Hvítserkur

Hvítserkur is a sea-stack in Vatnsnes in northern Iceland. It’s quite a remarkable sight, and to catch it on dry land and be able to walk around it was a piece of good luck.

—–oOo—–

Up close. It was next to impossible to get a shot of it that day without someone wandering into the shot.

—–oOo—– It looks like some prehistoric monster turned to stone, or perhaps like a monstrous warthog or a hornless rhino.

—–oOo—–Meet one of the inhabitants.

The birds that nest and perch on the stack are responsible for the splashes of white on it that gave rise to its name, which means White Robe in English.

—–oOo—–

 I think I shall give this one the HDR treatment.

—–oOo—–

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Walking through a rock

Lambafellsklofi is a spectacular place to visit: a cleft straight through Lambafell, a small mountain/large hill/rock (we have no definition of when something stops being a hill and becomes a mountain, and such a feature is often called a “fell” or a “stapi”, although the former can also be found in the names of genuine mountains).

The cleft passes straight through Lambafell and is just wide enough to make it possible to pass through to the other side. It is so narrow that I could, where it is narrowest, touch both walls without fully extending my arms, and only at the lower (western) end is it too wide for a tall man to touch both walls at the same time. It only takes about 20-30 minutes to get there by car from Reykjavík and the hike, a circular route, only takes about 40 minutes, less if you are a fast walker. You do have to be able to handle a steep slope, as the slope of the ascent (or descent, if you approach it from the east) is, in my estimation, about 45°degrees, albeit not very long. The knobbly walls of the cleft provide good hand-holds for the climb.

 

The quarry

Quarries can be highly unsafe places and are therefore rarely open to the public, but once in a while you come across one you can go into to explore. I found one such place on a Sunday drive in the country recently.

I love visiting quarries because they give me a chance to indulge in a favourite childhood hobby of mine: rockhounding. Unlike back in the day, when I would have filled my bedroom with rocks and crystals if my parents hadn’t stopped me, I now prefer to photograph them in situ and leave them be, unless they are really spectacular or unusual. I found one such sample on this visit that was shaped like a slice of cake with a crystal layer between two rock layers and a topping of crystals, but I’ll probably have to use a studio setup to get a decent shot of it because it didn’t photograph well where I found it (besides which, it will need to be cleaned before it can be properly photographed). I also found a nice example of pyrite (fool’s gold), tiny crystals of it covering a small flat piece of rock.

The quarry had the inevitable pool at the bottom. It looked inviting from a distance:

Quarry

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However, close up, it…didn’t:

Algae

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There were some nice veins and formations of coloured rock and crystal embedded in the walls of the quarry:

quarry_1

…and also in some of the loose rocks:

Crystal formation

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