Nature & Environment Apr 02, 2019

Finding Peace and Serenity in Iceland

Guest post by Susan Kessler

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It was late afternoon when I arrived in the coastal town of Grundarfjörður. Located on the northern coast of the Snæfellsnes Peninsula, this quaint fishing village is home to one of the most iconic mountains in the world, Kirkjufell. In fact, photographers travel from all over the world to capture images of this unique landform. Having travelled to Iceland to photograph the landscape, I had anticipated seeing the majestic mountain for quite some time.

My plan was to photograph it a few hours before sunset, when the sky fills with a warm golden light. It was mid-July, and the sun wouldn’t set until close to midnight, giving me plenty of time for a leisurely dinner before heading out. I settled in at a nearby restaurant that offered freshly caught seafood, and a window view of the stately Kirkjufell.

As the sun dipped lower in the sky, I finished my meal and ventured outside. Heading toward the mountain I noticed a thin veil of mist moving in. Minutes later, that thin veil transformed into a thick wall of clouds, completely engulfing the massive Kirkjufell. In disbelief, I realized I had squandered my one chance of photographing this mighty mountain by lingering over a seafood dinner. Sadly accepting this turn of events, I turned and headed back down the road.

Hours later in my hotel room, while closing the window blinds, I spotted a small piece of the mountain appearing through the clouds. Not knowing if it would disappear just as quickly, I threw a coat on over my pajamas, slipped into a pair of flip-flops, and ran down the street, camera in hand. Arriving a few minutes before midnight, there was not another living soul around. The impressive Kirkjufell had emerged from the clouds and stood there proudly. All was quiet, but the waves lapping onshore and an occasional whoosh of a seabird gliding by. At that moment, I realized that this was about much more than getting a photograph, it was about truly experiencing the peace and serenity to be found here.