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Matt Willen Matt Willen | Friday 15. May 2009

Some Geology

Now that I have been at this for a few days, I am going to try to get somewhat more informative about the Westfjords. Let me start with a little about the topography. Geologically speaking, the Westfjords are formed of volcanic rock, considerably older than the rest of Iceland, which itself is formed largely (perhaps exclusively) of volcanic rock.

The older age of the geology in the area accounts for the relative absence of geothermal activity, which is abundant around much of the rest of the country. There are "hot spots" around the region in which volcanic activity has caused some uplift and formation of more peak-like mountains (as opposed to the flat tops of the fjords obvious in the video). This is especially the case in the area between þingeyri and Flateyri, the Westfjord Alps. Otherwise, the topography of the fjords was formed by glacial activity....
Matt Willen Matt Willen | Thursday 14. May 2009

A Grand Day Out

I had a very nice road trip yesterday with Peter Weiss, director of the University Center of the Westfjords. A welcome day out of the office for Peter, and a good day to visit the southern Westfjords. We headed south around 10:30, through the tunnel outside of Isafjöður (a single lane for about 7 km that spilts halfway Headed over towards þingeyri, where we stopped and spoke with a gentleman (Lárus) and then over the pass south from þingeyri to the farm at hrafnseyri, the birthplace of Jon Sigurðsson, the first Icelandic statesman/president. On the way we stopped at one of the emergency huts on top of the pass (see photos) and took a look inside (an auspicious place to spend a cold night), and then stopped at the farm at Auðkúla, on Arnarfjörður, where there is an old bulding that once was going to be store.

Hrafnseyri is 2 km further south, along the coast. Here there is a boarding house, a museum, two chapels and several turf cottages. We stopped in for an hour or so, and chatted with Benedick (who works for the fisheries police) and Valdemar (the caretaker and curator at Hrafnseyri). From there onto Dynjandi, a spectacular tiered waterfall which, with the spring runoff, was booming.


Today, I am going to stick around Isafjörður, find a place where it looks like something is going on, and stick around. I am enjoying meeting people immensely, though I wish my Icelandic was better. Það reddast.

Matt Willen Matt Willen | Tuesday 12. May 2009

The Shrimp Boat

I finally got a good night´s sleep last night at a reasonable hour, which means I went to bed at 10:00 after introducing Agust to the first two episodes of Breaking Bad which I have on my ipod. Up at 6:00 and out at 6:30 in the rain, and over to the docks where I thought I might find some people. There I found a small crew unloading the nets from a shrimp boat. I spoke to one of crew mates and he explained to me that they were pulling the nets out because they were "fucked" and needed repair. It took them hours to haul in. So I hung out for a while and took some photos of the crew from the dock and on board as they untangled and hoisted their nets. Then as the rain subsided slightly, a beautiful rainbow over Pollinn, the inner harbor area....
Matt Willen Matt Willen | Monday 11. May 2009

Loosening up

I've deliberately been slow about getting the camera out, mostly to allow myself time to orient to the town. I took it out with me yesterday afternoon and used the opportunity to loosen up a bit, begin to look at things in the ways that I tend to look at things. So I focused largely on geometry and elements of perspective in scenes around Isafjöður. Few people, as it has been raining and few people are out. Later, Gústi and I went out for a couple of hours after dinner as the light was fading, and did some shooting on the streets. Then I stayed up till late processing photographs....
Matt Willen Matt Willen | Sunday 10. May 2009

Getting In

Main Street in Isafjörður
Main Street in Isafjörður
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Got to Iceland last night. Think of a mind working in two columns, side by side. One watching what´s going on after hours of no sleep.

1) When you arrive in Iceland , you arrive in Keflavik at flugstöð Leifs Eirikssonar not Reykjavik (a common misconception), about 45 minutes by the air bus to Reykjavik. It costs about 2000 kr, about $17 US. You leave the airport, and drive through a volcanic landscape quite reminiscent of the malpais lave fields in western New Mexico. The first thing you encounter on the side of the road is a totalled car and a sign admonishing you to drive carefully while in iceland. Indeed, basalt is less forgiving than grass should you happen to swerve too far.


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