Photographer's Note

The image is of Systravatn (sisters lake) and the small cascade is the start of the river Fossß. About 70 metres downstream from here the river falls over the mountain edge above kirkjubŠjarklaustur. The building in the distance is a low-set farm building

KirkjubŠjarklaustur is a village in the south of Iceland on the hringvegur (highway 1) between VÝk Ý Mřrdal and H÷fn. It is part of the municipality of Skaftßrhreppur with about 120 inhabitants
KirkjubŠjarklaustur is an important service center for the farms in the region as well as for tourists and weekend visitors. Many people from ReykjavÝk, the country's capital, have weekend huts nearby. We stayed for two nights at Hˇtel Laki ľ Efri VÝk which is about 5 minutes drive to KirkjubŠjarklaustur.

The morning of our first day was filled with heavy rain so we went to the tourist centre in KirkjubŠjarklaustur to find out what we could do. There we first watched a video on the LakagÝgar volcano eruptions in 1783 while waiting for the rain to ease. A nearby walk was suggested for after the video. The rain was still quite heavy but we had our rain gear and decided to take the walk. It is a relatively short walk which follows the waterfall Systrafoss to the top of the nearby 'mountain' and then along the slightly undulating mountain plateau beside the small lake Systravatn and beyond. The walk descends near a pine plantation and returns to KirkjubŠjarklaustur village via Kirkjugˇlfi­ a low, flat topped platform of basalt columns that resembles a church floor.

History and Folklore
"Even before the time of the first Norse settlement in Iceland, Irish monks are thought to have lived here. Since 1186, a well known convent of Benedictine nuns, KirkjubŠjar Abbey, was located in KirkjubŠjarklaustur, until the Reformation in 1550. The names of the waterfall Systrafoss ("the waterfall of the sisters") and of the lake Systravatn on the highland above the village refer to this cloister. Folk tales illustrate the history with stories about good and sinful nuns. The Systrastapi (sister's rock) is where two of the convent's nuns were buried after being burned at the stake. One of the nuns was accused of selling her soul to the Devil, carrying Communion bread outside the church, and having carnal knowledge with men; the other was charged with speaking blasphemously of the Pope. After the Reformation, the second sister was vindicated, and flowers are said to bloom on her grave, but not that of the first nun. Systravatn also has a legend relating to the convent. The nuns traditionally bathed in the lake, and one day two nuns saw a hand with a gold ring extending from the water. When they tried to seize the ring (or comb), they were dragged below the water and drowned."

ôHildishaugur (Hildir's Mound), the mound of Hildir Eysteinsson lies a short way from Kirkjugˇlf. In Landnßma (The Book of Settlement), a medieval Icelandic manuscript, it is said that Ketill fÝflski (Ketill the Foolish) lived at KirkjubŠr, but Ketill was a Christian. Earlier, Irish hermits (Papar) lived at KirkjubŠr and tradition says that the place was enchanted, so that pagans couldn't live there. Hildir Eysteinsson, a pagan, didn't believe this and attempted to move to KirkjubŠr. When he set foot on the estate, he fell down dead.ö

Image was taken in rain at ISO setting of 2500. Hand held at 1/100th sec aided by in-camera image stabilisation. The image was quite noisy at full size. It was sharpened at full size without noise reduction. The downsizing process helps with noise reduction. It was resharpened again after downsizing and slight luminance noise reduction was applied. Other manipulations were aimed at increasing image contrast and pulling the farm building out from its obscurity in the rain.

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Additional Photos by Trevor Moffiet (trevormoffiet) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 212 W: 2 N: 578] (3112)
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