Chasing the light in Iceland – Vestrahorn

Chasing the light in Iceland – Vestrahorn

This post was updated on June 21st, 2019

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Once again we are leaving the house early in the morning. At 7a.m. we are on our way to Stokksnes from where we are hoping to watch the Aurora and the rising sun over Vestrahorn (Engl: Western Horn). The mountain belongs to the range called Klifatindur (Engl: Peak Climb), to which also the Brunnhorn (Engl: Brown Horn) belongs.

History of Vestrahorn

Hrollaugur Earl of Møre in Norway built one of the first settlement farms in Iceland and named it Horn, the municipality Hornafjördur (Engl: Horn’s Fjord) as well as several nature sites are named after this settlement. The Horn area is located south of Vestrahorn, a 454-meter high mountain that belongs to the Klifatindur (Engl: Peak Climb) mountain range, to which also the Brunnhorn (Engl: Brown Horn) belongs. The Brunnhorn is the mountain stretching out into the sea. These mountains form an exciting geology site of unstratified plutonic rock due to their volcanic heritage, though the volcanos that formed them thousands of years ago are inactive now.
One of the first settlement farms in Iceland was Horn, built by Hrollaugur Earl of Møre in Norway. The municipality Hornafjörður and several nature sites are named after the settlement farm.

To reach the Vestrahorn, we have to pay 800 ISK per person, as the land is in Omar’s private ownership, which makes him responsible for maintaining the road. It is a fair price, considering the fierce elements which he has to battle.

Aurora in the morning

We are lucky again this morning to be able to watch the Aurora over the Vestrahorn. Capturing it on camera proves a little more difficult since the moon set already shortly before midnight and will not rise again before 2:51p.m. today. So it does not help me to lighten the foreground in this case. Instead, I have to rely on my Astrotracer function to get the stars sharp as single stars and not as star trails in my photo, despite a 2minute long exposure. This still does not give me much of a foreground. Vestrahorn is more a silhouette in the Aurora-lid sky.

Unfortunately, we do not have the best possibilities here right now to capture the Aurora in its full glory, so instead, we return to our apartment for breakfast. We will come back here for sunrise in a few hours.

Sunrise over Vestrahorn

Again we have the beach to ourselves when we return. Well at least for the first few hours of the sunrise. There are plenty of beautiful areas to photograph from, and the hardest decision is where to go first. Mark offers his help whenever needed, including getting my camera and myself safely over the slippery stones to my next capture point.

This is such a beautiful area that I once more forget about time and space. About an hour later it is, however, time to pack up again. We are leaving for the Viking-cafe and some waffles, and tea, before returning to Höfn for some necessary grocery shopping and a short break before we return to Vestrahorn for the third time today to capture the sunset too.

The Aurora forecast was once more not in our favor, and we decide to go back to our apartment to take another early night so we can get up early tomorrow morning…very early indeed.

If you liked this post, you might also like the other stories from my Chasing the Light in Iceland adventure:

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