Waterfalls of Iceland

Goðafoss at Sunset

Iceland is the home to many spectacular waterfalls, due to the North atlantic which produces rain and snow; and a near-Artic location which gave rise to the many glaciers which melt and feed many rivers during summer. During my last trip to Iceland, I managed to visit and photograph a few of them.

Godafoss (Goðafoss)

Goðafoss (literally waterfall of the gods) is the most spectacular waterfall in Iceland. It spans a width of 30 meters and falls from a height of 12m, fed by the water from the  river Skjálfandafljót.

We accidentally came across a section of it during a rest stop on our way from Akureyri Airport to our guest house, but properly visited it again the following day.

Godafoss Downstream
Godafoss Downstream

I took the opening shot close to sunset, with a 10-stop ND filter to achieve the silky-water effect. We didn’t really get a spectacular sunset, but the warm/pink hue that the ND filter gave to the resulting picture is a nice touch and adds to the mood.

One challenge of shooting large waterfalls like this is the spray from the water, especially when doing long exposures. I had to clean the ND filter after each shot to ensure that the water droplets don’t ruin the shot.

We stayed till the sky turned dark, in hopes that we would catch the Aurora Borealis, and were glad that the wait wasn’t in vain. We were rewarded by the spectacular display of the Aurora Borealis dancing over the falls.

Aurora Borealis Over Godafoss.


On the way to the Svartifoss (Black Waterfall) in Skaftafell National Park, we came across the Hundafoss (Dog’s Fall.)

Hundafoss (Dog’s Fall)


Trekking further up eventually brings us to Svartifoss (Black Falls), so called because of the blackish, hexagonal basalt columns surrounding it. I had the most beautiful, warm afternoon light when I saw it from the top.


Unfortunately, by the time I got nearer, the light has pretty much faded. The below is a three-shot HDR image.


Foss á Siðu

We came across this unknown waterfall while on the way to Skogafoss, attracted by the rainbow produced from the water droplets and the morning sun. It was only later when I tried to look up the location via my iPhone photos of the place that I found out what it’s called. While not as spectacular as the rest of the falls, it’s the only one in our trip that had a rainbow in it.

Foss á Siðu


Finally, we got to another huge waterfall, Skogafoss. We had spent too much time stopping for photos along the way, so by the time we got here, the light has faded. I managed to get a couple of shots before more people came. Again, this was shot with a 10-stop ND filter.


We were supposed to visit Seljalandsfoss after this, but it had turned dark and there isn’t any time left. I hope to be able to visit that soon, along with the DC-3 plane wreck nearby.

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