GodafossRed2

Taken on August 15, 2016 just after 9 o’clock in the evening.

Location: Goðafoss Waterfall

The Waterfall of the Gods is a fine location for photographers, both Summer and Winter. You will often see me there in the Summer months. Great photographs can be made on both sides of the falls.

 

  • ƒ/14
  • 24 mm
  • 30 sec
  • 400

 

Canon EOS 5D Mark III
EF24mm f/1.4L II USM

Medium weight Gitzo
6 stop B&W ND filter
Magic Cloth = Black sleeve of my fleece.

Dream of the Gods

Background

My intention for 90% of my visits is the rock at the base of the falls. This is a special rock for me and has been involved in many successful recipes. This special “God Rock” is not special all the time though. It is not so simple as just walking up to it and putting it in the foreground. There are times when it can’t be seen, sometimes when it becomes an ugly shape and sometimes you have so much waterfall spray coming at you it is impossible to get close.

This shot involved some intelligent planning as well as experience of the location, keen observations and bit of luck. The planning was to shoot in the evening when the river is going to be higher, the luck was the weather and light, the location was full of dramatic light and rainbows on this evening. The careful observations involved watching cloud movement and anticipating light/ colour.

Composition

Compromised! well almost.

As soon as I saw the deep colours in the clouds, I raced down to the shore of the river. My VIP guest was already on the “God Rock”, so I had to get in next to him and a little bit behind. The great thing about being 24mm is that you can compose right next to other photographers – it is not so Super-Wide lens that you have to avoid them getting into the corner of your shot. For example, if I had been shooting 16mm from this spot there would be a camera, tripod and half a photographer to the left.

In this scene we have important foreground, important middle-ground and important sky. Naturally this suggests a low angle at 24mm. My camera is positioned about 30cm above the ground.

Magic Cloth

30 second exposures are nerve wracking! When you know you have a tiny window of just a few minutes to work in, the pressure is on to get at least 1 decent frame out of the 3 attempts I had.

My technique was straight edge cloth to cover the highlights after 3 seconds. But I also made 2 reverse cloth movements because I had lots of time and I was worried about the sky being too dark. A better movement would have been a single, slow, reverse cloth technique.

In retrospect I could have chosen a better aperture for this scene. There is no real need for f/14, the God Rock is a couple of meters in front of me, there is no reason to have sharpness beyond the waterfall. (Nothing is sharp anyway!!) I compromised my iso to get the exposure within 30 seconds, I have no problem with this, but I should have taken my aperture to f/6.3 to get around 15 second exposures. This would have allowed me to get several more shots in… and hence more to choose from.

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