Of all the places I’ve visited in Iceland, none has had more of a profound effect on me than Haifoss. Haifoss (pronounced How-a-foss) reduces me to tears whenever I’m there. The raw, unadulterated beauty of this remote location moves me beyond words. These falls thunder some 122 metres or just over 400 feet into a gorge that stands at the head of a very beautiful valley.
It’s a remote location, off the beaten track and this means that whenever I’ve visited, I’ve been completely alone other than the companion or companions that I’ve had with me. There are no signs, no ropes, no walkways. It’s up to you to deduce that walking over the edge is likely to hurt quite a bit. It’s nature as it should be without all the nannying that is taking the magic away from so many places.
On this last visit, it was a real pleasure to introduce my good friends Poppy and her BB to Haifoss for the first time. As a group, we did attempt a visit back in February but snow meant the track was impassable. They were debating whether to join us this time but with a little persuasion along the lines of ‘it really is worth a visit’ they decided to come with us. Approaching the gorge they were silent, standing and staring I knew they were as moved by what they were seeing as I have always been.
Having my UAV (otherwise known as a drone) with me this time, I was able to enter the gorge and film the falls from above and below. You can hike up the valley and enter the gorge on foot but it’s a long hike and certainly not one that I could manage. The drone is allowing me to go places I’m now longer able to as well as giving, quite literally, a bird’s eye view of the world which is really quite magical.
I’ve posted the film below with original music by composer and very good friend Christopher Hartley. I was a little cautious filming here as there really is a lot of spray and my drone isn’t waterproof. That coupled with this only being my fifth flight. My apologies to those with slower Internet connections but this is HD video and I wanted to maintain a certain level of quality. I think it’s worth the wait. About half-way through, I’ve added an arrow to show where I am, up on the edge of the gorge. Just a reminder of the sheer scale.. Enjoy!
70mm f/11 1/80 sec. ISO-100
14mm f/11 1/25 sec. ISO-100
A large part of landscape photography is getting to know your subject, thinking about where you want to go and perhaps taking a closer look on Google Earth before you visit is a good idea. Once there, you can take a good look round in person, thinking about angles and composition. Once you know your subject, you can put yourself where you want to be at the right time and hopefully under perfect conditions and light. All the things we can’t control have to come together to make a great landscape photograph but if you know exactly where you want to be to take that photograph, when all the variables come together, you’re in with a good chance.
I have visited Gullfoss quite a few times now. It’s one of the top attractions in Iceland and with good reason. The falls are immense. I’ve explored the falls from all directions now. On my last visit I went the other side of the river (this is where Google Earth came in for me, finding the track less travelled), the opposite side to the visitors centre and the usual spots for taking pictures. I thought I might get my shot from this side of the river but it wasn’t to be.
The light wasn’t right, the weather not great and as it turned out, I didn’t get the shot I wanted because I wasn’t in the right place but now I know exactly where I want to be next time. Hopefully it’ll all come together but I’ll have to be there either at dawn or dusk, the blue and golden hours. All that aside, from the opposite side of the river, I did have the sun behind me allowing for a nice rainbow to form in the spray from the falls and I did get a shot from a different angle to most..
Driving to Arnastapi on a perfect day for landscape photography, that is, a mixture of sunshine and showers, we came upon a church which I thought would make a nice subject for a picture. I reversed up and took the ‘road’ towards the church. The church in question is called Fáskrúðarbakkakirkja at Snæfellsnes in western Iceland.
I could see from the clouds and the wind direction that things were going to get interesting if I waited a little while. I wanted the church in sunshine but when we arrived it was in the shade. As it turned out, waiting for the light, I got the church in sunshine, rain and just about everything in between and it all happened within about half an hour. This was the first shot, I could see the clouds gathering. Click on the pictures for a clearer, sharper view. I hope you enjoy them..
But as the rain swept in from the sea, the sun was obscured, the clouds took on a greyer colour and the mountain lost its warm tones. Now the church was in sunshine.
And then the inevitable, as a few drops of rain made it my way and the sun came from behind the cloud, a rainbow appeared. If only I could have got the rainbow over the church I would have been a much happier man but the rain was moving north, left to right, as opposed to coming straight towards me. The physics was all wrong. Still, it’s always nice to see a rainbow..
24mm f/11 1/50 sec. ISO-100
Looking north and with the sun fully behind me, I could enjoy the rainbow in all its glory. Unfortunately my camera couldn’t. I needed a wider angle lens. 24mm just wasn’t wide enough and I knew that by the time I changed my lens, the rainbow would be gone. I got a good bit of it in the frame..
I have a clear favourite out of these images and I think you can probably guess from what I’ve said which that is. I wonder which you prefer..? ;-)