Svartifoss Waterfall Iceland – Panorama Photography

Lightroom shadow adjustments.
Final adjustments include a boost in the shadows so that the big shadow bottom right is not so hard.

Svartifoss Waterfall

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Skaftafell National Park, East Iceland

This panorama photo was taken in January on my Winter photo workshop. We sacrificed a sunrise shoot to get an early start on the 2km hike up to the waterfall at the Skaftafell National Park. After an hour drive and about 1 hour hike with short photo stops on the way up, we got to the waterfall just as the Winter light started to hit the face.

In mid-winter, there is always a chance that the horse-shoe gorge will be filled with icicles. Below the waterfall the collection of ice and snow develops into an Ice Cone.

The trail passes a couple of waterfalls that are part of the same river. We walk through Iceland’s second largest birch forest and there is thick snow and ice underfoot. Our microspikes make light work of the trail. At the end of the trail there is a huge metal viewing platform from which this photo was taken.

Totally Manual

To get the best panorama results, it is best to turn all your settings to manual. In manual mode, I compose the brightest frame (in this case it was the long white icicles) and use reasonable settings to get a safe exposure. By safe, I mean no clipping of highlights (or shadows). As I shot this hand-held, I chose a reasonably fast shutter. 1/200 sec was easily fast enough for 50mm hand-held. I started on the left and included about 30% overlap in each frame. My Carl Zeiss 50mm prime is an ideal panorama lens because there is no distortion and yet it is wide enough to make a reasonable panorama of the scene. Manual focus should also be used. The Zeiss 50mm prime is manual focus and I kept the focal point the same throughout the sequence.

CAMERACanon EOS 5D Mark III
LENSCarl Zeiss Planar T* 50mm f/1.4 ZE
ISO100
FOCAL LENGTH50.0 mm (48.5 mm in 35mm)
APERTUREf/10
EXPOSURE TIME0.005s (1/200)
Select photos for panorama  in lightroom library
The individual frames are selected in Adobe Lightroom. Sometimes I will give them a colour label, so the frames are easy to spot if I want to re-do the panorama.
Create a panorama photo merge in Lightroom.
To create a panorama in Adobe Lightroom, select the individual frames, then go to the photo menu and select Merge>Panorama.
Panorama preview in Lightroom
A preview appears where you can control the final appearance by selecting different projections and adjusting the boundary warp.
Lightroom shadow adjustments.
Final adjustments include a boost in the shadows so that the big shadow bottom right is not so hard. Then a touch of clarity to make the icicles stand out.
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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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