Iceland Dispatch #13 – Dettifoss

The power of Mother Nature is never so clear as when one stands on the edge of Dettifoss – Iceland’s most impressive waterfall. A massive 193 cubic meters of water thunders over its edge every second, creating a plume of spray that can be seen one kilometre away. Standing on the edge of the basalt cliffs is like being inside a jet engine; the noise is thunderous, like a continual endless explosion. The water is a churning milky-grey and is almost entirely glacial run-off. The colour is given to the water by the glacial silt carried down stream. Dettifoss has the greatest volume of any waterfall in Europe – this is truly nature at its most spectacular and awe inspiring.

In this photograph I tried to capture both the scale and size of Dettifoss as well as its majesty and power. To help with scale I included people – which is something I do not normally do in my landscape work. However, it really is needed to help understand just how big this waterfall really is. I used the LEE 10-stop “Big Stopper” Neutral Density filter to give me a 30 second exposure to soften the water against the harsh contrast of the canyon walls. Look very carefully at this first photograph to see if you can spot the two people standing on the far bank. A 100% crop is included below for reference if you are having trouble spotting them.


Now look at the 100% crop below and you will get some idea of just how massive this waterfall really is. Dettifoss is an absolute monster and I enjoyed photographing it very much.

100% Crop of Left Hand Corner

Below is some short video I shot at the falls on the pocket Canon S90 that gives an overall impression of their size, location and setting. Sorry, no commentary as it was impossible over the explosive noise of the water. Tim and Martyn can be seen setting up their cameras on the edge of the falls. Now its time to get some lunch, gear up and head back out for another nights photography.

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