Part I: Introduction
Part II: Snaefellsness Peninsula
Part III: Into the Westfjords and Dynjandi
Part IV: Djupavik and the most remote swimming pool in the world
Part V: Hvitserkur and a lot of driving
Part VI: Aldeyjarfoss and some friendly Dutch people
Finale: The Touristy Southern Coast
Most of Iceland’s popular waterfalls are easy to access since many of them are just off the Ring Road and on the coast. One of my favorites, though, required a bit of a trek and the help of some friendly Dutch travelers. I’m talking about none other than Aldeyjarfoss.
Now, it’s been a hot minute since I’ve written about my Iceland trip so feel free to click back through the index above to get caught up. Basically I ended up in Akureyri after a lovely day of driving from the Westfjords where I got some great drone footage and took a pic or two of an enormous rock outcropping.
The Plan for the Day
This day was to be a driving day. Like the others before it. Basically I felt like I had done nothing but drive during this trip so far and the main reason for that was: I had done little except drive during the trip to that point. Anyway, my goals for the day were simple: go see Aldeyjarfoss, join a work conference call, and then drive allllll the way around to the southeast part of the island.
First stop: Aldeyjarfoss
The drive from Akureyri to Aldeyjarfoss is pretty straightforward: drive toward the famous Godafoss but turn right just before you get there. Follow the road down for 20 or so minutes and you’ll see the road which leads to Aldeyjarfoss. IMPORTANT NOTE: the road changes to an F-road at this point. If you do not have a four-wheel drive vehicle you will need to park your car and walk. When you’re renting your car they’ll let you know whether or not you can drive on F-roads. If you’re unsure for any reason ask your rental car company or assume you cannot drive on them.
I didn’t have a four-wheel drive vehicle, so I parked my car along the side of the road, grabbed my camera gear, and started walking down the F-road. An SUV drove by, obviously on its way to the falls, and I recall thinking to myself, “man it would be so great if they stopped and asked if I needed a ride.” As soon as I finished that thought I saw brake lights, the car stopped, and Frank the Dutchman stuck his head out the window and asked if I needed a ride! He and his wife were about as friendly as could be and we made short work of the road and before we knew it we were at Aldeyjarfoss!
Aldeyjarfoss is a beautiful waterfall and is immensely powerful. It’s also incredibly symmetrical, so photographers typically love it. The main plume of water is buttressed on either side by basalt columns (similar to Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland), which I was really looking forward to.
As we approached the falls, we saw a smattering of photographers and heard the power of the falls. And then, suddenly, we saw it. Aldeyjarfoss.
I prepped my tripod, set up my camera, and snapped my first shot.
It’s a great shot, as I’m sure you’ll agree. I love the symmetry and the detail in the basalt columns, but I wanted a better shot, I wasn’t happy. I happened to have brought along my Lee filter kit for this trip (and, really, for this waterfall). I set up a graduated neutral density filter to smooth out the water a bit. While I was messing with my camera, Frank the Dutchman was kind enough to grab a snap of me looking epic while setting up my shot.
Ok maybe that doesn’t look very impressive, but zoomed out you can see that I was at least somewhat precariously perched to get this picture JUST FOR YOU, MY BELOVED READERS.
Well I finally got my camera sorted out the way I wanted. I set up the shot how I wanted. I took the picture and immediately realized it was The One. Spending some time in Photoshop made it even moreso. And, thus, resulted my favorite image from Aldeyjarfoss!
Now, I didn’t bring my drone all the way to Iceland to not fly it, and I was actually surprised that Aldeyjarfoss did not have any No Drones Allowed signs, so up it went!
I didn’t just take pictures, though, I got some good video footage too!
We wrapped up our time at Alderyjarfoss and made our way back to the main road so I could get my car (we also met some pretty girls from Chicago who were super cool, they rode with us back to the main road as well).
And then: driving, but then a surprise!
After Aldeyjarfoss, I had a work conference call, which unfortunately was taking place while I was next to Godafoss, so I didn’t get to take any pictures of it (oh well, next time). Then I started driving east. For a while. And then: I kept driving. After a while I was just exhausted so I pulled over and stretched my legs for a minute. I checked in on Facebook and remembered that the parents of a really good high school friend were in Iceland. I sent a message to his mom, and she said they were close by! We made plans to meet for a coffee/snack in Egilsstaðir. I hadn’t seen them in over 10 years so it was a lovely little visit!
And then some more driving
I cannot tell you how tired of driving I was at this point. But I still had hours to go until my destination. It was getting dark and I was exhausted. Again. I really need to plan better next time and slow down!
Nothing else of consequence happened that evening, as I arrived at my hotel safely, so I’ll wrap up this post with a picture I took near a random village on Iceland’s east coast just before sunset.
Up next: the Vestrahorn!