14/05/2012 06:26 BST | Updated 14/05/2012 06:47 BST

Iceland From Above: A Birds Eye View From 9,000ft (PICTURES)

Source: Barcroft Media

Desolate and apocalyptic, these birds eye view photos show Iceland's extreme landscape from a unique angle.

The eerie shots were captured by husband and wife duo Erlend Haarberg, 46, and Orsolya Haarberg, 35, as they soared above the Nordic nation.

The pair scaled mountains, trekked over some of the world’s most rugged terrain and took to the skies in a light aircraft to snap some of the world’s most spectacular scenery.

Scroll down for a gallery of images of Iceland

iceland birds eye view shots haarberg photography

A wild and windy landscape

And the beautiful results reveal the drastically contrasting landscapes of Iceland – from explosive volcanoes to Europe's largest icecap.

In one photograph, a fork of sideways lightning sparks out from the Eyjafjallajökull volcano – which caused travel chaos when it erupted in 2010 – as it explodes into action.

Another shot appears to show a tree, but is actually a river delta running into several different streams.

iceland birds eye view shots haarberg photography

A river delta spreads like the branches of a tree

Orsolya, from Jakobsli, Norway, who wed Erlend in 2005 before embarking on the epic photography project, said: “Normally I get sick when flying, so I was thankful for the calm conditions, otherwise I would have been in trouble.

“We had been forced to wait for two months for a day that wasn't cloudy or raining. So when we woke up and it was sunny we knew we had to get in the air as quick as possible before it changed.

“But it was definitely worth being patient. Iceland’s landscape is so extreme and varied - it makes for such amazing viewing.

“The colours of the flat landscape really only become visible once you are in the air.”

Husband Erlend was charged with taking the extraordinary aerial images while his wife guided the pilot from the back of the light aircraft.

iceland birds eye view shots haarberg photography

A fork of lightning sparks out from the Eyjafjallajökull volcano

Erlend used an open window to capture clear shots of the world below as the plane banked to the left, allowing him to look vertically down.

And incredibly, thanks to the poor weather, they covered the whole nation in just one five-hour flight before being forced to return as the fuel ran low.

Professional snapper Orsolya, who quit her studies to become a full-time photographer, added: “It was a tight schedule. One minute we were photographing the erupting Eyjafjallajökull volcano and the next we were over Europe's largest ice cap, the Vatnajökull.


“Most tourists never get to see these places at all - let alone from the air. We feel privileged to have witnessed them first hand.

“We always try and show Iceland in a totally different light to the one the tourists often experience. That’s why we decided to focus on all the extremes and contrasts the country had to offer.

“People seem to be amazed by the abstract aerials, probably because they are almost alien-like.”

The couple have now released a book called Iceland: Land of Contrast to document their travels.