to 120 million tons of sulfur dioxide and 8 million tons of fluorine.
In Iceland a quarter of the population died. Across Europe thousands died as the poisonous cloud drifted as far south as Italy suffocating people and livestock. And the haze cooled the entire Northern Hemisphere causing one of the worst winters on record that even saw ice in the Gulf of Mexico. And perhaps the end of the American Revolution owes something to the eruption.
I think the Icelanders are quite proud of this piece of their history. Their little island caused the largest climatic upset of the last thousand years. The National Museum speaks of the event in glorifying terms of the colossal importance of this in world history. The Icelanders like to speak big about themselves and I suppose in that sense this is just something else to boast about.
Today this landscape is what remains of the flows, eruptions, glacial bursts that have scoured out this region of Iceland. It's a desolate wasteland of a volcanic desert. Here there is no sense of scale. No trees or homes line the road to give a sense of speed. Mountains are so large they appear nearby but in fact are kilometers beyond what the mind thinks. All kinds of tricks plague the mind in this landscape. One can only imagine having to cross this desolation, torrential rivers and risk getting caught in a glacial burst before this modern 2 lane highway was finished.
And so, after this break to take a look at the vast nothingness, the huge stretch of empty road before and behind me and a break from the mind games the landscape was playing I continued on east into the nightless night of Iceland.
Critiques | Translate
janneman (2598) 2007-10-19 9:58
Good shot of this desolate and empty landscape!
German74 (777) 2007-10-19 10:27
Hola Paul, es muy agradable ver tu fotografía, y elegistes un buen ángulo para realizar la foto.
La carretera te lleva la mirada hasta el final, dando una sensación especial, porque al final del recorrido visual por la carretera, la foto te obliga a centrar la atención en las montañas, que están difusas...
Es como ver el futuro, un camino desolado que debes recorrer, y que no se está claro a donde se va.
Merline (0) 2007-10-19 11:15
beautiful image of this fantastic road...one of the most beautiful on earth I think:-) I love the sense of infinity you give here with the road well centered that gives a feeling of being there too, the landscape is desolate but also so rich in details, here the wet weather gives a particular mood, the sky is a tiny bit washed out on the upper part, well done. Most interesting note too, well written...
bwiti (402) 2007-10-20 9:37
I love the POV, I love the texture of the road, I love the colors, I love this desolate place, I love your picture....
stego (24030) 2007-10-20 17:29
The sense of depth and expanse is amazing. The road really seems to have no end. The atmosphere is very dramatic and everything in the image seems to contribute to that: light, sky, hazy hills on the distance, the desolated and strange landscape (lava covered with "greenish grey" grass?). It's a bit depressing, but surely also very beautiful.
bertolucci (13358) 2007-10-23 9:17
Hi Paul, great to see you posting again! You really succeeded to portrayed this landscape as barren and endless.
The contrats between the diffrent type of textures is great and shooting along the axis of the road worked very well for the perspective and the general mood, which is also described in your very informative and well written note. Very nice work, Paul!
jpinkham (870) 2007-10-25 18:41
Very nice, Paul. You convey a sense of depth and scale -- simple, plain, mystic, vast. Crisp and sharp work. Nice POV with that subject taking us right in. Good narrative it to tie it all up with a ribbon.
chrisnet (21092) 2007-10-31 9:20
Good perspective of the road but the sky is over-exposed and the horizon line in the middle is not the best.
vascao (192) 2007-11-10 14:11
Lovely shot, I simply like this desaturated look. What a feeling of vastness and loneliness, no living being in sight. The chosen POV is superb.
PS: I'll be back
rajhema (1871) 2008-07-21 13:03
So, you visited the place I have in my target. Must have enjoyed the place. I'm so amazed by the landscape of Iceland. Shoudl go there once.
- Copyright: Paul Mastrogiacomo (pamastro) (7290)
- Genre: Places
- Medium: Color
- Date Taken: 2007-06-13
- Categories: Nature
- Camera: Olympus E-500, Zuiko 14-45mm F3.5-5.6, ISO 200, Hoya 58mm UV(0)
- Exposure: f/7.1, 1/250 seconds
- Map: view
- Photo Version: Original Version
- Date Submitted: 2007-10-19 9:54
- Favorites: 1 [view]