Taken on a summer’s evening in the northern fjords of Norway as the sun was dropping in the skies. Being north of the Arctic Circle, it did not drop much lower than in this image, holding the lovely golden tones for a prolonged period. Although this was mid summer (early July), the snow had only just melted 2-3 weeks prior.
I have visited Iceland a few times. This was from my most recent trip there, when I cycled round the island. This was one of the rare days when it did not rain. I was around 300km east of Reykjavik when I took this shot. The wind was with me that day and I covered over 100 miles.
This next shot was a couple of days out of Egilsstaðir, close to Hoffell if I recall correctly. Just a mile or two away from the road where I was cycling, was this the view I was treated to, of a glacier positioned on the edge of Vatnajökull National Park.
Recently, after being on a film shoot in California, I had a couple of days spare at the end of my trip and decided to capture some images in Death Valley. I made the classic tourist error of hiring a convertible car, which in the desert, is a bad idea. You want, no, you need to have air conditioning. Being stoic, I chose discomfort and sunburn instead, which turned out well for me.
Anyhow, here are a few shots I took in a day long photography shoot in Death Valley. It effectively documents the arrival of a fierce thunder-storm, gale force winds and a torrential downpour that flooded the roads in multiple places.
The fluffy white clouds formed the perfect backdrop to this ghost town
Thick, heavy cloud was blowing into Death Valley from Nevada to the east.
The sky seemed to lose colour as the heavy, grey clouds gathered overheat, blocking out the intense sun and dropping the temperature some 20 degrees Celsius.
Rain began to fall and there were two separate rainbows in the desert. It was magnificent.
For these last two images, the wind was blowing a gale and I had to cling on to my camera gear to fear that it would be snatched away by the wind.
Forks of lightening spread 180 degrees sideways through the sky as I drove back to my hotel after taking the final session of shots on Zabriskie Point.
For the final few weeks of 2010, as the UK was freezing in the mid-winter snow, I was in sunny Argentina, shooting for various image libraries. I have included a few of these images from the various places I visited in late November and early to mid December.
As luck would have it, my flight was one of the very first to make it back into Heathrow, once they were finally able to clear the runway, which was very jammy indeed!
Sailing across the Beagle Channel close to Ushuaia, moment s after a snow blizzard
Walking around the edge of Lago Colorado in the Bolivian Atacama desert
Leap of faith 4,500m up in the Atacama desert
Train graveyard in the Salar de Uyuni, just south of town
Horse riding gaucho style in the hills surrounding Salta, Argentina
In the next month or so, I and two friends will be attempting to cycle around Iceland. Usually, there would be the standard helping of trepidation by friends and colleagues at the idea of cycling over a thousand miles, around a desolate and sparsely inhabited island. This year is more ambitious than I had originally intended due to the continued eruption of Eyjafjallajökull.
Indeed, the repeated action of the volcano and the broad level of information I am receiving from various sources (some more trusted than others) means that I am none the wiser as to whether we will be able to fly to Iceland and then circumnavigate it without being either blocked by the volcanic activity or halted by falling clouds of ash. Conundrums and tribulations aside, this is all adding up to be quite the adventure. Usually, if I were only concerned about my own travel, this would not be an issue as one can more easily roll with the punches when you are solo. However, with the much appreciated company on this trip, along with the variety of start points for the journey, I need to make sure that I am not going to waste anyone’s precious vacation time.
I must admit to being more than a little seduced by the adventure ahead. Each year, I like to have something new, something that sets each challenge apart from the previous ones. Last year, it was covering thousands of miles alone. This year, Eyjafjallajökull is throwing all sorts of variables in my path.
I have read various reports from other cyclist and newscasters reporting back on the eruptions as they happen. The official word was that they would be over within the next couple of weeks and that the prevailing winds would prevent any falling ash from inconveniencing us as we make our way clockwise around the island.
In addition to the complexities of Eyjafjallajökull erupting, its three previous eruptions on record have each been associated with a subsequent eruption of Katla. So far, there have been no signs of turbulence beneath Katla’s surface. However, having last erupted almost a century ago in 1918, vulcanologists say that a new blast is overdue.
“So far there have been no signs of the re-awakening of the Katla volcano but a lot of things can still happen, so we are monitoring it quite closely,” Dr Einarsson said.
Here is an image that caught my eye. My cycling companion Dave summed it up best when he said something along the lines that we needed to make sure we had all a decent breathing mask in our bags.
So, after all the procrastination, this is what it is all about: The angry gods of the underworld spewing out its ash and magma. In a strange turn of events, after thinking that Iceland would be bereft of tourists, I have been reading about how the volcanic eruption has heightened tourist figures as people come from far and wide to see the angry mountain humbling our Western way of travel and life in general.
Please note: None of these images are mine. They have been sourced from fellow photographers on the net. If you would like me to credit your image or remove it, please email me or comment below
Julien had a mammoth day on Thursday.
He left Repvag and cycled towards Nordkapp Island along a really beautiful 60km route.
On the way he passed through three tunnels, the biggest of which was under the sea and 7km long. Inside the tunnel were some insane dips and equally steep rises.
It was freezing cold and with a 9% uphill gradient for 4km.
He stopped in at a town on Nordkapp Island called Honningsvag, where he had lunch and got ready for the last 30km.
Julien said the last 30km were perhaps the hardest of the whole journey.
Nordkapp Island is essentially made up of a few flat areas surrounded by mountains.
After leaving Honningsvag Julien quickly hit a wall of road at a 9% incline and had to cycle up it for 6km.
Julien was then stuck cycling up the edge of a large hill on a small road alongside a number of large buses.
One actually ran him off the road but he persevered and made it to the peak after two and a half hours.
The weather had been great all day but just as Julien reached the top it started to cloud over.
Julien entered the visitors center only to discover that he had to pay to stand on the summit but they did at least offer a 50% discount for cyclists!
He spoke to a few people and got a photo of himself in a prime spot.
Julien says it was a great feeling to reach Nordkapp after a huge 2600 miles. What a great achievement!
Just as Julien got ready to cycle back to Honningsvag his stand broke broke but this didn’t impede his progress.
He made it back to the campsite where he met some friendly English speakers who were travelling through Finland.
Julien had an early start the next morning. He got up at 3.50 to give himself time to tumble dry his clothes and pack up before getting the ferry from Honningsvag.
The weather was great and the landscape stunning and Julien managed to get some great photos. But he dozed off and the weather turned to rain.
Unfortunately the forecast for the next few days is looking pretty bad, but this won’t slow Julien down as he starts the journey home by heading towards Tromso.
Julien undertook his epic journey to support the Child’s i Foundation a wonderful charity that is aiming to build a home for abandoned babies in Uganda.
Julien has made a great effort to cycle 2600 miles from London to Nordkapp please show him your support by sponsoring him on his Just Giving Page. Thank you!
Julien had a really tiring day yesterday but he made it to where he was aiming for, a small village called Repvag.
The weather really improved with loads of sunshine all day.
He started out from Alta and had a huge climb from sea level to the mountain plains at over 500m.
He saw more cycling tourists yesterday than on the whole trip combined!
Julien stopped in for lunch at Skaidi 90 km from Alta. He then decided to aim for Repvag another 70km away.
On the way Julien had to face another long climb and decent to the coast.
He cycled another 50km on the costal road, including a tunnel of 3km through a mountain.
Last night was the first time Julien saw the midnight sun on this trip.
He arrived late at a campsite that he describes as ‘dicey’. But the sun was still shining for first time in a week.
Julien is now only 88km for Nordkapp. He will make a final push on Thursday and if all goes according to plan will arrive at the northernmost point of Europe after 2600 miles!
Here is the Google Map for today – Julien is nearly there!
The weather picked up a bit on Tueday and Julien cycled on to Alta the biggest city in the area but home to only 7,000 inhabitants
He followed the E6 road to Alta which was mountanious with some pretty tough hills along the way.
The hills were low lying with sharp gradients which is a bit of a nightmare for cycling!
Julien stopped in at Maze for a quick break. It is incredibly expensive in the Finnmark area with a 500ml bottle of coke costing about £3.50!
After leaving Maze Julien hit his favourite bit of tarmac on the whole journey!
He followed a road that hugged a cliff and followed a huge river. Julien said the views were similar to a loch in Scotland and simply stunning.
As the river widened, Julien was surrounded by giant fir trees and it was like being in Alaska.
He says riding along this road was a real highlight of the journey and an absolute joy.
Julien noticed that his back tyre was bearing too much weight and stopped to check it to discover that the tyre had completely worn away in places.
It would be a major job to stop and change it so Julien cycled on to Alta hoping the wheel would hold out for a few more miles.
On the way Julein passed a frozen waterfull and when he arrived in Alta he could see snowcapped mountains in the distance.
The camspite was on the far side of town another 10km away, but Julien’s tyre held out. On the way Julien saw the first signpost for Nordkapp!
It is too cold to camp now so Julien has been staying in heated cabins with the comfort of a real bed and his own shower!
Unfortunately he has to cycle back to the other side of Alta to reach the nearest cash point which will add 20km to his journey tomorrow.
But after that he will be ready to cycle on to Nordkapp, he should hopefully make it there by Friday!
Julien had a fairly starightforward day on Monday. He left Enontekio early and cycled towards Kautokeino, the first major town in Norway.
It was a bit of a struggle to get to Kautokeino. It was very cold all day at around 4 or degress with constant wind and rain.
Thankfully when Julien arrived in Kautokeino the weather brightend up.
Julien had an appointment with the Norwegian tourist board and decided to take the rest of the day off to prepare for the final push to Nordkapp.
In Kautokeino he vited Julhs the first silversmith in all of Finnmark.
Finnmark is the home of the Sami people who are like the inuits of the area.
The Jewlers Julien met were Norwegian but learning the Sami culture and they gave him a guided tour of the area.
Julien was hoping to spend some time with the Sami but unfortunately this is the time of year that they begin to migrate.
However, Julien was able to get some great pictures of the area and these will be uploaded to his Flickr page as soon as he can get a good signal on his mobile phone.