Just some 2 hours from the UK and sitting in the Atlantic on the mid-Atlantic Ridge fault line, Iceland offers an awe-inspiring landscape with a fascinating culture and history. Created from volcanic activity some 150 million years ago, the island was originally inhabited by the Celts in AD800 and then by the Vikings in 874. It is now home to just 320,000 inhabitants in a land area equal to that of England and Wales.
The active labour force in Iceland numbers just 180,000 people yet it has moved from being categorised as a developing country in the 1960s to become the 5th richest country in the world in terms of GDP per capita. With few natural resources, the economy moved from agriculture to create wealth through fishing. Having survived a failed diversification into international banking in 2008, the economic activity now includes aluminium smelting, semiconductor manufacture, server farms and tourism. With free geothermal energy, Iceland is currently studying the feasibility of exporting electricity via undersea cable to the UK.
Photographically, Iceland is home to dramatic volcanoes, snow-covered mountains, moss-covered lava rock, creeping glaciers, erupting geysers and spewing waterfalls. And it also hosts a great deal of weather which means wind-blown tripods, sleet-covered lenses and high ISO sensitivities to cope with dark grey skies.
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