Godafoss, Iceland by Jackie Matear

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Picture Story

Godafoss (Waterfall of the Gods) is one of the many waterfalls in Northeast Iceland. The water of the river Skjálfandafljót, which runs from the Icelandic highlands, falls from a height of 12 metres over a width of 30 metres.

Normally, one views the waterfalls from the edge of the cliffs around the canyon, on either the east or west side of the falls. On this particular winter’s visit, Northern Iceland had received an unusually large amount of snow, which enabled us to slide a rather long way down on our backsides to the river’s edge, with camera bags and tripods. It was an amazing experience to be so close to the falls … although rather deafening.

I took a number of images with different compositions and shutter speeds. The biggest challenge was the spray from the waterfall, which quickly froze on lenses or any filters attached to them. I worked in rotation - as one filter froze, I put it into an inside pocket in my down jacket and used another one. This image was made using a 1 stop hard graduated filter and a three stop neutral density filter, while my polariser and two stop ND filter were thawing out. I tried to balance the texture in the water with capturing some of the movement of the whirlpool at the base of the falls.

The other challenge (aside from the frozen fingers as I adjusted and replaced filters) was climbing back up the snowy cliff with my camera bag and tripod. After that effort, followed by a long trek across the snowy field back to the carpark, I was disappointed to find that the café was closed and the much needed hot chocolate would have to wait.


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