Iceland is so raw, so geologically angry and so unique that a visiting artist is truly tested to do it justice. On location, intense cognitive processing is required to examine how best to convey the enormity of the visuals that greet the eye throughout daylight hours. The shorter the distance between the brain and the eye, the greater the chance of working towards an image that is as awesome as the location. I think we may have finally achieved our goal. I am very happy with this image.
I have been fortunate enough to visit Skogafoss waterfall many times over the years and I am in no doubt that it offers the best opportunity for a creative narrative of any of Iceland’s numerous waterfalls. It may not be the widest, or most thunderous, but the immediate foreground is the most easily accessible. From the riverbed below, the visual is dramatic and clean. This is “Game of Thrones” country and from the right angle - and I have explored most of them over the years - it is perhaps the finest backdrop I know in Europe.
Prior to 2018, I have, for various reasons, never nailed the preconceived image. The main reason being that it is technically and logistically a challenging assignment and I have not been good enough. It is a real test of balancing working distance against lens choice and I have made a few errors in the past. The smaller the lens, the better. It is always the case even if the spray from the waterfall soaks both you and your gear.
An issue with filming in Iceland is that whilst permits are easy to obtain, exclusivity is not. Waterfalls such as Skogafoss will not normally be closed off to the public if filming is taking place. As a result, the only time to have exclusivity there is before the tourists arrive in their droves, which is normally from 8 am onwards. But in the early morning, the waterfall, which is tucked tightly into the cliffs, is always in shadow and often a good two stops of exposure darker than the open areas 200 yards away.
There are always compromises here. On this occasion, we were able to work longer into the morning as the high winds had prevented many tourists from taking days trips from Reykjavik. Nevertheless, it was still fairly dark, so I knew my depth of field would be marginal but as long as the subject matter is sharp, I think this actually helps the image. I don't think I have ever taken a picture before in which the subject is less than 1% of the image and yet everyone’s eye is immediately grabbed by that one point. That was always my intention. I have had this image in my mind for a few years. I could just never get a beautiful horse in the right position at the right time. It is a beautiful horse - we chose well.