Iceland – From the depths of the Earth

One of the many places we visited while in Iceland was a mud pot at a place called Lake Myvatn (I don’t know how to pronounce it either).

It was an absolutely extraordinary place, with bubbling pools of boiling mud. All around were deposits of sulfur, and here and there were piles of rocks that were fuming at an alarming rate while making a roaring noise. The effect on the local environment was to create very acidic soil, meaning that nothing could grow. The resulting landscape looked truly Martian:

Lake Myvatn, Iceland

The area around the mud pots at Lake Myvatn in Iceland

On the day that I was there a storm was rolling in, giving a foreboding sky that only enhanced the alienation I feel when I look at this image. Photographically, I think the key was firstly to exclude any people – that would have immediately broken the spell, and secondly to carefully balance the colours in the frame; the yellow sulfur deposits on the right occupy roughly a third of the total low ground and I felt that this was the best balance. There’s no trickery to this, just trying different angles and moving around a little. I was lucky with the sky, because both the left and right hand upper corners are dark, leaving your eyes roaming the desolation trying to find something familiar.

Close up, the deposits make for an interestingly coloured and textured abstract image


Looking closely at the deposits makes for some unusual shapes and colours

A word of warning to anyone planning a visit – the fumes released by these pits are terribly choking, I would strongly recommend staying upwind

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