The highlight location of Iceland for me as a landscape photographer was Vestrahorn.  

Yes, it is famous.  Yes, you have seen many images from there on social media.  Yes, it is worth the fame.

In a scenic country this is the scenery that I found the most impressive.  Better than Kirkjufell, Skogafoss, the Unpronounceable Canyon, the Glacial Lagoon or even the Diamond Beach.  The magnificent peaks of Vestrahorn stretched across a black sand beach with the waves, wind, clouds, light, dunes and more to be something right out of Middle Earth.

And even better it was one of the largest of the major scenic areas with one of the smallest crowds.  In short amazing scenery with the crush of other tourists.

After finding some 60 people at Kirkjufell at 0100 in the morning, seeing dozens of tour buses at Skogafoss, finding hundreds walking the Diamond Beach it was refreshing to find there were only half a dozen others at Vestrahorn.  All were fellow photographers and we all went our own direction.

Now part of the smaller crowd has to do with it is too far from Reykjavik for the buses to do a day trip.  It is also very windy here with some of the worst weather (and therefore best changing light).  It also charges admission.  In fall of 2018 it was 800 ISK (about $8 US).  

Some complain they are not supposed to charge.  I was more than happy to pay a small fee if it will keep the crowds out and not let it be as overrun.  

From the cafe/entrance station you can drive down a gravel/sand road toward the NATO station out on the peninsula.  The beach is a long one with dunes, tidal ponds, rocks, and many different photo options.

I spent time here on three different days, getting rain, clouds, amazing light and more.  The only think I missed here was an aurora.

After arriving and setting up camp in nearby Hofn, I spent a rainy and cloudy sunset.  I got a few images but nothing great.  Even in the poor conditions, I could see the potential here.

The next morning I was back by 0500 and waiting for sunrise.  Rain was passing over.  Slowly the light came up and the clouds broke up some.  Amazing light happened.  Clouds spilled over the peaks.  I photographed in the dunes and then on the rocks.  After a few hours and daylight was well established, I packed up, put on Wellies and went out along the beach.  The day would see me work the entire beach up towards the peaks and out along them to the Viking movie set.  Then back along the beach to various rocks.  Image after image and area after area.  I stayed through sunset and then another hour or so hoping the clouds might lift to see an aurora.  After 16 hours at the beach I was exhausted and went back to camp.  A thrilling day.  

I would revisit again for a another sunrise and catch more great light.  The images I got here were my favorite of the trip and now months later are the ones that I look back on as the best of what Iceland can off the landscape photographer.

See more images in my Iceland Gallery


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