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A Seeing Eye – A midnight waterfall 1998


Godafoss (Falls of the Gods) captured at midnight in mid-summer, Iceland.

Iceland has many photogenic waterfalls, some backed with basalt columns, while many have spectacular ice curtains that develop as water freezes in winter. Iceland is famed for being a land of the midnight sun, with light 24/7 in high summer in the north of the island, thereby providing the option of photography at midnight.

One summer, I flew from Reykjavik to Akureyri in the north, arriving late at my hotel. After dinner, I decided to check the prime viewpoints for shooting Godafoss, a waterfall with several falls. I had hoped for a colourful sky, but low cloud gave a magical soft light, that was perfect for a midnight waterfall with high and low key elements.

By using a one second exposure, the water became transformed into white silky curtains. For this shot I opted for the square 6x6cm Hasselblad format, to include the full width of two main falls plus a small one. After heavy rain, the large expanse of water below becomes turbulent.  On this evening, the water was fairly uniform so by including the emergent rocks plus white ripples, this helped to it break up the surface and add some interest to the lower part of the frame.

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