August 2010 Landmannalaugar

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Landmannalaugar Photo Tour

We departed from Reykjavik and headed towards the interior to a geothermal area called Landmannalaugar, the natural gem in the southern highlands of Iceland.

Landmannalaugar’s colourful mountains were formed by many millennia of volcanic activity. The natural landscape in this park is breathtaking as the colourful mountains plant their giant fingers through the valleys.


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Þjórsárdalur valley

We journeyed through the countryside of southern Iceland through Þjórsárdalur valley. We visited Hjálparfoss Waterfall. Then proceeded into the highlands This photo tour to Landmannalaugar was just one day from a 10 day tour around Iceland.

Although it wan’t the first tour I ran, this was the first booking from a delightful couple from Germany. The weather was fine but because of the group dynamics were were touring during the day. This made the light on the vast deserts rater un-interesting on the bumpy drive into the park.

A few crater lakes dotted the landscapes as we approach the central zone where the colourful mountains hit you all of a sudden.

Landmannalaugar Photo Tour

Basecamp and Carpark

In the central zone, the best opportunities are to follow one of the many hiking trails leading from the campsite. 2 hours was enough time to scale one of the mountains.

We decided to climb the Red Mountain (Raudafell) which can be accessed by hiking through the lava flow next to the campsite. The lava field is quite dense and has a couple of pathways running through it. It is important to follow these paths or risk being stranded among sharp lava rocks.


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Cotton Grass

Just past the lava field, I found some cotton grass around a small pond with the potential for reflections.

Cotton Grass and mountains reflected in a rain pool.

On the other side of the lava field, you can bear left through a geothermal area on the foothills of the Red Mountain. As you get higher you find yourself above the geothermal activity looking down on a lava flow. In the next picture you can see the outline of 2 hikers on the path below me.

Landmannalaugar Photo Tour

From the top of the Red Mountain, the views are stunning. Composition is tricky because the mountain is almost dome shaped and so there is no edge or precipice to look over. The weather was mostly cloudy which really helped us in the daylight. The scattered light illuminates the feet of Landmannalaugar’s mountains.

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View from the top of Raudafell.

Descending Red Mountain

After agreeing to meet at the carpark, I descended Raudafell alone. I was keen to frame and compose the scenery behind Raudafell. Raudafell has a kind of dome shape, so it was difficult to find parts that dropped off steeply rather than flowing into the middle ground.

Landmannalaugar Photo Tour

As I descended the back side of the Red Mountain, it looked like rain would come but it never did. Overall, this was a good day with a chance to take on a couple of hours hiking to take in a peak. The cotton grass and the views from the Red Mountain made the trip worthwhile, however, being late summer, there was no snow on the mountains.

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Hrauneyri Highland Centre

The highland centre has a good range of overnight accommodations, from shared to private bathrooms. The breakfast buffet and restaurant are also good. Sponsored Link.
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