Smoke Without Fire (Skógafoss), Skógar

“You’ll come around the side of the mountain, and then turn left just after the waterfall.” These were the directions given by our hotel when late the night before travel I call to confirm our booking. “What if we don’t see the waterfall?” I asked, skeptically looking at the map – it was a little back from the road, we’d be arriving after dark… “You’ll see the waterfall,” replied the hotel receptionist after a moment’s ambiguous pause. We’d booked our Seattle trip through Icelandair, seeing a 25% saving compared to other airlines, offset by the minor inconvenience of a 2 hour stopover in Keflavik (which I viewed as a bonus, not having been to the country). Moment’s before booking I idly checked what happened to the price if you shifted that to a two day stopover – a near 40% saving… hence our two days in Iceland on the flight out, something I think I’ll repeat on all personal travel to the US. We dumped the idea of Reykjavik swiftly, opting to hire a car and make straight for Skógafoss – the vast south coast waterfall of which I have never seen a bad photograph. And it’s visible from the road, as a vast cube of roaring white power that dwarfs everything, everywhere, utterly. Not knowing where to start with my photographs of it, I picked this one for the view across the river. Sage advisors have noted different crops, which I do think are more effective, but I’m leading with this version for the wider sweep of foreground water. Amongst my top photography tips is that one should carry a pair of Crocs or Hunters (still waiting for the sponsorship cheque, if you’re reading this gents). In this case it was Crocs. The water is cold as a chemical burn, and earned me some enthusiastic heckles from Chinese onlookers – “牛! 牛! 牛!”. I like shooting just millimeters above the water, all a little haphazard, but really allowing the wide plane of rough water to dominate. Whilst I had it alone at night, a few fellow travelers were dotted around this frame – Photoshop is to thank for their not being visible here. I let one stranger remain, gazing up at the huge wall of falling water – probably still a good 150m+ from the falls themselves. For those who haven’t been; go. Hire a car at the airport and take the road east. It’s a couple of hours drive. Don’t worry about a map. You’ll see it from the road.

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