I have something with waterfalls. Whenever I get the change to visit one, I grab the opportunity … and the camera.
When it comes to waterfalls, Iceland is again the place to be. One can find waterfalls all over the country. I’m certain you already heard their mysterious sounding names such as Dettifoss (Europe’s most powerful waterfall), Selfoss, Goðafoss, Gullfoss (Golden Falls) or Skógafoss (Forest Falls). One after the other great places to visit.
But Svartifoss (Black Falls), located in Skaftafell National Park, is by far my most favorite.
The waterfall is beautifully surrounded by dark basalt columns, which gave rise to its name. The hexagonal columns were formed inside a lava flow which cooled extremely slowly, giving rise to crystallization. Similar well-known lava formations are seen at the Giant’s Causeway in Ireland, and on the island of Staffa in Scotland.
The base of this waterfall is noteworthy for its sharp rocks. New hexagonal column sections break off faster than the falling water wears down the edges. These basalt columns have provided inspiration for Icelandic architects, most visibly in the Hallgrímskirkja in Reykjavík, and also the National Theatre.
The waterfall can be reached after a short hike, starting from the park’s visitors centre. Try to go there out of the tourist season, or at night during the a long summer night. This way, you can avoid tourists dressed in white or yellow parkas and scattered all over the place. The amount of time they are hanging around seems to be inversely proportional to a photographers patience.
Have you ever felt the desire to sit in front of a beautiful waterfall? On the highest reachable rock? Dressed in white? With your back turned to the fall? No? … Nor did I. But some people do … It took me a few hours of patience before the last parka moved out of the frame and I could finally push the shutter release button.