Dettifoss and Selfoss are two of the most epic locations in all of Iceland and has a special place in my heart since this is where I experienced the sunset on my first day in Iceland as a photographer. Dettifoss is also the strongest waterfall of all of Europe. The area has also been used for the prolog scene of the movie Prometheus.
The two waterfalls are located in the north-eastern part of Iceland 50km from lake Myvatn. The two waterfalls can be approached from two sides. It takes around an hour to drive to the other side so you’ll have to choose. Both sides are easy to find since there’re signs pointing towards Dettifoss along the roads and the area is getting more and more touristy. The western side is easiest to get to because of the asphalt road 862 and it has the best golden hour light during summer and winter.
From this side, you’ll be able to photograph Dettifoss straight on. The obvious shot is a wide long exposure, where you can see the beautiful curtains of the waterfall. It can be an advantage to put in a human element to show the actual size of the waterfall.
To find Selfoss just follow the signs and the paths toward the south. From this side, it’s impossible to photograph the entire waterfall in one picture, but if you’re light on your feet you can jump over all the small streams and go to the edge and get some rather unique shots since not many people go here. Check out these tours for Dettifoss! Dettifoss with flight from Reykjavik - Dettifoss, Myvatn and Godafoss
To get to the eastern side you’ll have to find the road 864, which is a very, very long gravel road. When you get close to Dettifoss you’ll have to descent down a side road from 864, but don’t worry there are signs to follow here too.
When you’ve parked your car there’s a small hike down to Dettifoss. From this location, you’ll have to experiment a bit to find the right perspective. The eastern side has in my opinion, the best light during autumn and spring. In my opinion, you get the best views from the eastern side too. More tours for Dettifoss: Super Jeep tour - Private tour
To find Selfoss just follow the marked path along the river. From the eastern side, you’ll be able to photograph the entire waterfall in one picture.
Just remember to bring a wide-angle lens like 16mm or wider. From this side, you can also get very close to the horseshoe part of the waterfall.
At this location, it can get very wet because of the water vapour so remember to bring something to wipe off your lens. The sun sets in the west, which gives a beautiful backlight to the water from this location.
I hope you enjoyed this article! If you want to see even more from my side, I have extensive video guides for a lot of locations in Iceland. Check out the video for this location below for even more pictures and drone footage. Also follow me on Instagram or if you want to buy any of my pictures as beautiful high-quality prints check out my Society6 page.