Waterfall Cave

Waterfall Cave, Ice-Cave under glacier Vatnajökull, Iceland

At SmugMug HQ we had an entire conference room dedicated to photos of ice-caves in Iceland. Most of the photos were taken by Iurie Belegurschi, who now runs photography workshops for a living and has some of the most amazing Iceland photos you’ll ever see. There’s this one photo of a man standing in the ice-cave with a giant waterfall gushing down it. Ever since I saw that photo I said to myself “I have to see this with my own eyes!”

Inspiring people to travel is my main motivation for my photography, so I always love when someone else photography motivates me to go see something unique. Entrepreneurs in Iceland run ice-cave tours, but most of those caves are dry when you go in them. Seeing an ice-cave with a waterfall — now that’s different! After visiting ice-caves in prior years I started reaching out to private ice-guides to see if any would be willing to take me to the waterfall cave. I found one and a few other photography friends and I decided to split the cost of the private tour.

We met with our guide and promptly began driving out to the glacier in a gigantic raised 4×4 with huge wheels. Unfortunately we found ourselves stuck at one point due to snow/rain from the previous day causing a stream to fill with very wet, heavy snow. It took us about 30 minutes to dig the truck out and get going again. We then put on crampons and carefully made our way over the glacier and into the cave. Wow, what a sight! Unfortunately for us the delay meant the sunlight was starting to creep into the cave – creating harsh light spots and very difficult photo conditions. That didn’t stop us. I knew I wanted to capture the water streaming in and placed the water as the main element in the photo.

It’s amazing how quickly the glaciers melt. On our way into the cave we came to a giant opening that we had to carefully climb down. Our guide instructed us that this had been the chamber I saw in the photo 2 years earlier. It was now completely exposed to the sky and the “waterfall” part of the cave was now lower and deeper in. Global warming in true form, right before our eyes.

Nikon D800 w/Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8:
14mm, f/13, 2.0 sec, ISO 100

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Aaron M Written by:

Aaron Meyers is a landscape and wedding photographer living in Silicon Valley, CA. His love of the outdoors makes for frequent forays into the Californian wilds, where he delights in the stunning vistas of Yosemite National Park, Lake Tahoe, Big Sur, and the Pacific Coast.