Glenn Nagel Photography | The Sand Storm

The Sand Storm

March 28, 2018  •  Leave a Comment

During most of my time in Iceland, the wind was gusting and the rain was blowing--sideways rain.

Late one afternoon, as we were driving to Vestrahorn Mountain (in the Stokksnes peninsula in Southeast Iceland near Hohn), the sky started to open up. Vestrahorn Mountain is one of the most beautiful landscapes I have ever seen. It reminded me very much of the Grand Teton mountain range. Vestrahorn is unique in that there is a black sand beach with sand dunes along the Atlantic Ocean in the foreground. It makes for a world-class landscape location. I was relieved that we were going to have an opportunity to photograph Vestrahorn with some light. Unfortunately, as sunset approached the sky became too clear--no clouds at all.

The SUV had a sticker indicating that the rental company was not responsible for wind damage to the doors. The wind is so strong that one has to be very careful when opening a door. It's easy for the door to get caught in the wind. The wind is so extreme that our guide, Tony Prower, would park in such a way that the wind would be blowing from the front of the car to the back--to help avoid having the door swing open too quickly.

Tony parked the large SUV near the sand dunes. He warned us to wear eye protection. I assumed that he was concerned about the sun and glare off the beach. However, his concern was with how much sand was blowing in the gusting wind!

I left the SUV to start shooting by the sand dunes. Fortunately, the wind was blowing at my back--or this photo shoot would have been impossible. Sand was blowing everywhere. Without glasses, the sand would do major damage to one's eyes. Trying to stabilize the camera was a challenging task. I tried my best to block the wind by positioning the tripod in front of my body about chest high.

Changing lenses was not an option. Sand was getting into everything--my hair, my ears, my eyes. It was getting into the knobs of the camera and the tripod legs. I tried to keep my lens facing away from the wind as much as possible as I was concerned that the sand would damage the front element. The sound of the wind was deafening. I felt like I was fighting a war just to capture a few pictures.

It's such an incredible location that I kept shooting until the light was gone. Here are a couple of pictures from the photo shoot:

Vestrahorn MountainVestrahorn MountainVestrahorn Mountain in the Stokksnes peninsula in Southeast Iceland near Hohn, Iceland on February 22, 2018. Note that this is a composite image--a blend of the picture of the mountain range with a picture of the sky (and reflections) from earlier in the photo shoot. Vestrahorn MountainVestrahorn MountainBlack sand dunes in front of Vestrahorn Mountain on the Atlantic coast in the Stokksnes peninsula in Southeast Iceland near Hohn, Iceland on February 22, 2018

Once we returned to the hotel, I took the tripod into the shower with me to rinse the sand off. I also used an air blower to remove the sand from the camera body.


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