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A Q&A with Expert Kirt Kempter

By | April 6, 2014

Q: In addition to being an accomplished geologist, you're also a talented photographer. What subjects do you prefer to shoot in Iceland? 

A: As a great appreciator of landscapes, geologic formations, and vistas, I always make good use of my camera each time I am in Iceland. While many photographers focus on the birds and the waterfalls, I am particularly drawn to the rock textures and shapes that are so unique to Iceland: vast fields of broken, black lava; spectacular columnar basalt or fan-shaped pahoehoe; and beach coves filled with sea-churned cobbles and rounded boulders. Each time I visit I try to take different photographs from different perspectives, though the subject matter often stays the same. Undoubtedly, Iceland's strange landscape and rocks are helping me become a better photographer.


Kirt Kempter

Kirt Kempter is a Fulbright Fellow and Ph.D. graduate from the University of Texas at Austin, where he conducted his dissertation research on Rincón de la Vieja volcano in Costa Rica. For the past 11 years Kirt has worked for the New Mexico STATEMAP program, studying the geologic history of northern New Mexico. Kirt is also an instructor for the NASA astronaut training program, teaching NASA’'s 2009 astronaut candidates geologic mapping techniques in northern New Mexico. Since 1993 Kirt has led numerous educational tours for the Smithsonian Institution, from Iceland to Antarctica.

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