Wonders of Iceland: The Puffins of Dyrhólaey

Dyrhólaey is a promontory reaching out into the ocean on the south coast of Iceland, near the town of Vik. The cliffs of Dyrhólaey stand almost 400 feet high, and include an enormous sea arch and numerous nearby rock pillars and sea stacks. Many nesting birds make Dyrhólaey their summer home, including fulmars, guillemots, razorbills, gannets, seagulls—and, my personal favorite—puffins!

What’s not to love about puffins? Puffins seem filled to the brim with personality. Their stubby wings, which are well suited to underwater swimming, beat comically fast as a puffin flies through the air. Bright orange beaks and distinctive striping give them an almost clown-like appearance.

It was a thrill standing precariously perched high atop the sheer cliffs of Dyrhólaey, crouched low in the gusting wind, watching puffins surfing the air. I spent the whole afternoon making images, hiding my camera under my jacket when it was raining, and shooting as much as possible when it wasn’t. The puffins looked like they enjoyed the company. In fact, I think the puffins spent as much time curiously watching me as I them—and every now and then, I swear I saw one with its beak seemingly curled upward in an amused smirk.

Iceland is a wonderful place, a “must see” location that should be at the top of every photographer’s bucket list. I found one resource in particular to be incredibly valuable during my recent tripForever Light: The Landscape Photographer’s Guide to Iceland by Sarah Marino and Ron Coscorrosa. Written by people who deeply know and love their subject, this fantastic photo guide allows readers to easily find the best scenic beauty that Iceland offers. For more information, please visit my eStore.