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On my last trip to Iceland, a number of summers ago, I only had a narrow window of time to visit the Oxararfoss waterfall in Iceland's Pingvellir National Park, so I was initially disappointed upon my arrival to see the mid-afternoon sun sitting right above the falls. I thought that it would be very difficult to get anything interesting, shooting straight into the light. I figured that a tight shot would be my best bet and luckily I caught a fleeting moment when the sun lit up the top of the rocks and the water in the front -- giving the scene much more depth. The light also brought out a bit of the lovely blue color in the water. The key compositional choice for me was to cut out the sky completely and just have the natural sunlight bleed into the top right corner.
Aside from utilizing the light effectively, it also produced what I felt to be a much more original composition. I used a 10 stop neutral density filter to slow the shutter to about 10 seconds in order to maintain a soft feel in the water. When shooting waterfalls I typically don't use such a slow shutter speed, but in this instance, I felt the 10 second exposure produced just the right amount of softness for the scene. I made a few more exposures, but none quite captured the magic of the lighting as effectively as this shot.
There are over 10,000 waterfalls in Iceland, many of them beautiful and iconic. I have visited and shot a lot of the more well known ones, but this shot of Oxararfoss remains one of my personal favorites.