Take me to Church

In late June/early July, I had the pleasure of returning to Iceland and exploring many new places that I had not visited before. However, there were several spots where I could not pass up the opportunity to return for a second or third time. This mountain, Kirkjufell, and its nearby waterfalls had a profound impact on me the first time I went to Iceland. Kirkjufell, translated from Icelandic means Church Mountain and I was excited to go back to Church!

At this time of year, the sun does not set until after midnight and rises again before 3 am. It is a strange feeling to be walking around Iceland at 2 am in light that is bright enough to read a book. While the lack of darkness plays tricks with your mind, the sunsets and sunrises last almost an hour instead of just minutes. This was fantastic as I was able to move around and capture several compositions during the same sunset! 

Kirkjufell and its waterfalls are one of the most popular destinations in West Iceland and, as expected, I arrived to find a crowd of tourists and photographers swarming all over the waterfalls. It was 10pm though, still 2 hours before sunset, so I expected the crowds to disperse as time passed. I noticed the sky had some real potential and some golden hues were already starting to show. I joined the crowd for a short time, but soon found myself wandering further away from the main waterfalls, looking for something different. When I found this small pool of water reflecting the sky and the mountain top, I settled in and waited for my first sunset after midnight. 

I did not have to wait very long. Around 11pm, the golden hues were replaced with red, pink and magenta as the various layers of Icelandic clouds captured the light in different ways. A heavenly show above Church Mountain. 

Shortly after taking this I made my way back to the waterfalls for other compositions. I will share those images with you in future posts. The crowds disappeared after midnight and so did the color in the sky. However, light remained and I had the falls and the mountain to myself, so I stayed…enjoying the  peacefulness of being alone in this place, alone at Kirkjufell.