Tag Archives: splash

New on 500px : Water Wars by MarselvanOosten by MarselvanOosten

When I traveled to Iceland for the first time, I had already seen thousands of images of this spectacular country. Creating something original, or at least slightly different, is not easy when most of the locations have literally been photographed to death. But, therein lies the creative challenge that pushes you to greater heights. Or frustration.

The famous black lava beach near Jökulsárlón is one of those iconic locations. The typical shots usually involve a few pieces of crystal clear ice, black sand, and slow shutter speeds. There is a good reason that most photographer, myself included, like to take this approach when shooting at this überphotogenic location: the results look stunning. Tranquil scenes with silky smooth water. However, I really wanted to try some different stuff as well, like the complete opposite.

The ocean here can be pretty brutal, just like the weather. On, or just after stormy weather, huge waves keep crashing into the beach, pushing even the biggest icebergs onto the sand. I decided to photograph the moment of impact from up close – with a wide angle. This means two things: 1. You will get very wet, and 2. you might get hurt.

The wet part is not a real problem, it’s just annoying. Wearing proper rain gear will keep you dry (unless you go down, which happens every now and then), but the equipment is of a much greater concern. I always use my RainCoat rain cover to protect my camera gear from rain and sea spray, so as long as I don’t submerge it, it will be fine. Talking about the RainCoat – LensCoat (the manufacturer) and Squiver have organized the easiest contest ever. Entering the contest is free and will only take you 15 seconds. You can win one of three RainCoats. I’d give it a try.

The dangerous part of this kind of photography is something that a lot of photographers don’t realize until it’s too late. These massive chunks of ice can be 5 to 7 feet tall and weigh a ton. When they’re just lying there on the beach, it’s all safe. But when a powerful wave hits them at full speed, all the ice gets pushed further onto the beach, all pressed against each other. If you’re standing in the middle of all these razor sharp glass rocks, you risk ending up without the lower half of your body. This is even worse with incoming tide. It takes a lot of concentration and athleticism to pull this kind of photography off. Coincidentally, I saw photographer James Balog do something similar a few years later for his documentary Chasing Ice – he was wearing a harness and his assistant was holding a rope to be able to pull him back in case of an emergency. That’s how dangerous it is.

And finally, I had to completely change my photographic routine. There was simply no time to first find a good composition, set up the tripod and wait for the right moment. I had to run into the ice when the water was still retreating, which meant that the ice was moving constantly, pulled back towards the ocean. I had between one and two seconds before the next wave would crash into the ice again, so that’s the amount of time I had to set up my tripod, get a composition and focus. The moment the water hit, I could take maximum two exposures and then I had to run like hell to not get submerged or crushed by the ice. Not the easiest photography, but certainly very exciting.

This is one of my favorite shots of that session, which I survived in one piece. On another occasion I tried something similar and ripped a muscle in my left calf. The first few days of the tour I had to walk with crutches.

If you would like to join me on our next Iceland tour and learn more about landscape photography and composition, please check out my website for more information:

Squiver Photo Tours & Workshops

Or download the brochure:

Iceland Winter Wilderness (PDF)

Hope to see you there!


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©2014 Marsel van Oosten, All Rights Reserved. This image is not available for use on websites, blogs or other media without the explicit written permission of the photographer.

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New on 500px : Sunset at Coolangatta by gubbfet by gubbfet

Sunset at Coolangatta, Queensland, Australia
Taken with an Outex underwater house.

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New on 500px : The Rematch Today by rusphotostudio by rusphotostudio

this was very slow clouds past by my favorite spot in goleta ca very nice rocks formation hope you guys enjoy it

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New on 500px : Skogafoss by DrewNicoll by DrewNicoll

I have recently been lucky enough to tour Iceland. on the final few days we arrived at one of Iceland’s most iconic natural marvels – Skogafoss.

At a height of 60m and 25m wide this waterfall is vast and incredibly powerful, the opportunity to hike up the 300+ stairs to the top should not be overlooked. There are also lovely cafe’s for when you return, hosting a friendly and warm welcome from the locals.

In this photo, a man with his girlfriend sprinted off towards the spray and posed for her to take a picture. I seized the opportunity to photograph him to try and give you a more striking perspective of this natural giant.

Thanks, Drew

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New on 500px : Glow Cave by MAPhoto by MAPhoto

I have been working on this image for a long while now. About 6 years, actually, I have figured this must be possible. Last year, I even posted an image from here but ultimately wasn’t happy with it. This year, I am still not 100% happy with it but I think I’ll have to concede this was my best effort.

What you are looking at here is a 180-degree field of view. It is a 1 second exposure where I managed to get some nice splash action as well as some water streaking thanks to the splashes occurring in darker areas and showing up well.

To take the shot, I am wedged up against a giant rock and cannot do anything more than hand-hold my tripod against it, dangling off the top. I am getting splashed big-time every third wave, to the extent that Nikon just repaired my salt-water damaged LCD last week. I am shooting 2 shots down for water action and rock details followed by 1 shot up to include the entire background rock stack and another 2 shots further up for sunset light and more interior details. I need to take the whole setup down off the rock every 3 shots because I’m getting splashed and put fresh water onto the lens element to wash the salt off, because flare will kill almost everything in this lighting condition because of that salty film on one’s lens. I cannot actually reach the front of my lens though, so…… After a repeat of this process through the course of an hour, I have about 20 sets of 5 shots to put together.

To stitch a 180-degree 14mm blend plus exposure blends I put all the details together around the periphery first. I need to manually use warps to get them as close as I can to aligning so I am in control of perspective, not a program. For this reason alone, no 14mm stitches are ever going to look the same, but it does do a realistic job of portraying the actual shape the cave here. After stitching the periphery by hand, I then warp the sky to fit also, and paint it in. I then follow it up with some of those luscious glowy effects (accentuated by sea spray that was already on my lens) that are so in vogue today, and there it is.

All and all, I think the shot is good, maybe worth the effort (about 2 hours in PS) but ultimately lacks some of the depth of my best coastal work. At issue is the lack of mid-ground transition to the background elements. It all feels very ‘near’ to me, as everything is within 15ft of my lens. Ah well….figured I’d share it anyway. Thanks for your thoughts.

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