This is, for now, the last of the Iceland drone photography. This is being posted in the midst of the U.S. Covid-19 crisis. Who knows when it will be possible to safely fly to Iceland or other countries again? As I ponder such thoughts, reviewing these views and experiences becomes even more satisfying. The following contains scenes titled “Peace in the Valley,” “Swan Family Roaming,” “Fall Colors with No Trees,” “Waves and Waterfall,” and “Color Around the Lakes.” View on the largest screen possible for the best experience.
The exploration of beautiful Iceland continues with the following episodes: “Black Sand, White Waves,” “House at the End of the Road,” “Swans on a Remote Lake,” “The Town of Kopasker,” and “Hofn Iceland and its Surroundings.”
The town of Kopasker is memorable for the best fish cakes I ever put in my mouth.
These videos were taken in very high resolution. They are best viewed on the largest screen you have available.
As someone who used to fly small airplanes – I have over 500 hours as a pilot – it is similar but unique to fly a small drone and use it to photograph the landscape. My drone has a nice five inch screen on the controller that lets me see what the onboard camera sees. But you are pretty busy flying to follow the screen in detail, and five inches isn’t very much for detail anyway. So when I get home and load the files on my computer and begin viewing them on a 27 inch screen, it is almost like flying with the drone myself. This is especially true with high resolution video. And the ability to slow things down or speed things up or zoom in close adds more. So the editing is a lot about discovery, and the following is some of the results.
I spent the first two weeks of September 2019 traveling in Iceland and flying my drone. I flew at every opportunity, accumulating many hours of footage. Iceland is a great place for drone photography, partly because it is so scenic and also because you can fly almost anywhere except in the national parks. My drone is a DJI Mavic 2 Pro with Hasselblad camera, shooting 4k video. I hope you will enjoy flying with me!
We made our third trip to Iceland the first two weeks of September, 2019. This time we drove all the way around the island and more. This time I took my new camera drone and flew many times each day. I learned a lot on these flights, and even more in editing the video footage after returning. I will be posting portions of this video as I have them ready, about 8-10 minutes worth at a time. These represent selected highlights from literally hours and hours of source footage. I still get absorbed in the wonder of this strange land. A land where every turn of the road presents something new and different.
I live in Montgomery County, Maryland. Over a million people live in our county, distributed around in just over 500 square miles. By contrast, the island nation of Iceland covers some 40,000 square miles but has a population one third the size of Montgomery County – some 360,000. Our county averages about 2,000 people per square mile, but Iceland averages one person for every 10 square miles.
Then there’s the matter of sheep. There are 2,280 sheep farms in Iceland. That means there is a sheep farm for every 150 people in the country. There are more sheep than people in Iceland by a long shot.
The sheep population jumps up every year in May when the new lambs are born. Soon afterward, most sheep are released to roam the wild hills and valleys and high mountains. All summer they feed and fatten and grow their wool. The lands they roam are public, so the grazing is free food for all.
In the summertime, the farmers work their fields gathering up hay for the coming winter. Then in September, all the farmers in various communities work to gather the sheep into one place where they have a sorting facility built. This process is called Réttir (corral) and can take up to a week, since the sheep are scattered all over. The sheep are fast on their feet and widely disbursed. They are rounded up by people riding horses and assisted by sheepdogs, with others on foot where the terrain doesn’t allow riding.
Finally gathered down from the hills, you have them all in one place: fat happy lambs, ewes and rams. In the sorting corral, they’re identified by their earmarks and sorted to their owners’ pens off to the side. The owner then decides, which sheep are going to be sold and which are going back to the stables for the winter.
It’s a hard but happy time in Iceland. A time of meeting and kidding and dogs and music and drinking and children playing and young men competing and young women working hard but looking good at the same time. It’s a community event, everyone helping, no one slacking or cheating.
I was fortunate enough to witness one of these events in one small Icelandic community in 2019. The following are some of the sights and sounds I recorded.
In May of 2019 I met with eleven other swimmers in Hurghada, Egypt. We boarded a yacht which would be our home for the next seven days. I have done such swims in Italy, Turkey, Croatia, Slovenia, Lithuania, Spain, and other places. But the Red Sea was different. The waves and currents and challenges of swimming were the same, but the sea life was beyond my experience. The five minute video which follows provides an in-water look.
There are many Scandinavian festivals that include wife carrying contests. The one I have attended is the New Jersey festival, held annually in Budd Lake on Labor Day weekend. The video shown here is mostly from the recent 2018 festival, with a few clips included from 2015. Wife carrying is said to date to the days of the Vikings and to their practice of selecting a wife and then carrying her off. Several types of carrying are practiced, which you will see. The principal ones include 1) piggyback, 2) fireman’s over-the-shoulder, and 3) Estonian style – where the wife hangs upside down with her legs around the husband’s shoulders, holding onto his waist. You will also see variations.
The wife carrying course is rectangular and about 250 meters in length. It has 4 obstacles, consisting of car tires, hay bales, a wooden staircase, and pools of water. The winning man receives the woman’s weight in beer. The couple does not have to be married, thus any willing woman will do for the carry.
The Wife Carrying World Championships have been held annually in Sonkajarvi, Finland, since 1992.
Please enjoy! (You may wish to view full screen. Make sure your sound is turned on.)
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