How did you achieve this shot?
This shot was taken at Kirkjufell in Iceland at midnight. I made a last minute decision to go to Iceland the day after I graduated from college. Haven’t looked back since! Already planning another trip here in the next couple of months!
What camera did you use?
I shot this with a Canon 5d Mark III and a 16-35mm f/2.8 II. I’m often using my iPhone though. Love those things for quick photos. I’m a huge fan.
What settings and why did you use those settings?
ISO 640 16mm f/4.0 1/400sec.
This was shot around midnight, so it was fairly dark hence the high ISO (more on that later). Also, I wanted to use a fast shutter speed to capture the movement of the waterfalls below. Lastly, I wanted depth so I shot at f/4.0 instead of wide open. All in all, I see settings as a balancing act where you give and take to create the perfect scene.
Did you use a tripod?
Although I could’ve pretty easily used a tripod for this shot, I didn’t just because I’m not a tripod guy. Conventionally, you should use a tripod for landscapes because—why not? I’m on the move quite a bit when I’m out and about, so I usually leave my tripods at home. With cameras being able to shoot at such high ISOs nowadays (especially those Sonys), I don’t use tripods often unless I want to do long exposures.
Where was this shot at and what influenced you to photograph this area?
This was shot in Iceland at Kirkjufell. I was here during its summer solstice, where there was nearly 24 hours of light each day. I had always seen beautiful shots of Iceland and had been wanting to go for a while. Next thing I knew, I was on a plane the morning after my college graduation on the way to Iceland.
How did you decide on your location for the photo?
When I was in Iceland, we drove around the entire country in a circle. We stopped a every attraction. I do wish we had spent more time here though. Definitely one of the most beautiful places in the entire country.
Is this the picture you set out to make that day? If not, how does it differ from what you had pre-visualized?
Yes, we sort of made plans to hit Kirkjufell for sunset (midnight at this time of year). Sunsets and sunrises last for nearly 3 hours in June, it was beyond beautiful.
What time of the year was this photo shot? What was the weather like and how did this influence your shot?
This was taken in June (see above for details on the summer solstice in Iceland). Surprisingly, the weather was pretty calm. Weather in Iceland can get pretty crazy/extreme, all in just a moment. Iceland was one of the windiest places that I’ve been to so far.
Was this shot at dusk or dawn? Which do you like better?
This was shot at dusk. For personal experiences, I like dawn—it represents hope for me. For photos however, I like dusk. It’s kind of weird because you’d think that the sun sitting on the horizon would be the same, but it’s just different.
What was the most difficult part of making this photo?
Iceland is so beautiful that it makes it easy to take photos. This is a pretty popular spot for tourists, so I’d have to say getting them out of the way was pretty challenging.
If you could change one thing about it, what would it be?
I probably would’ve used a tripod, I’m a pixel peeper and usually try to have everything be perfect and shot at as low of an ISO as possible. I’m pretty happy with how this one came out though. This might be a little out of the box, but I think having people you love with you whenever you’re somewhere beautiful is the best thing in the world—so maybe that.
Why do you take pictures?
I love the outdoors, and would say it’s actually why I fell in love with photography. Growing up, I had never seen anything like these beautiful places before. So when I did, it was life changing--literally. I was eager to capture these places as beautifully as I possibly could, in order to share them with people that I loved.
What did you edit with? How long did the edit take you?
I edited this with Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop. I used my own custom presets that I made (available in the Art of Visuals shop) to create this photo. If you like how it turned out/the tones and colors, go check out my preset pack in the AOV shop! I’m actually creating a new preset pack for this Behind the Shot scene—which should be released simultaneously with this article, so go check it out now!
Do you have any advice?
One day you will wake up, and there will not be enough time to do the things you have always wanted to do. Do them now—you’ll never be as young again, as you are in this very moment.