Iceland – Godafoss ‘Waterfall of the Gods’

Iceland is literally a waterfall photographers paradise. Not only does it boast Europe’s largest waterfall ‘Dettifoss’, but it also sports many hundreds of others; many of which are awe inspiring for their sheer size and majesty alone. One of Iceland’s most beautiful and easily accessible waterfalls is ‘Godafoss’ or as it is translated into English ‘Waterfall of the Gods’. The waterfall is formed by the cascading glacial waters of the river Skja’lfandafljo’t; which has cut a horseshoe canyon through the rock forming the shape of the falls. Despite the fact that Godafoss is smaller than many of Iceland’s famous waterfalls it is strikingly beautiful and was one of the many locations I had been really looking forward to visiting and photographing.

As fate would have it the Gods would smile on our visit to Godafoss and deal our group just the right hand with some of the most stunning light I have experienced for landscape photography. Credit also goes to our guide for some truly impeccable timing. We arrived at Godafoss on our journey south somewhat exhausted from long days of  shooting and lack of sleep just before sunrise around 2am. Thankfully Godafoss is easily accessible and the walk from the 4WD is only an easy five minute stroll up the path. As we geared up at the 4WD the very first light of dawn was just starting to tinge the high cloud cover. By the time we arrived at the falls the entire sky was illuminated in a blaze of orange and pink hues that was simply gorgeous. As we began shooting the light just continued to get better and better with wonderfully soft pastel colours reflecting off the upper clouds onto the grasses and water. We spent around an hour photographing the falls before the light turned grey and dull and we returned to the 4WD for some much needed coffee. We spent the rest of the day covering miles in cold grey overcast weather. The grins on our faces however lasted much longer than the morning light – even now this one makes me smile.

Iceland – Burning Burg at the Lagoon

I spent quite a bit of time at the Jokulsarlon glacial lagoon whilst I was in Iceland. It is truly a magical place for photography whilst simultaneously being extraordinarily difficult from a composition perspective. The lagoon can be virtually empty, or jam packed with ice depending on the somewhat fickle prevailing weather and changing moods of the Vatnajokull glacier; which carves directly into the lagoon.

Sunset generally produced the best light in my experience; offering the opportunity for warm back lit icebergs against the cool dark of the glacial water. Sometimes however, even in Iceland the best light lasts only seconds; as was the case when I took this photograph. This was one of around 400 frames I shot over the course of a few hours at the lagoon and is the only one that best captures the light I was after.

2010 and 2011 – What Else?

With Iceland ‘ticked’ for 2010 (although I can hardly wait to go back) I have started to turn my attention to other photographic expeditions for the remainder of this year and next year. Even though, I am still sorting, editing, processing and printing photographs from Iceland (and will be for many months I think) I am already starting to look forward to other expeditions. I will be having an exhibition of my work from Iceland – date, time and location TBA.

I have had to make the tough decision of deciding not to go back to New Zealand’s South Island this year – even though I dearly wanted to. My wife just got back from a week in the South Island visiting and touring with her sister and hearing her first impressions of the country has strongly re-fuelled my desire to go back. The opportunity to head over for a week in October was extremely appealing but I have decided to pour my efforts into a few local Victorian locations that I have long neglected as a precursor to guiding some overseas photographers who want to come to Australia for a tour of some well known landmarks. This should be a lot of fun (as well as a lot of work) and I am looking forward to it.

I will likely head back to New Zealand in March next year for ten days or so as there are still locations there I have not visited and want to photograph. There are also several other locations I want to return to in the hope of even better light. More exciting still for me is I have put preliminary plans in place to head to Antarctica late 2011 for two weeks with a dedicated photographic expedition. We plan to visit the highlights of the Antarctic Penninsula – Deception Island (sailing into an active volcano), Paradise Bay (gliding below slowly calving glaciers), Neko Harbor (walking up to the edge of and looking down at a calving glacier), La Mer Channel (sailing through mountain peaks at sunset), Plenneau Bay (iceberg graveyard) and many more. This is still tentative at this stage pending enough numbers to make the trip workable. Antarctica has been on my wish list of places to visit for many years so I am quite excited at the prospect of finally going there next year. I also have an iron in the fire as a long-shot to head back to Iceland and onto Greenland mid 2011 as part of a scientific expedition. This trip is currently at long odds however and the opportunity to go totally out of my control. Nevertheless, I am very keen and will jump onto the trip if the opportunity is confirmed.

I still want to head into Mungo and the Walls of China for a few days in the far north of Victoria. My last trip there was a total wash out so I feel a return visit is in order. Once the weather improves and the rain stops I hope to snatch a few days for a quick visit. Likewise, there may be an opportunity late November to head to the Pinnacles in Western Australia and/or Cradle Mountain in Tasmania.

Iceland – Twisted at Landmannalaugar

This was one of the many photographs I took during several hours shooting from the top of one of Landmannalaugar’s highest mountains as the sun began to set and the light continued to improve. The colours and textures in this part of Iceland are totally surreal and make for beautiful subject matter for landscape photography.

Abandoned Blue Berg Makes the Daily Dozen at National Geographic

I just learned this evening that the photograph ‘Abandoned Blue Berg‘  that I took in Iceland last month near the Jokulsarlon glacial lagoon has made the  ‘Daily Dozen‘ at National Geographic Magazine.  The Daily Dozen is a selection of twelve of the best user-submitted photographs as chosen by photo editor Susan Welchman. A selection of the daily dozen photographs are then subsequently published in the magazine.