The lubberly fiend was late in coming

home from hunting, heavily laden.

The icicles clinked as in he strode:

the churl had his chinbeard froze.

A stanza from The Lay of Hymir, an 11th century Icelandic poem, part of the Poetic Edda, a collection of medieval poems and stories about early Icelandic life with the pantheon of Norse gods and characters: Odin, Thor, Loki, Balder, Aegir etc.

I’ll be photographing in Iceland as part of my Guggenheim Fellowship for a week in late February, visiting during the winter to capture the unique volcanic landscape in its winter covering. Iceland tends to have fairly mild winters for a place so far North (65 Deg.), the Gulf Stream keeps temperatures generally in the 20’s and 30’s F. It’s the wind, rain, sleet and snow that can make things unpleasant. And they have been getting an unusual amount of snow this winter, so it should make things interesting.

Many places in Iceland named in the Eddic poems are still there, although they built mostly with wood, so there is not much for ruins left from these early years. Also places like Thingvellir, where the early Icelandic parliament, the Althing, met as early as 930 AD. It’s a dramatic outdoor meeting place located on a cliff in a rift valley where the Eurasian and American continental plates meet, still separating by about ½” – 1” a year.

So watch for photos here starting about Feb 24th. I’ll update when I can, but will be spending much of my time photographing and getting from place to place. And hoping to see the Aurora Borealis. Also watch my Instagram feed @soboyle



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