Iceland – Earth, Air, Fire, Water, Ice. The classical Greeks thought all but the last of these as the elements that made up all matter. Perhaps if they had lived in the northern climates they would have included Ice. These elements are also the essence of Iceland.

The earth, providing the soil and the green growing grass, the sod for a people with no forests, to build habitats. Earth that provides the foundation for the Vikings who settled the land. The shores from which they ventured into the sea.

The Air blowing in, driving storms from the south, which the birds use to take flight, or to get to the steep cliffs, or fly across oceans to resting refuges on flat waters. To fly down and hide, blended into grass, the end point to the breeding grounds of countless species.

Fire from the bowels of the earth, welling up from the ocean floor, building blocks of the land. Ash emitting in explosive power blocking the sun and blackening the surface with cinder. Fire giving birth to earth.

Water, powerful, carving, spraying, dampening, cascading, caressing, thundering. Water that finds its way into crevices and cracks. Rushing pulled by gravity, then calm when it pools. Water that feeds life.

Ice – that stilling of the water into a solid – exerting forces as one of the few compounds that expands, under its own weight it still flows. Under it’s weight it compresses and squeezes out the colors to become deep blue. Ice that holds the centuries of the past in its grasp, trapped until it yields again in the oceans or melts from fires beneath.

Iceland is anything but frozen. It is moving apart, split by the great plates of the earth moving towards the west and the east. It basks in the warm currents of the gulf stream and freezes from the arctic blasts. It sees the midnight sun and the near darkness of winter. These photographs are but nothing more than a thin slice of Iceland and its elements.

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