Iceland, a country rich with roaring volcanoes, monolithic glaciers, icy mountains and deep fjords, has become a mecca for photographers looking to capture the raw, mystical power of its natural northern beauty.

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The ruggedness of and stark contrasts present in Iceland’s landscapes makes them irresistible to photographers. Glacial floodplains, waterfalls, towering mountains, fjords and even deserts of volcanic ash can all be found in relative proximity to each other. Its small population (of roughly 325,000) also means that the majority of its natural wonder remains nearly or completely untouched, giving photographers the opportunity to capture a world that seems empty and almost alien in nature. And because of its northern location, enterprising night photographers can capture images of the mystical and stunningly beautiful aurora borealis as it dances over an Icelandic volcano or glacier.

Iceland is, in both geological and historical aspects, a relatively young country. Its violent geological upheaval is all due to its position at the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, which marks the separation point of the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates. It is believed that Iceland formed only 16 to 18 million years ago.

The eruptions of Icelandic volcanoes have impacted the course of human events throughout history. In 1783, the eruption of Laki caused widespread devastation throughout Europe, and even caused a famine in Egypt and interrupted monsoon patterns in Northern Africa and India. In 2010, the eruption of Eyjafjallajökull sent up clouds of ash across Europe, grounding thousands of flights.

For any photographer interested in capturing images of stunning natural landscapes filled with raw power, Iceland is an absolute must-see.

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