Iceland is a wonderful land of ice and fire, a cold and windy paradise for landscape photography. I had the chance to visit the south of the island, eight years ago during a work trip. At that time I was shooting with a beautiful Sony A900, my first full frame camera, with a CCD 24MP sensor that could produce very accurate colors.
The day I reached the Gullfoss waterfall, shooting conditions were extreme: a very strong and cold wind was battering the area. The wind was so strong that the tripod was not sturdy enough to hold the camera steady.
The only hope for taking a decent shot was a small road on the right of the viewing area that was heading down to the edge of the waterfall: I was so close I could touch the cold running water!
I didn't dare venturing too close to the water, but I had a wonderful close view of the entire majesty of the Gullfoss waterfall from a very low and unique vantage point.
I shot this image handheld with a 24mm fixed lens.
Gullfoss had strong potential, with the powerful leading lines shooting across the frame and the waterfall still partially covered in ice. But the sky was overexposed on the top right of the frame and the highlights were unrecoverable with the raw processing algorithms at that time.
I never published the image.
I always keep the original RAW files around for anything I shoot nevertheless. Few weeks ago I stumbled upon Gullfoss again while browsing old photos in Lightroom and I attempted a raw conversion to try the new AI-powered enhanced RAW processing algorithms.
With my huge surprise and delight, I could recover the sky with plenty of highlight details in the area that was previously just a solid boring white!
Praised be the advancement of technology.
Armed with the new tool, I moved to Photoshop and I added a touch of Orton effect to the background and the mist to enhance and complete the look I had initially in mind more than eight years ago.
I then used plenty of dodging & burning to bring details and contrast in the foreground to anchor the viewer to the beautiful partially ice covered rocks.
The remastered version of Gullfoss is now bold and striking, realizing the original vision and yet retains a touch of the fairy tale look in the background that ties the entire scene together.
Have you explored Gullfoss Remastered by using the loupe to zoom and enjoy the fine details? Click on the photo below and let me know what you think about one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Europe.
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