Most mornings we set off around 7am from our apartment building in Reykjavik, first light was around 9am with sunrise happening around 10.  This took some getting used to but had some very distinct advantages.  There certainly wasn’t a need to get up at 3am, as has been the case this last summer here in Cornwall, to capture the dawn light.

One particular morning we set off for the very southernmost tip of Iceland.  I wanted to capture the dawn from the lighthouse there.  This involved taking Þjóðvegur 1 or the Hringvegur, (ring road) otherwise known as route 1 from Reykjavik.  This road circumnavigates Iceland and is 828 miles long.  Two lanes for the most part, it has a speed restriction of 55 mph and speed cameras to enforce it.  The road surface appears to be made up of compressed volcanic ash giving a lovely smooth surface but after a few miles, the shiny hire car delivered to you at the airport is covered in a fine grey film of dirt that builds with each mile.  At many service stations you’ll see Icelanders hosing down their cars with pressure washers. This would account for rarely seeing a dirty car in Iceland.  Our hire car was a disgrace by the final day.  Shamed we tackled an automated car wash before returning the car.  It took some working out.

Anyway, I digress.  Travelling along the Hringvegur in the dark, we could see little apart from the road ahead until, in the distance, we could see lights but were struggling to make sense of what we were seeing.  As we got closer it became obvious, a beautifully floodlit waterfall took shape.

The waterfall in question is called Seljalandsfoss and posting this picture gives me the opportunity to thank Chris who accompanied me on this trip, struggled with the luggage, carried my camera bag, helped me set up my shots, tolerated the constant stops and generally provided support without which, I couldn’t have made this trip.  That’s Chris silhouetted to the left of the waterfall..

Seljalandfoss, seljalandsfoss waterfall at night, silhouette

45mm f/5.6 60 sec. ISO-100


49 responses

  1. Hoping to go to Iceland (and Seljalandfoss) early next year! This has wetting the appetite, thanks!

    December 4, 2014 at 6:50 pm

    • Thank you James. You’ll enjoy your trip, Iceland is a fabulous country!

      December 4, 2014 at 6:59 pm

  2. Wondefull! :-)

    December 4, 2014 at 7:00 pm

    • Thank you! :-)

      December 4, 2014 at 7:11 pm

  3. Fabulous shot, Adrian. I’m sure Chris will love to have this wonderful photo to remind him of all the good times you had together throughout the trip. It sounds like his help was invaluable to you.

    December 4, 2014 at 7:21 pm

    • Thank you so much Sylvia. When you travel with a disability, even the simplest of things can become so difficult. like taking off a coat at security when there are queues of people wanting to push through. Having someone to give a hand makes these obstacles disappear and I’m very grateful to Chris for being there and being so tolerant of my photography. :-)

      December 5, 2014 at 9:14 am

  4. Melanie

    Is ‘eerie’ the right word? ;-)

    December 4, 2014 at 7:23 pm

  5. leecleland

    Enjoying your trip to Iceland immensely, but what time of the year did you go? Sunrise at 10am caught my eye so it wasn’t mid summer :)

    December 4, 2014 at 7:40 pm

    • I was there a couple of weeks ago Lee. I’m glad you’re enjoying the trip! :-)

      December 4, 2014 at 8:28 pm

      • leecleland

        Thanks Adrian, I am thinking about a March 2016 trip to Iceland and thought the light might be about the same. Just wanted to check, thanks again.

        December 5, 2014 at 8:31 am

      • You’re welcome. By March, daylight is stretching out to 10 hours rather than the 6 we had in November. I’m going to be Iceland again from Feb 24th to 10th March next year so watch this space! :)

        December 5, 2014 at 9:01 am

      • leecleland

        Oh I will, and thanks for the info on hours of light it does make a big difference to what you can do in a day.

        December 5, 2014 at 7:56 pm

      • It certainly does Lee although we did manage to pack a lot into the six hours we had each day! :-)

        December 5, 2014 at 9:27 pm

  6. Pat

    Spectacular and grandiose

    December 4, 2014 at 8:59 pm

    • Certainly that Pat, thank you!

      December 4, 2014 at 9:04 pm

  7. Another great shot Adrian. The floodlighting makes this look other worldly…’s quite surreal.

    December 4, 2014 at 9:52 pm

    • It’s a lovely sight Mark with the sound of the water a constant companion. Thank you! :)

      December 5, 2014 at 9:01 am

  8. Gorgeous photo.I think I travel to Iceland next year.

    December 4, 2014 at 10:38 pm

    • I should definitely do it if you can Lou! Thank you! :)

      December 5, 2014 at 9:02 am

  9. A great shot – quite different from anything I have seen of Seljalandfoss before. And I notice that here they have set up a fence the keep visitors away from the waterfall (I presume) which wasn’t there when I visited Iceland many, many years ago.

    December 5, 2014 at 12:07 am

    • Thank you Otto. This is one of the first stops the tour buses make. I was glad I was there before the crowds that would be visiting later in the day. I guess the authorities have have had to create walkways for that reason. It was something I was very aware of whilst in Iceland. It was budget airline flights that allowed me to visit and enjoy the wildnerness that Iceland has to offer but I fear for the future. With tourism up 20% in just five years, I wonder what the next five years will bring. More fences I imagine.

      December 5, 2014 at 9:08 am

  10. Amazing photo, Adrian. I really like the black silhouettes below and above, with what’s going on in the middle.

    December 5, 2014 at 12:35 am

    • Thank you very much Harrie, much appreciated.

      December 5, 2014 at 9:08 am

  11. Wow!

    December 5, 2014 at 3:21 am

    • Quite! It’s a beautiful sight. :-)

      December 5, 2014 at 9:09 am

  12. Exquisite.

    December 5, 2014 at 4:38 am

    • Seljalandsfoss is indeed Gunta, an exquisite sight. Thank you. :-)

      December 5, 2014 at 9:10 am

  13. this is so spectacular :)

    December 5, 2014 at 7:48 am

    • Thank you very much Joshi! :-)

      December 5, 2014 at 9:10 am

  14. poppytump

    You made much earlier starts than we did ChillB and look what you found :-) It’s SO striking … all power and light … just love this image x
    Best pack our alarm clock then ;-)

    December 5, 2014 at 10:17 am

    • I think an alarm clock essential Poppy! :-D It was such a surprise to see Seljalandsfoss all lit up like this. We were rather disappointed when just along the road, Skogafoss wasn’t similarly floodlit. It was absolutely beautiful. :-)

      December 5, 2014 at 11:03 am

  15. Beautiful image, Adrian….spectacular light fantastically captured! I was wondering how you managed this trip….now, from your words in this post, I know!

    December 5, 2014 at 10:46 am

    • Thank you Sue. It really was a beautiful sight, emerging from the darkness all around. Chris’s help was invaluable. EasyJet were brilliant but as I said to Sylvia, when you have a disability, airport security alone can be such a trial when just getting coats and jackets off is a real struggle, especially when there are lots of people pushing to get through when clearly there isn’t a need to rush. :-)

      December 5, 2014 at 11:07 am

  16. I’ve never seen a waterfall lit up like this – quite magical I should imagine. Presumably it’s just for the early visitors rather than all night …? On the subject of early: sunrise at 10am? I like the sound of that! :)

    December 5, 2014 at 2:32 pm

    • It really was magical Noeline. Driving along a very dark road it was the only thing we could see on the horizon. It was quite surreal and magical as you say. It certainly made a difference, not having to get up at three! :-)

      December 5, 2014 at 9:45 pm

  17. Photos close to home

    Just finished watching the BBC Four program on the Art of Cornwall and immediate thought of you. Being a typical American, I had never heard of Kit Wood, Ben Nicholson or Barbara Heywood. The program centered on the art colony at St. Ives, a fascinating story.

    December 6, 2014 at 1:28 am

    • There was quite a community of artists in St Ives, still is in fact. It would be an ideal place for a studio only premises are very difficult to come by. Glad you enjoyed the documentary. :-)

      December 6, 2014 at 10:29 am

  18. Absolutely stunning! A beautiful setting…

    December 6, 2014 at 3:30 pm

    • It is Isabel, thank you! :-)

      December 6, 2014 at 3:38 pm

  19. So I’m in for the big treat now – Iceland through your eyes, with your descriptions. I have to work backwards through quite a few posts and I look forward to it. It’s been impossible to comment or even look at posts for over a week – too busy with work. Don’t have the energy of a 20-something. Or a 30-something. Etcetera!! So glad you have Chris, but you’re the one who made this happen and I admire that.

    December 6, 2014 at 6:10 pm

    • Thank you so much Lynn. I hope you do enjoy the journey. I’ve quite a few pictures to go yet. It was an amazing trip and I am very grateful for the help I had. A year ago I wouldn’t have even contemplated such a trip but now I’ve made it, I’m planning my next.. :-)

      December 6, 2014 at 9:42 pm

  20. Just stunning Adrian. How grateful we are for such natural wonders of the world!

    December 6, 2014 at 10:07 pm

    • Indeed Marian! Thank you! :-)

      December 7, 2014 at 11:54 am

  21. The Icelanders know a trick or two, highlighting their waterfalls like this in the short days of winter. Stunning image, Adrian.

    December 7, 2014 at 4:47 pm

    • Thank you Andy. It was quite surreal seeing this disembodied waterfall appearing out of the darkness. So glad we set off so early that day or we’d not have seen it.

      December 7, 2014 at 6:20 pm

  22. Glorious!

    December 10, 2014 at 3:41 pm

  23. It’s huge and magnificent! What amazing pictures you have made on this trip, Adrian. wonderful.

    December 11, 2014 at 6:02 pm

    • For me as a photographer Karen, Iceland has been just brilliant. I’m very much looking forward to my return trip in February!

      December 11, 2014 at 6:59 pm