Iguazu Falls was the final destination of our journey south last month. This is one of the great waterfalls on our planet, wider and taller than Niagara Falls and, because it is actually a combination of many separated falls, second in width only to Victoria Falls in Africa. Victoria has an uninterrupted curtain of water one mile wide. But the one waterfall that would dwarf all others, if it still existed, is the virtually unknown Dry Falls in the state of Washington, USA. With a width of 3.5 miles and a height of 400 feet, it once carried ten times more water than currently flows through all the rivers of the world. But that was more than 10,000 years ago.
The Falls as seen from the Hotel’s Terrace (Argentina Side)
Iguazu Falls cannot be seen all at once unless you are riding in a helicopter. In fact, you have to travel to another country to see a significant portion. The main feature, the Devil’s Throat, is in Argentina but some spectacular sections are in Brazil. To appreciate the scale, one should experience both. Access to most of the sections is not difficult, as long as you don’t mind walking a fair distance in very hot and humid conditions. It didn’t help that the tour gave us very little time to explore the spectacle, let alone devote enough time to photograph it.
About 15 minutes walk from the Hotel
I’ll refrain from describing all the logistical lessons we learned, but anyone who has questions can raise them as a comment and I’ll do my best to answer them.
Partial View of Devil’s Throat
As the images suggest, the walkways take you very close to the edge of the falls. The lack of any reference objects makes it difficult to gauge scale. The falls facing each other above are actually part of a continuous loop that goes around behind the camera. I would guess it is at least a 200-foot drop in the view here. To give you a sense, the image is a photomerge of 4 separate images taken with my wide angle zoom at 26mm.
Grey Crowned Crane
OK, the above image is not a waterfall. But on our way over to the Brazilian side of the falls the tour company included a stop at a bird “sanctuary.” It was actually OK if you didn’t desperately want to see (and photograph) Iguazu Falls.
Iguazu Falls, Brazilian Side
After the tour of the bird sanctuary and the lengthy processing through Brazilian customs, we finally arrived at Brazil’s national park for Iguazu Falls. This was quasi-familiar territory since I had discovered Google has a “Street View” of this park during my pre-trip research. (Click Here to see it) So I knew where to ask that the bus drop me off to maximize the time I had available. The image above shows the view from the top level of the multi-level viewing structure. There is an elevator from this point that takes you down
Iguazu Falls, Brazil
to here, the lower viewing platform. The dress code here is somewhat different from Antarctica. From the photographer’s right, there is a ramp that takes you to other viewing locations but I decided to concentrate on this spot.
Iguazu Falls, Brazil
The above image is a 2-image photomerge taken from about the same spot as the 4 young women in the previous image. Again, this is a wide angle image (24mm). For the majority of these images I was using a high shutter speed (1/5,000th sec. above). But since I had a tripod and a variable neutral density filter, a time exposure seemed like it might also be interesting.
Iguazu Falls, Time Exposure
I would have liked to stay and continue taking pictures but the bus back to Argentina was about to leave so it was time to go.