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Ethereal Garden

Posted by
Darkelf Photography (Perth, Australia) on 6 September 2020 in Landscape & Rural and Portfolio.


Last year's trip to Iceland was mostly about re-visiting our favourite places. We first saw the beautiful oasis of Gjain back in 2015 and we definitely wanted to stop by again. I imagine this place looks amazing at any time of the year but I also think that it looks superb during autumn when foliage turns yellow and orange. That this was indeed very true during our last visit. An overcast day gave the scene an interesting tonal contrast between the colder shadow areas and the fiery colours of the fall. Combined with the seemingly endless array of streams and falls, all the elements presented a magical scene yet again.

I posted an image a while ago that was taken from the lower part of the falls looking up and this is the reverse of that view. This time I was standing right over the converging streams looking towards the western exit form the valley. Whenever we re-visit a place, I am always looking to see if I can find a different composition to my previous photos. The beauty of Gjain is that there are so many vantage point and so many options for compositions. Everywhere I looked, I cloud find something of interest, from wide angle possibilities to more intimate scenes.

Once again, I worked with few different shutter speeds to see what the water flow would look like and this time I went with slightly longer exposure time of 3.2 seconds. At shorter exposures the water looked kind of messy and I liked the slightly smoother look of the stream "tendrils" in the centre that was more aligned to my vision for this photo. I used a graduated neutral density filter to keep the sky exposure in check and I also used a neutral density filter to extend exposure time. I enjoy working with filters in the field. Using graduated filters is very much a personal preference as these days it is fairly routine to blend exposures in post processing. However, it is a bit harder to replicate slower shutter speeds that a neutral density filter can help to achieve. For me it has become a part of my style to try to get as much right in the field as possible before fine tuning the photo in post processing.

It was absolutely fantastic to be able to see this spot again and every time we go there I am reminded why Iceland is such a great place. I hope you can share the return journey with me and that you also find beauty in my interpretation of Icelandic landscapes.

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV 16/5 second F/11.0 ISO 100 16 mm

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