As you most probably know, Iceland has many waterfalls (margir fossar in Icelandic), as much as 10,000. During our last visit we photographed quite a few of them, epic ones such as Gullfoss, Dettifoss, Godafoss, Selfoss, Hengifoss, Litlanesfoss, Foss a Sidu, and Aldeyjarfoss. I wrote a post about them which I cleverly titled, “Foss”. One of my goals for our current trip to Iceland is to improve my waterfall photography while adding new ones to my collection. This trip we added five new fossar along with one repeat. Let’s see how I did.
Barnarfoss (children’s waterfall). Let’s start off with the repeat. Barnarfoss must be photographed from above. In Iceland you are mostly free to roam anyplace without concern for safety. For some reason unknown to me, this waterfall is fenced off. It is an interesting waterfall where all chutes and ribbons appear to be coming directly from a lava field. I walked back and forth along the path looking for a nice composition, none to be found. I finally decided to eschew to prescribed viewing areas and photograph from the path. I used the trees and plants as a frame. This is all well and good but why did we make a repeat visit? The water last visit was a murky brown though this waterfall is known for its beautiful aquamarine color. This visit we were luckier.
Photographically this is an easy shot, 44mm, 2.0 seconds at f/11, ISO 64. The only real thing to think about is what ND filter to use to extend the exposure time.
Skogafoss (forest waterfall). This is the last waterfall we visited, photographing it on our way back to Reykjavik for our flight home. It is a non-descript waterfall that is popular among the tourists. The classic shot is to stand in the stream, photographing the stream in the foreground and the waterfall in the background. We tried this a few years ago and ended up getting too wet, not from the stream but from the spray. It’s just not interesting enough to try again. Except, while driving by, Kathryn says, “Oooh!” I know this means stop, I see something to shoot. Reflections are her thing.
Photographed at 180mm, 4.0 seconds at f/14, ISO 64, 6-stop ND filter. Environmentally se were quite lucky as the wind was low, a rarity in Iceland, giving us a nice reflection in an adjacent pond.
Oxararfoss (axe waterfall). This is a smallish waterfall that is in a popular tourist spot, Þingvellir National Park. It is usually teeming with people making it impossible to photograph. Today people were almost non-existent as it was raining, quite heavily at times. Getting close to a waterfall in the rain is a no brainer, I’m wet already! With no one else around we took our time to get a composition we like. Although not my favorite waterfall, Kathryn was able to make it look good.
Photographed at 20mm, f11, 1 sec, ISO 100, 6-stop ND filter. Photo by Kathryn.
Seljalandsfoss (selling the land of waterfalls). This is another insanely popular waterfall, for good reason. It is not necessarily for its photographic interest but it provides an opportunity to walk behind it. Normally we would just pass on visiting, as we did last trip when the parking lot was overflowed. This year there were virtually no people at all. Traveling post-pandemic does have some benefits. Environmentally this is a tough one. It was cold, windy, with spray everywhere. I was able to get one shot off before my filter and lens got so wet it became impossible. Not too bad for a first (and only usable) shot!
Photographed at 14mm, 2.0 seconds at f/11, ISO 64. Blue sky magically appeared, I took the shots, the blue sky went away. Better to be lucky than good.
Kirkjufellsfoss (church waterfall). And Kirkjufell (church mountain). This means we are looking at Church Falls with Church Mountain in the distance. This is a classic spot for photographers, just an easy walk from the newly added parking lot. Photographers like easy walks paired with spectacular scenes. We arrived at 3:00am to an empty parking lot where we had the whole scene to ourselves. It was cloudy as always. But just before sunrise, scheduled for 3:30am, the sun miraculously made a partial appearance. Click, click, click, we fired away.
Not the “classic” shot but close. Photographed at 14mm, 1.3 seconds at f/20, ISO 64. You will notice a smaller exposure for this shot. The water was racing so fast that a longer exposure would have made the water a complete blur.
This is the “classic” shot taken at worst light, about 12:30pm. It still looks good. I especially like the cloud covering the top of the mountain. It was nice to see a little blue sky too.
Bruaurfoss (bridge falls).
I wrote about this waterfall a few days ago. You can read about it here: Well Worth the Wait?!
. It is well worth the read if you haven’t already.
Photographed at 26mm, 0.5 seconds at f/13, ISO 64. This perhaps my favorite waterfall we have visited. Interesting water flow spectacular blue color for the water. It was a perfect evening, 11:30pm, for this photo.
Thank you for taking my pictorial waterfall tour.