Tag Archives: long exposure

Iceland Journal – “Silk Curtains” – Hraunerfosser, Southwest Iceland

“The waters flowed over the rocks like dancers clad in ribbons of silk, some fluttering like gossamer curtains in a summer breeze.”
– Ed Lehming

I know that I have shared previous images and thoughts of this magnificent series of waterfalls. As I continue to review my images, new perspectives reveal themselves. Here’s an image of a small section of the broad and complex waterfalls, just to the right of my prior image. I chose it because it represents the beginning of the falls and water flow is scant and complex here. The details of the water losing over the rocks is almost magical when seen as a long exposure.

The long exposure also enhances the colours, adding a slight, natural saturation which causes the abundant mosses and lichens to stand out, as well as the short and scrubby Icelandic birches, which also share this scene, the every detail shining through. It also lets the subtle blue tones of the glacial water to reveal themselves. It’s a very pleasing image to me personally, another fond memory of this trip, which still occupies my dreams so vividly.

I could have spent the day examining and photographing this waterfalls, but alas, we had to move on to our next stop and more of the beauty Iceland had to offer us before heading to the coastal town of Borgarnes for the evening.

Nikon D800
Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 G I AF-S VR Zoom @ 86mm
1.0 sec, f/32.0, ISO 200

For more images like this, please visit my website (images are available for purchase)

Iceland Journal – “Kirkjufellsfosser, Front View” – Snæfellsnes Peninsula, West Island

“It’s not about inviting great things into our lives. Rather, it’s about accepting the invitation of great things to step out of our lives.” 
― Craig D. Lounsbrough

For those following my Iceland journey from late October, you will know that it was made up of a series of ‘general’ destinations. We simply set up a schedule to take us from one overnight stop to the next, leaving time between those destinations to enjoy the journey along the way. This meant roughly two to three hours of daily driving and we never had a particular ‘sight’ as a destination. We allowed each day to simply ‘happen’.

The only exception to this ‘plan’ was Kirkjufellsfosser, which I addressed on a prior post, which includes a photo of this iconic waterfall which appears on almost every Iceland travel brochure. Choosing Kirkjufellsfosser as a deliberate destination also made for the longest travel day, most of which was spent simply driving to get there and then back, the entire length of the Snæfellsness Peninsula, to get to our accommodations for the night. Yet again, despite the extended ‘windshield’ time, and off and on rain, we were still able to enjoy the ever-changing and wondrous scenery.

The travel brochures hardly do Iceland justice and it’s impossible to portray the incredible diversity we witnessed effectively. Those brochures often show scenes from the same vantage point, so when you arrive, the scene before you is quite different from what you expected to see. This image is a prime example. The ‘iconic’ image is made from near the top of the cascade, with Kirkjufell mountain in the background. That vantage point is near the top of the photo above. However, there are many other ways to view this waterfall, including from near the base, which is where this photo was made. It’s important to note, that these falls are named, fosser, which is the plural to foss, or waterfall. In fact, many of the waterfalls in Iceland are made up of multiple sub-falls.

Nikon D300
TAMRON SP AF 17-50mm F2.8 XR Di II LD Aspherical IF A16NII @ 32 mm
1.3 sec, f/32, ISO 200

For more images like this, please visit my website (images are available for purchase)

Iceland Journal – “Hraunfosser”

“Hraunfossar”- Western Iceland

“Look with open eyes and you will see the beauty of the waterfall.” 
― Anthony T. Hincks

In this post, I decided to return to Hraunfossar, as fascinating series of waterfalls in Western Iceland.

What makes these falls so amazing, is that at first glance, they look like typical waterfalls, pouring down from some glacial stream. But, on further inspection, you realize that there is no stream involved here, at least not in the typical sense.

You see, Hraunerfosser, or Lava Falls, in Icelandic, comes from underground rivers, flowing through the Hallmundarhraun lava tunnels from a significant distance. The glaciers which feed these waterfalls are many kilometers away, but can been seen on the distant horizon.

I particularly enjoyed this location, since it’s just far away from Reykjavik to decrease the number of tourists, thought there was a single bus here when we arrived, but the crowds were quite spread out. This allowed me the time to really enjoy this natural beauty without contending with the accursed selfie-sticks and people posing precariously on the rocks to get that perfect Instagram worthy shot.

The location does have some very well laid out and spacious viewing areas. Again, minimizing the tenancy for people to climb barriers for a ‘personalized’ view. It also provided some nice places to set up my tripod to make a series of long exposure images and to visually explore this beautiful place without people bumping into me or walking in front of my camera.

By “exploring visually”, I mean being able to take the time to really appreciate the fine details that make this waterfall so lovely. For example, the fine ribbons, jsu left of centre on the shot above, yielded this detail, as the ribbons flowed gently over the rock surfaces:
“Liquid Ribbons” - Hraunfossar, Western Iceland

The detail of the water, the texture of the rock, and the vibrant colours of the wet mosses made for a beautiful photo, which for me, really captures the essence of this waterfall, or rather series of waterfalls, which just blend together into a complex and curtain of flowing water.

Of all the massive and humble falls I saw, I think I was most captivated by this one.

Nikon D800
Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 G I AF-S VR Zoom @ 92mm
1.0 sec, f/32.0, ISO 200

For more images like this, please visit my website (images are available for purchase)

Iceland – Day 7


“Hraunfossar - Wide View” - Western Iceland“Hraunfossar – Wide View” – Western Iceland

“In Iceland, water is everywhere. It surrounds the land itself. Water courses from high mountaintops, bursts from the ground, itself, and flows in endless ribbons over the ancient stone, cleansing the blackened and tortured landscape. The water rarely stands still, as if it’s the lifeblood of the land itself.”
– Ed Lehming

Today, as we headed toward the town of Borgarnes, on Iceland’s western coast, we pulled out a map and plotted a route that took us from the coast, inland to the high mountains, lava fields, and glaciers of south-eastern Iceland.

Along this route we picked a few points of interest, including Hraunfossar, a low and wide waterfall along the Hvítá river. The fall is unusual in that they burst forth from underground along the Hallmundarhraun, which is a massive lava plain that dominates this region. It’s strange to see this amount of water coming from the side of a hill, just below the vegetation. In fact, you hardly notice it at first.

I spent quite some time here, enjoying the scene before me and making many long exposure images of different parts of the waterfall.

Just above Hraunfossar is Barnafoss, a violent cascade created by the massive volumes of  water from the glacial Hvítá river. Barnafoss, which translates into “the children’s waterfall” is named after a local tale that on a Christmas Eve many years ago two children in the Hraunsás household who were supposed to stay home while the parents went to church for Christmas Mass. When the parents returned from mass, they discovered that the children had disappeared (possibly because the children got bored and decided to go out). They then followed the children’s tracks to this waterfall at the stone natural bridge where the tracks disappeared. The mother concluded that the children must have fallen into the river and drowned. Thus, the name.

From here we traveled yet further inland, having mapped a course back to Borgarnes along a highway that looked like many of the unpaved roads we have travelled on this trip, only out find it had been re-designated as an “F” road, one of Iceland’s inland mountain roads, thus our rental car was forbidden to travel it.

Rather than simply turn back, we re-navigated to another gravel road that followed a less mountainous path along the opposite shore of the Hvítá river. In doing this loop, we did cross the Hvítá on a high plain and looked upstream to the glaciers that birthed it, making the detour interesting.

And so, we headed towards tonight’s destination: Borgarnes, a coastal town along the western cost to plan out our final few adventures in this astoundingly beautiful country.

Nikon D800
Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 G I AF-S VR Zoom @ 70mm
1/.0 sec, f/32.0, ISO 200

For more images like this, please visit my website (images are available for purchase)

Iceland – Day 6

“October Afternoon at Kirkjufellfoss” - Iceland

“October Afternoon at Kirkjufellfoss” – Iceland

“People are very busy; they are so busy that when they walk in the crowds they see no one, no one but themselves; they hear no voice, no voice but their own voice!” 
― Mehmet Murat Ildan

Today was a day of long travels, over broken dirt roads, navigating a quicker route to our destination, the only real ‘destination’ we have had on this trip, apart from lodgings.

So far, we have ‘winged it’, simply driven between one overnight stop to the next, taking in the wonders along the way, enjoying the surprising gifts of beauty this country has to offer, and always expecting the unexpected.

Yes, we have a maps and guidebooks to help us find landmarks along the way, but till today, we did not set out with the intention of visiting a particular site. This has removed any pressure or expectation and has put us in places we had not expected to end up. It’s put us in places we see photos of, but really had no idea where they were, all the while avoiding the summer crowds during this off-season. Mind you, white outs and near impassible roads have helped with that too. Despite unforeseen weather and driving challenges, it has been and continues to be a completely amazing and soul-restoring trip.

Back today. We set out from our lodgings in Svinvaten, in North-East Iceland towards the town of Grundarfjörður, the home of Kirkjufellfoss and the crazy pyramid looking mountain that seems to be on everybody’s Instagram feed. To get there in reasonable time meant taking a few ‘shortcuts’.

Iceland’s road system includes a series of remote wilderness roads, knows as “F” roads, that take the traveller, with an appropriate vehicle into Iceland’s more remote locations. These roads are now closed for the season and our rental contract forbade using these roads. However, we found a few routes that parallel the F roads and cut directly cross-country to cut significant distances that result in sticking to the coast-hugging main highways. The roads we travelled were gravel, pot-holed tracks through open county, bounded by mountains and across vast plains of nothingness. It was beautiful, but slightly un-nerving.

In the end we reached our destination, only to find it filled with crowds (yes, even this time of year) of people with the accursed selfie sticks, posing in precarious locations around the falls.

My main reason for attending this location was to  see for myself what the falls looked like and how some of these beautiful images I see are made. Having been there myself now, any shots without people are the result of patience or post-processing. People were everywhere, each in their own world, oblivious to others. Some balancing and posing for extended periods, and making it next to impossible to get a good shot.

I really don’t like crowds, primarily because of this mentality, which seems so pervasive with the inception of Instagram; everybody trying to outdo the other for that ‘wow’ shot.

As for me, I set up in a few locations, waited between ‘waves’ of visitors and snapped a few shots, hoping for something worthwhile. I was pleased with the image above. I could not imaging going back to this place in the summer, despite its beauty and surreal appearance.

Nikon D300
TAMRON SP AF 17-50mm F2.8 XR Di II LD Aspherical IF A16NII @ 32 mm
1/4 sec, F/29, ISO 200

For more images like this, please visit my website (images are available for purchase)

“Light and Motion”

Light & Motion on Merced River (Happy Isles Area)

“Oh, these vast, calm, measureless mountain days, inciting at once to work and rest! Days in whose light everything seems equally divine, opening a thousand windows to show us God. Nevermore, however weary, should one faint by the way who gains the blessings of one mountain day; whatever his fate, long life, short life, stormy or calm, he is rich forever.” 
― John Muir

I simply had to quote John Muir for this image that I made several years ago, as I began to experiment with long exposures to communicate the ‘feel’ of a place. The image itself is of the Merced River in California’s Yosemite national Park. It’s become a sacred place for me, one I have made several pilgrimages back to over the years.

This is a simple composition, made at the “Happy Isles” portion of the river, as its icy waters flood over centuries old river rock. There is colour and life; light and motion here. It’s a place I could sit for hours, simply enjoying the freshness and listen to the waters rush over the stones.

The photograph, has sat on my computer, perhaps waiting till I was ready to present it. I believe it’s time, so I have printed it as a 48″ canvas print for my upcoming Studio Tour.

Nikon D300
Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 G I AF-S VR Zoom @ 70mm
1/4 sec, f/32.0, ISO 200



“Nothing is less real than realism. Details are confusing. It is only by selection, by elimination, by emphasis, that we get at the real meaning of things.”
― Georgia O’Keeffe

I’ve been wanting to make this image for a few weeks now, but the crocus did not cooperate, till now.

Just as temperature began to climb, heavy rain and wind set in, followed by yet another cooling. So, many of the blooming plants in my garden got delayed, once more.

The crocus has put up two blossoms so far, and this is the first. I decided to do a front on view, as it shows the wonderful structures so well. I have to admit that I am very pleased with this one. Of note, it took an extended exposure to show the structures of this dark purple bloom. Being freshly back from a Georgia O’Keeffe exhibit at the Art Gallery of Ontario, her words echo through my mind, once more. My photography, of late, has been focused on pulling away, or elimination of, distracting details. I’m trying to show the true essence of the flowers, as I see them. It’s a worthy philosophy for living too, I think.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 (272ENII)@90mm
3.0 sec, f/36.0 ISO 100

High Resolution image on 500px

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