How did those early Icelander’s survive and even farm in such a inhospitably terrain? Before modern geothermal heating, before modern insulation and construction techniques – how did those early farmers survive the brutal winds, snow, ice and cold of living near the arctic circle? How did them manage to keep the livestock alive and tend to their daily needs of feeding and cleaning out the barn?
Short supply of wood on the island of Iceland, crazy wind and freezing temperature lead to some creative thinking on the part of early Icelanders. Pitched roof houses build right into the land with turf roofs solved many problems of keeping out of the howling wind to keep things toasty and also so the whole house didn’t blow away.
Roofs were lined with the only plentiful building material – turf or sod. Living sheets of grasses covered the roof. Volcanic rock provided the foundation and side walls.
Inside was small and sparse. Less room to heat and more body warmth to conserve. Bedrooms often housed the entire extended family in wooden bunks with sides to keep the covers handy.
One bedroom lead to another and downstairs often had passageways to the barn if the barn wasn’t in the basement. Easy access to livestock during storms and the 24 hour days of darkness in winter.
The technique of building with durable, renewable, and widely available turf first appeared with the arrival of Norse and British settlers during the 9th through 11th centuries at the height of the Viking Age in Europe.
Historic records suggest that up to 50 percent of Icelandic dwellings were partially comprised of turf until the late 19th century. As populations began to cluster in cities like Reykjavik, wood buildings replaced stone masonry and earthen architecture. After fires razed the city in 1915, concrete became the material of choice. – National Geographic
Some Icelandic Turf Houses You Can Visit
Icelandic Turf House, Selfoss
Glaumbær in North-Iceland
Museum at Árbær
Pa’iloa Beach Maui, Hawaii – On the “Road to Hana” there is a special black sand beach called Pa’iloa Beach, and unimaginable beautiful beach with walls of cliffs on two sides and a deep channel leading to a small, deep, beautiful rocky beach of lava rocks and these secret lava tube tunnels.
Hiking trails border the cliffs on both sides leading to incredible views of the beach, the rock formations and of course the amazing ocean waves.
Part of Wai’anapanapa State Park, the beach is the most immediately noticeable feature to the 120-acres that make up Wai’anapanapa State Park. The translation for Wai’anapanapa is “glistening water” or “water flashing rainbow hues”, both of which are accurate in describing the powerful contrast between the black, pebble lava field and the deep blue-greens of the ocean.
Pa’iloa Beach is small with a ocean cave on the east side that can be traveled through to the ocean. There’s also a naturally made lava arch in the water.
A collection of fine art photographs made by Hawaiian born photographer Edward M. Fielding is available as fine art prints for framing at home, framed prints, metal prints, canvas prints, acrylic prints as well as on products such as tote bags and throw pillows. The entire collection can be found here – https://edward-fielding.pixels.com/art/hawaii
About the Road to Hana on the Hawaiian Island of Maui: The Hāna Highway is a 64.4-mile long stretch of Hawaii Routes 36 and 360 which connects Kahului with the town of Hāna in east Maui. On the east after Kalepa Bridge, the highway continues to Kīpahulu as Hawaii Route 31.
The twisty road often has a posted speed limit of 10 miles an hour as it’s multitude of one line bridges create the need for careful driving. Along the way you’ll find beaches, waterfalls, hikes, jungle, scenic overlooks and pure adventure.
Autumn in New Hampshire – They say here in New Hampshire there are four seasons stick season when the trees have no leaves, mud when you are waiting for the leaves to pop out, green summer and the color explosion of fall.
Out of 52 weeks in the year, the autumn season comes down to perhaps three weeks when the foliage is peaking in various regions of the state and you have to time your capture time just right. Wait too long and a hurricane or tropical depression like Irene will roar up the coast and strip off the leaves. And perhaps take out a few roads, bridges and houses.
Many people book trips to the state for the long Columbus day weekend. Usually there are a lot of activities and festivals going on around Columbus day and you’ll see a lot of bus tour activity – but often these tours miss the peak by a whole week.
Peaks start in the colder areas, up north and in higher elevations. So if you plan your trip with this in mind and start north and meander south, you’ll be able to maximize your views of the incredible display from Mother Nature.
Crisp fall days in the mountains and valley’s of New Hampshire can be exhilarating and one of the best times of year to go hiking as its not too hot. Wear layers as the shorter days will start out chilly but as you start hiking along or take in a local agricultural fair, the sun will begin to warm the land and you’ll be striping down to a t-shirt. Only to start to get cold a few hours later when the sun begins to dip on the horizon.
New Hampshire’s climate from NewHampshire.com:
The Granite State is known for its highly changeable climate where the weather can be warm and sunny one minute and cold and snowy the next. Each of the four seasons vary greatly in their daily temperatures and weather patterns. Climate variations are also due to distance from the ocean, mountains, lakes or rivers. Spring arrives mid March and with it the most unpredictable weather patterns of the year. It’s been known to snow well into April when the flowers are just starting to bloom. The wacky weather patterns of Spring are replaced mid-June by the warm, sunny days and cool, clear nights of Summer. Starting in late September to early October, the landscape becomes ablaze with color and the evening temperatures start dipping below freezing. The days, however, are usually fairly sunny and mild. Winter begins in late October with the first dusting of snow and continues through March, with the last snow usually falling in April.
With a name like Iceland, you expect to see some ice right? Well you will. Ice cold glacier water, glaciers and best of all flowing icebergs. The best place to see icebergs up close and personal like is at Jökulsárlón which is a lagoon that fills up with small icebergs that break off the glacier and float out to sea.
But before the icebergs melt away, they gather and float in and out of the lagoon. They even end up landing on the black sand beach where you can watch them melt, flip, and beach themselves before they disappear. Seals are also often seen playing in this lagoon.
All in all the area is a mesmerizing place to view the ice, photograph the ice or take part in any or all of the tour operations that operate here including kayak and paddle board rentals and these amphibious vehicles that drive like a car and the plunge into the water.
Jökulsárlón is a glacial lagoon, bordering Vatnajökull National Park in southeastern Iceland. Its still, blue waters are dotted with icebergs from the surrounding Breiðamerkurjökull Glacier, part of larger Vatnajökull Glacier. The lagoon flows through a short waterway into the Atlantic Ocean, leaving chunks of ice on a black sand beach. In winter, the fish-filled lagoon hosts hundreds of seals.
Nubble Lighhouse, York Maine – an iconic New England Landmark
Officially named the Cape Neddick Light, Nubble Light is no doubt one of the most photographed American iconic locations in all of New England. Picture perfect Cape Neddick in York Maine hosts one of the most picturesque lighthouses in the country and includes a convenient parking lot and adjacent Lobster Shack for handy lobster rolls while you gaze across the inlet at the classic Maine lighthouse and its many out buildings, white picket fence and jagged granite cliffs.
Accessibility: Follow Nubble Road east from Route 1A (Long Beach Ave.) in York, near Long Sands Beach, for about 1 mile to Sohier Park. Click here for more detailed directions. There is free parking at Sohier Park with an excellent view of the lighthouse. The lighthouse and grounds are not open to the public.
Compact park offering scenic views of historic lighthouse plus scuba diving, fishing & gift shop.
Construction materials: Cast iron lined with brick
Height of tower: 41 feet
Height of focal plane: 88 feet
Original optic: Fourth-order Fresnel lens (1879)
Present optic: Fourth-order Fresnel lens (1928)
Brief History From Wikipedia:
The Cape Neddick Light is a lighthouse in Cape Neddick, York, Maine. In 1874 Congress appropriated $15,000 to build a light station at the “Nubble” and in 1879 construction began. Cape Neddick Light Station was dedicated by the U.S. Lighthouse Service and put into use in 1879. It is still in use today.
Plans had been in the works to build a lighthouse on the site since 1837. The tower is lined with brick and sheathed with cast iron. It stands 41 feet (12 m) tall but the light is 88 feet (27 m) above sea level because of the additional height of the steep rocky islet on which it sits. Unusually, the stanchions of the walkway railing around the lantern room are decorated with 4-inch (100 mm) brass replicas of the lighthouse itself.
Nubble Light is a famous American icon and a classic example of a lighthouse. The Voyager spacecraft, which carries photographs of Earth’s most prominent man-made structures and natural features, should it fall into the hands of intelligent extraterrestrials, includes a photo of Nubble Light with images of the Great Wall of China and the Taj Mahal.
Perspective map not drawn to scale. Bird’s-eye-view. LC Panoramic maps (2nd ed.). Bar Harbor, Maine
Original lithograph was drawn, ca. 1886, Charles Jorgensen
Notice the hotel on the top of Cadillac Mountain. Today there is only a gift shop and bathroom facility.
Also interesting to note the cog railroad leading up to the top of Cadillac Mountain. This train was later sold and moved to Mount Washington in the White Mountains of New Hampshire were it is still in service today.
The Green Mountain Cog Railway was a mountain railway built to carry tourists to the top of Green Mountain (now known as Cadillac Mountain) on Mount Desert Island in Maine. Its track was built to 4 ft 8 in (1,422 mm) gauge, which is technically a narrow gauge, as it is a 1⁄2-inch less than 4 ft 8 1⁄2 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge.
At the end of the 19th century, Maine’s tourist industry was developing rapidly. The islands off the coast of Maine were popular attractions, and the possibility of a cog railway to the top of Green Mountain was first explored in the late 1870s, following the success of the Mount Washington Cog Railway in New Hampshire. Construction of the railway started in 1883, and it was built to the designs in the Marsh patents developed for the Mount Washington line. The first locomotive was built by the Manchester Locomotive Works, and was meant to be for the Mount Washington line. After the first season, Frank Clergue, “owner and operator”, bought another coach and locomotive, both identical to their predecessors. The coaches and work cars were built by the Hinckley & Egery Iron Co. The coaches had eight benches, with open air seating that could hold six. During bad weather, canvas tarps were rolled down from the ceiling to protect the passengers from the wind and rain. The #1 locomotive was named “Mount Desert”, and #2 was not named. Both locomotives were used at the same time when there were large numbers of passengers. There were no switches on the railway, so the trains did not have the ability to pass each other.
The line operated during the summer season and for the first few years was successful. But tourist numbers declined, and after the 1890 season the railway ceased operations. The railway’s two steam locomotives were sold to the Mount Washington Cog Railway in 1895 after five years of disuse.
I think there is some confusion out there in photography land. There is a true love of photography and then there is a “love of being on vacation with a camera”.
A true love of photography is the deep need to document the world around you. This when you never leave the house without a camera, you are always taking photos and looking around for photo subjects non-stop.
Then there is the pull the camera out of the closet, dust it off, perhaps buy a new lens because finally it is vacation time again!
You can tell this type of photographer in online forums as they are the ones arguing about the latest cameras and which lens is the sharpest. They are also the ones asking for photo spot suggestions and where they should go on vacation – Cuba? Iceland? Ireland? Which national park is the best? etc. In otherwords, where can I justify pulling out the tripod and standing next to my fellow vacationers to get that same photo I see on the post card rack.
Nothing wrong with this of course, I do it myself. I get pumped for a vacation with the family and think about all of the great shots I’ll get while the family impatiently waits so we can go to dinner.
Every new location brings a fresh scenes to captivate the imagination and a change of scenery recharges the soul. Plus its good for the brain to have to plan out your adventure and navigate a new landscape. Often one is restricted to basic equipment so planning and adaptation is required.
But the true artist can bring out amazing images from their own backyard. The amateur puts full faith in the exotic location in order to impress. As if their vision lays within their equipment and relies on the landscape to provide the artistry.
Perhaps if the amateur didn’t put the camera back in the closet after an exotic vacation they would learn to see the wonders all around them in their own backyard.
If you are in the need of a fence, why not use local materials? And if you live in Hawaii those local materials might just be discarded surfboards. Surfboards have a life span and eventually end up in the landfills of Hawaii, but certain imaginative individuals have pressed new life out of these old surfboards by using them as a bright and colorful fence.
We’re planning for a summer trip to the land of Fire and Ice. Also the land of trolls, volcanoes, glaciers, best hot dogs in the world and fermented shark’s head.
What we know
Flights to Iceland are very inexpensive. Many people take advantage of the no up charge, up to seven day, stop over on the way to Europe via Icelandic Air.
Food is very expensive just like Alaska or Hawaii or other remote areas. Eating out is pricey so plan to make your own meals to save some dough.
Its cold! Pack warmly as Iceland is cold, windy and rainy most of the time.
The majority of Iceland is not populated. Mostly the coastline is habitable. You won’t have any trouble finding some peace and quiet.
Renting a camper van is a great way to see Iceland – this is what we will be doing.
Reykjavik is the capital and the largest city. Lots of the natural wonders of Iceland can be seen within an 1 hour and a half drive or bus from the capital including the famous Blue Lagoon natural hot spring.
The Blue Lagoon requires reservations and tickets.
The country is 95% native Icelanders and they speak Icelandic but most people also speak English at least in the more touristy areas.
The Ring Road or RT1 circumnavigates the entire island, its paved all the way but you will come across one way bridges.
Tips from a friend who often goes camper vanning in Iceland:
You won’t get lost on the ring road.
Do your research beforehand so you have names and locations of campsites along the way. Many people speak English but not all.
Larger towns have grocery stores where you can pick up what you’ll need to cook at the campsite, otherwise, you go to the individual bakery and fruit market for your supplies. If you have dry snacks you like and want to bring, pack those. But pay attention to the weight of your bag.
We each had a large roller duffel and we packed sleeping bags as well.
When we rented our camper, we also rented the linen package that came with towels, blankets and pillows. Do that! Bring a few extra small (dark – just in case you want to use them to cover windows) towels in case your towels don’t dry.
Everything is expensive. Plan on it and forget about it.
We used credit cards everywhere though have CC cards with a chip and set up a pin because some places have that double security requirement.
The campsites we stayed at had hot showers and toilets. One had laundry but everything takes a long time to dry so I wouldn’t count on it. If you choose to do laundry at some point, find a laundromat in a larger town and use the hours to plan on bouncing around or doing something touristy. We didn’t do any laundry while camping.
Pack for all sorts of weather. The highest temps will be low 60s probably. Nights can get down to the low 40s.
Weather – You could have sun or rain or sleet or snow.
It’s wet – I had two pairs of sneakers in case one got wet and flip flops for showers and a nicer pair of flats to go out.
Gear – I basically packed all my athletic wear. Capris, leggings, skorts, tank tops, long sleeve wicking tops and heavier tops to layer. All manner of socks. Hats and mittens and four different weight jackets. The only thing I didn’t wear was the true fall weight jacket but we had spectacular weather and had it been any different I might have pulled that one out of the bag.
Bring bathing suits. There is a pool in every town, you can shower there and there are often hot springs.
Public pools have strict personal hygiene rules. Put away worries about dignity. Rules of hygiene are taken very seriously with regard to the pools and all visitors are required to shower thoroughly without a swimsuit before entering the water.
Liquor – When you land in Reykjavik, there is a duty free shop at the baggage claim. Buy some stuff there (aka liquor). Hard liquor is not sold outside of bars. There are a lot of weird alcohol laws – https://wowair.us/magazine/alcohol-in-iceland/ Basically if you are a heavy drinker, Iceland is probably not the place for you.
I’m going to call it. The Upper Valley region of New Hampshire and Vermont is past peak. Sure there still is a lot of color around but there are also a lot of stick trees and with the wintry weather mix due, snow flurries, rain, overcast skies and down right gray skies, you better head south if you want to see some great foliage.
The Fall Gallery in my overall portfolio of photography and artwork for sale as prints, framed art canvas prints, metal prints as well as products, has about 70 of my favorite images from trips around the New England area in the autumn foliage season. You’ll find barns, covered bridges, trees, landscapes, farms, classic cars and more.
What is the Autumn Foliage Season?
Autumn leaf color is a phenomenon that affects the normally green leaves of many deciduous trees and shrubs by which they take on, during a few weeks in the autumn season, various shades of red, yellow, purple, black, orange, pink, magenta, blue and brown. The phenomenon is commonly called autumn colours or autumn foliage in British English and fall colors, fall foliage, or simply foliage in American English.
In some areas of Canada and the United States, “leaf peeping” tourism is a major contribution to economic activity. This tourist activity occurs between the beginning of color changes and the onset of leaf fall, usually around September and October in the Northern Hemisphere and April to May in the Southern Hemisphere.
What is leaf peeping?
Leaf peeping is an informal term in the United States for the activity in which people travel to view and photograph the fall foliage in areas where foliage changes colors in autumn, particularly in New England. The origin of the term “leaf peeping” is not well known. A similar custom in Japan is called momijigari.