Photo Essay: Ragnar's Land

Iceland in IR Chrome

Author: Elizabeth Ryan

Iceland is a land defined by violent changes: weather and volcanic activity.  Lava flows, frozen in time, dominate the landscape.  These formed ragged mountains under glaciers, arches carved by sea and wind, basalt cliffs and islands.  Nothing is small here except the tiny buildings that mark man’s presence.

I’m drawn back again and again to try to capture this place.

In September 2021, my most recent visit, I used my Canon 6D camera converted to full spectrum by Kolari Vision, with their IR Chrome filter.

The filter captures light reflected from green leaves and grasses and turns them orange to red, mimicking the red molten rock that once flowed here.  

I found that the filter perfectly emphasized the lava flows and grassy plains leading down to the sea.  It turned seaweed bright red, which highlighted the sculpted basalt rocks, building blocks of the landscape.

Someone named the abandoned house in this series “Ragnar’s Castle” after a mythical/historic figure in Icelandic lore.  This is certainly Ragnar’s land.

Elizabeth Ryan is a fine art photographer living in Massachusetts.  Her work includes night and infrared photography, light painting and drawing. Ryan’s photographs have been exhibited in many shows across the US. Her images have been featured in print and digital publications including NASA’s APOD, Fraction Magazine, and The Literate Image. Ryan offers workshops and is a lecturer and competition judge. She has been co-organizer of the Greater Boston Night Photographers Meetup since 2014. You can find her at

Elizabeth Ryan

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