Dalalæða, Advection Fog in Iceland

August 28, 2017


Photographer: Nancy Claus 
Summary Author: Nancy Claus 

August 2017 Viewer's ChoiceRecently I encountered a magical phenomenon that literally produces a waterfall of fog. Known as Dalalæða in Icelandic it's a type of advection fog, carried inland by sea breezes. I was lucky enough to observe it following a bright and sunny day when I took a little midnight scramble up the cliffs around Herjólfsdalur valley, on the island of Heimaey (Vestmannaeyjar), just off the south coast of Iceland, to watch the Sun set and the Moon rise.

I first noticed it when I was taking in the view from atop the cliffs. It rolled over the outlying islands, gushed into the harbor and flowed into the town below (top photo), wrapping itself around everything natural and manmade alike. It crept up the Eldfell, like mysterious fingers. Then it came pouring over the edges of the ridge where I was standing (bottom photo). There were waterfalls of mist flowing over the rocks all around me. I’ve never seen anything like it. It was incredibly beautiful and utterly mesmerizing. I just stood there for well over an hour and watched it unfold from my clear viewpoint above it all. Finding my way back down through the thick of it was a challenge, but I didn’t mind. I was so excited to have witnessed such a magical sight! Photos taken on July 11, 2017.

Photo Details: Canon EOS 600 camera; f/3.5; 1/45 sec. exposure; ISO 1000.