This majestic mountain is located close to the town of Höfn in East Iceland. To get to Höfn, the most common route is to drive down Route 1 from Reykjavik, an approximately 6 hour drive. Of course, there are many other scenic locations and towns on the way- the famous glacier lagoon Jokulsarlon is only an hour away to the south. From Höfn, continue back onto Route 1 (Thorvegur) and follow it for about 10 km or so before you come to a right turn to Stoksness (an old radar base from what I understand). The road turns into a gravel road with a few narrow spots. Follow the road till you reach an intersection where you can find a cafe in the corner called the Viking Cafe. Follow this road toward the radar base and to the left is your photographic playground.
Photo Spot Details
The area around has been maintained by donations so it is customary to drop a dollar or two (yes, even non Icelandic money is fine) to allow access. On the other side of the cafe is a Viking village which was a set built for a movie several years ago. The main attraction however can be seen on the path leading to the radar base. You can park anywhere on the sides of the road and this is where you can find the famous black sand dunes and the corresponding beach.
Black sand beaches are common in Iceland and are primarily the result of volcanic rock being ground down to fine particles. The dunes though are quite unique to this location and make it a fascinating spot. The location is quite spectacular but it can be interestingly very hard to frame a good composition. The hard part is finding a good dune to use in the foreground but to also not spoil the scene by trampling across the sand. You can also head down to the beach side and shoot lovely reflection photographs.
- A very wide angle lens will definitely help. The landscape is is spectacular but hard to frame into a good composition with a medium wide lens. The Vestrahorn mountain is also large and quite spectacular and my image above was stitched from 5 vertically oriented images with the Zeiss 2.8/21mm lens.
- It is a dawn location. The first light from the sunrise is spectacular as it lights up Vestrahorn.
- It can also be a location for northern lights photography. Although it doesn’t face North, aurora waves move across the sky and if you are lucky, you can find some strong burst of green over the mountains and reflected in the water.
- If you go closer to the beach, the wet sand from receding waves could allow some lovely textural reflections.