There are chances that you haven’t been to Iceland, but you’ve seen Kirkjufell Mountain and its’ waterfalls photos. That’s actually what comes up first in Google searches. This is also the first location in Elia Locardi’s “Photographing the World” video tutorial. For me, it was the first sunset location in Iceland.
I must admit, I haven’t researched much about photographic locations in Iceland before going there since I knew it was all arranged for us, but some of the people in our group knew so much about every place that even up to this day I learn something new when they post a photo from the trip.
What To Photograph At Kirkjufell
So, at Kirkjufell there is an obvious view with the mountain in the back and 3 waterfalls in the front – you can optionally add more of the foreground if your lens allows, or more of the skies, if you are lucky with the pretty sky. There is also a second layer of the waterfalls and it has the mountain in the back as well, but at a slightly different angle. Aaaaand, as our tour leader Patrick, was teaching us the whole 10 days, you can just walk around and find your own angle.
I wanted the postcard view and I was very lucky to get a great image with a horse in it. The white horse… with the sunset colours it almost looks like a unicorn. Ken told me to give a bit more freedom to the mountain on top, but this composition worked fine for me.
The Importance Of A good ND Filter
Before this trip, I bought a variable ND filter made by Hoya, which I decided to use in this location at the sunset. Very soon I found out that it had a nasty feature of making the centre of my photo darker than the edges. Who really wants any effects like this? So I soon ditched it and never took it out again during the whole trip.
As it got darker, the wind started blowing stronger. Even though I was dressed in all the possible layers, I was still cold. I went roaming in the field by myself, trying to find an alternative view of Kirkjufell and sinking in the snow. Didn’t find anything exciting apart from a Japanese guy with a Mamiya camera who was showing us some awesome photos he took, but couldn’t say a word in English, so it was a bit hard to communicate with him.
After it got completely dark, we drove off to some Grundarfjörður hotel in our warm and welcoming yellow bus.
We quickly changed and went down for dinner. Had some fish that night, and a traditional Icelandic desert – Skyr. I was sitting next to Patrick and Siggi, and we were exchanging comments on the subject of Instagram. Denny was saying that he doesn’t need Instagram at all, but nevertheless, Denny was the one who was aaaaalways taking photos of all the food he ordered. He said it was not for Instagram, but for his wife. Siggi said he doesn’t need Instagram either, he prefers to be old-school. And I was telling them that if I didn’t have one, I wouldn’t have been there that night. One good reason to have it.
How To Warm Up Your Hotel Room
Our hotel room was cold, but Emily and I were equipped with hairdryers, so we spent a good amount of time warming up the room and an even greater amount of time warming up the bathroom, which was like a piece of ice… Patrick and Ken somehow forgot to switch on their heater in the room… and somehow managed to sleep like that, but I don’t know, maybe they cuddled at night haha (I was soooo cold the whole night that I almost couldn’t sleep). My roomie, Emily, also had a funny habit to wake up in the middle of the night to check if everything was charging properly. She had 2 cameras with multiple batteries, 4 batteries for a drone, 1 laptop, a go-pro + 2 iPhones to charge. So it was quite an impressive charging station with blinking lights every night.
Return To Kirkjufell
In the morning we went back to Kirkjufel to photograph the sunrise. There was no epic sunrise that morning, the sky was very bright and blue like on a typical clear winter day, but I was just so happy that morning. The air was fresh and the day was exciting… it was clear white snow with nice blue tones in it and I was playing around with the angles and was happy to stay there as long as possible.
While we were waiting for the warm morning light to illuminate Kirkjufell, we almost missed the moment when the mountains behind got illuminated with absolutely fantastic colours. Sadly, I was jumping in the middle of the field at that moment and didn’t manage to take any ‘very cool’ photos of those mountain tops, but overall the morning was just amazing.
Hope your Kirkjufell experience was as cool as mine.
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