Midwinter sunset: red sky at night = festinos delight?

I went out to take pictures of the large full moon rising tonight – no success with those – but there was a spectacular sunset to soak up.  Grahamstown seems to specialise in midwinter sunsets but you have to be quick as the play of light alters very rapidly.  These two pictures were taken only a few minutes apart and the change in the depth of the colours was something to experience.

Those of you who know Grahamstown will recognise the blocky shape of the Settlers Monument on the skyline to the left – and next week sees the start of the National Arts Festival.

Red sky at night = festinos* delight??

* a festino is a festival goer …

Midsummer/midwinter bouquet of flowers

It’s the shortest day today (for us in the southern hemisphere) and distinctly warm here in Grahamstown (+25 forecast for this afternoon).  Time for a bouquet of flowers to celebrate the turn of the seasons.

These flower pictures were all taken during our nine weeks in the Nordic region and England.

Spring flowers in June

As we went from Sweden, England and Scotland to Iceland we pursued the coldest Spring in 50 years northwards.  So we were still seeing the lovely Spring flowers well into the middle of June!  Here’s a selection from Iceland.

My memories of Iceland will always include seeing the thousands upon thousands of dandelions, marsh marigolds and buttercups blazing golden even when the light was dull.  The moss campion was almost phosphorescent amongst the darkest lava and clung to the cliff sides high up besides the waterfalls.

One sunny night in Iceland

The only sunny day that we had in our two week stay in Iceland  lasted well into the night. These pictures were all taken in the late evening from Sölvanes farm. We sat out until almost midnight and watched the sun skimming across the horizon to the north.  The light was quite special: pearly and misty one minute, then sharp with soft contrasts when the sun reappeared and you could see the sheep drifting across the hillsides.

FossLaug: Icelandic Hot Pot

It took us nearly a week of travelling before we got to a genuine rural hot pot: Fosslaug in Skagafjörður.  Our hosts at Sölvanes (Elin and Magnus) kindly gave us a map and description otherwise we would not have found it.

They told us that the hot pot was built using traditional materials of rock and sod to regulate the flow of hot water from the spring and cold water from the Svarta river.  It is quite unspoilt and ‘in nature’ so for us it was ideal.  You can sit in the hot water (it was 40 degrees +) with the wild river rushing past you and the falls pounding down only 50 metres away – quite an experience!

Here’s a small set of pictures taken on my phone: you can see the hot water bubbling up and Kate enjoying a dip. There’s also a Google Earth picture (with coordinates) of our walk so if you’re ever in north-west Iceland you can find where we went!

Iceland: two northern panoramas

On Friday we drove up to north-west Iceland through beautiful sunshine to stay at a lovely hill farm called Sölvanes. It is located high up in a valley with an expansive outlook to the north down Svartadalur and direct to the Arctic.

Here’s a couple of panoramas: the first one taken driving up to the north coast in the most lovely sunshine we have had in our whole time in Iceland. The second shows our local large waterfall: Reykjafoss. We walked past it on the way to the Foss Laug which is the local ‘hot pot’ for bathing.  This weblink on Icelandic Hot Pots would classify it as rustic or near natural …

I used DoubleTake to stitch together the seven to nine individual images for each picture.