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30 Days of Iceland: Day 3

Seljalandsfoss Waterfall, Iceland.


There are over 10,000 Waterfalls in Iceland. Soak that in. You could plan an entire trip to Iceland, and literally ONLY see a few of them, just like we did. When traveling to Iceland, you'll quickly understand how absolutely vast this country is. Yes, it looks like a manageable, easily traveled countryside, but truth be told, unless you're visiting for at least a month, you should probably manage your expectations. Our trip consisted of 10 days, a decent amount of time for any vacation; however we quickly realized that we wouldn't be able to see as much as we originally hoped. You'll soon realize that a drive from Reykjavik to Godafoss (the most famous waterfall in Iceland) is over a 6 hour drive.

During this trip we decided to stay in an off-grid cabin in central/southern Iceland, in an area around Hella & Vik. From Vik to Godafoss, we realized it would be almost an 8 hour drive, just to get there. My only regret in on our trip, was not realizing/measuring the actual distance in between, and beyond our Air BnB reservation. It's one thing to make a list of all the things you wanna see during your trip, it's another to map it all out and have a realistic expectation about what's manageable for your vacation. See the below map for reference.


So basically, our dreams were half-crushed when we realized that we'd only get to see a fraction of what we had originally hoped for, don't get me wrong though; worth. every. second. This particular waterfall was on the top of my list. As I've mentioned the most famous Iceland waterfall more than once already, I'd also like to point out that one of my biggest motivations for visiting this waterfall first, was purely about it's vantage points.

Seljalandsfoss is most notable for the overly convenient trail that is very well maintained, but is also one of the few (famous) waterfalls in the world that can boast a trail that leads BEHIND the waterfall. This same perspective, from behind the waterfall, also looks slightly towards the setting sun, making a magical golden hour shot that people literally wait in line for.

We arrived at this location fairly late in the afternoon, just as a tour bus or two also parked in the lot, along with various tourists in their rentals. Immediately I lowered my expectations, but I was still enthusiastic about getting my shot, anticipating the crowd dispersion. As the evening got more and more PERFECT for shooting conditions, the other tourists actually thickened. Go figure.

All minor disappointments aside, this was one of my favorite days of the entire trip. All crowd complaints aside, It was so quiet. Just the roar of the waterfall and a rush of peace, immediately filling me. It was downright mystical. Dave and I decided to wander around instead of waiting in line for a vanilla shot everyone else was already anticipating. As mentioned before, there's a very prominent trail that runs throughout the site; we followed down the trail, away from the gathering of tourists.

"Take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints" was the phrase coined by a Baltimore MD caving club, but I've always tried to incorporate this motto as my own. One could point out, however, I do be leavin' a lot of footprints. I decided to venture beyond the trail ropes. Mind you, I keep my respect and wits about me when I'm in unfamiliar territory. I ducked just inside the tall grass and decided to attempt one of my first "Bokeh" shot of the trip.

If you're unfamiliar with Bokeh, basically it's an artsy term for in-and-out of focus. In photography, Bokeh is the aesthetic quality of the blur produced in out-of-focus parts of an image. Bokeh has also been defined as "the way the lens renders out-of-focus points of light". This style is also open to interpretation, and this was my half-hour result of an experiment with it. A breeze can sometimes worry a Photographer, but I think it really helped me capture the natural aesthetic of this area. As natural elements blurred with motion, I managed a real Landscape Photographer's dream: in just an instant... taking a gorgeous, emotional image, I simultaneously managed to exclude all the other human lifeforms from the background.

Even though this picture isn't a model of focused perfection, it's a model of motion vs. focused emotion.

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