Photographing Stora-Viti Crater Iceland

Person standing atop Stora-Viti crater, Iceland in front of an approaching storm

Person standing atop Stora-Viti crater, Iceland in front of an approaching storm

Photographing Stora-Viti Crater Iceland

Stora-Viti is a crater in the Krafla volcanic region of northern Iceland. Formed during an eruption in 1724, it's possible to walk around the entire rim of the crater making great photos along the way. Looking down into the crater you'll see a lake with beautiful turquoise waters.

Safety First

Just be careful to stay on the marked paths as the sides of the crater are steep and the surrounding area is still active. What's more, as the path around the crater is narrow, you might want to avoid making the trek on a very windy day. And, to help avoid dust landing on your camera's sensor, that's the kind of day when you want to avoid changing lenses outdoors.

Photographing People in the Landscape

Notice the human figure on the far side of the crater. Including a human figure in a landscape is a great way to bring a sense of scale to your photograph. Despite the fact that this photo features only one side of the crater our human figure gives us a pretty good indication of the size of this geographic feature.

I made the photo with my old Canon 5D Mark II camera and Canon 24-105mm f4 IS lens zoomed in to its maximum focal length of 105mm. As the foreground was quite a long way from the camera I easily achieved a large depth of field at the relatively moderate aperture of f8 which, incidentally, is (or is very close to) the aperture at which most lenses with a maximum aperture of f4 produce optimal sharpness.

I did manage to (just) squeeze in the whole crater in another image, which I'II post down the track. It took every bit of the 24mm focal length on my full frame Canon 5D Mark II camera to fit it in. Nowadays I use a Nikon 14-24mm f2.8 lens on a Nikon 800e camera. As well as being a sharper the significantly wider angle of view offered by this lens would have made it far easier to compose that particular image. I really love that lens and it's great fun to use.

Back to the Above Photo

In addition to scale, the texture on the side of the crater and the color contrast between the warm earth and the cool blue of the approaching sky (and its reflection in the distant mountain) where my main considerations in making a pleasing composition. I also waited until the figure moved to a point where he seemed to be standing in between two landforms. Hope you like it.

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Glenn Guy, Travel Photography Guru