Jim Zuckerman's Blog
Godafoss Falls, northern Iceland
Wednesday, March 29, 2017
Godafoss Falls, northern Iceland

Another spectacular waterfall in northern Iceland is Godafoss. It can be seen from two sides, but from one of the sides the wind and the mist make it challenging to shoot. For a long exposure, such as 15 or 30 seconds, too much mist builds up on the lens for a clear shot. I took this photo from the side that was more protected, and my settings were 15 seconds, f/20, 640 IS, and I used the new Canon 16-35mm wide angle. I also used a 10 f/stop neutral density filter. I included the foreground rocks to add depth to the image. Because of the high wind, the clouds moved during the exposure. That's why they appear a bit blurred. What I should really do is replace the sky with sharp clouds. 

Abstracting moving water
Monday, March 27, 2017
Godafoss Falls, northern Iceland

I photographed another waterfall today in Iceland that is exceptionally beautiful. Aldeyjarfoss Falls was hard to get to because the road was both muddy and icy, but it was worth it. I used a 10-f/stop neutral density filter to slow down the shutter speed so I could abstract not only the falls but the radiating pattern of the water, too, as it churned beneath the cliff face. Given that this is March, the entire area should have been covered in snow, but due to the unusually mild temperatures this year there was a lot of bare rock. My settings for this image were 13 seconds, f/16, 400 ISO, and I used a 24mm focal length. 

Aurora Borealis
Sunday, March 26, 2017
Godafoss Falls, northern Iceland

Hi on the priority list of photographers who visit Iceland is the opportunity to see the aurora borealis -- the Northern Lights. Many people don't get to see them because the night sky may be overcast or the 'solar wind' (the stream of neutrons and protons from the sun that interacts with oxygen and nitrogen here on Earth that causes the glow in the sky) is minimal. Tonight and last night my photo tour group and I had phenomenal displays of the aurora, and here are two examples. The intensity and brilliance of the color isn't seen with the naked eye. It is the long exposure and the accumulation of light on the digital sensor that enables the pictures to be so impressive. My settings based ...

10 f/stop ND filter
Sunday, March 26, 2017
Godafoss Falls, northern Iceland

The first morning on this ice beach here in Iceland was overcast. The sky was dark and brooding, and in contrast with the blue glacial ice it was beautiful. For this shot of a uniquely shaped chunk of ice, I used a 10 f/stop ND filter which allowed me to shoot with a 30 second exposure. The waves blurred perfectly giving this image an ethereal look. I used my 100-400mm Canon zoom for this picture. The filter size for this lens is 77mm. I only had an 82mm neutral density filter with me because I was anticipating using it with the 16-35mm III Canon wide angle zoom. So, to use the larger size filter on the telephoto lens, I realized quickly that I couldn't hold it in place because over 30 ...

The Ice Beach
Saturday, March 25, 2017
Godafoss Falls, northern Iceland

After the ice cave, I went to the Jakulsarlon Lagoon -- the ice lagoon -- to photograph the stunning chunks of ice that have broken off from the nearby glacier. From the lagoon, the ice is carried down a river to the sea and, depending on the wind and the currents, ends up on the 'ice beach'. We had two amazing mornings on the beach -- one morning with an overcast, brooding sky, which was stunning, and the second morning where the sky cleared about a half hour after sunrise and we had incredible light. The way the brilliant, low angled light illuminated the large (and small) chunks of ice was amazing. The ocean was very rough and the waves were huge, thus making it treacherous to get close ...

Another ice cave shot
Friday, March 24, 2017
Godafoss Falls, northern Iceland

Here is another shot of the spectacular ice cave my photo tour group and I photographed yesterday. Again I used a 7-frame HDR composite to show detail outside the cave as well as inside of it. I set the camera for one f/stop increments between the exposures, and I also used a high frame rate -- 14 fps on the Canon 1Dx Mark II -- so I can make the series of exposures quickly before someone steps into my picture. I shot this with a 16-35mm lens set to the widest focal length, and the ISO was 200 with a lens aperture of f/20. It looks like it would be quite cold inside the ice cave, but it was actually comfortable. Outside, though, the wind was very strong and it was frigid. 

Ice cave group shot
Wednesday, March 22, 2017
Godafoss Falls, northern Iceland

My photo tour group and I photographed one of the highlights of our trip today. We entered a stunning ice cave along the southern coast of Iceland. It's called Crystal Cave because of its beauty, size, and remarkable contours of blue ice. What you see here is the participants in my photo tour shooting the mouth of the cave. This is a 7-frame HDR image at 1250 ISO. I used a tripod, of course, and I exposed this image with a Canon 15mm fisheye lens. There is no apparent distortion because the ice is so abstract that it's impossible to discern the exact shape of the walls and ceiling. I used a high ISO so when I made the sequence of shots, the shutter speeds would be relatively brief. This ...

Northern fulmar in flight
Wednesday, March 22, 2017
Godafoss Falls, northern Iceland

I'm in Iceland right now with another photo tour group. Yesterday we photographed two beautiful waterfalls, and this one -- Seljalandsfoss Falls -- had hundreds of Northern fulmar birds flying around the thunderous waterfall. The top part of the falls was hit by direct sunlight while the bottom portion was shaded, and that created too much contrast. Therefore, I focused on the birds as they flew past the falling water. This image is cropped but otherwise unmanipulated. My settings were 1/6400, f/5.6, 640 ISO. I used such a fast shutter to make sure both the swiftly flying bird and the waterfall were tack sharp. 

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