Iceland in 16 Days: Day 16, Reykjavik Harpa Concert Hall Sunrise

On our way from the Reykavik Sun Voyager Statue at 3:30 AM for the hotel and a 10:30 AM flight, I had to pull over a second time to take images of the Harpa Concert Hall.

Feature Image Details: Canon 24MM Tilt-Shift Lens, F/16, 1/40th of a second.

The sky was on fire. Here is a second image of the concert hall, from closer in.

harpa-concert-hall-reykjavik-iceland-108

24MM was just not wide enough to bring in the entire image. I was standing on a concrete pillar away from the building as high as I could get to minimize the need to shift.

Even though the building was obscurely designed with weird angles (on purpose), pointing a wider lens up to bring in the top would have distorted the rest of the image in an observable manner. In retrospect, I might have tried taking a second image of just the top of the building and blending the images in more of a 4×3 format instead of 3×2.

A still better idea would have been to use a 17MM Tilt-Shift Lens instead of a 24MM tilt-shift lens. I now have both, I didn’t then. If your decision is between the two, get the 17MM lens. It’s far easier to crop an image than it is to add what isn’t there.

The feature image was taken at 4:30 AM. Our flight was 10:30 AM. We only got a couple hours sleep, but these images were well worth the cost of no sleep.

I hope I have convinced you to take a trip to Iceland. We are going back.

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Next Up: Back to the US, Freckles the Cat.

Mike “Mish” Shedlock

Iceland in 16 Days: Day 16, Reykjavik Sun Voyager Statue

This was our final day in Iceland. We were out past midnight at the Brúarfoss Waterfall on the Golden Circle, the day before our 10:30AM flight back to the US.

On the way back to the hotel, we passed the Sun Voyager statue. When we passed the statue, the sky was gray, but there were interesting clouds. There was also a hole on the horizon. This was a perfect setup.

No better conditions exist than a break in the clouds on the horizon, with lots of clouds above. There was no guarantee the sun would hit a hole on the horizon. The clouds may have dissipated, moved, or completely blocked up.

As tired as I was, and despite a morning flight, I had to pull over and wait. The wait was worth it.

Feature Image Details:Canon 16-35MM F4 L Lens at 20MM, F/11, ISO 100 for 1/5 second

I took other angles but liked the angle of the sun reflecting off the Sun Voyager statue the best. Here is a Sun Voyager slideshow. Click on any image to play.

Notice the break in the clouds on the horizon. The sky was gray but I noticed the break and pulled over hoping the break would last and it did. After finishing these shots, it was 3:30 AM, and we had a 10:30 AM flight.

Off to bed? Perish the thought. There’s still time left.

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Next Up: Reykavik Harpa Concert Hall Sunrise

Mike “Mish” Shedlock

Iceland in 16 Days: Day 15, Brúarfoss Waterfall – Golden Circle

Feature Image Details: Canon 16-35MM F4 L Lens at 28MM, F/13 for 1/4 second at ISO 100.

Photography tours often speak of  “secret waterfalls” or secret places. This is one of those locations. Brúarfoss is difficult to find, even with instructions. I certainly would not have found it, or even heard of it without instructions.

I talk the need for instructions in my Iceland Guide

Planning a Trip to Iceland.

We planned our trip starting with an eBook Forever Light: Landscape Photographers Guide to Iceland.

If you are planning a trip to Iceland, get the book.

Forever Light gives instructions to Brúarfoss. Now that you have the name, you can likely find instructions elsewhere, but the book is well worth it regardless. Note: I had the first edition. The above links to the revised edition.

We found the spot on our first attempt, using the second of the two ways noted in the eBook. When we arrived at the designated parking spot, it did not look as described. The parking are was on the left, not the right. When I stopped to ponder the situation, I saw some people off in the distance walking. I presumed they were headed to the falls and parked.

To the Forever Light instructions, I will add there was a fence on our right and we followed a very narrow rutted path (one shoe wide) to a the main trail that we had to hop a fence to get to. Thereafter, we just followed the trail.

You come out of the tail into an opening and a bridge over the river. Remember the spot or you might take the wrong trail back. This sounds more difficult than it was, and reading the instructions again now, I am not sure I would have tried.

The book cautions that no one found the location on their first try, but we did, without a Garmin. We went once during the day, then returned for sunset. From where we parked, the waterfall was 20 minutes or so away. The makeshift trail and the main trail were both level. The hard part is making up your mind to try.

Slideshow of Brúarfoss

The images on the left were takes mid-afternoon in the stream beneath the bridge. Yes, I got wet. Yes, it was cold.

The images on the right were taken at sunset, standing on the bridge over the river. Beware of vibrations. It is very difficult to get sharp images if anyone else is on the bridge.

The horizontal image with the very silky water was taken with a Canon 100-400 MM F 4.5-5.6 L Lens at 112MM, F/13, for 13 seconds at ISO 100. You cannot get this shot, if people are walking on the bridge. Even 1 second images will be ruined if people are walking about. I cropped that image slightly, so I could have zoomed in further.

The water really does look blue. The color is different mid-day than at sunset.

It was about midnight when we took the sunset images. We were 20 minutes away from the car, with perhaps 90 minutes to get back to the hotel, with 10:30 AM flight. Nonetheless, my wife Liz volunteered to stay for sunrise. I wanted to, but I had a nagging feeling it was best to go back to Reykavik.

This might sound crazy, but I have learned it is best not to fight strong intuitions. So, off to bed, or so I thought.

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Next Up: Reykavik Sun Voyager Statue

Mike “Mish” Shedlock

Iceland in 16 Days: Day 15, Gullfoss Waterfall, Golden Circle

After a good night’s sleep in Reykavik, one of about three good sleeps for the entire trip, we set off for a tour of the “Golden Circle”.

It was cloudy when we set out, and stayed cloudy most of the time. We went to see the geysers at Geysir, and had lunch there. Geysir was overloaded with tourists. Masses of buses  constantly came an went. Mid-day is not a great time for photography, and crowds made it worse.

Still, Geysir is worth seeing, especially in good light at off-peak hours. Good conditions were not to be on this trip so we headed off to nearby Gullfoss.

When we arrived it was still overcast, but a scan of the horizon suggested the clouds might break if we simply waited it out. That took a couple of hours and these are the results.

Feature Image Details: Canon 16-35MM F4 L Lens at 35MM, F/16, ISO 100 for 1/2 second.

Spray

Once again, spray was a huge problem. Carry lens wipes.

Shooting Tips

I like to take vertical and horizontal images of the same scene. If you have hopes of magazine covers, it’s best to consider vertical images. Here are some of my Magazine and Book Cover Credits.

Also consider people. Do you want them in or out. Here is the same image, two ways, with and without people.

The only difference in the above images is people. The first image has them, the second doesn’t. The people did not move. Rather, I edited them out in Photoshop, via a bridge from Lightroom.

Photoshop tools are much better at editing out distractions than Lightroom. Most often I use Photoshop’s clone align feature. Lightroom has nothing similar. At times, especially for small spot corrections, Lightroom is easier.

Both programs compliment each other nicely, but it’s irritating having to learn two products and two sets of commands.

Forced to make a choice between Lightroom and Photoshop, I would choose the former. Lightroom’s catalog and library functions are essential.

Pretty soon it may be impossible to make a choice. Adobe wants subscribers to “Creative Cloud” and bundles all of its programs in that package.

Human Interest

Travel magazines generally like human interest. People also add a sense of scale. But calendar companies most likely do not want people in the images.

If shooting and editing for yourself, simply shoot and edit what you like.

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Next Up: Brúarfoss Waterfall, Golden Circle

Mike “Mish” Shedlock

Iceland in 16 Days: Day 14, Reykjavik Harpa Concert Hall

We stayed in Reykjavik for three nights, and actually managed to get some sleep on one of the nights. Tonight was the night.

On our first day in Reykjavik, we did some touristy stuff downtown and went to a karaoke bar in the evening.

Reykjavik was cloudy all day, and that was good light for photographing the interior of the Harpa Concert Hall. It’s an amazing building with lots of interesting angles.

Feature Image Details: Canon 16-35MM F4 L Lens at 22MM, F/16, ISO 100 for 1/20 second.

Here is another set of images from inside the building.

The first image above was taken with a Canon 24MM Tilt-Shift lens. It was perfect for this location. The second image was taken with a Canon 16-35MM F4 L lens at 26MM.

If considering Tilt-Shift lenses, I highly recommend a philosophy of the wider the better. Canon makes 17MM, 24MM, 45MM, and 90MM. For architectural purposes, go with the 17MM Tilt-Shift Lens. I have another Tilt-Shift example coming up, from the last day of our trip.

Reykjavik is a beautiful city. How many days you spend there is simply a matter of taste. For suggestions, please see my free Iceland Guide regarding what to bring, where to go, what to do, where to stay, what to expect in each location, and what literature to read before your trip.

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Next Up: Gullfoss Waterfall, Golden Circle

Mike “Mish” Shedlock

Iceland in 16 Days: Day 13, Snæfellsnes Peninsula Glowing Fog

After photographing Kirkjufell Mountain, we were off to our hotel in Stykkishólmur for the night.

As was typically the case on this trip, sleep had to wait as another photographic opportunity arose.

Feature Image Details: Canon 24-105MM F4 L Lens at 35MM, F/10 for 1/15 second at ISO 100

Here is a second image from the same Location.

snaefellsnes-peninsula-iceland-glowing-fog-west-region-3

Our trip was winding down. We had but three days left.

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Next Up: Reykavik and the “Golden Circle”.

Mike “Mish” Shedlock

Iceland in 16 Days: Day 13, Snæfellsnes Peninsula, Kirkjufell Mountain

Shortly after leaving Breiðavík wehre the wind had been surprisingly calm at night and the next morning, the wind started howling. It was very windy when we caught the ferry in Brjánslækur. And it was windy and cloudy when we arrived in Stykkishólmur. Howling is more like it, at about 40 miles per hour.

The weather was not that conducive for photography, so we decided to tour the Snæfellsnes Peninsula. Towards sunset, the wind stopped blowing as hard, and there were some breaks in the clouds. We waited at Kirkjufell Mountain hoping for some decent light at sunset and were rewarded.

Feature Image Details: Canon 16-35MM F4 L Lens at 20MM, F/13, ISO 100 1/5 second

Here is a second shot of the lower falls.

snaefellsnes-peninsula-kirkjufell-mountain-iceland-west-region-11

There is much to do and see on the Snæfellsnes Peninsula, but we allowed a single night.

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Next Up: Snæfellsnes Peninsula Glowing Fog

Mike “Mish” Shedlock