dzenis photography

Some of the best landscapes in and around Reykjavik by Kaspars Dzenis

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Right, so you are in Reykjavik and would like to see some of that landscape beauty of Iceland, but don't have enough time, money or means of transportation to go anywhere far. Not surprisingly, you don't have to go anywhere far to reach some great nature spots, especially for photography. Yes, of course, they might not be grandeur in terms of attractiveness, especially compared to some of the most iconic landmarks in Iceland. However, I believe that these places are highly underrated and deserve much higher attention. Here are just few of my favorite places of nature, that I like to go photograph on a beautiful day, but especially in the mornings and evenings. 

Lets begin with what's closest to downtown Reykjavik. If you have researched anything about Reykjavik, Perlan probably came up as a place to visit, just to see Reykjavik from above. Well, Perlan is situated on top of Öskjuhlíð and around this hill there are many paths through rather thick forest with few nice spots that look like it could be somewhere deep in the forest.


Seltjarnarnes is a peninsula just West of downtown Reykjavik. It has open access to an ocean with a beautiful lighthouse at the very end of it. Great for sunrise and sunset pictures. It's also one of the closest and popular places to get out of city lights and shoot Auroras.  



There are number of forested areas around Reykjavik and one of the nicest ones, in my opinion of course, is Elliðaárdalur. This valley has a river (Elliðaá) cutting through it and you can find couple of waterfalls in the heart of it. Sure, there are more impressive waterfalls in Iceland, but I love that it only takes minutes from downtown Reykjavik to reach a little seclusion and ponder about life while sitting by a waterfall.



Heiðmörk is another forested area around Reykjavik and it's one of the biggest ones. I generally just like to walk through some of its paths, especially in the autumn. However, I'm sure that you will be able to find something interesting regardless of the season. There are also few lakes around the area, which are great for Northern light photography.



Now, this is a bit of a reach as this place is located little bit outside of Reykjavik, close to Mosfellsbær. However, I love this area and even though it's just short of half an hour drive, it has an aura of a remote and wild place. Intrigued? You should be! It's called Tröllafoss. A waterfall, surrounded by a beautiful canyon and I would recommend to just walk around the canyon on both sides, up and down. I can guarantee, you will get some great pictures there. 



Finally, I would like to mention Hvaleyri. This rocky beach is located in Hafnarfjörður, at the very edge of the town, on the way to Keflavik. During low tide, sea exposes moss covered rocks that look amazing during sunrises and sunsets. Just make sure weather is good enough as it can be quite dangerous in a stormy weather or when rocks are covered in ice.

Exploring the heart of Reykjanes by Kaspars Dzenis

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Everybody knows where are them main attractions in Iceland. You can just pick up handful of brochures at any information center and you will know how to find them. They are beautiful, no doubt, but sometimes it is hard to enjoy them with countless camper vans, tour buses and all the buzz around. So, if you were hoping to enjoy some stunning scenery and experience wild and peaceful nature on a remote island, you might feel disappointed.

However, Iceland is big and if you´re not afraid to explore, there are still places that are just as stunning, but at the same time, you can completely immerse into the landscape and feel the beautiful desolation.


Another point concerning photographers. It is kind of a same deal when it comes to the popular landmarks. With million pictures out there, getting a unique shot in Iceland is getting increasingly hard. Sure, you can chase the light and make it unique, yet, I feel that in this day and age, it´s just not enough.


One of my main tools is satellite maps. I explore them thoroughly, searching for any mountain peak, river, waterfall, valley, sea shore, that is not marked, but looks interesting. Then I travel to the location and find compositions that would look great in pictures. I gather this information so I can include it in my photo tours, but also, just to share them with other enthusiasts, who are looking for something, maybe not completely, but different. 


One of the places I would like to talk about in this post, is a mountainous area right in the heart of Reykjanes. In this area you will find a recently active geothermal area, beautiful valleys and lakes and is just a joy to hike around, with no one else in sight.

You can reach this area from two sides. From the east side, after leaving Reykjavik, on the way to Keflavik, you can take the road that goes to Keilir mountain and drive until the very end. Park your car and follow the trail that leads into a geothermal valley. From there you can follow different sheep trails that will lead through the valleys and around the three kettle lakes.


You can also access this area from the east. This time, drive to Kleifarvatn following the road 42 and just before heading into the mountains, turn where the sign says Vigðísarvellir. Then drive until you reach Djúpavatn lake, where you can begin your hike there.