Discovering the French Pyrenees

As an outdoor photographer, I often get asked how I find the places I shoot.

I would like to share some of my favourite places in my home country, France.  Another thing I would like to mention is that to find some cool places all you have to do is open your browser or google maps and do some research. You ca create maps with all the spots you find and when you are out exploring all you have to do is follow the map. 

9X9A8318.jpg

LAC DU MONTAGNON (2003 meters)

Let’s start with my favourite place I discovered this year. This place is just wonderful. It's a small lake shaped like a  heart form, surrounding by beautiful mountains with sharp ridges. The hike is not easy, it takes more than 2 hours to reach the top (+950 meters) and its about 8,4 km long. I recommend to wear good hiking boots and take a extra pair of socks. I started hiking around 4/5pm. The best is to camp at the top to enjoy the sunset and the sunrise. The parking lot is up to the Aydius village. After 1h15 you will found a little cabin with fresh water, perfect to refill your water bottle. The last part is the hardest. You have to climb a steep part with gravel and rocks for about 30 minutes. Then you finally reach the top and have a beautiful view of the lake and its surroundings. The best is to hike for another 20 minutes to enjoy the view of the lake from above. 

_MG_1105.jpg

LAC D'AYOUS (1890 meters)

This is another stunning mountain lake in the Pyrenees. The hike is easy for families and you can camp or sleep in the mountain hut. The best time to go there is from June to October.

1Y1A2699.jpg

You will need about 2h 30 to reach the lake (+600 meters) and 6km long. This spot is a great sunrise spot for photographers because the light hits directly on the Pic du Midi d'Ossau. Trust me, it is stunning! You must know this spot is popular so you won't be alone at the lake.

 

 

 

Source: Discovering the French Pyrenees

Explore the Westfjords in Iceland

The Westjords Iceland are much less travelled than most other corners of the country, due to their vastness and distance from ‘must-see’ destinations but for me they are totally authentic and spectacular. However, says nothing about of the incredible wonders to be found here.

DJI_0517.jpg

Probably one of the most awe-inspiring regions, the settlements are small and sparse, and between them are untouched landscapes and dramatic features unlike any other in the country. While traversing the Westfjords does require a lot of driving, the surrounding scenery proves that the journey can be quite as amazing as the destination.

So many of the features that make Iceland famous, such as its dramatic mountains, hot springs, the multitude of waterfalls, and stunning coastlines, have variations in the Westfjords.

Even so, however, the region has its own distinct character, being the oldest part of Iceland at 16 million years old. It, therefore, lacks active volcanoes and lava fields, but have instead verdant stretches and ancient landscapes.

As a photographer, I was sure to find a wealth of places that will suit to my interests in this incredible region. Below, you can discover the best attractions, towns and tours to be found in the Westfjords of Iceland.

Látrabjarg

The cliffs of Látrabjarg stretch for 14 kilometres and are over four hundred metres high in numerous places, making them quite a spectacle in themselves. In summer, however, they become a natural wonder worthy of international acclaim, as they fill with literally millions of birds, nesting and raising their chicks. 40% of the world’s razorbills nest here, as do many guillemots, fulmars, auks and northern gannets. What most visitors come looking for and discover in abundance, however, are the puffins.

Dynjandi

Dynjandi is a hidden gem, a waterfall so spectacular and awe-inspiring, that it is the favourite of many (including this writer) in all of Iceland. Considering the number of waterfalls that are not only beautiful but incredibly unique, such as Seljalandsfoss, which you can encircle, and Dettifoss, which is more powerful than any other falls in Europe, this is quite a statement.

Dynjandi is, in fact, a series of waterfalls that fall down a cliff-face somewhat resembling a staircase; all in all, it is over one hundred metres high. The scale of it is awe-inspiring, and the contrast of the foaming white water against the black and grey lava and creeping green moss is beautiful.

EOS 5D Mark IV_0001.jpg

The water from Dynjandi feeds into many smaller waterfalls, all of which you have to walk by to reach it; while nowhere near as dramatic, all of these are delightful and quaint in their own right.

Finally, some of the greatest natural attractions of the Westfjords are the fjords themselves. Sheltered by giant mountains, and plunging deep into the land, winding up and down the roads here is an awe-inspiring experience. In clear weather, the scale of the peaks will take your breath away, and throughout the summer, the waters are often home to Humpback Whales, feeding on the wealth of fish that reside here.

Flateyri

Flateyri has been a trading post since 1792 and saw its heyday in the 19th century when it was home to a fleet of decked vessels and the base for shark-hunting and whaling operations. The fishing industry has always been vital for the villages in the Westfjords, and in Flateyri the tradition of fishing has successfully been linked to tourism as the village has become a very popular destination for foreign sea anglers. The fjord also offers great opportunities for kayaking.

Hörgshlìdarlaug

Many people who travel to Iceland would like to visit at least one hot spring. Often you might think: “What hot springs can I bathe in?” or “What hot springs should I visit?”. The hot springs in the Westfjords of Iceland are extremely cozy, relaxing and comfortable

_Y1A8653.jpg