Námaskarð Hverir – North Iceland

Steaming Fumaroles

Námafjall is a mountain near Mývatn in the North East of Iceland. The mountain is close to the Kraftla volcano and is right in the middle of a geothermal area. The mountain is hot and the snow melts much quicker on Námafjall. Námaskarð Hverir is a hot-spring area at the base of Námafjall. There is a collection of steam fumaroles, some bubbling mud pots and lots of interesting colours.  This location is just a few miles from Lake Myvatn.

I discovered Námaskarð on my first road trip around Iceland.  I had difficulty getting something to eat in Egilstadir.  All there was on offer was burgers and fries.  I had some tinned supplies and decided that I just need to find some wood to build a camp fire.  The trouble is, there are very few trees in Iceland, so finding wood is very difficult.  After some driving I stumbled across Námaskarð.  After exploring the steaming vents for a while, I had an idea. I simply opened a can of beans and perched the can on the side of a fumarole.  I also heated some water for some noodles. Fifteen minutes later, I had a hot meal.

Small Group Ice Caving

Photo Tips

The area works beautifully with a sunset sky, there are many possible compositions and you can find interesting background at all angles (apart from the car park). It can be challenging to compose at Námaskarð without including the perimeter fences, they are not too intrusive, but necessary to protect the delicate ground around the blowing vents. The other challenge for composition is the chaotic nature of the textures, it is easy to be distracted by the colours, but keep an eye on the balance of foreground, background and sky and you will have pleasant results. Pictures needs to be well exposed to get the best colours out of the landscape. Both long and short exposures work well here, just have fun with the steam at Námaskarð.

If you get cold and tired, just go and have a soak in the Thermal Baths at Jarðböðin, it is just on the other side of the Námafjall Mountain.

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Summer Nights

Magical colours as the summer sun sets and the steam vents.  The sky glows a soft yellow and the red mountain catches the last rays of the sun.

Geothermal steam at Namafell Hverir
Geothermal steam at Námaskarð

All that steam in the mid-Summer sunset can be dramatic.  The soft light turns the geothermal vent into a candy floss machine.  This summer evening the sky was filled with huge lenticular clouds.  These are quite common in Iceland.  They have a space ship appearance over the alien landscape.

Summer sunset at Namafell Hverir
Summer sunset at Námaskarð

Here is a dark moody sky for contrast.  The steam is blowing away from me and the footpath markers led into the scene.So much of landscape photography is the drama or colour in the sky.  I recommend staying at Lake Myvatn so you can visit a few times.

Moody Sky at Namafell Hverir
Moody sky and enhanced foreground textures on the Fumarole.

Tours that include Námaskarð

Diamond Circle

Day Tours from Akureyri

These group tours depart from Akureyri and include all the main attractions from Godafoss to Dettifoss. This is known as the Diamond Circle.

Private Tours from Akureyri

These day tours are private and work better for Nature Photography.  

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By Tony Prower

Tony Prower spent over 15 years photographing the landscapes of Iceland. Tony Prower is a pioneer of the Magic Cloth Technique and ran thousands of photo tours in Iceland over 10 years.