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One of the main visual icons around the Vik area is this group of five peaks that emerge from the sea whose name is Reynisdrangar. It is difficult to see all the peaks at once, as they are aligned and some peaks hide others (in this photograph they seem to be only two), but contemplating them, usually in rough sea conditions, is undoubtedly a stunning experience.
I visited during some days the beach of Reinysfjara under different light conditions. Most days I went around 6:00 AM (this image is taken around 7:30 AM) because during the afternoons it was too crowded. The basalt columns located in this area are one of the most photographed natural formations you can find on the internet. I went so early to avoid all the footsteps in the sand and other problems that erase the sensation of a pristine environment that anyone can experience in this remote corner of Europe. I was completely alone on the beach when I shot this image.
The sea was calmed (waves were not the impressive size they use to be in this beach). As I walked under the cliffs I realized that the waves were leaving a big amount of natural foam caused by the huge movements the water experiment due to the strong winds, while receding back the ocean and thought I could use it to balance the sharp-edged shapes of the peaks that arose from the Sea. The whiteness of the foam looked great over the black sand, so I thought about making of it the main character of my picture.
Most of the compositions that have been taken in this beach give predominance to the peaks. Their shape and size make them look impressive, but I thought about only suggesting them, placing them small in the frame. However, I needed something in the foreground that added ‘softness’ to compensate the roughness of the rock. With that idea in my mind, I got my camera, mounted a wide angle and begun to try compositions giving predominance to the white shapes of the foam and the breaking waves. The elegant curved lines the waves left before disappearing in the sand created a very useful way to direct the eye of the viewer to the rock pinnacles in the background.
"I needed something in the foreground that added ‘softness’ to compensate the roughness of the rock."
WIDE ANGLE PERSPECTIVE The lens that gave me the best perspective was (as many other times) my Nikon 24mm f2.8 AF. The 20mm would have left the rocks too small in the frame, while the 24mm gave predominance to the white shapes in the foreground while giving an appropriate size to the peaks, even when they look in the image smaller than they are in reality.
FOCUS When the subject is at a short distance of the lens, the scene has a lot of depth, and you need everything to be in focus, the use of the hyperfocal distance is very useful. It is a pity that the ‘Depth of Field’ scale has been suppressed in the design of most actual lenses, in special zooms. I used the Hyperfocal Distance of my Nikon 24mm AF to maximize the focus. I will explain the use of hyperfocal distance in future posts, it would be too long to write about it here.
"When the subject is at a short distance of the lens, the scene has a lot of depth, and you need everything to be in focus, the use of the hyperfocal distance is very useful."
THE MOMENT The instant you choose to press the shutter is critical with this type of subjects. Waves are continuously moving and their shape changes randomly. The instant you select to press the shutter is critical to fix the composition as some of the traces of the water transmit the rhythm of the waves, and others don’t. It took some time for me to realize that the best shapes happened to be when the waves were receding back to the Sea.
LIGHTING The day was cloudy and it rained sparingly. The overcast light that came from the cloud cover produced soft lighting that matched perfectly the mood of the landscape I had in front of me. Harsh shadows would not have worked with this photograph.
"The instant you select to press the shutter is critical to fix the composition as some of the traces of the water transmit the rhythm of the waves, and others don’t."
Soft overcast lighting is the best for the peaks in the distance, as they are rendered small in the frame, without detail, getting out of the sea. In addition, it is also great for the foam, as it marks the bubbles of water and the whitish texture but it does not create shadows.
BLACK AND WHITE The black and white version is far superior to the color one, which is very monochromatic. The color of this particular image does not contribute much to its meaning, so it is better to remove it completely and give prominence to the contrast of shapes and textures of the foam and clouds.
With this photograph I close the series of landscapes of this amazing place called Iceland. I took many more images and I believe that I will upload (and comment) new landscapes in future posts, but now it is time to move on to other subjects. Getting pigeonholed into a single subject is one of the worst (and most boring thing) we can do as photographers.
It has been great to share with all of you the followers of ‘The Last Footprint’ and ‘National Geographic Your Shot’ my photographs and comments.
I have more pictures about Hanoi, London, Hamburg and other destinations to share. It is time to move on. Hope you like the images and my comments are useful for you!
Please do not forget to LIKE, COMMENT and SHARE the images. It is always encouraging to read new comments and to know that my work inspires others. I would like to especially thank all the ones who have liked, commented and shared the images at National Geographic Your Shot. This community of photographers rocks! THANKS!
Camera Model: Nikon D800
Lens: Nikon 24mm f2.8 AF prime lens.
SETTINGS: Aperture: f14 | Shutter Speed: 1/30 | ISO: 400
LIST OF USED GEAR
Tripod: Gitzo 1372M Magnesium Alloy Head on Manfrotto 055 Pro legs.
Backpack: LowePro with rain cover (absolutely needed in Iceland)
Memory Card: Sandisk SD Extreme 64Gb
Filter: B+W 77mm GRAD ND (702M) 2 stops Graduated 0.6 Neutral Density Filter, 2 points, very soft transition.
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