Seljalandsfoss Summer horses

Seljalandsfoss Waterfall – South Iceland

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Seljalandsfoss Waterfall

This tall waterfall is famous for being the waterfall you can walk behind.  This feature gives Seljalandsfoss a great photography advantage. Viewing a waterfall from 360 degrees gives you infinite composition possibilities. 

One of the more desirable shots is to have an amazing sunset sky with a mass of water cascading in front.  Sunrises can never be seen from the waterfall due to its eastern face.  Sunsets can be seen at Seljalandsfoss in the summer, fall, and spring.  It is not possible to see the sunrise or sunset during most of the winter.

Seljalandsfoss waterfall
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From the road, it can look small, but being up close or behind the falls lets you experience the true size of the waterfall.  The Seljalandsfoss waterfall from behind is never boring. During the Winter, the owners restrict access behind the falls due to danger from falling icicles, etc.


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Waterfall Seasons

Seljalandsfoss never sees the sun in the Mid-Winter months. The constant spray and freezing temperatures can make the surrounding area look like a crystal palace. This can also make the area extremely dangerous, as the path behind the falls becomes a skating rink. Recently, they have been discouraging access behind the falls after weekly accidents. Winter nights feature 2 spotlights which light the falls. This makes it a poor choice for night or aurora photography.

Photo tips

Seljalandsfoss is very wet. This makes it a challenge to capture with big landscape lenses. This is because they have large elements and get wet very quickly. Forget square filters if you are getting close.

Although you might have been hoping for a big, colourful evening sky, the waterfall works well in rainy conditions. Successful photography is a matter of protecting your camera, lens, and self from the spray. A clear plastic bag works well if you are able to compose and focus through the plastic. Then lift the plastic off the lens to take the shot. Eventually, your lens will become wet. Take a paper towel to soak up excess water and a dry cloth to polish. Start with filters on and work to filters off. Have an assistant help protect and dry your lens.

Experiment with S (Tv) mode. This waterfall looks good with around 1/20 second exposure. This sort of speed is good for monopods. Most photographers use a tripod, but behind the falls, it can be better to have a more fluid system.


Seljalandsfoss Rainy vertical
Seljalandsfoss Rainy vertical

Summer Sun

There can be good light in the evenings. In the summer, the sun sets in the northwestern sky.  It is possible to capture incredible sunsets from behind the falls, which include the setting sun and all the sunset colours in the sky.

Seljalandsfoss Summer sun
Seljalandsfoss Summer sun

Safety First

This photo was taken from behind the waterfall on a cold winter’s day.

Behind Seljalandsfoss waterfall

I was obsessed with this photo for a while.  I wanted intimate details on the mossy rock while it gets a soaking from a part of Seljalandsfoss Waterfall.  The main part of the waterfall plummets into the pool in the background.  The snow and ice is slowly melting as temperatures climb above zero for the afternoon. 

Soon after taking this photo, a large icicle from the roof of the cave hit the ground just a few inches from me.  The icicle smashed into a thousand pieces on the frozen ground.  If the large icicle had hit me, it could have been fatal.  Admittedly, it is bad luck to be killed by an icicle, but if you hang around under frozen waterfall caves, you are asking for bad luck. 

The path behind Seljalandsfoss can get extremely slippery in the winter.  The waterfall spray is constantly adding more layers of fresh ice.  I once saw a woman (with poor-quality spikes) slip down one of the higher icy banks into the pool at the bottom.  Although she was not harmed, she was in a state of shock for a while.

Read about the Dangers at Seljalandsfoss Waterfall.



Paradise Cave Hostel & Guesthouse

Set in a beautiful spot in the amazing nature of the south coast of Iceland, It’s close to some of the most beautiful scenery in South Iceland, including Drifandii waterfall, in their backyard.

This friendly hostel welcomes guests from all over the world. Just one minute away from Seljalandfoss waterfall, this accommodation is somewhere that you can feel at home.

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