Fountain of Youth, Iceland

Shooting in the Mist

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Fountain of Youth, Iceland

There are still places in Iceland where only the sheep wander… and even they only visit on a good day. My favorite thing about traveling with Varina, is that she is always ready to go explore these unknown places (even if it means pushing a few sheep out of the way). This waterfall is one such place. It is located inside the deep and narrow bowl of a canyon with a large opening overhead. The location presents a series of challenges – composition is difficult in the enclosed space, and light conditions are tough to handle because the lower part of the falls are in shade, while the sky overhead is very bright. To make matters worse, the falls produce copious amounts of mist, which coat your lens (and everything else) with dripping water faster than you can fire off a shot.

We visited this location on a windy day just as the storm overhead was breaking up. The windy conditions and high volume of water made the canyon feel a bit like the inside of a washing machine. Thank goodness for waterproof boots! 🙂

So, how did I manage to get this photo? I followed a simple workflow:

  • I took the lens cap off and adjusted the circular polarizer for a horizontal photo while looking away from the waterfall. Because the mist was blowing in one direction the lens remained relatively free of water droplets.
  • Next I set up my Induro tripod (CT113) where I wanted it, and looked through my camera’s viewfinder to select my composition and exposure. I did this as quickly as I could, but by the time I was done, the lens was covered with mist and large water droplets.
  • I carefully wiped the lens with a water absorbent lens cloth, covered the lens with my hand and started the two-second timer.
  • Just before the timer released the shutter, I pulled my hand away. This little trick bought me a little extra time with a dry lens… just enough to get the shot I wanted after a few tries.

I use the same workflow when shooting in rain or near sources of splashing water.

Don’t forget to dry your camera thoroughly when you finish shooting in a place like this. We recommend carrying a waterproof cover for your camera (even a plastic bag will do the job) – but even with the cover on, you’re likely to find water in places you wish it wasn’t. We always carry a small, super-absorbent towel in our camera bags for situations like this.

When our gear was dry and packed, Varina stood by the car, wringing out her hair. 🙂 We hung our water-proof jackets in the car, draped our lens cloths and towels over the air vents, and turned up the heat so our pants could dry. A morning like that sure makes quick-dry pants feel like a luxury!

About Author Jay Patel

I could startoff like this – “Seeds of Jay Patel’s appreciation for beautiful places were planted early in his childhood….” but it would get boring really fast. I will just sum it up and say that I am a Landscape and Wilderness Photographer who loves to capture dramatic light. My photographs have been published in various magazines, calendars and advertising materials throughout the world.
Patience is a virtue...unless you are chasing your dreams