Photographing Dettifoss Waterfall, Iceland

A most spectacular scene as the Jökulsá á Fjöllum river cuts its way through the rugged landscape downstream from the incredible Dettifoss Waterfall in  the Vatnajökulla National Park in Northeast Iceland.

Dettifoss Waterfall is an absolutely amazing place. This 100 meter (i.e., 333 feet) wide and 45 meter (i.e., 150 feet) tall wonder, fed from the waters of the Jökulsá á Fjöllum River is regarded as the largest and, as far as volume of water discharged, most powerful waterfall in Europe.

Located in Vatnajökull National Park it's certainly one of the most incredible waterfalls I've seen and I really enjoyed my time photographing it.

Dettifoss is such an awesome sight that it featured in the opening scene of the 2012 Ridley Scott science-fiction film Prometheus. I recognized it immediately when I first saw this epic film and it made my heart, not for the first time, cry out for a return to Iceland. What an amazing country.

Experiencing Dettifoss

If I remember right I arrived at Dettifoss around 10pm in the evening. After photographing from one side of the falls I traveled around to the other side for a different perspective of this epic site. I kept at it till 2 or 3am the following morning. And that's very much the life of the landscape photographer during an Icelandic summer. It’s not a requirement to stay up photographing most of the night, but it is possible.

How To Photograph Awesome

The huge volume of water flowing over the falls creates a great deal of spray after it crashes down into the river below. It's a truly awesome sight, but does create challenges for the enthusiastic photographer. But, after some exploration, it's possible to find areas where the spray is less a problem and greater clarity can be achieved.

How To Photograph Dettifoss Waterfall

The above photo was made looking away, down river, from the falls. I'm sure you'll agree that it's quite an epic landscape. With overcast weather the light was quite gloomy. But photographs are, more often than not, made rather than given. And this was a difficult photo to make.

I had to search for the optimal vantage point and spread the tripod out between two boulders to achieve the framing you see above. Fortunately there was just enough warmth in the sky to balance out the melancholy coolness of the canyon below. It's that very wild and brooding beauty that I find so compelling.

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Photographs on this site can be shared for non-commercial consumption, on line, for free. All I ask is that you credit me (i.e., Glenn Guy the Travel Photography Guru, and add a link to this site when ever and where ever you share my photos.

Photographs on this site can be shared, for non-commercial purposes, on line, for free. All I ask is that you credit me (i.e., Glenn Guy, Travel Photography Guru and add a link to this site or to the specific blog post with which the photo in question is associated) when and where ever you share my photos.

It's also possible to purchase original photographic prints, just like in the old days. If you’re interested in purchasing a print please send me a note.

I often think about Iceland and look forward to returning again soon. There’s so much to see and so much to photograph. Maybe I’ll see you there.

Glenn Guy, Travel Photography Guru