Thjofafoss, Iceland by Michael Thomas

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Picture Story

I have visited Iceland a half dozen times. With such a variety of landscapes, I'm drawn to return there. And it is a big island, the size of the US state of Virginia. It doesn’t hurt that it is convenient to those of us living on the east coast of the US. On one trip my wife and I spent a couple of days in the highlands but only managed to scratch the surface of its potential, so I joined a photo workshop centered on the Highlands. One of the waterfalls I wanted to see was Thjofafoss or thieves’ waterfall (reportedly thieves were executed by drowning in its pool).

Thjofafoss is easy to reach, roughly halfway between the Ring Road and the Highland Center on Road 26/F26. My guide and I arrived near sunset and were the only people present. In fact this was the only day in the ten days of the workshop where a colorful sunset occurred. In July under these conditions the setting sun illuminates the falls turning the water golden. The mountain Burfell is an ominous backdrop to the falls. The lava fields and basalt add to the forbidding nature of the landscape.

At the time I didn’t realize that I had chosen nearly the best time to visit this waterfall. Upstream power plants limit the flow on the river Thjorsa much of the year until snow melt fills the reservoirs behind them. Even under the best of conditions, photographers should be prepared for high wind and sudden storms.

This is a single image with a two minute exposure. I had recently upgraded my tripod to a 3 series ProMediaGear model. I was happy with the decision as the wind was roaring, but I still managed to take a number of sharp images even with long exposures.

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