Back in November, I had a twenty hour layover in Iceland and while I’ve been to Iceland twice before, this was my first time outside of the summer months and their 24 hours of daylight every day. Having never experienced night in Iceland and having heard so much about the northern lights, I had no choice but to give finding them a shot. I also decided to search for them over the mountain and waterfall combo of Kirkjufell and Kirkjufellfoss. Somehow, in both of my previous trips to this stunning island, I had not managed to see this wonder and it was high time.
I knew there was a good chance I wouldn’t see the northern lights at all as I’ve heard stories of people who have spent weeks in Iceland and never seen the lights due to unfortunate combinations of lulls in solar activity and persistent cloud cover. I figured if I didn’t manage to see the lights, at least I would get to see a landscape I had long been dreaming of.
Joke’s on me because I got to see the sights AND the lights!
I detailed more of the adventure in this instagram post, but the spark notes are that I set up my camera and spent a lot of the night in the same spot shooting. As such, I managed to capture a lot of pretty rad, different highlights throughout the night which I then combined into the above photo which brings us back to why this photo is a lie.
This is the original image.
I shot this frame as a couple was walking from the carpark (off to the right) to the waterfall, using their headlamps to pick their way up the wet and slippy path. I love the floating highlight their headlamps made as well as the squiggly nature of the lights in the sky at that exact moment.
At some other point during the night, a car had driven past the base of the mountain giving me another nice highlight which I felt added some depth to the image. You can see the extracted highlight on the left and the combined image on the right.
When the couple reached the top of the waterfall, they paused for a brief second, adding yet another highlight for me to make use of.
So there you have it. From A to B.
Everything in the image did indeed happen, but none of it at the same time.
Everything is a lie. Trust nothing.