Kirkjufell Light – West Iceland Mountain

Kirkjufell mountain


August 18th 2016

This was a late Summer tour of Snæfellsness. The location near Grundarfjordur is best known for the waterfall/mountain combination at Kirkjufellsfoss. But this particular spot is a short hike from the popular waterfall.

Camera Settings

  • ƒ/14
  • 24 mm
  • 5 sec
  • 320

Background

This visit to Snæfellsnes was the final day of a week long photo tour of the North and West. We checked out the Kirkjufellsfoss waterfall earlier in the day and there were 6 – 10 tourists walking through the scene at any one time. The conditions were clear and the angle of light was nice on the mountain, but I decided to avoid the squash at Kirkjufellsfoss and went for a little hike in the local area. The view of Kirkjufell became nicer the higher I climbed.

Private Northern Lights Tours

Composition

I found a small stream and was delighted that I was able to show how the stream flowed down small steps and into the landscape. To achieve this, I was on the lowest setting on my tripod and the feet were actually in the stream. I was balanced on dry rocks. I couldn’t avoid the rockery and plant life on the right, but I was careful to allow a view of the water around the mountain. This works well as a strong depth cue. The lakes in the landscape add a lot of distant depth and the rockery adds some closeness. I was careful to include space above the mountain to give room for the long cloud.

Magic Cloth

As you see from the photo, conditions were bright. I really wanted to give the exposure as much light as possible because this would give the best colour results. I was getting 5 seconds exposure with +2 compensation, f/14 and iso320. I could have easily acheived a 10 second exposure by reducing the iso, but 5 seconds was perfect for a very simple Magic Cloth. The timing for a 5 second exposure is reaction based. As soon as I hear the shutter I Karate chop the whole scene then slowly expose the landscape.A reverse magic cloth over a longer exposure would have allowed a more even exposure across the sky. I did try a reverse cloth later but preferred this version. The sky almost goes to white, but this is what the conditions were like. I tried under exposing it to bring out more detail, but it only works like this – close to white. The only part of the picture that suffered with the long exposure was the flowing water which burnt out in the foreground.

Recommended Gear

This is the camera and lens that I used for this landscape photo.

Canon 5D - full frame
Canon EF 24mm f/1.4 l

Gitzo Carbon Fiber Tripod
B+W 77mm SC 106 ND

Variations

Here are a few different compositions from my photo adventure.

Kirkjufell Summer
Kirkjufell Mountain – moss on rock.
Mount Kirkjufell
Mount Kirkjufell – silky water & boulder.

This vertical shot allowed me to frame the mountain nicely at the top of the frame. My camera was mounted on the lowest tripod setting. The front of the lens was only two feet from the foreground rocks. The vertical composition really helps to communicates depth in the landscape.

Vertical composition @ f/14

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By Tony Prower

Tony Prower spent over 15 years photographing the landscapes of Iceland. Tony Prower is a pioneer of the Magic Cloth Technique and ran thousands of photo tours in Iceland over 10 years.

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