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I have visited Iceland a half dozen times. 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 provides an ominous backdrop to the falls and the lava fields and basalt add to the forbidding nature of the landscape.
While I did indeed capture a colorful sunset, the preceding storm which supplied those clouds was just as impressive. I worked the scene from narrow vertical framing of the falls alone to horizontal images of the entire canyon, which in the end I preferred. To deemphasize the basalt foreground, I cropped the image to 16X10.
At the time I didn’t realize that I had arrived at 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. None of this would have been possible if my workshop leader, Orvar, had not carefully compared conditions here and at Haifoss, the other option, and seen that that was where the storm was headed.
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Dimitri Vasileiou • Editor