Long exposure waterscape photography in the Vesturhon/Vestrahorn Mountains, located in Iceland, shot by landscape photographer José Ramos

“Majestic Mountains” photo selected for National Geographic

My photo “Majestic Mountains” was selected by a National Geographic editor to be featured on their Daily Dozen selection of 30-12-2014. It was also the most voted image for that day.

Now this is what I call quite an honour…


Here’s the full story on this photo:

“The Majestic Mountains” | Vesturhorn, Iceland

Photo made on the last day of the Iceland trip, in September 2014. This was the third time in three days we tried to photograph this location. That meant going west and east several times, from Jokulsarlon to this location, and this photo was only made possible after hundreds of accumulated kilometers. Time was extremely unstable during the trip (which is quite normal in Iceland), and it was extremely difficult to photograph these mountains under decent conditions.

Fortunately there is this one little precious thing called Icelandic Weather Forecast Site (vedur.is) which is actually quite accurate for the current day (longer than that will quite simply be called divination). After two frustrated attempts, and while we were shooting on the Jokulsarlon beach on the last day of the trip, I decided to reach my iPad and check for the weather forecast. To my surprise, the Vesturhorn area was one of the few with sunny/cloudy weather in the whole Island, during a short two hour period, from 16h to 18h. Once more, a decision to abruptly change plans had to be made, and off we went to Hofn at 14h30m.

This spot is not easy to find, but our previous tries made it easy to reach the spot. The weather was quite nice, even though some menacing clouds seemed to be approaching from the west, in perfect accordance with the vedur.is website.

Finally, there they were, the imponent Vesturhorn mountains. I had seen this place in so many images before, but nothing could quite compare to actually being there. If it weren’t enough to have such beautiful mountains rising out of nowhere, touching the Atlantic ocean, there’s also a vast plain at its feet, covered in water during high tide, which will work as a perfect mirror for the mountains. One more photographic paradise in Iceland…

Unfortunately the tide was quite low, and it wasn’t easy at all to find a decent spot to shoot. I can only imagine that this place is an absolute dream with high tide (well, it already is…). This is one of the photos from that afternoon. We stayed for as long as we could, and the landscape addiction made us leave way too late for the airport. There were still 500km left to Keflavik and we still had to pack everything. As if it weren’t enough, Jokulsarlon decided to show us its most intense display of light during our return, and we had to make an extra stop. The end result: a speeding ticket arriving to our house one month after we left Iceland!

Technical info:
Sony a77 + Sigma 10-20mm
Aperture: f/11
ISO: 50
Exposure: 1 second
Filters: 3 stop soft ND Grad (Formatt Hitech)
Wireless remote shutter
Manfrotto 055XPRO3 tripod + Manfrotto ballhead