Iceland Journal – “Hraunfosser”

“Hraunfossar”- Western Iceland

“Look with open eyes and you will see the beauty of the waterfall.” 
― Anthony T. Hincks

In this post, I decided to return to Hraunfossar, as fascinating series of waterfalls in Western Iceland.

What makes these falls so amazing, is that at first glance, they look like typical waterfalls, pouring down from some glacial stream. But, on further inspection, you realize that there is no stream involved here, at least not in the typical sense.

You see, Hraunerfosser, or Lava Falls, in Icelandic, comes from underground rivers, flowing through the Hallmundarhraun lava tunnels from a significant distance. The glaciers which feed these waterfalls are many kilometers away, but can been seen on the distant horizon.

I particularly enjoyed this location, since it’s just far away from Reykjavik to decrease the number of tourists, thought there was a single bus here when we arrived, but the crowds were quite spread out. This allowed me the time to really enjoy this natural beauty without contending with the accursed selfie-sticks and people posing precariously on the rocks to get that perfect Instagram worthy shot.

The location does have some very well laid out and spacious viewing areas. Again, minimizing the tenancy for people to climb barriers for a ‘personalized’ view. It also provided some nice places to set up my tripod to make a series of long exposure images and to visually explore this beautiful place without people bumping into me or walking in front of my camera.

By “exploring visually”, I mean being able to take the time to really appreciate the fine details that make this waterfall so lovely. For example, the fine ribbons, jsu left of centre on the shot above, yielded this detail, as the ribbons flowed gently over the rock surfaces:
“Liquid Ribbons” - Hraunfossar, Western Iceland

The detail of the water, the texture of the rock, and the vibrant colours of the wet mosses made for a beautiful photo, which for me, really captures the essence of this waterfall, or rather series of waterfalls, which just blend together into a complex and curtain of flowing water.

Of all the massive and humble falls I saw, I think I was most captivated by this one.

Nikon D800
Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 G I AF-S VR Zoom @ 92mm
1.0 sec, f/32.0, ISO 200

For more images like this, please visit my website (images are available for purchase)

7 Comments on “Iceland Journal – “Hraunfosser”

  1. Generally I prefer short exposures for moving water versus long exposures but I think in this case it works really well and probably kept this photo from being just another
    picture of a waterfall. The tendrils of water on the right are especially nice.

    • Thanks David. I usually shoot waterfalls at 1/4 – 1/8 sec, but really wanted a silky look here. The light was just subdued enough that I did not had to resort to a ND filter.

  2. I had to go back to the photo for another look after you mentioned that the waterfall was ground-fed. Fascinating! I’ve never seen a waterfall like that before!

  3. Pingback: Iceland Journal – “Across the Fertile Valley” – Southwest Iceland | Ed Lehming Photography

  4. Pingback: Iceland Journal – “Silk Curtains” – Hraunerfosser, Southwest Iceland | Ed Lehming Photography

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