My most challenging landscape photograph ever

Here is the shot…
dyrarfjordur westfjords

Here is the info…

  • Canon EOS 5D Mark III
  • EF135mm f/2L USM
  • ƒ/22.0
  • Shutter 1/320
  • iso 1600


: in order to get the foreground rock nicely in the frame, I have the camera to the ground on the hill behind. Because I am on a hill, I cannot get any lower than this. Therefore this had to be hand-held. As I looked through the viewfinder, my ear was on the ground.


From this position, I had several challenges. It took 17 shots to get to this one and I already knew my composition! Here are the challenges starting with the most difficult.

1) Depth of field (DOF) – 135mm is not really designed for foreground work. The infinity is so far away (close to half a KM), that anything close is going to require f/22. The foreground rock was about 6 meters in front. Even at f/22 this isn’t easy, I need a focal point 10-20m.

2) Straight image – as I am shooting this with my head on one side, I find it very difficult to judge straightness. Many rejected shots have wonky horizons. Because the composition is so tight, straightening these images would have lost important details.

3) Shutter speed – after achieving a decent DOF and a few straight images, I noticed that the picture was suffering from camera shake. I had to compromise with iso and ended up at iso 1600.


The view is out of Dyrafjordur in the Westfjords. I am shooting this from a mountain pass that connects Dyrafjordur with Arnarfjordur.

Moss on red

This is a strange volcanic lake. It goes very deep in places and used to be the deepest lake in Iceland.


I demonstrate a lightroom preset on this photo of Brunahorn in East Iceland.

Hvitserkur Gull

This basalt structure has withstood many thousands of years of Icelandic weather, although it recently had a concrete base manufactured to prevent erosion.

Landscape photography gear

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