In the land of Fire and Ice: Awe-inspiring images of lightning, lava and the Northern Lights of Iceland
If you are a keen nature photographer, there are few countries which can offer as much variety as Iceland.
Photographer Sigurur Stefnisson has his pick of natural phenomena to choose from, in the land of fire and ice where volcanoes and the Northern Lights are almost a daily part of life.
The opportunities have allowed the award-winning photographer to capture thousands of captivating images, one of which was voted one of National Geographic”s 100 best nature photographs.
Some of his favourite photographs include this one below, capturing an awe-inspiring eruption on the Eyjafjallajokull glacier in Iceland in 2010 – the eruption which caused travel chaos for airline passengers across Europe in 2010.
Lightning”s in the ash plume in the volcanic eruption in Eyjafjallajokull glacier in Iceland: This image, taken on 17 April 2010 at 22:37 local time, is the eruption which caused all the problems for the airlines in Europe
Now where did we leave the car Spectators on 4×4 jeeps look at lava falls from a small lava fountain that began before the ash eruption. There is a canyon in front of the jeeps
Driftwood lies on a black volcanic sand beach while (right) the Northern Lights over a volcanic eruption in Mount Hekla in 1991, with the trail of a plane also visible – this second image was voted one of the 100 Best Images by National Geographic
Accomplished photographer: Sigurur has had his pictures published in National Geographic
Sigurur, who is from Kopavogur, south of Reykjavik, said he has been interested in photography “as long as I can remember”.
He started developing black and white in my parents laundry room at 13, before opening a film developing center in 1986.
Five years ago he “decided to do something interesting with my life” and startedworking as a driver guide specializing in 4×4 tours – giving him the opportunity to get close to Nature – as the apocalyptic image of Jeeps in front of a lava field shows.
In 2001, one of his images of the 1991 Mount Hekla eruption, showing the volcano erupt as the Northern Lights swoop in from overhead was chosen as one of the 100 best photos published in the National Geographic.
Sigurur said: “After that I became mostly known for my Northern Lights photos, but personally my favorite is volcanic eruptions.
“I am often asked why I have this interest in volcanic eruption but after seeing my first life eruption inMt. Hekla in 1980 I became addicted.
“I now work as a part-time photographer mostly selling my photos to magazines, book publishers, advertising agencies and newspapers, and I specialide in volcanoes, landscape northern lights and birds.”
For those who like to know the equipment involved, Sigurur says: “Of cause I started with 135mm film but in 1991 bought a Pentax 67 medium format and later 645.
“I got my first digital a Nikon D100 in 2002 and completely turned over to digital in 2005 using various Nikon cameras. For bird photos I often use a home made remote triggering device.”
See more of Sigurur”s pictures at www.stefnisson.com
This was taken on May 22, 2011 during the Grimsvotn eruption: Sigurur said “while we were driving from the volcano the ash caught up with us and for a short time we got the most magnificent light – it was quite dark yet at the same time daylight was shining from under the ash cloud”
Sigurur shot this photo in a Ice cave in Vatnajokull glacier in February. Usually Ice caves are quite dark but sometimes the roof of the cave is thin enough for light to escape through