Caspian Gull ~ Ad ~ Dungeness, Kent - 30.10.16

Sunday 30 October 2016

Easterly winds of 10mph and partially overcast skies looked more promising than yesterday, more birds moving out at sea over cresting waves rather than mirror calm ...
About an hour in to the afternoon session and down towards the back of the resting gulls on the beach was an Adult Caspian Gull, the first time one has come in for the free hand-outs !!

Caspian Gull ~ 1st. W ~ Dungeness, Kent - 23.10.16

Tuesday 25 October 2016

A strong North-easterly wind brought with it a big increase in gull No's, but getting them to land and settle down was quite difficult, they preferred to hang in the wind, effortlessly cruising the beach.
Once they did finally settle down, the numbers which were on the beach was a fraction to the amount of gulls feeding off shore, and thats where they stayed ...
Not even any ringed birds so it was a surprise when a new 1st. W Caspian came in, must of been more out there ..


Iceland ~ South West to South East - Oct' 16

Tuesday 18 October 2016

I spent a week in Iceland from the 2nd to the 9th October ...
No birding gear ...
Just a Wide Angle Lens

My plan was from Keflavik Airport drive the Southern Route 1 in a 4x4 to stay overnight at key stop off locations over the week with the furthest destination at Stokksnes ...

My accommodation was pre-booked, risky if your going to chase the light it works for me ..  

2nd ~ Hotel Lambafell, near Eyvindarholar
3rd & 4th ~ Foss Hotel, near Hof
5th ~ Glacier World near Hofn
6th ~ Foss Hotel, near Hof
7th ~ Mid-Hvoll Cottage, near Vik
8th ~ Hotel Selid, near Keldur
9th ~ Back to the airport

The Wow Air flight got me there mid-afternoon on the 2nd, once in the 4x4 it was then a 187 km drive some 2hr 20 mins to Hotel Lambafell arriving just as it was getting dark.
The forecast for the night sky was total cloud cover so gave up on the aurora.

From Hotel Lambafell to FossHotel Glacier Lagoon on the 3rd was a 203km drive, 2hr 25 mins.
A quick look at the mighty Skogafoss and then on to Dyrholaey.

Looking towards Reynisdrangur
Canon 1dx ~ 17-40 F4 L @ 40mm ~ Tripod
F16 ~ 50 sec ~ iso 250 ~ Lee Big Stopper

Vik towards Reynisdrangur
 Canon 1dx ~ 17-40 F4 L @ 26mm ~ Tripod
F20 ~ 25 sec ~ iso 640 ~ Lee Little Stopper
Lee 0.6 ND Grad + Polariser


I stopped many times along Route 1 just to take in the scenery on the way to FossHotel and the lagoon ..

Foss Waterfall

Near Systrafoss
 Canon 1dx ~ 17-40 F4 L @ 40mm ~ Tripod
F20 ~ 1/4 sec ~ iso 250 ~ Lee Little Stopper
Lee 0.3 ND Grad 

One of the many places where the icecap of Vatnajokull terminates

Once at Jokulsarlon the iceberg lagoon it was better than expected, massive icebergs the size of a block of flats laying on its side and loads of smaller ones was amazing to see.
They were constantly on the move heading out to sea under a bridge, getting smashed up and ending up washed onto the beach ..

Again the forecast for the night sky was total cloud cover so it was beer time instead ..

The morning of the 4th was straight on to 'Diamond Beach' for a sunrise shot i had in mind. I was there well before to beat the crowds but there was already c. 30 cameras there !!
And no sunrise ..

Diamond Beach
Canon 1dx ~ 17-40 F4 L @ 17mm ~ Tripod
F20 ~ 1/3 sec ~ iso 250 
Lee 0.9 ND Grad + 0.6 ND Grad

Diamond Beach
Canon 1dx ~ 17-40 F4 L @ 17mm ~ Tripod
F20 ~ 1/4 sec ~ iso 250
Lee 0.9 ND Grad + 0.6 ND Grad

 From the beach it was a bit of back tracking to Skaftafell for a 1.8km hike to Svartifoss a waterfall surrounded on both sides by black basalt columns.


Fjallsarlon Lagoon

Thats me counting

The evening of the 4th going by the forecast was my last chance to see the aurora it was now down to K.p 2.67, and with partial cloud cover.
I like many others parked the otherside of the bridge with the hope of it over the lagoon.

A constant stream of cars kept coming in with lights on not staying long and going, then add to this quite a few people that would walk about with head torches on ..
If the aurora was going to happen it would be faint and no sooner had my eyes adjusted to the dark some twat would shine a light !!

Knowing i needed no light pollution, I drove back to a track near Fjallsarlon lagoon about 10 mintes away, it was dark, pitch black ...

View these in the dark and full screen for best effect !!

And then this .....

 My image of the Trip
Canon 1dx ~ 17-40 F4 L @ 17mm ~ Tripod
F4 ~ 30 sec ~ iso 1600

Canon 1dx ~ 17-40 F4 L @ 17mm ~ Tripod
F4 ~ 30 sec ~ iso 1600

Canon 1dx ~ 17-40 F4 L @ 17mm ~ Tripod
F4 ~ 30 sec ~ iso 1600

Canon 1dx ~ 17-40 F4 L @ 17mm ~ Tripod
F4 ~ 30 sec ~ iso 1600

I stuck it out till about 1am, now total cloud cover again and the forecast not good either, I gave in ...

The morning of the 5th, a quick look at Diamond Beach then it was a 95km drive 1hr 10 mins at GlacierWorld Guesthouse near Hofn.

Bjarnanes Church

Upon arrival at the furthest of my locations Stokksnes, the superb Vesturhorn Mountain was covered in fog, this being my favourite of the trip so I was a bit gutted ..
Back to Hofn for the most expensive burger in the world, then i gave Vesturhorn another go, nothing had changed so it was a recce, for the morning ..

The 6th, draw back the curtains to Rain & Fog, so no rush, had breakfast then tried Vesturhorn, knowing it was covered, I gave it a look, sure enough it was totally invisable due to the fog.

So it was a drive back towards FossHotel where i'd be staying another night, the rest of the day was strong winds and heavy rain ..

The 7th, another cloud covered morning so no sunrise ..
A short drive to Hof, at the base of a mountain in between a few houses is Hofskirkja Church built in 1884 with a turf roof.

Canon 1dx ~ 17-40 F4 L @ 23mm ~ Tripod
F16 ~ 1/8 sec ~ iso 250
Lee 0.6 ND Grad 

Then the drive towards Mid-Hvoll Cottage about 60km, with a few stops along the way ..

With gale force winds and rain through the night it was a surprise that the morning of the 8th wasn't to bad, so i started again on Vik beach.

Then it was a 60km drive to start off on the mountain road the F208.
From Route 1 the F208 is 221km about 3hr 30mins of mountain track only for 4x4's until it gets on to the F26.
From there it was another 85km to Selid Hotel ..

So the F208 has nearly 20 river crossings, the first one i got out to see how deep the river was, couldn't see the bottom so went for it ..
Ahhh easy
After 10 it got a bit tiresome, until I got to one, faster and wider than the rest.
Half way across and i found out it was deeper than the rest as well !!
The water was up over the bonnet, off came the number plate over the bonnet, I started to loose traction, wheels were skidding and I nearly did a little skid !!
A bit more gas and it was out the other side, didn't find the plate ..

I could of stopped every 5 minutes whilst on the F208, great scenery ..

Keldur was near to the hotel, so with a church and some turf roof buildings it was worth a stop ..

The 9th was back to rain again so headed towards the airport, turning off Route 1 at Selfoss and going the coast road to Grindavik, then the flight home ...

I really enjoyed the photography even though some days my luck with the light ran out, 3 days of rain and strong winds didn't help matters.
With no sunrise or sunsets to capture either.
I went with image idea's in mind and most for one reason or another never came off, but i'm planning a return trip loosely based on this one again so who know's next time with the weather on my side they may happen.