Landscapes on Canvas
Black church at Buðir
The hamlet of Buðir haunts the Southern edge of the Snæfellsness peninsular about 40 minute drive from Kirkjufellsfoss waterfall. It had some potential as a trading point during the Danish Days as it has a natural harbour and good mountain pass to the Northern side of the peninsular. Currently there is a 4 star hotel right on the mini port and the famous church is just a 100 meters up a narrow, winding lane. Apart from the Buðir black church there are some interesting views and hikes across the lava field (Buðahraun) towards the Buðaklettur and Snæfellsjökull Volcano. There is an old wall from a bygone farm and a bit of a yellow sandy beach.
Pitch Perfect Church
The Buðir black church is one of 3 black churches in Iceland. The small church is black because the exterior wood is painted with pitch, just like the hull of a boat. This is to protect the church from the harsh Icelandic elements. This works fairly well and buildings treated in this way have survived over 100 years which is a long time for a building to stand in Iceland.
Without the help of the Fathers
The church here is culturally significant. There has been a church here since 1703. When the importance of Buðir as a trading post declined, the hamlet was declared to no longer be a parish. A replacement church was needed, but not forthcoming from the church. One woman fought and won the Danish King’s permission to build a new black church… Steinunn Lárusdóttir. When her church was completed in 1848, a plaque claimed the Buðir black church was build without the help of the “Fathers”, in other words, without any help from the Lutheran Church. The church which stands there now is a reconstruction of Steinunn Lárusdóttir’s church. And it serves as a reminder of the strong Icelandic woman and her determination.
Winter at Buðir
The church at Buðir can usually be accessed all year round. There is a narrow, but well maintained road leading past the hotel and on to the church. If there is a lot of snow, the road might only be cleared up to the Hotel, and then it requires a short walk. We were lucky to catch snow on the roof of the church when we visited n early April.
See more images of Buðarkirkja from a Winter trip in March.
Using a long telephoto around 200mm from a distance allows you to play with the Snæfellsness mountains in the background. The graveyard offers some interesting foreground. Also the church can be framed with the gate posts. For a standard wide angle capture, get close and set the tripod high to even the distortion of the top and bottom of the building. It is a black church, so you are free to concentrate exposure on other things such as sky without losing the subject, although it is nice to capture some texture in the dark wood.
Buðakirkja is close to a lava field called Buðahraun. It is also close to one of Iceland’s top Hotel and restaurant – Buðir Hotel. The site is not far from the Frodaheiði mountain pass that takes you to the North side of the Snæfellsness peninsular and the fishing village at Olafsvik.
Featured Activities close to Budir
Photo tours that could include Buðir
Here are some more photographs from Iceland.