The longest day in Grimsey

The colors of the Summer Solstice on the small island of Grimsey can be mesmerizing.

Summer solstices in Grímsey are a special time. This is when we have the longest day, and the sun paints the landscape with vibrant colors. That is – if it’s not cloudy. The following photos are all taken on June 24, 2023. When nature offers such conditions, staying awake and searching for motives is tempting.

Taken from the south end of Grímsey, looking to the north.

The yellow moss creates a contrast against the gray rocks.

The tufts grasp the sunlight and create interesting shadows. The puffins sit by their burrows, enjoying the colorful spectacle’s best view. The so-called Fótur (Leg), the northernmost part of Grímsey, points north towards the sun.

Lying on the edge of Básavík’s cliff, the puffins look like illuminated light bulbs in the sunset. The photo is taken handheld at 1/20 speed, f10 aperture, yet still at 64 ISO. Before image stabilization was introduced in cameras, capturing such a scene without putting the camera on a tripod was challenging. The lens is at 14 millimeters, meaning the puffins are much closer than they appear.

A puffin stands proud with grass for it’s burrow.

Razorbill silhouettes in the midnight sun.

Grímsey, June 24. It’s not quite green yet, but it’s teeming with life. Possibly up to two million birds inhabit this small island.

A puffin and a guillemot relaxing on a cliff.

After sitting on a rock, struggling to capture a group of guillemots with a long lens, I looked around. Behind me, a puffin and a guillemot were sitting and relaxing.

Guillemots and puffins are fascinating subjects. Their color changes depending on how the light falls on the feathers. For a moment, they seem black, but when the light changes, they become brownish.

The guillemot and the emperor penguin are probably related.

The Common guillemots resemble, in many ways, emperor penguins, as they are related. About 65 million years ago, emperor penguins evolved in a way that they stopped being able to fly. Evolution sacrificed flight for better swimming ability. In water, the guillemots remind of king penguins. Guillemots use much less energy to swim than other bird species and swim incredibly fast – but, on the other hand, they expend a lot of power in flight. Swimming ability has been more important than flying ability at some point in evolutionary history. Thus, these two species diverged in ancient times.

A pair of puffins cast a shadow in the sun – and finally, we could go to sleep.

The above photos are taken on a Nikon Z7ii. Lenses are the Z 14-24mm f2.8 and the Z 400mm f4.5.

Einar Gudmann

Our Books About Iceland

Bird Photography in Iceland - Our 40 Favorite Locations

Bird Photography In Iceland—Our 40 Favorite Locations


Bird Photography In Iceland—Our 40 Favorite Locations, is written for those planning to photograph birds in Iceland. We share our secrets and aim to maintain a straightforward, honest, no-nonsense approach, free from tourism companies’ hidden marketing. We recommend these locations to our friends who are into bird photography.

The e-book can be found here…

PHOTOGRAPHING ICELAND – A Photo Guide to 100 locations

It is a must-have if you plan to visit Iceland. It is an excellent guide to Iceland and the book we wish we had read years ago when we started traveling in our country for landscape photography. The book is the result of a vast undertaking that took more than a year. It is available in all major bookstores in Iceland and our online store. It is now also available as an e-book.

The e-book version can be found here…

The print version is here…

The printed version is 21×14,5 cm and 352 pages.

ICELAND: Wild At Heart

Our beautiful bestseller. Available in all bookstores in Iceland and our online store.

Hardcover large format: 26,5 x 22,5 x 2cm and 160 pages.

GRIMSEY – The Arctic Wildlife Wonder

This is a must-have if you plan to visit Grimsey. It is only available in our online store and the Gallery in Grimsey.

Hardcover: 24,5 x 17,5 cm and 120 pages / 7000 words

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Notice that the shipping cost is the same if you order two books.