Arnardrangur and Hjorleifshoidi Story
After a sunrise shoot at the Reynisdrangar Sea Stacks near Vik, we headed for an early morning shoot to check out the Arnardrangur sea stack and adjoining Hjjorleifshoidi Mountain east of Vik. A few centuries ago, both the massive mountain and the sea stacks near it were islands off the coast of Iceland. Ships had used the island as a sheltering dockage from the open sea. A massive volcanic eruption tied them both the the main island of Iceland with lava fields. Those lava fields have since eroded into a massive alluvial plain of black sand with the sea a few miles away.
To travel to the location it is better to have a 4x4 vehicle. You leave the national ring road to first drive on a gravel road to reach the mountain about a mile from the main road. Once you reach the back of the mountain, the track disappears and you find yourself on the alluvial plain. We kept close to the mountain to lessen driving on the plain where the sand starts to be more loose and limit our impact. It was a cloud free sunny day and no one was around for as far as the eye could see. The total silence we experienced was rare and appreciated; not even the sound of wind. We found ourselves talking in whispers to not disturb nature's temple as the loudest sound was the crunching of our boots on the black sand. The sea stack was massive as you stood next to it. We also found a smaller one located nearby. We shot first near the larger sea stack so you could sense the size compared to Anastasia, and then traveled to the smaller one. We shot some images with the small one in the foreground and larger one in the background...looking like some alien planet. Then we both shot each other with the mountain as the background to show the massive scale and incredible textures/colors. There is a cave in the mountain with an opening in the shape of Star Wars' Yoda. But, there were people intent to stay forever in their Instagram frenzy. With the bright light, I thought any shots there would look kind of cheesy, so we passed. We drove back to the main road to the next visit Eldhraun Lava Fields that is further north. After driving for 30 minutes we didn't see any interesting shooting areas and had other plans for the day. Knowing we would be driving through there on the way to our next base, we decided to go back to Vik for lunch and hike on Reynisfjara Black Sand Beach.