Iceland probably has more waterfalls than any other country in the world. You can barely stand in a single place of the country without spotting at least one waterfall. I Love It!
First of all: Sorry for the longer video. I will keep them shorter in the future. So please hold on and watch it till the end – you’ll survive, it’s a well spent 11 minutes. I promise.
So in Episode 02 of Adventure Photography On Location I’m exploring 3 different waterfalls with the goal to create a different kind of shot at each one.
The most challenging part of this Episode was by far the weather. I mean, I didn’t expect sunshine all day every day. But the tiniest amount of (golden) light would have seriously taking most of my images up a notch… ah well… next time.
Let’s work through this by location.
Or also (translated) known as God’s Falls is quite an impressive one. In the far north and along the famous ring road 1 that draws a circle around the country it’s a rather well visited waterfall. The rule of thumb in Iceland is: Easy access = A lot of people.
So what first was going to be an episode of lots of gear and technique talk turned into something of an ‘avoiding’ the crowds show. That’s fine. I don’t mind people enjoying wonders of nature along side me. What I can’t handle though, is a row of photographers standing in row shooting the same photo of the same thing. Let’s leave that for another episode shall we…
Anyway, location one was rainy and crowded. But we found a spot down low on the left side along some slippery wet rocks that wasn’t too bad and somehow away from the viewing platforms.
There’s not that much to say here. I’m glad the M.Zuiko 40-150mm f/2.8 PRO is weather sealed and has a large long lens hood to keep the drops off the glass as it definitly got wet during the shoot.
By shooting over 70mm (full frame/ 35mm sensor size terms) I started compressing the scene. So the waterfall almost looks like it’s right in front of the subject. But in fact it was over 100m away.
I also moved in a little closer to do the opposite of a long lens shot. Once the few people down there were gone I shot a few from higher up and with the (also weather sealed) M.Zuiko 12-40mm f/2.8 PRO.
It really put the place a little more into perspective. But in the end I think I prefer the compressed shots with the longer M.Zuiko 40-150mm PRO. What do you think?
This one was fun! About an hours drive up from Goðafoss along a rather rough 4×4 track we found this gem.
ONE other 4×4. 3 people in total. We had the place to ourselves (together with the rain and wind that followed us up here).
This place is amazing and well worth the drive. The waterfall is incredibly powerful! If framed correctly it almost looks like it drops into a symmetrical pool. Very cool for long exposures.
So I grabbed my M.Zuiko 7-14mm f/2.8 PRO and attached the new custom filter adapter I picked up a few days before coming to Iceland + the Lee Filter holder and added a 105mm Circular Polariser as well as the Lee Little Stopper (6-Stops) 100mm square filter.
Lots of gear words later: the perfect lens and filter combo to put together a beautiful long exposure.
Definitly a great way to clean up the messy, brown water storming down the beautifully shaped basalt rocks.
As usual I added a model in a contrasting colour into the scene to make the whole thing look as big and powerful as it really is. Just helps putting things into perspective!
Check out the mess going on without the slow shutter. Not so pretty.
The wide lens and my close position to the model also helped add depth to the scene. It really feels like we’re standing right behind the model looking over the edge of this deep pool facing this incredibly powerful waterfall. Can you feel the wind?
As for editing I kept it simple. Recovered the most amount of detail in the blurry waterfall movement by slightly underexposing the shot and then dropping the Highlights in Lightroom.
Now the climb wasn’t as bad as I made it sound in the video… I’m just not used to talking to my camera and walking up mountains at the same time (yet). Really, I’m not that unfit!
Hengifoss is quite a special one. Also not too busy as it involves the 2.5km climb from the parking lot and isn’t directly one the ring road 1.
No rain this time, but just about as grey and flat as it get’s… But that’ didn’t stop me. I had a shot in mind and when I got to the top I couldn’t have been presented with a better opportunity. I was keen to use my M.Zuiko 300mm f/4 PRO lens to get a waterfall shot and compress the s*#t out of a scene.
What do I mean with that? Well the model is over 200m away from the waterfall. Yep! The long lens really pushes foreground and background together like crazy! It’s what allowed me to actually use that perfect ledge on the left and make it look like it was part of the waterfall. In fact the model couldn’t even see the bottom of the fall from where she was standing.
So lens choice is important! It can really help you put things into perspective and move a foreground right up close to the background.
As for the editing here I really dropped the blacks down low and pushed the whites (waterfall) and yellows (jacket) up to make them ‘pop’. I also liked the red lines in the rock and locally adjusted them by adding a brush stroke adding intensity and brightness in the reds.
The key for these shots was to declutter and focus on the bright areas as eye catchers.
I made good use of almost all my PRO lenses to shoot the different locations and type of shots. That was the goal after all: Create diversity by using different types of gear.
In the video you can see me wearing my f-stop Ajna and MountainSmith Lumbar Pack for quick and easy access to the items I need regularly. These would be my 2 camera bodies, extra lenses, cleaning kit and filters – adapted to the shoot I’m doing.
All the other gear used to take the images I listed below. Click on each image to order the gear for yourself.
Olympus OM-D E-M1 – http://bit.ly/2kwIkf7
M.Zuiko 7-14mm f/2.8 PRO – http://bit.ly/2kgKjWo
M.Zuiko 12-40mm f/2.8 PRO – http://bit.ly/2jSoIA9
M.Zuiko 40-150mm f/2.8 PRO – http://bit.ly/2ldfShL
M.Zuiko 300mm f/4 PRO – http://bit.ly/2kwG0Fd
Peak Design camera straps – http://amzn.to/2Bm5b40
Sirui Tripod – http://amzn.to/2F5wIsM
Lee 100mm Square Filter Holder – http://amzn.to/2F5Jrvo
Lee 105mm Filter Holder – http://amzn.to/2G74TS9
Lee Little Stopper (6-Stop) – http://amzn.to/2G7463D
Lee Circular Polariser 105mm (slim) – http://amzn.to/2F4Ucy8
Hoya 72mm Circular Polariser – http://amzn.to/2n3NH7z
ShapeWays Lee Filter Adapter Holder for 7-14mm f/2.8: http://bit.ly/7to14mmFilterAdapter
MountainSmith Lumbar Pack – http://amzn.to/2DswFXC
As in the previous shoot I kept it simple. The Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II and the lenses I wasn’t using for the shoot. All handheld.
25fps – ALL-I codec and at a shutter speed of 1/50sec. Aperture and ISO were set to Auto most of the time. Focus was set to C-AF and face recognition was turned ON.
Editing was done in Adobe Premiere Pro.
In the next episode I will take an Oru Kayak into the glacier lakes of Iceland as well as show you the best sunset reflection of the trip so far – also with a kayak in the shot. So stay tuned – I’m working on it.
If you enjoyed the video or have any suggestions for future videos please leave a comment below and I’ll try and improve / add the ideas into future episodes and don’t miss out on future episodes by subscribing here to my newsletter as well as my brand new YouTube channel.
If you haven’t yet seen the first episode. You can check it out here: Adventure Photography On Location – Iceland EP01