Driving Iceland / by Julien Balmer


Iceland – remote Nordic island of majestic beauty, dramatic volcanic landscapes, and vast open skies. Iceland – home of resilient people, home of hidden people. Iceland – Shangri-La for nature lovers, landscape photographers, and most definitely the contemporary Instagrammer. 

What follows is a visual account of my short 5-day photographic road trip through Iceland in early September 2017. I was short on time, had an ambitious itinerary, and therefore ended up driving some 1'800 km, from the coastal Westfjords all the way to eastern Iceland and back. I love driving, it’s meditative and such a good way for me to develop a feeling for a place I haven’t been to before. Exploring, experiencing, and shooting like this is somehow aligned with the essence of who I am as a photographer, a traveller, and a free spirit. 

I loved capturing the different moods, from gloomy, dark and stormy weather in the West to a very sunny morning near Vatnajökull National Park in the Northeast. A symphony of unusual shapes and beautiful hues. Touched by the vastness, the silence, and the sublime beauty I felt elated and privileged to be there. 

Shot on 35mm film, a DSLR, and an iPhone 6s. 
 

 Geothermal activity in the area around Mývatn, a volcanic lake in northern Iceland.   

 Geothermal activity in the area around Mývatn, a volcanic lake in northern Iceland. 
 

 Road through volcanic landscape near lake Mývatn.  

 Road through volcanic landscape near lake Mývatn.
 

 Volcanic landscape near lake Mývatn.  

 Volcanic landscape near lake Mývatn.
 

Geothermal activity in the area around lake Mývatn.  

Geothermal activity in the area around lake Mývatn.
 

Volcanic landscape near lake Mývatn.  

Volcanic landscape near lake Mývatn.
 

Somewhere along route 60 in the Westfjords.  

Somewhere along route 60 in the Westfjords.
 

Somewhere further along route 60 in the Westfjords.

Somewhere further along route 60 in the Westfjords.

Moody Coast, route 427 not far from Grindavik.  

Moody Coast, route 427 not far from Grindavik.
 

Lava formation in Reykjanesfólkvangur, southwest Iceland.  

Lava formation in Reykjanesfólkvangur, southwest Iceland.
 

Route 427 near Reykjanesfólkvangur, southwest Iceland.  

Route 427 near Reykjanesfólkvangur, southwest Iceland.
 

Solo driving in northeast Iceland (north of Vatnajökull National Park).  

Solo driving in northeast Iceland (north of Vatnajökull National Park).
 

Solo driving in northeast Iceland (north of Vatnajökull National Park).  

Solo driving in northeast Iceland (north of Vatnajökull National Park).
 

Volcanic hills a little north of Vatnajökull National Park.  

Volcanic hills a little north of Vatnajökull National Park.
 

Otherworldly volcanic landscape just north of Vatnajökull National Park.

Otherworldly volcanic landscape just north of Vatnajökull National Park.