Photographing Iceland Februrary 2015

by Bhaskar Bhowmik
September 26 , 2016

Iceland by by Bhaskar Bhowmik ©

Image A) Godafoss on the glacial river Skjalfandafljot is one of the iconic waterfalls. We arrived late directly from the Akureyri airport. With the sun setting fast there was no time to explore; there was a rush to make the best of the available light. Getting a good shot of the waterfall meant standing very close to the edge on the icy rocks. My first taste of the windy and icy condition in Iceland while holding the ND graduated filter by hand in front of the lens. D750 24-70mmf2.8 @ 24mm f11, ISO 100 1.3s.

The weather is an unknown variable when planning a trip 6 months in advance. My Iceland trip will not yield as many keepers as I had hoped. Iceland is not cold (to Canadians anyway), but the combination of all the elements can make it rather nasty in winter and it would stay that way for the next 12 days. But the experience was truly exhilarating.

Image B) Our Fearless leader, Johnathan Esper. He is our guide and the only person at the wheels. He is an avid adventurer and photographer. D750 24-70mmf2.8 @ 70mm f7.1, ISO 500 1/80s.


iceland by Bhaskar Bhowmik ©

Image C) Sunrise at the Myvatn Geothermal Area. This area is one of the most geothermally active regions in Iceland. There are bubbling mud pools and steam vents everywhere. The sticky mud is unbelievable even though we stayed on the designated trail; my shoes sank into the mud on each step and it felt like walking with weights tied to my feet. Getting the goopy mud off anything it touched was not fun. D750 14-24mmf2.8 @ 24mm f11, ISO 1000 1/80s.

Image D) Ford trucks (called super Jeeps) for the passage to Aldeyjarfoss in winter. There will be a blizzard soon after this stop.  I literally had to crawl back to the truck as the wind made it impossible to walk with near zero visibility. We would reach Aldeyjarfoss in really bad weather. D7100 24-70mmf2.8 @ 29mm f8, ISO 800 1/320s.

Image E) Aldeyjarfoss with its basalt columns is the most impressive of the waterfalls on the Skjalfandafljot river (the same river as Godafoss). The steep hike down the windy and icy slope to the ledge was scary (you need ice grips with metal spikes). At the bottom of the slope, the super icy ledge is a flat rocky area. What a terrible idea to have the 24-70mm on a D7100; the 24mm on a DX was not wide enough and the bulky lens was really impossible in the windy condition. Changing the lens to the TOKINA 11-16mm in the wind required some very careful maneuvers. Nervously perched with the spikes dug into the ice as close to the edge as possible; I held the tripod as best I could to prevent it from shaking in the gust. I finally managed a steady long exposure to capture the fan of the water. D7100 Tokina 11-16mmf2.8 @ 16mm f13, ISO 400 2s.

iceland by Bhaskar Bhowmik ©

Image F) Ice caves form at the foot of the glaciers due to the rapid melting, many can be flooded and unsafe to enter. We hiked a desolate barren landscape to reach this cave. D750 14-24mmf2.8 @ 15mm f16, ISO 400 1/100s

Image G) I cannot pronounce many of the names including the Svínafellsjökull glacier. This tiny image is 32974px X 6105px in size. It is stitched from 10 frames. D7100 70-200mmf2.8 @ 70mm f11, ISO 400 1/8s

iceland by Bhaskar Bhowmik ©

Image H) The day at the Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon and beach was the best day of the trip. The colours at sunrise and sunset added a whole new dimension to the chunks of ice from the glacier. Sunrise shot handheld with D750 14-24mmf2.8 @ 14mm f18, ISO 100 1/10s.

iceland by Bhaskar Bhowmik ©

Image I) Sunset at Jokulsarlon beach shot with D7100 24-70mmf2.8 @ 24mm f16, ISO 100 1s

Image J) Many a time I have enjoyed photographing subjects along the way more than the final destination itself. On this day, I enjoyed the small hike through the knee deep snow as much as I loved the final destination in the next image. Finally the D7000 saw some action; I challenged myself to use a manual focus lens on this walk. D7000 28mmf2.8 @f8 ISO 400 1/250s.

iceland by Bhaskar Bhowmik ©

Image K) The final destination was Bruarfoss with its thousands of cascades. It was snowing and was difficult to get a clear long exposure. Finally it stopped snowing. D750 24-70mmf2.8 @ 70mm f14, ISO 50 1.3s.

iceland by Bhaskar Bhowmik ©

Image L) Homestead by a mountain side. D750 24-70mmf2.8 @ 34mm f10, ISO 400 1/500 s.

iceland by Bhaskar Bhowmik ©

Image M) Continental divide at Thingvellir national park. These are deep cracks at the boundary between the North American and Eurasian plates. The cracks are filled with crystal clear water. I used a circular polarizer to cut through the glare on the surface to capture the rocks inside the water. Wow! that is one long exposure. D750 24-70mmf2.8 @ 38mm f9, ISO 100 6s

Image N) It will be totally unfair to end without including an image of the Icelandic horse. I have never before met such gentle natured horses. Most domestic horses in general are quite friendly; these ones are super sweet and they know all the tricks to steal your heart. Once again snowing and I challenged myself to use a manual focus lens on a fidgety animal. D7000 28mmf2.8 @f8 ISO 500 1/160s


Authors Biography & Contact Information

Bhaskar Bhowmik portrait Bhaskar Bhowmik I live, work and play in Calgary, AB. I travel when time, money and opportunity permits. I first learnt of aperture, exposure and depth-of-field from my father when he explained to me how to take photos with his Twin-Lens reflex SUNFLEX camera. My father had bought that used SUNFLEX TLR camera when I was born. I took many photos with that camera in my teen years but never quite got interested in photography. As the 120 film of the TLR got harder to find, the family resorted to various cheap brands of 35mm film cameras. I enjoy photographing landscapes, nature, abandoned buildings and night sky are my favourites. An occasional critter, fireworks and cityscape may also sometimes end up in my camera’s memory card.

Previous article by Bhaskar Bhowmik - Photographing the Night Sky

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