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Dimensions8700 x 5800
Original file size19.1 MB
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Gullfoss Cascade

Gullfoss Cascade

We started our approach high above for a grand view of all below us. Later we descended a bit to another approaching vantage point for a different perspective, but the lighting was not really good at that moment in the drizzling rain – at least down here there was a bit less wind. Finally the workshop leaders instructed us to follow the path down to the very top of the falls where you could photograph upstream or downstream. However down there close to the falls, the windy mist from Gullfoss made getting any shot without water spots near impossible for me, so I settled with this shot of the water upstream cascading down to where I was, before going around me and plummeting down.

Gullfoss is an iconic waterfall of Iceland offering many spectacular views of the forces and beauty of untouched nature. It is located in South Iceland on the Hvítá (White) river which is fed by Iceland´s second biggest glacier, the Langjökull. Gullfoss is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Iceland, making it their most famous waterfall and is considered Europe’s most powerful. About 2 million people visit it each year, but that number is steadily increasing as tourism continues to spike by leaps and bounds in Iceland. 2014 was considered Iceland’s strongest tourist season to date, and by August of 2015 that measure had already been surpassed according to my very knowledgeable and proud driver, Kristinn. Thankfully however for a sunrise shoot, only crazy photographers like myself were there, so I did not have to fight for unobstructed views to photograph.

The rock of the river bed was formed during an interglacial period and Gullfoss is an example of a waterfall forming where the water has followed a fissure in the lava-laden landscape and carved a passageway through it. The falls themselves consist of a three-step cascading staircase, which then abruptly plunges in two stages into a thundering 2-mile long, 105 foot deep crevice, about 66 feet wide. As one first approaches, you can hear the thunder of the falls, but the crevice is obscured from view, so that it appears that the mighty river simply vanishes into the earth with its rising mists shining in the sunlight where the water ought to be, such as seen in this image just after sunrise. On a sunlit day, the mist clouds surrounding the hammering falls are filled with dozens of rainbows, providing an unparalleled spectacle of color and motion. I wish I could have stayed longer.