We feature some of the brightest Instagram storytellers in the Passion Passport community through our Instagram Spotlight series. Norris von Niman (@norrisniman) explores the various aspects of life — and photography — in Iceland.

WATERFALLS

Having lived in Iceland for the last two years and explored as much of this beautiful piece of rock as possible, I’ve realized that everything here revolves around the massive amount of water in this island country. In any form, this great force is constantly on the move. I’m not referring to the typical water cycle, but rather, entire glaciers flowing down mountains as both solids and liquids. The sheer power of this event is incomprehensible, and even the scale is abstract until you’re close to one of the many waterfalls here or see a tiny person in the distance traversing a massive ice sheet.

ANIMALS

Though Iceland is a desolate landscape, there is still a bit of life amid the nothingness.

Sheep, horses, and reindeer were all imported to spice up farming life, but some wild beasts willingly migrated to Iceland. The puffin, for example, is a sure sign that summer actually exists here.

Larger animals call Iceland home, as well. One of the most unbelievable experiences I’ve had was taking this shot of a breaching humpback whale, watching him hit the water like a bus crashing to the ground. I paddled back out on a board later and had the closest possible encounter when a buddy of his came up right in front of me and passed right under my board. Honestly, I was too scared to even take a picture.

LANDSCAPES

Most people come to Iceland for the landscapes, but I wasn’t interested in the outdoors (or even photography) before I moved to the island country. Something about this place moves people.

Simply walking a bit higher on that mountain or waiting a little longer in the freezing evening just might net you a photo that can almost capture how beautiful it is in real life. Even the clouds here help dramatize almost every shot, and it is a shame that the often extreme, always breathtaking wind is so impossible to capture on camera.

ON THE WATER

This was the real purpose of my move to Iceland — to be around the water, and mostly under it. I came in 2015 to scuba dive the great underworld of the lakes and seas.

Still, coming back up after a dive and seeing the surprises above the surface is often even more mesmerizing than the things I encounter down below. Having circled around the island a handful of times trying to find a bridge over to the mainland I realized that this is it. Out in the Atlantic Ocean and far away from anything else, Iceland is a big volcano surrounded by the wild sea. And if this volcano goes off it might be the only reason anyone leaves this place.

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Norbert von Niman
Norbert von Niman is a photographer and guide based in Iceland. Leaving university for a job as a snorkelling guide he quickly fell in love with the island and its landscapes. Currently leading tours around the country, he tries to find that special angle, scenery or element that is not yet photographed, whilst looking for locations not yet discovered.

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