Swans, Tjörnin, Reykjavik

By Nick Gilmore

Published: 1 Jan, 2023
Reykjavik, march 2014

Anyone who visited Reykjavik will know Tjornin. It’s the lake right next to the town hall. It freezes in winter and becomes a playground for skaters.

 The swans were completely oblivious of the activity around them. They were fully absorbed in the search for their mate.


Iceland is a captivating country. Timeless landscapes that look as if they could be from the dawn of the planet but which may only be a few decades old. Populated by tough, resourceful and incredibly friendly people. And where else could you go into a bookshop and enjoy an excellent cup of coffee with a couple of teenagers at the next table doing their Latin homework using a dictionary that was translating into their third language?

The challenge for this photograph was how to effectively capture two white birds against a white background. Walking round the lake I found the perfect angle between the low afternoon sunshine and the subjects to give a semi-backlit composition. The result is one of my best-selling images.

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