Portfolio image #1: Seljalandsfoss

I never did get a portfolio level photograph at the Seljalandsfoss waterfall on my May trip; after two days I was heading east on the Ring Road again. I had gotten Seljalandsfoss images that captured my loopy mood on that first day — and capturing the mood of a place isn’t a trivial thing. But the average person won’t hang a dark, moody Iceland shot in the den.

However, one trick you learn is to keep a shot location card catalogue in your head. That way you can come back to spots that have potential under the right conditions. And I knew that the behind-the-falls shot can be almost otherworldly at sunset.

So when I did the Ring Road again in August, I stopped at some fav locations for a third bite of the apple. And on my final night in Vik, I noticed the weather clearing up. A real Iceland sunset was being served up at Seljalandsfoss.

I scooted out of Vik by 7:15PM, did the drive west in under 40 minutes. When I got there, the last tour buses were leaving (look closely). It was only a few minutes before sunset. I grabbed my wide angle and tripod, jogged past a few photogs, dialed in my settings, headed into the cave — with heart pounding.

From in there, the dense mist and moss provides a womb-like atmosphere. I headed deeper down the path, watching how the balance point of waterfall, stream, moss and sunset changed. At one place on the muddy path, I stopped. This spot made me imagine that the cave itself had its eye on the light show; hey, who doesn’t like a sunset. This spot gave me the perfect line: waterfall, stream curving towards the sun and that concentrated yellow glow.

I stood, back against wall, so as to pull in those velvety, mossy boulders. That misty moss made me want to take my shoes off and wade in. (Of course I had to pull all that detail out of the image in post.) And of course, I had to wipe the lens off after each shot. I didn’t bring a dry cloth so my shirt did the job.

Didn’t do that many shot variations, the sun being so close to the horizon. Plus, I was pretty sure I had what I wanted.

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A photograph is a distillation of light, color, shape, balance … feeling.    [1/40th sec, f13, 19mm]

 

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