Iceland is full of beautiful waterfalls. By solely driving the coastal Ring Road, you will encounter waterfalls around almost every turn. As most of them are easily accessible, you can get a great sense of the beauty of Iceland without much effort.
On my last visit, I decided to venture farther into the lesser traveled Highlands. I was hoping to experience parts of Iceland I had not seen on previous trips. Most of the roads here are passable only in the Summer and remain closed during the rest of the year. A 4x4 vehicle is required as the roads are rough and, depending on where you are going, you may have to drive through varying depths of water in order get to your destination. The reward can be spectacular scenery with very few tourists.
One of my rewards was this waterfall, Fagrifoss. It is about a 90-minute drive from the ring road, winding up and across several waterways. Most of the streams were shallow and easy to navigate. The last one, however, was more challenging. At 15 meters wide and deep enough that I could not see the bottom, I was hesitant to cross. Only after seeing another (more experienced) driver make their way slowly to the other side, did I find the nerve to do it myself. I unquestionably felt a rush of adrenaline as my tires entered the water. Trying hard to maintain the same path as the previous driver, I successfully reached the other side. It was easier than expected and I was happy to be on my way to the waterfall.
I spent the whole day hiking the area and appreciating the waterfall from various spots. I set up my camera on this hillside overlooking the falls. I like the shape of the canyon providing a natural frame to the composition. Still, there was something missing. I wanted the viewer to be able to comprehend the size of this remote waterfall. I realized the only thing that could give a sense of scale was me, so I decided to place myself in the scene. I set a timer on my camera and started the 200-meter walk across to the top of the canyon to the falls.
I assumed the biggest challenge to photographing this place would be the journey to get here. However, midway through my hike across to the top of the waterfall, there was an incident that caught me by surprise...I heard a noise behind me. I was alone, I knew that. The last person that I had seen in the area left hours ago, and yet something was close by. I quickly turned to look, and what I saw struck more fear in me than navigating that last water crossing...four wild creatures staring back at me...a mother sheep and her three lambs!
OK, granted, I was not scared of the sheep. What I was scared of was their proximity to my camera on a rather steep hillside. They were within inches of my tripod! I could easily see a curious lamb investigating the strange device, sending it crashing to the bottom of the canyon. Caught in such a precarious situation, I immediately turned back. Fortunately, the lambs were more interested in grazing than learning how to flip over a tripod. Luckily, they also quickly retreated higher up the hill once I approached, saving my camera from oblivion.
Shaken by my encounter, I scanned the area for several minutes looking for more wild beasts. Confident the area was clear, I made another attempt. This time everything went as planned. Another successful crossing.