After Kirkjufell, we made our way south to what is referred to as Iceland's "Golden Circle", and is shown in blue on the map. (I also showed where we were for days 1 and 2-3 for reference. I'll include this map going forward) It's called the Golden Circle because there you can get a taste of the variety of landscapes Iceland has to offer. It has geysers (including the town where the word for geyser come from, called...Geyser) glaciers, waterfalls, the European/North American continental rift, geothermal springs, and volcanic craters.
While far more touristy than where we had just come from, it was nice to be able to find a restaurant or just stop off at the side of the road to watch a geyser erupt. But, the reason we had come to this spot was for the waterfalls, so we set off the first evening in search of them.
The first one we attempted to find is called Bruarfoss, and it was very much a hidden treasure. To get there, we had to drive into a summer cabin development and hook up with an unmarked trail. Thankfully our directions were pretty accurate and after only a short hike we arrived. It was a lot smaller than we had originally thought, based on the pictures; but what was especially strange about this waterfall (and no real picture can capture) was how all the water essentially "disappears."
The water all flows into a deep narrow gully that creates beautiful turquoise blue colors, but once it reaches a point not too far from the waterfall, it all seems to disappear underground. There is essentially a natural land bridge over the river, and only a small amount of the water spills over, a pittance compared to amount of water flowing over the falls. The rest of the water actually travels through natural underground tunnels and back into the river further downstream. This makes for a truly eerie and spectacular site.
Originally this stop was just going to be a scouting visit, but thankfully we brought the camera because the sky was creating some stunning background when the clouds started moving over the mountains. Kelly setup her camera and began working. Only a couple people came by during the roughly 2-3 hours we spent there shooting, which we found amazing given the beauty of this site and the fact that we were in the tourist hot spot of Iceland.
Once we finished with Bruarfoss, we went to scout another waterfall, the ever popular Gullfoss. Gullfoss can be described as Iceland's Niagara Falls. It's not quite the biggest in terms of height or volume, but it is by far the most popular. We arrived around 11pm so all the bus parking spots were empty and there were only about 50 cars in the massive parking lot. We made our way down to the falls and found that the vast majority of visitors were other photographers.
Like most places that attract a lot of photographers, everybody is very considerate and friendly and we got to share some good stories and tips on other places we had seen and photographed. Again we were treated to the wonder that is the Icelandic sunset, which gave us lots of time to setup from multiple spots and really work the scene (again, so much for scouting, these were great conditions for actually taking the photos).
After another long day we were excited to head back to our cabin and fall asleep without setting an alarm clock, a rarity on this trip, as we had another day and night in the Golden Circle.