Note: You can Click on each image to view it larger in Lightbox Mode
Goðafoss literally translates in Icelandic to "waterfall of the gods" and is located in the Northeastern part of Iceland. The water of the river Skjálfandafljót falls from a height of 12 meters, and along a horseshoe shaped curve over a width of 30 meters. The waterfall can be accessed from both sides and there are several trails to the rivers edge, however these are fairly steep and one should exercise caution while navigating to the bottom.
The rendering on this shot is one that I often refer to as a "light and dark" technique. This method generally requires a certain type of light and usually works the best in black and white conversions or in desaturated color modes. It works quite well on waterfall shots where there is a distinct difference in contrasts between lights and darks.
Once I have identified a potential image to apply the technique I go through a pretty normal processing making sure to adjust the highlights, shadows and darks, and any pre-sharpening routines. Once satisfied I will make the conversion to black and white and begin a few color luminosity adjustments to further tweak out some tones. With that done I apply the "secret sauce" adjustment - the Radial Tool in Lightroom. The Radial Tool allows you to make a host of adjustments, including exposure levels, which can add some significant impact. In the screen shot below you can see where I applied the Radial Filter for the lead image on this post. To play the lights against the darks the filter is applied to where I want to emphasize the lights, it is then inverted, and I begin to reduce the exposure levels, which can vary from a half-stop to over a full-stop. I will continue to tweak the the Highlights, Lights, Shadows, and Darks to ensure I have file that will work for final finishing in Photoshop. As a matter of practive I usually work with a reduction in Contrast, about 10 points, and a negative Clarity, again about 10 points. An application of around 10 to 15 points of Dehaze often helps.
The final Lightroom file is exported to Photoshop as a PSD file where I apply a series of adjustments including some creative High Pass Sharpening, and manipulations using Luminosity Masks, and Luminosity Painting through Dodge and Burn Layers. This all about pushing and pulling the lights and darks to achieve and image full of drama. It is a technique that when employed in the right situations can add a great deal of impact. While I have used it primarily on landscapes, and mostly waterfalls, it can also be used when working on portraits.
One of the nice things about this technique is that you can hold on to, or remove as much detail as you like, depending on how you envision the final rendering. There are times when I do like a little more complexity and detail in my final images, as per Image 1 and 4 above. But darkening the image and removing some of the detail can simplify the image add a lot of mystery, Image 2 and 3 above. Give it a try on your next image.
Thanks for stopping by today! RHC