Hoffell Reflection Panorama Photo

Hoffell Reflection
Symmetrical Reflection - Put the horizon in the middle.

Mount Hoffell

This beautiful Iceland Landscape features a mountain called Hoffellsfjall which is part of an ancient volcano in the South Eastern part of Iceland.  It’s last eruption blew itself up millions of years ago.  What you see now is just the weathered remains of it’s former self.  Thousands of years ago, the sea reached Mount Hoffell.  Modern geologists found walrus teeth at the base of Hoffellsfjall and Hoffell Farmer discovered a Crystal Spar mine in the mountain in 1910.

To the left of the big black mountain is a small glacier lagoon and Hoffellsjökull Glacier Outlet.  Hoffellsjökull Glacier is one of the fastest moving glacier tongues in the world.  There is a track for 4×4 vehicles which goes from Hoffell farm all the way to Hoffellsjökull Glacier Lagoon.

The district was seized by Hrollaugur Ragnvaldsson when the Vikings settled in the 9th century. Hrollaugur owned the land between Jokulsarlon and Stokksness.  The surrounding farmlands have been kept Viking ever since as they were handed down generation to generation.  Some vast plains are for sale with farmers unable to make the land compete with the guesthouse brandishing farms of their neighbours.  Like many local farms, Hoffell has a good quality guesthouse and also an area for hot-tub bathing.  

The marsh plains are occasional home to reindeer. 

Autumn Landscape

This photo was taken in the Icelandic Autumn while a bunch of photographers and myself were on the road from Hotel Hali to Höfn. There is a long stretch of road that offers uninterrupted view of Mount Hofell.  We managed to find a safe place to stop, so we crossed the road to get closer to the reflective surface of the local marshlands.  Because the bodies of water are so shallow and thick with reeds, reflections are easy to find on a calm day.  I usually found East Iceland to be less Windy than the West.  Although the wind can be very severe in East Iceland, the chances of having great stillness.  Days of great stillness in Reykjavik occurred just a couple of times a year.  When you have a mountain and lake together, these still days are so fantastic for photography.  In East Iceland there are many Mountain/Lake combinations that can be seen along the main highway.  My first ever road trip to the Vatnjokull area was in 2005.  I remember having to drive extra cautiously because the scenery was so stunning that I would lose my attention on the road.

Stitch Panorama

Rather than photograph the landscape with my 24mm rime, I decided to use my 50mm prime to capture the full splendour instead.  This is because I like the straightforwardness of 50mm with it’s lack of distortion or compression that you would get from other focal lengths. So I decided to take a stitch panorama photo.  I took 3 vertical frames at 50mm and manually blended them in photoshop.  I will always prefer to manually blend a landscape photograph when there are objects that could be considered a ‘foreground’.  Unless one is using a nodal ninja, or some other contraption to prevent parallax, manual blending is the way to go if your panorama includes a foreground object.  In this case, it was just a few sticks and grass interrupting the reflection.  The fine details in the farm below the mountain really deserved some manual stitching.

I didn’t stop there! I also took several more frames along the mountain range.  The photo is so large that it could be printed on a train carriage with no loss of quality.  It is a very long panorama photo.  The actual photo measures more than 11 thousand pixels across.  The version below has been reduced in size considerably, but you get the idea.

Mount Hoffell Panorama
Mount Hoffell Panorama Photo

Panorama Photography

Like many aspects of photography, panorama photos can be very simple or very difficult.  A photo with a close foreground requires a really good understanding of your lens’s Nodal Point.  The Nodal Point is sometimes called the non-parallax point and relates to how near objects and distance objects separate when you move (or rotate a camera).  If you are not aware of this, there will be strange artifacts in your foreground because the different frames wont blend very well.  It might even need a specialist tripod head to ensure that your lens rotates around the Nodal point when you pan around.   Check out the Nodal Ninja if you’re serious about landscape panoramas.  

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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.

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