A land of extreme contrasts, offering adventure in an array of wild landscapes and unearthly picturesque backdrops, Iceland had been on travel photographer Maartje Hensen’s (@maartjehensen) mind for some time until she was able to fulfill her dream. The wait was definitely worth it as the trip to "the land of fire and ice" went beyond her expectations.
Driving around the island in a camper for 13 days, Maartje brought back spectacular shots of the dramatic nature. She shares some of the highlights of her excursion in this series, reflecting textured details and mystical scenic views.
Born out of volcanic eruptions, Iceland is one of the youngest countries and most of its territory is uninhabited. Its oneiric scenery keeps evolving as the elements and volcanic activity continue to sculpt the landscapes. Human interactions can also play a role in the revealing of the terrain. The Stuðlagil Canyon was discovered in recent years after the construction of a dam diverted and lowered the level of a glacial river, unveiling impressive basalt columns formed through centuries. Maartje was also in awe of the narrow and sinuous Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon. Its stunning and abrupt gorges dotted with waterfalls made for a dramatic frame shrouded in mist.
Even if the Icelandic winter offers the possibility of observing the phenomenon of auroras borealis, Maartje chose to go during the summer, benefiting from an almost constant daylight to explore the island. But whatever the season, the weather changes a lot, often surprising the traveller’s outlook.
The weather was perfectly moody - making for mysterious photos of the otherworldly landscape of Iceland.
Waterfalls can be found everywhere across the country, like the very large Dettifoss, the most powerful one in Europe or the lesser known Kvernufoss, which Maartje could also observe from behind, a unique point of view splashed by its water curtain.
Maartje captured the outstanding beauty of the Jökulsárlón Lagoon, where icebergs coming from the biggest glacier of the country, Vatnajökull, float before being washed up on the shore of a strip of volcanic sand nicknamed Diamond Beach. Natural gems of brilliant ice contrast with the dark colour of the sand, creating a spectacular panorama.
The soft and green moss covering the Eldhraun Lava Field, the result of a tragic volcanic eruption in the 18th century, spreads across kilometres, making it the largest lava flow in the world.
A memorable moment of Maartje’s trip was also getting acquainted with some of the amazing animals calling the island home every year, like magnificent whales off the coast of Dalvik and adorable puffins in the natural reserves of Dyrhólaey and Borgarfjarðarhöfn.
As Maartje aims to transport the viewer with her imagery, her photographs from Iceland provide a captivating window on the immensity of its landscapes, where the strength of the elements reigns over this fascinating destination.
Maartje Hensen is a queer female travel photographer from the Netherlands. She has travelled the world for 3 years with her partner and captured it the way she saw it. By being visible as a photographer, Maartje hopes more (queer) women will take the step to become a travel photographer. Her big belief is that the world needs more queer/female photographers!