Öxarárfoss waterfall at midnight, Jun...
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Panoramic photo by Joby Catto PRO Taken 00:00, 16/06/2013 - Views loading...

Öxarárfoss waterfall at midnight, June 2013

The World > Europe > Iceland

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This waterfall is Öxarárfoss… literally the river Öxarár waterfall foss (as in force – a term still used in parts of northern England – a dialectic throwback from the days of Norse occupation). It's near the centre of Þingvellir National Park in Iceland. It’s a rift valley between the American and European continental tectonic plates, and the gap is slowly getting wider. 

Ive been here before – on a wintery cold Sunday in November 2008 – but it looked very different back then, encrusted in ice, under battleship grey skies. Fast forward a few years and I was back in Iceland again; this time for the IVRPA 2013 conference, in the height of summer. I was determined to return to this spot again.

It was later than expected when I arrived at Þingvellir; a series of photographic distractions between Selfoss and the national park meant I only arrived at the car park after 11pm, and as luck would have it, found myself shooting this scene at exactly midnight. The pastel skies and midnight sun created a wonderfully magical scene: I shot slowly and in HDR to captures the hues, and turn the water into a mystic milky cascade. A few birds wheeled overhead, but otherwise I had the place to myself. Quite an overwhelming experience.

[This is one of the panoramas from my June 2013 trip to Iceland. You can explore the other views of this incredible countryhere. https://www.360cities.net/sets/iceland-june-2013 ]

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A: A frozen Öxarárfoss waterfall, November 2008

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This panorama was taken in Iceland, Europe

This is an overview of Europe

Europe is generally agreed to be the birthplace of western culture, including such legendary innovations as the democratic nation-state, football and tomato sauce.

The word Europe comes from the Greek goddess Europa, who was kidnapped by Zeus and plunked down on the island of Crete. Europa gradually changed from referring to mainland Greece until it extended finally to include Norway and Russia.

Don't be confused that Europe is called a continent without looking like an island, the way the other continents do. It's okay. The Ural mountains have steadily been there to divide Europe from Asia for the last 250 million years. Russia technically inhabits "Eurasia".

Europe is presently uniting into one political and economic zone with a common currency called the Euro. The European Union originated in 1993 and is now composed of 27 member states. Its headquarters is in Brussels, Belgium.

Do not confuse the EU with the Council of Europe, which has 47 member states and dates to 1949. These two bodies share the same flag, national anthem, and mission of integrating Europe. The headquarters of the Council are located in Strasbourg, France, and it is most famous for its European Court of Human Rights.

In spite of these two bodies, there is still no single Constitution or set of laws applying to all the countries of Europe. Debate rages over the role of the EU in regards to national sovereignty. As of January 2009, the Lisbon Treaty is the closest thing to a European Constitution, yet it has not been approved by all the EU states. 

Text by Steve Smith.

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