My photo blog… visual thoughts around me.

Finding Beauty in the Land of “Fire and Ice”

For All to See

For All to See

My trip out of the country began with a marathon run thru the airport and only ended when I was greeted by my couch when I arrived back at my home. My destination was in Iceland and I found it true to its moniker “Land of Fire and Ice”. Upon viewing it in person, I was very cognizant of what had happened millions of years ago, but with one very important difference… it was now 2013.

The land looked as if it had just cracked open yesterday and this was made more evident by its active volcanoes. I traveled in a 4×4 and van, with a small group of 8 photographers. I had mixed blessings on most of my trip by being with and without rain. The ‘with’ enabled my pictures to develop the drama and contrast needed to expose the real Iceland. The ‘without’ made it much more comfortable moving around and not having to wipe off my lens every minute. Trekking high above the island’s floor, I was presented with the fantastic colors of the highlands in Iceland. The way the browns and greens meshed and melted together, created a wonderful palette in front of me. As I stumbled over frozen lava fields and sweeping views of meadows and mountains, I just sat in the open wilderness and thought how lucky I was.

Throughout my stay, I was able to visit very small hotels that provided exquisite meals made on the premises. The trip took me from the city life in Reykjavik to beaches and miles of mountains and waterfalls. The beaches were covered with black sand and beached ice which took on the look of a grand crystal glass shop stuck out in the middle of nowhere. Finding the right composition amongst the millions of ice formations can be overwhelming to say the least. I traveled by small boat through the ice fields to the birthing place of all these ‘ice cubes’… the glaciers in Jokulsarlon. From the silence of the water to the clicking of shutters I was in my element, creating and seeing what I had only glimpsed at in books and magazines.

I finished up my trip back at a familiar site… waterfalls. Visiting waterfalls can get a little confusing, due to the sheer number of them. This last one Seljalandsfoss was complete with weather challenges… rain, wind and cold. I knew I was not home in 90 degree heat the minute I stepped out of the van. Walking first in front of this grand waterfall to going behind it, was both a challenge and a culmination of my visit to this island of ‘Fire and Ice’. Even though trying to compose in the rain was difficult, the true beauty of this place reached out and embraced me. If I was to mentally file my trip to Iceland, it would be under ‘O’… “Once in a Lifetime”.

PART 1 of 2

54 responses

  1. Wow! Iceland is a fusion of beauty and magic. Both of which you captured in all it’s brilliance and pureness.


    March 15, 2014 at 10:45 pm

    • Thats what was unexpected… the diversity on this Ice island. Thanks for the comments on pt 2 also… be well and see ya on my next adventure.


      March 16, 2014 at 10:53 am

  2. LAS

    Wow! Outstanding images as always. Creating such striking photography’s while battling the elements, impressive. The beautiful tonality of colors and textures of the countries landscape, its people and animals are exceptional. My favs. (ice1wp-11, ice1wp-6, ice1wp-2, ice2wp-17, ice2wp-25, ice2wp-5, ice2wp-6 & ice2wp-14).

    Love the equine images. Makes me wish I had an Icelandic pony to tolt around on. I’m especially taken with the horse portrait. Exquisite coloration captured. How do you do it?


    February 19, 2014 at 10:44 pm

    • WoW… thanks for taking the time to see each pic… the how is ‘luck’ and being there 🙂


      March 16, 2014 at 11:01 am

      • LisaS.

        You’re welcome, always a pleasure. You’re being too modest, I’d say, more than just luck.


        March 20, 2014 at 11:53 am

  3. Mike- Although I am inspired by each and every post of yours- This is my favorite. A place of beauty and intrigue. A place that myself will most likely never see with my own eyes. You have captured her beauty well- thanks for taking me along!


    February 10, 2014 at 9:40 pm

    • Your very welcome Cindy… never say never… Dan just might say “were going to Iceland”. Really appreciate the visit and especially the comments.


      March 16, 2014 at 10:59 am

  4. Beautiful images – you’ve really captured the rawness of the landscape and the sense of isolation. I would love to experience Iceland myself – perhaps when I am back in the Northern hemisphere…


    February 10, 2014 at 9:51 am

    • I know you would enjoy it just by seeing your take on things… big thanks Mike!!!!


      March 16, 2014 at 10:57 am

  5. Pingback: The Continuation of “Fire and Ice” | mikepillowsphoto

  6. Absolutely wonderful! I am (practically) speechless. I can only hope that my trip is half as fruitful as yours was. Can’t wait for part II.


    February 8, 2014 at 10:20 am

    • I am glad you let your fingers do the talking… you should have a great time… just stay out of the RAIN,WIND and COLD… you’ll do fine …. big smile 🙂


      February 9, 2014 at 1:13 am

  7. Seeing your body of work from Iceland along with your narrative makes me add it to my “bucket list”. Thank you for that. Your images are very compelling and other-wordly. Well done Mike!


    February 5, 2014 at 4:15 pm

    • Big thanks Mike… if you get the chance go early !!!


      February 9, 2014 at 1:14 am

  8. Just beautiful. Wow, what a beautiful place. You captured some wonderful photographs.


    February 4, 2014 at 11:40 pm

    • Thanks Carissa… you never know until you get there and start shooting.


      February 9, 2014 at 1:15 am

  9. Isn’t Iceland a true treasure? I have had one visit, lasting three weeks, in September, and I absolutely fell in love with it. My trip was job-related, so I didn’t have anywhere near as much free time as I’d have liked, but I was able to drive myself, so I did what I could on the weekends. I long to return, and I’ll keep this post firmly in mind to remind me to add some of these fantastic places to my wish list. Thanks lots for the memories, Mike!


    February 3, 2014 at 8:45 pm

    • Gary … thanks for the stop… you will not be disappointed. I felt blessed when there.


      February 9, 2014 at 1:17 am

  10. Was there a few years back but didn’t do as extensive a trip and never took any photos as good as these. The one of Gulfoss is simply stunning… unique place.


    February 3, 2014 at 4:35 pm

    • Pete… truly unique… was scheduled a couple of yrs back but the volcano canceled my plans.


      February 9, 2014 at 1:19 am

  11. I was trying to think of some creative words worthy of you post and pictures, that others have not already said. I couldn’t, so I guess I will just say WOW! Great work as usual Mike.


    February 3, 2014 at 3:12 pm

    • Vince… always good to hear from yo…. just the visit says it all… thanks!!!!


      February 9, 2014 at 1:20 am

  12. Isn’t Mother Earth amazing. Love your images and hope to make it there one day. I’m still regretting not being able to go back in the 70s when I had planned a bike trip.


    February 3, 2014 at 1:12 pm

    • Hey Terry… sooo glad I did use a bike… traveling in a 4×4 and van was tough enough 🙂


      February 9, 2014 at 1:21 am

  13. Mike,

    Fabulous Photos!!….as always. I so enjoy reading your blog and admiring your vision on each image.

    I am going to Iceland next year and can’t wait!

    Lynda H.


    February 3, 2014 at 1:02 pm

    • Best of luck… I am sure you will not be disappointed.


      February 9, 2014 at 1:22 am

  14. Iwalani

    It was already on my list. Your words and images just bumped a few others out of the way so Iceland could be closer to the top. Well done, Mike.


    February 3, 2014 at 12:59 pm

    • Ewa… glad to be of service… I can’t help you hike but would light the way through pics 🙂


      February 9, 2014 at 1:23 am

  15. Nice pics. Thanks for sharing them.


    February 3, 2014 at 11:08 am

    • Thanks for the comment Laura.


      February 9, 2014 at 1:24 am

      • You’re welcome 🙂


        February 9, 2014 at 9:18 am

  16. Pat

    What a beautiful series! The scenery is almost surreal. I love the Icelandic horses.


    February 3, 2014 at 11:04 am

    • Hey Pat… those horse were not as easy as it looked 🙂


      February 9, 2014 at 1:25 am

  17. Magnificent! Favorite is tough to pick. Love the small white van cutting across the landscape. Everything at Jökulsárlón is stunning, too. I can’t wait to see Part II. (And also for my trip: I’m going in March!)


    February 3, 2014 at 10:16 am

    • Cathy… wasn’t that van a cool sense of place pic.. glad we agree.


      February 9, 2014 at 1:26 am

  18. Wow. Very beautiful – great photos. Anxiously awaiting part 2.


    February 3, 2014 at 10:15 am

    • Thanks for keeping up with me Dan… wanted to give a big shout out to your series on iPro lenses for the iphone… its been a big ice breaker for me when I am not lugging my gear around.


      February 9, 2014 at 1:28 am

  19. Your narrative, in word and image, is always such a joy; the colors and textures are as rich as the story they convey.


    February 3, 2014 at 9:29 am

    • What a beautiful comment…. so very glad it spoke to you.


      February 9, 2014 at 1:29 am

  20. Thank you for showing your wonderful work. Awesome feel to the icy landscapes. I can’t help but love the Icelandic pony shots.


    February 3, 2014 at 9:14 am

    • Liz… oh those four legged creatures… not as easy to shot as you might think… your comments are much appreciated.


      February 9, 2014 at 1:30 am

  21. Carolyn

    Amazing . . . thanks for sharing . . . very proud to know U!


    February 3, 2014 at 8:54 am

  22. Barry N

    Beautiful photographs!


    February 3, 2014 at 7:17 am

    • Hey Barry … one day we will shoot together!!!!!


      February 9, 2014 at 1:31 am

  23. Sandy

    Wow! Thanks for sharing, Mike. Your words were as descriptive as your photos.


    February 3, 2014 at 7:02 am

    • Thank you Sandy for the follow and comments.


      February 9, 2014 at 1:32 am

  24. Emily M. Wilson

    Mike: REALLY wonderful images, thanks for sharing-brings back some wonderful memories of the trip. EMily


    February 3, 2014 at 2:54 am

    • Sorry it took soooo long Em… sure does bring back a wonderful time we all had.


      February 9, 2014 at 1:33 am

  25. Mike Nicely done–you have a way with words and photography. oded


    February 3, 2014 at 2:38 am

    • Oded… my brother from another mother… much appreciated.


      February 9, 2014 at 1:33 am

  26. breath-taking pictures!


    February 3, 2014 at 2:17 am

    • Thank you so much for viewing the post Saira.


      February 9, 2014 at 1:34 am

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