Hvitserkur - The petrified troll in Northern Iceland

 Date: 01-Aug-2017 Category:

Hvitserkur in Iceland

This month's image shows one of the most unusual sea arches in Iceland. Hvítserkur (translates "white shirt") is a 15 m high basalt monolith with two openings on Vatnsnes Peninsula in Northwest Iceland. The legend says Hvitserkur was an evil troll who turned to stone when it was surprised by the rising sun. For us this is without any doubt a petrified rhinoceros. And what a lovely one!

That is the place where we saw our very first aurora, so Steffen and I were hoping to shoot some northern lights again there. We were so excited back then (a total hustle and bustle like in those "running faster than normal" b/w silent movies... I even dropped my camera...) and it wasn't but a very short and weak light show. So we were not really happy with the images we took back in March 2013 (-> Hvitserkur Aurora) and we were looking forward to a new opportunity. But nothing did happen on the sky above us for a long long time. Then something unexpected came up: The moon rose, creating an incredible golden light beam across the bay and with Hvitserkur casting an eerie shadow. And all suddenly we felt inspired and found ourselves in a terrible hurry - incredible how fast a (moon)light beam can move, when you do longer exposures!

So despite the fact that there were no northern lights at all that night, we ended up more than happy. That's something we enjoy so much about photography: When things don't go as planned (weather, northern lights, ...), there is always another option. And those compositions you hadn't envisioned before, sometimes turn out to be real keepers!

Directions: Hvitserkur is located right next to Ósar Hostel on road #711, which leaves the ring road (#1) about 120 km north of Borganes (take road #716 to #711 as a shortcut when coming from Blönduós).
It is a bumpy 30-km-drive up to the signed turn-off right after the Hostel. A very short, steep trail ends at the parking lot. From there it's about 200 m up to the viewing platform (easy walk). On the right hand side of the platform there is an unofficial trail down to the beach, which is very small or non-existent during high tide and extends up to the arch during very low tide. It also depends on the sandbar, if you are able to even see Hvitserkur from his backside.
You will surely love Hvitserkur, just make sure to check the TIDE TABLES before heading there!

Image data: 15 s at f/2.8, ISO 4000; Canon EF 16-35mm 1:2.8 L II USM at 35 mm (cropped), Metabones-Adapter MB_EF-E-BT4, Sony Alpha 7R II

Related Links: More Landscape Images from Iceland