Downstream Dettifoss Waterfall, Iceland

Downstream Dettifoss Waterfall, Iceland

Downstream Dettifoss Waterfall, Iceland

Downstream Dettifoss Waterfall, Iceland

Dettifoss Waterfall is one amazing place. Feed from the waters of the Jokulsa a Fjollum river this 100 meter (333 feet) wide and 45 meter (150 feet) tall wonder is regarded as the largest and, as far as volume of water discharged, most powerful waterfall in Europe. Located in Vatnajokull National Park it's certainly one of the best waterfalls I've seen and I really enjoyed my time photographing it.

Dettifoss is such an awesome sight that it featured in the opening shots of the 2012 Ridley Scott science-fiction film Prometheus. I recognized it immediately and made my heart, not for the first time, cry out for a return to this amazing country.

The Making of this Photo 

If I remember right my friend Joseph and I arrived at Dettifoss around 10pm in the evening. After photographing from one side of the falls we drove around to the other side of the falls. No doubt we kept at it till 2 or 3am the following morning. And that's very much the life of the landscape photographer during an Icelandic summer. Take me back, please.

The huge volume of water flowing over the falls creates a great deal of spray after it crashes down into the river below. It's a truly awesome sight, but does create challenges for the enthusiastic photographer. But, after some exploration, it's possible to find areas where the midst is less a problem and greater clarity can be achieved.

The above photo was made looking away, down river, from the falls. I'm sure you'll agree that it's quite an epic landscape. With overcast weather the light was quite gloomy. (In fact we only really experienced one night with truly epic light during the 2 week trip). But photographs are, more often than not, made rather than given. And this was a difficult photo to make.

I had to search for the optimal vantage point and spread the tripod out between 2 boulders to achieve the framing you see above. Fortunately there was just enough warmth in the sky to balance out the melancholy coolness of the canyon below. It's that very wild and brooding beauty that I find so compelling.

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Glenn Guy, Travel Photography Guru