The changing seasons of Iceland
In this photo essay, Benjamin Hardman captures the transition from winter to spring.
The welcome sight of sunshine, colorful mountains and longer days signal the return of the spring season in Iceland. The intensity of a harsh winter has finally settled, however it’s not all smooth sailing as unexpected gale force wind, cold spells and snowstorms will still sweep across the landscape from time to time. The sudden changes between white and green often feel as though winter transitions straight into summer. Whilst cold and winter-like, the spring season shall not be overlooked, bringing the bloom of nature’s plant life and a sense of warmth and revitalization to the people of Iceland.
Delicate pillow moss blooms over a volcanic lava field.
From mountains to coast, the visual transformations can be simply magnificent. As the snow begins to disappear, fields of moss regain their vibrancy, as if they’re waking from a long slumber. As spring continues, days of rain and cloud cover become more frequent, though when contrasted with the colorful landscape, these conditions create a truly mystical atmosphere. Those calm yet foggy days can feel as though you’ve stepped into a prehistoric world. With the melting snow and heavy rain showers, Iceland’s glacial rivers start to swell. Freshwater streams mix with silt- and sediment-filled water running down from the glaciers, creating incredible patterns and formations when seen from above.
A flock of birds rest upon the black sand and mixing glacial water streams of Ölfusá on the southern coast.
In the east of the country, reindeer stroll once again through snowless valleys, basking in the rays of sunlight that hadn’t appeared for months. Whilst often hard to find in the wild, it’s an all-too-calming experience to stumble across a herd in the countryside and observe them moving around the open fields along the edges of Vatnajökull glacier.
The contrasts of Vatnajökull.
A journey through the spring landscape will be one of unexpected moments and visual transformations. With a camera in hand, you’ll be able to capture images that will forever retain the memory of a unique and transitional moment in the changing seasons of Iceland.
The last of the winter snow disappears into the vibrant green mountains on the outskirts of Vík í Mýrdal.
Text and photos by Benjamin Hardman (Instagram @benjaminhardman)
Banner photo: A reindeer moves across the moss-covered plains south of Vatnajökull.