Soft Water, Soft Light, Softly Approaching Goðafoss
There are thousands upon thousands of waterfalls in Iceland, from trickling runnels to thundering rents in the earth.
My longstanding dream of circumnavigating the Icelandic ring road had stops to climb into and around what felt like hundreds of those falls as I drove wild and free all over the country. In shoulder season, most of the cascades are tempered... there's enough drizzling rain to swell them, but not to the explosive levels the glacial melt runoff of the summers bring. Somewhere around the fifth day on the road, I came to Goðafoss — the waterfall of the gods. The expansive, roaring ringed wall of water is one of the largest in the county, and the sound and river approach to the falls was much different to many of the hikes I'd taken previously. Here, the water was turbulent, driven by the wind and the immense pressure of the falls, and the hike along the river was wild and frightening with a presence that many of the others hadn't possessed. Small drops and heavy rapids led for kilometers towards the main bowl of the falls.
Stinging mist swirled on wind currents, and the surface of the water shifted in hue, over hidden rocks, and sporadically with the will of the gusts.
Picking my way through areas where the water was only ankle high but swift enough to pull me off my feet, I marveled at the kaleidoscopic effect. (And also that there was a path with a bridge right above me that I totally missed.) I wanted to take those colors and sinuous curves and smooth them out into something that matched the soft glow of the filtered grey light, so I did my best to prop myself and my tripod up in the wind and long expose the turbulence. These are some of the only long exposures from my entire trip, since I lost my neutral density filter almost falling to my death further along the ring road. (If you want to read my real-time travel logs from the journey, you can find them here and work backwards.)
Something about the way they turned out really speaks to me, especially since they present the area so dramatically differently from what you would perceive standing there on the edge of the roiling foam.
Contrasting these smooth, glowing shots with the ones of the unsoftened water, frozen in violent motion, are very different perspectives on the same beauty.
Continuing up the cut widened by the power of the river, I kept an eye out for a way to climb up the cliffs to find the waterfall powering these images. I promise, when we get there, it's going to be worth it.
These photos and words are my own work, inspired by travels all over this pretty blue marble of ours. I hope you like them. 🌶️