I took a solo trip to Iceland in the middle of December 2021, where I was part of a photography tour, joining nine others worldwide.       Yes, you read that correctly. "Iceland in December!"
So, what would motivate someone to go to a frozen climate in one of the coldest months of the year? A place of nearly 300 glaciers and 130 volcanos where the sun appears for a scant 4.5 hours a day and moves horizontally just above the ocean horizon? 
1) Hopefully, we will see and capture the Aurora Borealis within the 20 hours of darkness. 
2) The 4.5 hours of daylight are incredibly soft, and consistent light is always a delight for photography. 
3) To shoot frozen landscapes of rugged mountains, cascading waterfalls, and ice-filled lagoons under ever-changing, moody skies.
Theatrical skies during daylight hours made no sense in displaying their vibrant range of colors. You could see a sunset or rise in any area. Blue skies to the left of it, pink cotton candy next to that, black overhead, and many more bands of variation. It is as if you took every combination of skies throughout every period of the year, mixed them up, and scattered them around the sky at will. Minutes later, they rotate into a kaleidoscope of endless displays defying all sense, making hiking excursions surreal.
Daily outings trekking into the island's mystical scenes were a balance of caution as the rugged mixed terrain crunched underfoot with spiked crampons gripping the varied terrain and keeping me focused. 
Pausing to capture images of the dramatic vastness of unfamiliar textures and arrangements of ever-changing colors was a bewilderment I shall never forget—well done, Iceland... well done!
The photos below are of Mount Kirkjufell, with the Kirkjufellsfoss Waterfall on the Snæfellsnes peninsula..
Below was the only sighting of the Aurora Borealis we had during the trip. A beautiful green band illuminated the sky and was a fantastic sight. However, I was really hoping to see the green lady dance. Another adventure awaits... 
The backside of Mount Kirkjufell with Grundarfjörour Bay.
We drove into the remote area below early in the dark morning and parked, and from the base of Mount Snæfellsjökull covered in snow, there was a little white dot that stood out in the black lava landscape. It would appear and disappear and seemed to be getting closer as we unloaded our gear from the van. Suddenly, the little white dot appeared before us and sat there looking at us.  It was an Arctic Fox, the only native mammal in all of Iceland, and rare to see. You could imagine the sheer frenzy of 9 photographers trying to unpack their cameras to get a shot. The light on and below the fox was from our headlamps. As soon as we were able to snap a few pics, it turned and disappeared.  An unimaginable start to the day!
You can see from the images above how the changing landscape reveals its textures and colors. The black lava rock eventually gets covered in bright green moss, which over time gets composted into a thin layer of soil where new grasses emerge and strive to grow over many years of transformation.
On the southern coast of the Snæfellsnes peninsula, just to the right of Mount Snæfellsjökull are two basalt pinnacles rising from the sea called Lóndrangar.
Búðir is a small hamlet in Búðahraun lava fields in Staðarsveit, which is in the western region of Iceland, on the westernmost tip of the Snaefellsnes peninsula where Hraunhafnará falls to the sea. Here sets Búðakirkja, the 19th-century Black Church. Below the church is the sea with black and tan mixed sand, lava rock, and many colors and textures. It had just started to hail as we were arriving. 
Hraunfossar (lava waterfalls) in Borgarfjord is a series of waterfalls formed by rivulets streaming over a distance of over half a mile out of the Hallmundarhraun lava field from the Langjökull glacier. The silky white waters cascade into the icy blue waters of the Hvítá River for a dramatic sight. 
Skógafoss is a waterfall on the Skógá River in the south. It is 82 feet wide and 200 feet tall. 
For size reference look at the below photo where a person is standing at the bottom right. 
After shooting all the normal ranges of the waterfall I put on my biggest telephoto lens and zoomed all the way in to only focus on the elements of the fall. The photo below was my favorite of this fall.
Kvernárfoss waterfall in Grundarfjörður is just east of Skógafoss and a beautiful hike up a canyon.
Reynisfjara is a world-famous black-sand beach on the South Coast beside the small village of Vík í Mýrdal.
Basalt columns are stacked in every obscure direction.
Hálsanefshellir Cave
As you walk further down the black sand beach away from the sea stacks, more of them reveal themselves.
Thousands of birds, including puffins, fulmars, and guillemots, encircle the sea stacks.
Working west, away from the stacks, is a feature named Arnardrangur, and adjacent to this is a rugged lava rock ledge coastline where powerful waves crash and spay sea mist high into the air.
Dyrhólaey Arch is just a bit further west. 
On the other side of the arch lays The Endless Black Beach of Dyrhólaey.
On the east side of Vik, the town is most present as a fishing village, and the view of Reynisfjall stacks from Víkurfjara black sand beach is the most dramatic viewpoint.
Directly behind Vík, perched up on a hill overlooking the town is Vik í Mýrdal Church.
Vatnajökull National Park is home to the famed Vestrahorn mountains, which lie at the base of Stokksnes Beach. Stiff golden stalks of grass crown the undulating black dunes, and it's easy to get disoriented and lost in your bewilderment while weaving your way through the dramatic landscape.
We took an offroad excursion in a massive four-wheel drive vehicle to the Breidamerkurjokull Glacier. We hiked about 2 miles to get to the glacier's base and went into two different ice caves beneath the glacier. 
Below are photos from inside the ice caves. It was like being inside a kaleidoscope; wherever you moved your head, the colors would move and change focus and colors. Absolutely amazing!
Entrance into one of the caves.
There was a hole where water was flowing down, and it created a hollow cone-shaped cycle. 
From the top, the glacier is white, then turns to blue ice which turns into black ice where the bottom is grey mineral-rich water that flows out of the cave.
This is an offshoot that flows into Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon. Massive icebergs calve off and break into smaller pieces that settle in the lagoon. As they settle and clear, they keep getting pushed down the rocky waterways until they reach the large lagoon, where they flow under a bridge and out into the ocean.
After the icebergs reach the ocean, they get pushed out to sea and brought back to shore by the ebb and flow of the massive tides. They eventually get deposited on the black sand beach known as Diamond Beach, as most of the bergs clear and shine like diamonds.
Heading back towards Reykjavik, we encounter creamy-white mountains topped with pink cotton candy-like clouds.
In Reykjavík, Iceland's capital city, Hallgrímskirkja (Church of Iceland) sits atop a hill overlooking the seaside city below. 
Leif Erikson monument in front of Hallgrímskirkja.
Rainbow Street, also known as Skólavörðustígur, is a vibrant street located in the heart of Reykjavik.
Ingólfstorg entertainment square with an ice skating rink.
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