Hveravellir hot spring

Blue Pool
Hveravellir hot spring is a unique oasis in the stony deserts of Iceland’s interior.

This oasis includes a campsite with basic services, an incredible hot pool with a constant Geothermal feed. Hveravellir is also known as the valley of thieves. This resting spot sits in a very hostile area of Central Iceland. There are ancient sub-glacial volcanoes topped with small glaciers in almost every direction.

It is a location famously used by exiled criminals, where they could hide out in relative comfort during harsh Winters. One of the most famous outlaws were Fjalla-Eyvindur and his wife who lived in the wilderness for 20 years. They even had a child who didn’t survive.

Blue Pool Dawn

Grettir the Strong was the most famous outlaw. He could have used the hot springs at Hveravellir during the Winters as this area was one of his stomping grounds.


To sit among the hot springs at Hveravellir and feel the ground shake when the pressure underground builds, you actually feel that you are on a volcano. This is the honeycomb version of earth’s crust. This hostile area actually offers lots of comfort in the almost unbearably hot bath.

Photography Tips

There are many light dependent photo stops on the way to Hveravellir. The road is called Kjölurvegur and is notoriously rough. It is possible to get there in a regular car, but be prepared to have some repairs when you return.

At Hveravellir hot spring, observe the direction and strength of the steam in the geothermal area. Correct control can make or break a shot. If the steam is widespread and slow, try to avoid very long exposures, this will lead to milky white images. If the wind is strong, a long exposure can create a surreal effect.

There are lots of reflective surfaces among the hot-springs, so always explore different angles where there is light or colour in the sky.

Using grad filters or magic cloth can give good results. I have found that the blue pool exposes very nicely with a cloudy sky. In these conditions, there is no need to extend the dynamic range. It is best to expose for the whole scene.

Experience this yourself with a Day Tour.

Cotton ball sky

Crazy sky over the sea stacks at Vik on the return leg of our 5 day Winter workshop. Shot with 135mm from the sea cliffs at Dyrholaey.

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