The world famous Glacier lagoon at Jökusarlon, South East Iceland has just been declared a National Park. This is an important decision because it means that the lagoon area will be protected from development. Despite global warming, the ice here will remain because of these laws of protection.
Summer dawn light
This was taken in late August with the sunrise. This was the first light to hit the Ice lagoon. The floating glacier ice is interesting anyway. Add a perfect reflection and the light of a Summer sunrise and you have a winning combination.
Mid Summer Jökulsarlon
This is during the Mid-Summer night. Colours are just starting to come through in the sky, but this is about an hour before sunrise.
Even on rainy, overcast days, the glacier lagoon at Jökulsarlon is an amazing place. The deep blues of the glacier ice become more pronounced in cloudy weather.
The Arctic terns love Jökulsarlon in the Summer. The ice lagoon is a breeding ground for small fish which in turn feed the breeding terns. Here they are fighting with a Great Skua.
Jokulsarlon is a must on any trip to Iceland!
It is the main feature of the Jokulsarlon Tour and can also be toured over two days. Or a long tour. The Jokulsarlon glacial lagoon is now Iceland’s deepest lake at a depth of 200m. The huge lake holds tonnes of ice that has broken off the Vatnjökull Glacier. It is the only place where ice actually makes it from the glacier to the open sea. The ice on this lake fell as snow in the days of the Sagas.
In the summer the lagoon is the perfect place to spend time. The ice chills the air nicely as the Arctic terns buzz around above your head. Families of seals try to get away from the groups of tourists.
This attraction is the main destination on the Jokulsarlon photo tour.
The shelter of the ice means that perfect reflections are common on the lagoon. They can be easily disturbed by a passing seal of the crashing of one of the bergs as it turns over. The perfect reflection make the lagoon a favourite place for photographers because, in the early morning or late evening, it is nearly impossible to take a bad picture.
The location has been used for many films including James Bond. If it is good enough for James Bond, it is good enough for you. The only problem is that it is at least a 4.5 hours drive from Reykjavik.
The beach of Breiðamerkursandur is often littered with Glacier ice that comes out of the the Glacier lagoon. Both Summer and Winter photographers can be rewarded with fabulous chunks of ice. They are washed by the sea and are often crystal like in their appearance. Photography here can be dangerous and I have seen around 10 DSLRs drowned in the ocean. Mostly because a rogue wave appeared suddenly and they didn’t have an escape route. Many photographers end up with wet feet. It is fine to wear leg protectors to keep your feet dry, But wearing waders here is idiotic. Stories of photographers being airlifted to hospital with both legs crushed by a chunk of ice. Also, those wader wearing dickheads get into everyone else’s shot.
Try to focus on foreground and find a nice piece of ice which will lead into the bigger scene. Experiment with a polariser. Try some long exposures if you can, but be aware that the ice moves. Take a long lens to capture seals. Telephoto landscapes – try to fill the frame with as many different textures as you can find. Adjust your exposure compensation to expose the seals correctly. Adjust your exposure to over expose the ice. Don’t forget to visit the beach! During night shoots, be courteous with your flashlight.
Experience Jokulsarlon yourself with a Photo tour:
Jökulsarlon is the best place to connect with glacier guides for professional ice cave tours.
Book your ice cave tour directly from Local suppliers.
A selection of Jökulsarlon sightseeing tours from our partners will take you to the glacier lagoon and back in a single day.
The following photos and many more are available as fine art prints in my gallery.