Living by the Sea, Iceland

A tiny hamlet, set against stunning mountain scenery, by the coast in Northern Iceland.

Surely one of the worlds most photogenic locations, Iceland offers the photographer dramatic scenery, much of it within easy reach of the coast. Highway One circumnavigates the island and provides the visitor with an easy way to see much of the country's beauty. Short excursions up and into the interior open up more challenging and, potentially, more intense experiences.

The above image was made while I was undertaking a photography expedition to Iceland and Greenland. It was a very overcast day and, after a late start, I headed off to photograph puffins. It was fun, but not a highlight compared to Latrabjarg where I'd photographed a huge colony of puffins, at either side of sunset, a few days earlier. That was a truly great experience.

I remember thinking how tough life must have been for the early Viking settlers all those years ago. While arable land in Iceland can be fertile, much of the country's interior (the highlands) is volcanic, where water infiltrates too quickly into the ground for plant life to grow, or covered in moss.

While plentiful rainfall has produced a large array of rivers and waterfalls throughout the country, much of that flows down to the fertile regions close to the coast. And there's not enough of that fertile land to support a large population which, I suspect explains why, despite over 1,000 years of continued human settlement, Iceland's population is under 320,000 people.

It was July 2011 when I first visited Iceland. I returned again during 2016 to run a photography tour and expect to travel there again within the next year or two.

Glenn Guy, Travel Photography Guru