Sugar Plums

Skogafoss at Night  © jj raia

Skogafoss at Night © jj raia

Prior to heading to Iceland last May, I have to confess, that I had more than a few pre-conceived images in my head… especially after seeing countless stunning photographs on the internet and in YouTube Videos. They were like sugar plums dancing around in my head at Christmas. One of those, although not one that I had seen previously, was of Skogafoss under a starry sky. It turned out that a starry night is not something that occurs in Iceland in the latter half of May, but with all the clouds and rain, it was darker than it would be otherwise. So when the rain finally let up for a while during the overnight there, I climbed out of the “hotel” and made an attempt to record the falls and create the night shot that was roaming around in my mind.

I brought out the 50mm lens, which ended up barely being used during the entire two weeks, and took a few images using ISO100 at f/16 for 20-seconds, and some others around f/8 for detail of the rocks around the falls. But instead of blending two exposures, since it really wasn’t completely dark, during processing, I simply used a single image and reduced the exposure quite a bit for the “night time” look I wanted.

A conversion to B+W eliminated the blue cast of the water, and the distracting, sickly green of the moss and grasses on some of the rocks. I suppose, to create the image I was really after, I could substitute a starry sky for the clouds above the waterfall; or go crazy and paste in a Milky Way sky! And someday, when I’m sitting on the rocker (that’s what we retired folks do), twiddling my thumbs with nothing to do, I may try it. But for now, I’m happy with the result. One major advantage in taking the shot during the overnight, was there were no tourists clamoring in front of the falls that needed to be cloned out.

In all, I took 7 frames during 6-minutes trying to capture varying exposures for the falls, clouds and rocks, before it began to pour again. So it was back to the “hotel”.

Skogafoss With Stars © jj raia

Skogafoss With Stars © jj raia

Okay, I was twiddling my thumbs today, and quickly combined two shots to finally create the picture in my mind. I would like some opinions if you have one, comparing the two. Which has more impact even though you know the history of both?

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