Postcards From Iceland, #10 – The Lonely Mountain

Postcards From Iceland, #10 – The Lonely Mountain

Dear friend, my love affair with Iceland began when J.R.R. Tolkien introduced me to the Runes in his book, The Hobbit. That epic work of fantasy led to a lifelong fascination with the medieval and magical..

The 13 companions faced an impossible journey to a towering mountain in the north – The Lonely Mountain – where they had to slay the dragon, Smaug, to reclaim the dwarves’s long forgotten gold.

When I was snapping pictures and looked back and saw this mountain … I felt eight-years-old again! I was at The Lonely Mountain! (in my mind at least)

#ThePowerOfIceland

#10 – The Lonely Mountain


Postcards from Iceland is a series of 52 blogposts – delivered one per week – exploring the magic of Iceland through a series of Personalized Digital Postcards highlighting the stunning Icelandic landscape, the colorful cityscapes of Reykjavik; including the prolific urban art scene, and the mystery of Viking magic!

The postcard pictures are from my trip there for the Summer Solstice in 2017. We enjoyed a week exploring the country, driving south across the bottom of the island all the way to Jokulsarlon Glacial Lagoon. Of course we experienced the Golden Circle and the beauty of Reykjavik. Each of these posts includes a free wallpaper picture that can be used on your computer or mobile device. Feel free to share and enjoy these original pictures for non commercial use.

* This series of blog posts is dedicated to my amazing wife, with whom I’ve shared so many great adventures.


BONUS!


Icelandic Rune Poems & Magic

With the first sixteen Postcards From Iceland blog posts, I’ll also include one verse from The Icelandic Rune Poem, which has been called the most systemized of the rune poems. Rune poems are thought to encapsulate esoteric knowledge of the symbol. Such interpretations are used in modern divination and meditation. Learn More?

#IcelandicMagic #Runes #Vikings #Iceland #Reykjavik #PostcardsFromIceland #HughBLong #Amwriting #IndieAuthor

(pictured above is a rune wand that I carved about 10 years ago)

Rune

Rune Name

Ar

(Ahhr)

Old Icelandic

Ár er gumna góði
ok gott sumar
algróinn akr.
annus     allvaldr.

English

Plenty = boon to men
and good summer
and thriving crops.


Behind the Scenes

When I saw this mountain, I was instantly transported to Tolkien’s Middle Earth. I knew the picture had to reflect that looming mountain and the dread in the hearts of the 13 companions. Every picture has a story to tell. In Adobe Lightroom CC, I darkened the sky with a (simulated) graduated ND filter and bumped up the contrast overall.

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Postcards From Iceland, #9 – Elf Door

Postcards From Iceland, #9 – Elf Door

Dear friend, the Icelanders’s belief in elves fills me with joy. That apparent whimsy adds a splash of magic in a mundane world. Every little hole or crack in the earth becomes a possible entrance to their domain.

By law, even major construction projects have to mind the possible homes of the hidden folk. I love that Icelanders choose to see the world this way. Whimsical? Maybe. Beautiful? Most certainly.

Like the poster in Fox Mulder’s office says – I want to believe.

P.S. The postcard shows a famous elf door at Thingvellir National Park

Want to learn more? https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Huldufólk

#9 – Elf Door


Postcards from Iceland is a series of 52 blogposts – delivered one per week – exploring the magic of Iceland through a series of Personalized Digital Postcards highlighting the stunning Icelandic landscape, the colorful cityscapes of Reykjavik; including the prolific urban art scene, and the mystery of Viking magic!

The postcard pictures are from my trip there for the Summer Solstice in 2017. We enjoyed a week exploring the country, driving south across the bottom of the island all the way to Jokulsarlon Glacial Lagoon. Of course we experienced the Golden Circle and the beauty of Reykjavik. Each of these posts includes a free wallpaper picture that can be used on your computer or mobile device. Feel free to share and enjoy these original pictures for non commercial use.

* This series of blog posts is dedicated to my amazing wife, with whom I’ve shared so many great adventures.

Thanks to Anthropics for providing me a copy of their @LandscapeProApp. This package makes dramatic photo touch ups possible with a few clicks.

#Anthropics #LandscapeProApp


BONUS!


Icelandic Rune Poems

With the first sixteen Postcards From Iceland blog posts, I’ll also include one verse from The Icelandic Rune Poem, which has been called the most systemized of the rune poems. Rune poems are thought to encapsulate esoteric knowledge of the symbol. Such interpretations are used in modern divination and meditation. Learn More?

#IcelandicMagic #Runes #Vikings #Iceland #Reykjavik #PostcardsFromIceland #HughBLong #Amwriting #IndieAuthor

(pictured above is a rune wand that I carved about 10 years ago)

Rune

Rune Name

Íss

(Eee-ss)

Old Icelandic

Íss er árbörkr
ok unnar þak
ok feigra manna fár.
glacies jöfurr.

English

Ice = bark of rivers
and roof of the wave
and destruction of the doomed.


Behind the Scenes

The main portion of this image was perfect right out of the camera, but the sky was rather bland. I used Landscape Pro to add a more typical Icelandic sky.

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Postcards from Iceland, #8 – Black Hole Sun

Postcards from Iceland, #8 – Black Hole Sun

Dear Friend,

We live in a world of high contrast. Unimaginable wealth, sitting side-by-side abject poverty. Beauty, accentuated by ugliness, peace and harmony marred by discord.

There’s some old wise saying about how you need darkness to know the light … perhaps.

All I know is that life is quite a show. Hang on and enjoy the ride. 

Peace out, from Reykjavik.

#8 – Black Hole Sun


Postcards from Iceland is a series of 52 blogposts – delivered one per week – exploring the magic of Iceland through a series of Personalized Digital Postcards highlighting the stunning Icelandic landscape, the colorful cityscapes of Reykjavik; including the prolific urban art scene, and the mystery of Viking magic!

The postcard pictures are from my trip there for the Summer Solstice in 2017. We enjoyed a week exploring the country, driving south across the bottom of the island all the way to Jokulsarlon Glacial Lagoon. Of course we experienced the Golden Circle and the beauty of Reykjavik. Each of these posts includes a free wallpaper picture that can be used on your computer or mobile device. Feel free to share and enjoy these original pictures for non commercial use.

* This series of blog posts is dedicated to my amazing wife, with whom I’ve shared so many great adventures.

Thanks to The Omni Group (@OmniGroup) for providing me a copy of their latest version of Omnigraffle. I previously produced the complex graphics for this blog on my Mac, but am now able to do it on-the-go with my iOS device. There is nothing else like this on the market. https://www.omnigroup.com/omnigraffle/ios


BONUS!


Icelandic Rune Poems & Magic

With the first sixteen Postcards From Iceland blog posts, I’ll also include one verse from The Icelandic Rune Poem, which has been called the most systemized of the rune poems. Rune poems are thought to encapsulate esoteric knowledge of the symbol. Such interpretations are used in modern divination and meditation. Learn More?

#IcelandicMagic #Runes #Vikings #Iceland #Reykjavik #PostcardsFromIceland #HughBLong #Amwriting #IndieAuthor

(pictured above is a rune wand that I carved about 10 years ago)

Rune

Rune Name

Naud

(Nod)

Old Icelandic

Nauð er Þýjar þrá
ok þungr kostr
ok vássamlig verk.
opera niflungr.

English

Constraint = grief of the bond-maid
and state of oppression
and toilsome work.


Behind the Scenes

This photo was an accident. I happened to snap a picture of downtown Reykjavik then apply some contrast. I had no idea it would look like a blackhole was opening up in the sky. That’s what I love about photography – there’s the joy of taking pictures, then there’s the joy of discovering what pieces of art you actually have. The main adjustments were to remove color and bump up the contrast. I didn’t do much more than that.

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Postcards From Iceland, #7 – Crystal Clear

Postcards From Iceland, #7 – Crystal Clear

 

Dear friend, the real beauty of Iceland is in its transient nature. What we find so breathtaking, the towering waterfalls, the roaring rapids, and the calving glaciers, are the processes of change … of death.

That torrent of blue water in my picture is the lifeblood of an ancient glacier; a sentinel that’s stood witness to the rise of human civilization over the last 12,000 years. That realization left me a bit hollow, if I’m being honest.

Did I help hasten that great sentinel’s departure?

#7 – Crystal Clear

This week’s runs is a perfect fit: Hagall, or Hail. It symbolizes violent change. But that change brings both destruction and the possibility for creation.


Postcards from Iceland is a series of 52 blogposts - delivered one per week - exploring the magic of Iceland through a series of Personalized Digital Postcards highlighting the stunning Icelandic landscape, the colorful cityscapes of Reykjavik; including the prolific urban art scene, and the mystery of Viking magic!

The postcard pictures are from my trip there for the Summer Solstice in 2017. We enjoyed a week exploring the country, driving south across the bottom of the island all the way to Jokulsarlon Glacial Lagoon. Of course we experienced the Golden Circle and the beauty of Reykjavik. Each of these posts includes a free wallpaper picture that can be used on your computer or mobile device. Feel free to share and enjoy these original pictures for non commercial use.

* This series of blog posts is dedicated to my amazing wife, with whom I've shared so many great adventures.

Thanks to The Omni Group (@OmniGroup) for providing me a copy of their latest version of Omnigraffle. I previously produced the complex graphics for this blog on my Mac, but am now able to do it on-the-go with my iOS device. There is nothing else like this on the market. https://www.omnigroup.com/omnigraffle/ios


BONUS!


Icelandic Rune Poems

With the first sixteen Postcards From Iceland blog posts, I’ll also include one verse from The Icelandic Rune Poem, which has been called the most systemized of the rune poems. Rune poems are thought to encapsulate esoteric knowledge of the symbol. Such interpretations are used in modern divination and meditation. Learn More?

#IcelandicMagic #Runes #Vikings #Iceland #Reykjavik #PostcardsFromIceland #HughBLong #Amwriting #IndieAuthor

(pictured above is a rune wand that I carved about 10 years ago)

Rune

Rune Name

Hagall

Old Icelandic

Hagall er kaldakorn
ok krapadrífa
ok snáka sótt.
grando hildingr.

English

Hail = cold grain
and shower of sleet
and sickness of serpents.


Behind the Scenes

Crystal Clear was taken with my iPhone 6s Plus then processed through Adobe Lightroom CC. The main adjustments were to increase the vibrancy and saturation, and to get reduce the shadows on the mountainside. My original shot was underexposed, but what you see in the edited image better reflects what I saw.

Before:

After:

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Postcards From Iceland, #6 – Flashback?

Postcards From Iceland, #6 – Flashback?

Dear Friend,

The heart of Reykjavík is the oldest part of the city and is nicknamed 101, the postal code for the area. It’s a vibrant cultural nexus, a place where the old and new intermingle in the most interesting ways.

The quaint, multicolored houses butt up against the distinctly modern Harpa Concert Hall. 

I snapped this shot in the window of a used bookstore. It reminded me of a scene from the 1960’s.

#6 – Flashback?


Postcards from Iceland is a series of 52 blogposts – delivered one per week – exploring the magic of Iceland through a series of Personalized Digital Postcards highlighting the stunning Icelandic landscape, the colorful cityscapes of Reykjavik; including the prolific urban art scene, and the mystery of Viking magic!

The postcard pictures are from my trip there for the Summer Solstice in 2017. We enjoyed a week exploring the country, driving south across the bottom of the island all the way to Jokulsarlon Glacial Lagoon. Of course we experienced the Golden Circle and the beauty of Reykjavik. Each of these posts includes a free wallpaper picture that can be used on your computer or mobile device. Feel free to share and enjoy these original pictures for non commercial use.

* This series of blog posts is dedicated to my amazing wife, with whom I’ve shared so many great adventures.

Thanks to The Omni Group (@OmniGroup) for providing me a copy of their latest version of Omnigraffle. I previously produced the complex graphics for this blog on my Mac, but am now able to do it on-the-go with my iOS device. There is nothing else like this on the market. https://www.omnigroup.com/omnigraffle/ios


BONUS!


Icelandic Rune Poems & Magic

With the first sixteen Postcards From Iceland blog posts, I’ll also include one verse from The Icelandic Rune Poem, which has been called the most systemized of the rune poems. Rune poems are thought to encapsulate esoteric knowledge of the symbol. Such interpretations are used in modern divination and meditation. Learn More?

#IcelandicMagic #Runes #Vikings #Iceland #Reykjavik #PostcardsFromIceland #HughBLong #Amwriting #IndieAuthor

(pictured above is a rune wand that I carved about 10 years ago)

Rune

Rune Name

Kaun

(Kahn)

Old Icelandic

Kaun er barna böl
ok bardaga [för] ok holdfúa hús.
flagella konungr.

English

Ulcer = disease fatal to children
and painful spot
and abode of mortification.


Icelandic Magical Staves

Symbol

Icelandic name

Lásabrjótur

Manuscript Description

To open a lock without a key.


Behind the Scenes

I hope you are enjoying the photo. Many of the photos you’ll see in the coming weeks were shot with a Canon SX540HS but the Flashback? photo was taken with my iPhone 6s Plus then processed through Adobe Lightroom CC. The main adjustments were to desaturate the picture to give it an old B&W look.

Enjoy my Stories? Want to Help?

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Postcards From Iceland, #5 – Two Tongues

Postcards From Iceland, #5 – Two Tongues

 

Dear friend,

This was one of my favorite vistas on the entire six-day trip. 

The dark foreground was comprised of sheets of ebony volcanic sand and gravel, like the surface of a black ocean leading to what could easily have been mistaken for an isolated island, but were actually two of the tongues of the Vatnajökull glacier – the most massive ice sheet in Iceland, and one of the top in Europe – flanking the central peak of Hvannadalshnúkur and oozing through valleys in the mountain range.

This felt like I was looking out across a barren planet in one of my favorite space operas. That is the magic of Iceland – the beauty and isolation, balanced on a knife edge, leaving you caught between a scream for help, and a shout for joy.

#5 – Two Tongues

Wow airlines was an appropriate carrier for us to fly in with, because I said wow a lot. I mean … a LOT! (can you blame me?)


Postcards from Iceland is a series of 52 blogposts – delivered one per week – exploring the magic of Iceland through a series of Personalized Digital Postcards highlighting the stunning Icelandic landscape, the colorful cityscapes of Reykjavik; including the prolific urban art scene, and the mystery of Viking magic!

The postcard pictures are from my trip there for the Summer Solstice in 2017. We enjoyed a week exploring the country, driving south across the bottom of the island all the way to Jokulsarlon Glacial Lagoon. Of course we experienced the Golden Circle and the beauty of Reykjavik. Each of these posts includes a free wallpaper picture that can be used on your computer or mobile device. Feel free to share and enjoy these original pictures for non commercial use.

* This series of blog posts is dedicated to my amazing wife, with whom I’ve shared so many great adventures.


BONUS!


Icelandic Rune Poems & Magic

With the first sixteen Postcards From Iceland blog posts, I’ll also include one verse from The Icelandic Rune Poem, which has been called the most systemized of the rune poems. Rune poems are thought to encapsulate esoteric knowledge of the symbol. Such interpretations are used in modern divination and meditation. Learn More?

#IcelandicMagic #Runes #Vikings #Iceland #Reykjavik #PostcardsFromIceland #HughBLong #Amwriting #IndieAuthor

(pictured above is a rune wand that I carved about 10 years ago)

Rune

Rune Name

Reið

(Rayth)

Old Icelandic

Reið er sitjandi sæla
ok snúðig ferð
ok jórs erfiði.
iter ræsir.

English

Riding = joy of the horsemen
and speedy journey
and toil of the steed.

Want to learn how to pronounce all these arcane Old Norse words? https://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Old_Norse/Grammar/Alphabet_and_Pronunciation


Icelandic Magical Staves

Symbol

Icelandic name

Stafur gegn galdri

Manuscript Description

Staves against witchcraft.

All of the signs and staves seen here can be found in Icelandic grimoires, some from the 17th century, some from later times though all of them seem to be related. The origin of this peculiar Icelandic magic is difficult to ascertain. Some signs seem to be derived from medieval mysticism and renaissance occultism, while others show some relation to runic culture and the old Germanic belief in Thor and Odinn. Much of the magic mentioned in court records can be found in grimoires kept in various manuscript collections. The purpose of the magic involved tells us something of the concerns of the lower classes that used them to lessen the burden of subsidence living in a harsh climate.

(From the website of: http://www.galdrasyning.is/  The Museum of Icelandic Sorcery & Witchcraft, Hólmavík)

Enjoy my Stories? Want to Help?

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Postcards From Iceland, #4 – Purple Haze

Postcards From Iceland, #4 – Purple Haze

Dear friend,

Iceland is possessed of constantly brooding weather, but it seems to suit my personality. I love the power in the storms – that fierce beauty of the clouds juxtaposed against the soft fields of purple lupins.

What some may find oppressive, I find both humbling and inspiring at the same time. The weather matches the land – after all, Iceland is the land of Fire & Ice, home to both volcanos and glaciers.

.All of this majesty perched near the top of the world. – I can’t get enough!

#4 – Purple Haze


Postcards from Iceland is a series of 52 blogposts – delivered one per week – exploring the magic of Iceland through a series of Personalized Digital Postcards highlighting the stunning Icelandic landscape, the colorful cityscapes of Reykjavik; including the prolific urban art scene, and the mystery of Viking magic!

The postcard pictures are from my trip there for the Summer Solstice in 2017. We enjoyed a week exploring the country, driving south across the bottom of the island all the way to Jokulsarlon Glacial Lagoon. Of course we experienced the Golden Circle and the beauty of Reykjavik. Each of these posts includes a free wallpaper picture that can be used on your computer or mobile device. Feel free to share and enjoy these original pictures for non commercial use.

* This series of blog posts is dedicated to my amazing wife, with whom I’ve shared so many great adventures.


BONUS!


Icelandic Rune Poems & Magic

With the first sixteen Postcards From Iceland blog posts, I’ll also include one verse from The Icelandic Rune Poem, which has been called the most systemized of the rune poems. Rune poems are thought to encapsulate esoteric knowledge of the symbol. Such interpretations are used in modern divination and meditation. Learn More?

#IcelandicMagic #Runes #Vikings #Iceland #Reykjavik #PostcardsFromIceland #HughBLong #Amwriting #IndieAuthor

(pictured above is a rune wand that I carved about 10 years ago)

Rune

Rune Name

Óss

(Ohs)

Old Icelandic

Óss er algingautr
ok ásgarðs jöfurr,
ok valhallar vísi.
Jupiter oddviti.

English

God = aged Gautr
and Prince of Asgard
and Lord of Valhalla


Icelandic Magical Staves

Symbol

Icelandic name

Brýnslustafir

Manuscript Description

For use on whetstones

Enjoy my Stories? Want to Help?

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Postcards From Iceland, #3 – Kissing Icebergs

Postcards From Iceland, #3 – Kissing Icebergs

Dear friend,

I was mesmerized watching the icebergs make their final journey to the sea from the Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon. It’s a humbling experience.

I suppose it puts all of life into perspective really; we are all of us on a journey somewhere. This iceberg, looking more like a pair of lovers kissing, reminded me of the most important journey of all — the one I share with my wife.

We are well on our way to the sea, like the icebergs, holding on to each other and watching the magic of the world unfold around us.

#3 – Kissing Icebergs

This is a series of pics about Iceland, so you should expect lots of pictures of ice 🙂


Postcards from Iceland is a series of 52 blogposts – delivered one per week – exploring the magic of Iceland through a series of Personalized Digital Postcards highlighting the stunning Icelandic landscape, the colorful cityscapes of Reykjavik; including the prolific urban art scene, and the mystery of Viking magic!

The postcard pictures are from my trip there for the Summer Solstice in 2017. We enjoyed a week exploring the country, driving south across the bottom of the island all the way to Jokulsarlon Glacial Lagoon. Of course we experienced the Golden Circle and the beauty of Reykjavik. Each of these posts includes a free wallpaper picture that can be used on your computer or mobile device. Feel free to share and enjoy these original pictures for non commercial use.

* This series of blog posts is dedicated to my amazing wife, with whom I’ve shared so many great adventures.


BONUS!


Icelandic Rune Poems & Magic

With the first sixteen Postcards From Iceland blog posts, I’ll also include one verse from The Icelandic Rune Poem, which has been called the most systemized of the rune poems. Rune poems are thought to encapsulate esoteric knowledge of the symbol. Such interpretations are used in modern divination and meditation. Learn More?

#IcelandicMagic #Runes #Vikings #Iceland #Reykjavik #PostcardsFromIceland #HughBLong #Amwriting #IndieAuthor

(pictured above is a rune wand that I carved about 10 years ago)

Rune



 

Rune Name

Þurs

(Thurs)

Old Icelandic

Þurs er kvenna kvöl
ok kletta búi
ok varðrúnar verr.
Saturnus þengill.

English

Giant = torture of women
and cliff-dweller
and husband of a giantess.


Icelandic Magical Staves

Symbol

Icelandic name

Manuscript Description

For luck in fishing.

Enjoy my Stories? Want to Help?

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Postcards From Iceland, #2 – Life Is A Highway

Postcards From Iceland, #2 – Life Is A Highway

Dear friend, the dramatic is common place alongside Icelandic highways, so much so, it was hard for me to get anyplace without stopping to take pictures! Driving was my favorite activity in Iceland. Though the roads are narrow, the magical vistas make up for it, urging you to keep exploring the ring road. The North Sea / Atlantic was ever present on our right side, Peeking out from under brooding skies, myriad mountains and waterfalls beckoned to us from the left.

#2 – Life Is A Highway

You’ll see quite a few highway pictures in this 52 week series. I love the open road, and almost as much, I love pictures of the open road! The Icelandic ring-road is terribly narrow (1/2 the width of a typical Canadian highway) in most places, making for some hairy driving. Thankfully the natural beauty makes up for it.


Postcards from Iceland is a series of 52 blogposts – delivered one per week – exploring the magic of Iceland through a series of Personalized Digital Postcards highlighting the stunning Icelandic landscape, the colorful cityscapes of Reykjavik; including the prolific urban art scene, and the mystery of Viking magic!

The postcard pictures are from my trip there for the Summer Solstice in 2017. We enjoyed a week exploring the country, driving south across the bottom of the island all the way to Jokulsarlon Glacial Lagoon. Of course we experienced the Golden Circle and the beauty of Reykjavik. Each of these posts includes a free wallpaper picture that can be used on your computer or mobile device. Feel free to share and enjoy these original pictures for non commercial use.

* This series of blog posts is dedicated to my amazing wife, with whom I’ve shared so many great adventures.


BONUS!


Icelandic Rune Poems & Magic

With the first sixteen Postcards From Iceland blog posts, I’ll also include one verse from The Icelandic Rune Poem, which has been called the most systemized of the rune poems. Rune poems are thought to encapsulate esoteric knowledge of the symbol. Such interpretations are used in modern divination and meditation. Learn More?

#IcelandicMagic #Runes #Vikings #Iceland #Reykjavik #PostcardsFromIceland #HughBLong #Amwriting #IndieAuthor

(pictured above is a rune wand that I carved about 10 years ago)

Rune


 

Rune Name

Úr

(Oohr)

Old Icelandic

Úr er skýja grátr
ok skára þverrir
ok hirðis hatr.
umbre vísi

English

Shower = lamentation of the clouds
and ruin of the hay-harvest
and abomination of the shepherd.


Icelandic Magical Staves

Symbol

Icelandic name

Að unni

Manuscript Description

So a girl loves a man.


Behind the Scenes

I hope you are enjoying the photo. Many of the photos you’ll see in the coming weeks were shot with a Canon SX540HS but the Life is a Highway photo was taken with my iPhone 6s Plus then processed through Adobe Lightroom 5. The main adjustments were to increase the contrast and adjust the exposure, and of course, to crop it.

Uncropped, unaltered

After adjustments in Lightroom 5

 

Enjoy my Stories? Want to Help?

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Postcards From Iceland, #1 – Temporary Street Art

Postcards From Iceland, #1 – Temporary Street Art

Postcards from Iceland is a 52 week project exploring the magic of Iceland through a series of Personalized Digital Postcards highlighting the stunning Icelandic landscape, the colorful cityscapes of Reykjavik, including the prolific urban art scene, and the mystery of Viking magic!

Subscribe FREE

Let Me Take You Back …

Do you remember getting postcards when you were a kid? Remember that feeling of wonder? I miss that. Postcards were like little portholes into mysterious foreign lands. Sure, some people still send them out, but it’s not like it used to be. Those were sometimes our only glimpses into those once mysterious places.

If you’ve never received a physical postcard, that’s ok, you can catch up with these modern digital postcards. I hope to evoke the same feelings that I fondly remember.

If you love stunning landscapes, vibrant urban vistas and visceral street art, then this blog will be just your thing! Also find Viking magic kind of sexy? Got you covered there too!

Welcome to Postcards from Iceland!

Modern folk are not easily impressed, and I get that I have to go above and beyond to get your attention, so let me do just that.

This is the first weekly post of a planned 52 week series exploring the magic of Iceland through a series of Personalized Digital Postcards highlighting the stunning Icelandic landscape, the colorful cityscapes of Reykjavik, including the prolific urban art scene, and the mystery of Viking magic!

With each post I intend to evoke strong emotions:

Wonder: Firstly, each postcard will include the stunning main photo, taken by me personally in Iceland, June, 2017.
(Each picture will is available as FREE hi-rez download (1920x1080) which you can use as a wallpaper on your computer or mobile device. Feel free to share and enjoy these original pictures for non commercial use.)

Hope: Secondly, I’ll include a heartfelt note, written as if I I were speaking to a dear friend. I’ll share my thoughts and feelings as I explored Iceland and was caught up in its splendor.

Joy: Thirdly, I’ll share an intricate Icelandic Magical Stave- you’ve probably seen these drawn as wards in books, or as jewelry or tattoos. I’ll share one of these delightful symbols per week.

Helm of Awe

Helm of Awe

Empowerment: Lastly, I’ll teach you one verse from the Old Icelandic Rune Poem. You may know that Vikings used runes to write. Their system included 16 runic symbols (the Younger Futhork) that had a corresponding phonetic value and some esoteric meaning – many believe magical. Runes were used for writing, but also to cast protective wards, curses, and to craft enchanted items. They were also used for DIVINATION! (fortune telling, essentially.)

There may also occasionally be BONUS material! Stay up to date – subscribe free.

I photographed most of the postcard pictures on my 2017 Summer Solstice trip. My wife and I enjoyed a week exploring the country, driving south across the bottom of the island all the way to the Jokulsarlon glacial lagoon. Of course we experienced the mandatory Golden Circle, as well as the myriad beauties of Reykjavik.

I’ve been blessed to see and do what I’ve done, and I hope this small token from my journeys provides you some joy.

#1 – Temporary Street Art

A temporary mural on plywood construction boards may seem a surprising choice for my first look at Iceland, but it’s a fitting start based on how my preconceived views of Iceland changed after I landed. Sure, there’ll be pictures of glaciers and stunning vistas, but it was the mesmerizing and ubiquitous street art that won me over – even before I even had the chance to be seduced by the land herself – though that would come.

Dear friend, Art is everywhere in Iceland, especially in the capital, Reykjavik. For a country with such bleak weather, the islanders seem to make up for it with their prolific art. The works I loved most were the fleeting street murals – those painted on temporary surfaces like plywood walls at construction sites. Like flower blossoms, these temporary treasures bloom from Reykjavik’s streets … then fade. The magic is in their intensity and fleeting nature.

“Their urban art is like a defiant cry against the short summer. I imagine them declaring, “No! We will not go quietly into that good night!” Instead, they rage against the dying of the light; with little acts of defiance against the concrete jungle, or arctic winter, they nurture the artist’s spark through the long dark nights.” – Hugh B. Long


Postcards from Iceland is a series of 52 blogposts – delivered one per week – exploring the magic of Iceland through a series of Personalized Digital Postcards highlighting the stunning Icelandic landscape, the colorful cityscapes of Reykjavik; including the prolific urban art scene, and the mystery of Viking magic!

The postcard pictures are from my trip there for the Summer Solstice in 2017. We enjoyed a week exploring the country, driving south across the bottom of the island all the way to Jokulsarlon Glacial Lagoon. Of course we experienced the Golden Circle and the beauty of Reykjavik. Each of these posts includes a free wallpaper picture that can be used on your computer or mobile device. Feel free to share and enjoy these original pictures for non commercial use.

* This series of blog posts is dedicated to my amazing wife, with whom I’ve shared so many great adventures.


 

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BONUS!


Icelandic Rune Poems & Magic

With the first sixteen Postcards From Iceland blog posts, I’ll also include one verse from The Icelandic Rune Poem, which has been called the most systemized of the rune poems. Rune poems are thought to encapsulate esoteric knowledge of the symbol. Such interpretations are used in modern divination and meditation. Learn More?

#IcelandicMagic #Runes #Vikings #Iceland #Reykjavik #PostcardsFromIceland #HughBLong #Amwriting #IndieAuthor

(pictured above is a rune wand that I carved about 10 years ago)

Rune

 

Rune Name

Fe

(Fay)

Old Icelandic

Fé er frænda róg
ok flæðar viti
ok grafseiðs gata
aurum fylkir.

English

Wealth = source of discord among kinsmen
and fire of the sea
and path of the serpent.


Icelandic Magical Staves

Symbol

Icelandic name

Ægishjálmur

Manuscript Description

Helm of awe (or helm of terror); to induce fear, protect the warrior, and prevail in battle.


Behind the Scenes

I hope you are enjoying the photo. Many of the photos you’ll see in the coming weeks were shot with a Canon SX540HS but the Temporary Street Art photo was taken with my iPhone 6s Plus then processed through Adobe Lightroom 5. Essentially I desaturated everything in the image except the mural, which I oversaturated. I wanted the image to pop – just like it it did when I saw it on that rainy arctic day.

Original Photo – cropped to 1920x1080

After adjustments in Lightroom 5

Coming in the next 52 weeks:

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Pen Names, Genre, and Demographics

Pen Names, Genre, and Demographics

What’s in a name?

I’ve written under two names for years now, and yesterday I decided to add one more to my growing stable (my version of Pokemon Go!). As many do, I started writing under my own name, first for magazine articles back in the 90’s. Years later I decided to write a book on pre-Christian Northern European culture and present day manifestations (Northern Lore). That book was written under my pen name Eoghan Odinsson.

Eoghan is simply the Gaelic form of Hugh, and Odinsson is a tribute to Odin, god of knowledge and wisdom (and madnesss – yikes!) Most of my non-fiction is written under that name.

Genres and Demographics

So why did I do this? Mainly to tell readers what they could expect from my work, to differentiate the genres and demographics.

Genre is the type of story being told – Fantasy, Romance, Historical Fiction, etc. Demographics, or Market segments, describe the structure of the population – usually referring to age groups.

Books for younger readers tend to be grouped by age regardless of the type of story. e.g. Early Readers, Chapter Books, Young Adult (YA). Each of those demographics could have stories about pirates, ghosts, spaceships, or family situations. As we get older, our reading preferences become more defined and we (arguably) benefit from having genre based groupings.

YA is the most prominent example of how genre and demographics can be blurred. Many adults prefer YA focused stories because they can have less overt sexual content, less profanity, etc. Not always.

People buying a historical romance are less likely to read a science fiction book by the same author – unless you’re a big name like Diana Gabaldon. Not that she’s written SF, but she is a scientist by training, so it could happen! (Paging Ms. Gabaldon!)

My son used to love R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps series. Would you shop for a book on physics or gender studies by Mr. Stine? Not likely. Though he is a talented man.

With a pen-name that reflects your target audience, readers come to know what to expect of your writing. Why do we like McDonalds? Because we know what to expect.

The Real Slim Shady

My literary identities are as follows: (with Facebook links)

  • Hugh B. Long (The original me) – my default name for journalism and all fiction to date.
  • Eoghan Odinsson – For my non-fiction dealing with pre-Christian history, culture, and mythology.
  • Hugh MacGregor – my newest pen name which I plan to use for Fantasy projects.
  • Hugh North – in reserve. I had planned to use it for modern Thrillers (and yes, I have a draft thriller written!)

All of my pen names and internet domains will point back to this website for simplicity.

Writers at work

Writers at work

Some pics of writers who have inspired me, doing their thing.

And the winner is … The United Kingdom!

And the winner is … The United Kingdom!

The UK sweeps my Goodreads Giveaway! (whoops)

Following last week’s Oscar mixup, Goodreads sent me the list of winners for my giveaway for 10 copies of Abhuman: Resistance. As I glanced down the list I was somewhat surprised to see so many UK winners. Then I realized all 10 winners were from the UK? What?

My mistake. Somehow, when I added the UK to my list of countries for the giveaway, I must have deselected other countries. So the UK cleans up this round!

In the spirit of fairness, I will immediately sponsor a new giveaway for the USA & Canada starting tomorrow, March 7’th 2017

Sorry for the glitch!

 

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Abhuman by Hugh B. Long

Abhuman

by Hugh B. Long

Giveaway ends April 07, 2017.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

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