Jökulsárlón

Jökulsárlón means literally glacial river lagoon and it is one of those places that most visitors to Iceland would like to see.  Following on from my last post, you’ll know that the weather wasn’t the best but after a dawn start at the most southerly tip of Iceland, the plan was to drive on to Jökulsárlón.  It’s a six or seven hour drive from Reykjavik, at least, it is if you’ve a photographer in the car who keeps insisting on stopping to take pictures.  Otherwise you can make the journey in about 4 and a half hours.

Despite the weather, we were committed to the drive so we kept going.  I wanted to see the icebergs whatever the weather was doing but I was very conscious we needed to get there before dark so I did try to keep my stops to a minimum.  As it was we arrived with about an hour’s daylight to spare.

The icebergs in the lagoon break free from the Vatnajökull glacier and can spend anything up to five years floating in the lagoon before finally making their way down the river and out into the Atlantic Ocean. I knew they’d be photogenic, I just hoped the weather would let up just a little.  It did with just a hint of brightness and the overcast skies, for me anyway, created the perfect mood..

Jökulsárlón, Jokulsarlon landscape photograph, Icebergs floating in the lagoon, glacier, Iceland

70mm f/11 1/10 sec ISO-100

Save for the wind and the occasional creak of the ice, there was complete silence.  It was bitterly cold and I almost felt like whispering.  There was a very unique atmosphere, perhaps it was due in part to the weather but it suited this very unique location perfectly.

The black strata in the ice reflect dustings of volcanic ash from volcanic eruptions that may have occurred many hundreds of years ago and some of the strange shapes are the result of wind and rain, natures very own sculptors, at work.

The lagoon has been a location chosen by more than one Hollywood blockbuster including Batman begins and Lara Croft’s Tomb Raider.  In 1985 the glacier and lagoon featured in the film A View to a Kill.  Bond returned in 2002 when the lagoon provided the backdrop to one of the finest car chases I’ve ever seen as a Jaguar and Bond’s Aston Martin fought it out in Die Another Day.

Jökulsárlón, Jokulsarlon, landscape photograph Icebergs floating in the lagoon beneath the Vatnajokull glacier24mm f/11 1/13 sec. ISO-100

Here I’ve been a little creative in the re-processing of the image above to emphasise the translucence and light reflecting/absorbing qualities of the ice. I’m once again grateful to a couple of people who took the trouble to climb the hill on the right of these images to provide some scale for me.. ;-)

Jökulsárlón, Jokulsarlon, landscape photograph, Icebergs floating in the lagoon beneath the glacier edited with Topaz GlowspaceClick on any of the images for a clearer, sharper view.. :-)

60 responses

  1. Iceland has such a unique atmosphere to it. While it seems lifeless with all the moss and rocks, there is a kind of beauty to it that is hard to explain. Not to mention how the weather changes every ten minutes is pretty neat as well. XD

    December 9, 2014 at 6:01 pm

    • Thank you for your comment Kitty! Iceland does indeed have a very unique atmosphere. It had me under its spell almost from the minute we landed. :-)

      December 9, 2014 at 6:05 pm

  2. The color of the icebergs is quite simply amazing. Your trip really does sounds quite amazing. Small wonder you have plans to return soon.

    December 9, 2014 at 6:11 pm

    • They are so beautiful with their ash layers to compliment the blues and whites. Thank you Gunta, yes it was an incredible trip. I don’t really know quite what I expected before I left but I was blown away by it all, way exceeding my expectations for a ‘bit of good photography’. :-)

      December 9, 2014 at 6:14 pm

  3. Iceland is such a photogenic destination. Beautiful photographs!

    December 9, 2014 at 6:14 pm

    • It really is Nina, thank you! :-)

      December 9, 2014 at 6:15 pm

  4. Brilliant……the blue/teal colour of the icebergs is amazing and until you pointed out the two people on the hill on the right I thought these were a lot smaller…….but how wrong I was!

    December 9, 2014 at 6:45 pm

    • Thank you Mark. Yes it’s yet another stunningly beautiful place that seems so much larger than life! :-)

      December 9, 2014 at 7:00 pm

  5. Beautiful images, Adrian…and yes, aren’t we glad those people climbed out onto that hilltop to give us some perspective? :)

    December 9, 2014 at 6:48 pm

    • Thank you Scott. The figures can be very useful sometimes. So much in Iceland as I said to Mark is larger than life somehow. Perspective is definitely needed! :-)

      December 9, 2014 at 7:01 pm

      • Most welcome….

        December 10, 2014 at 1:21 pm

  6. poppytump

    A truly amazing sight ChillB … surreal iceberg mille-feuilles :-)
    Such luck the weather and light held out for you , how exciting it must all have been, the race against the clock … your very own Bond moment :-D
    You can feel that freezing silence in your pictures and one I can relate to … I found the creaking rather unnerving when we visited Sólheimajökull glacier, with water all around us BB pointed out in his most generous sharing of knowledge ‘you do realise of course we are standing here on part of a glacier ‘ … phrases like ‘calving’ immediately sprang to mind ….

    December 9, 2014 at 7:25 pm

    • I like that Poppy, surreal iceberg mille-feuilles. They do look good enough to eat. I suspect there might be a bit more ice around the next time we visit. How lucky to be going back. We will definitely check out the beach next time, I understand there are icebergs lying about in the black sand. I hadn’t realised so that’s a definite must see.. As for the creaking and too much information. I understand completely. Thank you Poppy! :-)

      December 9, 2014 at 9:31 pm

  7. I could stare into these photos all day. Beautiful ;)

    December 9, 2014 at 8:41 pm

    • Thank you Cynthia! :-)

      December 9, 2014 at 9:32 pm

  8. That blue ‘inside’ was wonderful when I was there; very well captured!

    December 9, 2014 at 8:46 pm

    • Thank you very much Harrie. It’s a very beautiful place. The icebergs are fascinating. :-)

      December 9, 2014 at 9:33 pm

  9. I love that last shot – the artistry adds an eloquence to these floating ‘beings’. The same blue that I see repeatedly in the glaciers of the European Alps. An indefinably colour really although it reminds me of Delphiniums. But it’s also the stratifications that demonstrate how long these bergs have lived and how long their journey has lasted. Wonderful atmosphere. The best images are sometimes those that are hard won through long journeys. What a great day this was, Adrian.

    December 9, 2014 at 8:51 pm

    • Thank you so much Andy! It’s such a gorgeous colour isn’t it? Such depth to it. I’m hoping on my next trip to get a look inside one of these glaciers. There are tours of ice caves apparently not far from where we were. I would have gone like a shot but next time will do. It really was a long day but a very rewarding one. :-)

      December 9, 2014 at 9:37 pm

  10. I think the mood worked just perfectly! Love the heavy skies that actually make those icebergs seem light and delicate. Beautiful tones and striations within those bergs too :-)

    December 9, 2014 at 9:02 pm

    • Thank you Sarah. The colour really is quite something and the ash layers are remarkable as well as beautiful. :-)

      December 9, 2014 at 9:39 pm

      • I’d love to get close to one although it can be a little dangerous! Would just love to see those details close up :-)

        December 9, 2014 at 10:54 pm

      • There are boat tours Sarah although they didn’t appear to be running the day we were there.. I guess they run in the summer months only. I think the lagoon would normally have been frozen, it was just so mild when we were there.

        December 10, 2014 at 4:04 pm

      • It’s only just turning more wintry here! Summer and autumn ran so late this year. If I can’t get Simon to agree to going somewhere cold, I might just have to go by myself or with an art friend one year! Life is short so you have to make it sweet :-)

        December 10, 2014 at 6:11 pm

      • You do indeed Sarah. I hope you get there! :-)

        December 10, 2014 at 6:21 pm

      • Me too :-D

        December 10, 2014 at 10:19 pm

  11. Spectacular images, Adrian! I love the blue colour of the icebergs, and those brave and hardy climbers did come in useful They look smaller than sugar ants. The long drive out there must have been quite arduous, so well done to you and your companion. :)

    December 9, 2014 at 9:12 pm

    • Thank you Sylvia. It’s an amazing place to visit. We saw icebergs going one way in the currents while others were going the opposite direction as if engaged in some kind of dance. Only the icebergs could hear the music.. :-)

      December 9, 2014 at 9:41 pm

  12. Been far too busy recently to spot your Iceland Trip and Marks trip to India – I will return in slow time. Looks like wonderful trip – I am hoping to do Iceland ion January myself for Mandy’s 40th but it may have to be Lofotens after seeing these :-) I will catch up by next June promise lol

    December 9, 2014 at 10:03 pm

    • Glad to hear you’re so busy! Norway is definitely on my list. Easyjet flights from Bristol meant Iceland came first. I’m going back in February.. It’s an incredible place. :-)

      December 9, 2014 at 10:09 pm

  13. What beautiful, magical shots!

    December 9, 2014 at 10:25 pm

    • It’s a beautiful magical place Patti! Thank you! :-)

      December 9, 2014 at 10:48 pm

  14. Great photo’s.I never saw Icebergs

    December 9, 2014 at 11:14 pm

    • Thank you Lou, I hadn’t either. I was so pleased to get the opportunity.

      December 10, 2014 at 4:07 pm

  15. Pat

    Beautiful. The colors are amazing.

    December 9, 2014 at 11:36 pm

    • Thank you Pat. It was smashing to see icebergs for real.

      December 10, 2014 at 4:10 pm

  16. Lovely images Adrian – and perfect weather! I particularly like the delicacy of your first image; funny to describe such enormous lumps of ice (poor description I know!) as ‘delicate’ but their smooth contours, stillness and the muted colours of the scene create that feeling.

    December 10, 2014 at 10:17 am

    • Thank you Noeline. It was the perfect weather somehow, the very subdued atmosphere, the near silence, just the gentle movement of these huge lumps of ice, creaking and rolling. I missed a trick not checking out the beach evidently.. http://emorfes.com/2014/12/01/jokulsarlon-glacial-lagoon/ Next time..

      December 10, 2014 at 4:15 pm

      • Now that looks fabulous! I look forward to seeing your view of the place :)

        December 11, 2014 at 10:03 am

      • I will be sure to make it onto the beach next time! :)

        December 11, 2014 at 11:02 am

  17. this is so gorgeous :)

    December 10, 2014 at 12:58 pm

    • Thank you Joshi. It was very beautiful!

      December 10, 2014 at 4:17 pm

  18. This otherworldly landscape from your lens truly do transport. Fabulous!

    December 10, 2014 at 3:39 pm

    • Thank you Elena. That’s a lovely compliment! :-)

      December 10, 2014 at 4:18 pm

  19. Iceland is pure magic – and you photograph her well. The darkest blue ones are the oldest icebergs. It’s also those ones who deliver the cracking in whiskey glasses in the US…

    December 10, 2014 at 8:33 pm

    • Thank you very much. Iceland really is pure magic Anne Christine. I fell in love almost from the minute we landed. I didn’t realise you could age an iceberg by its colour. I was so desperate to do the Icelandic landscape justice through my photographs. I’m very much looking forward to returning in February. I think I am going to be a regular visitor. I have already started trying to learn some Icelandic. Some of the sounds are very difficult for me but I mastered Japanese so I’m determined to give it my best shot. :-)

      December 10, 2014 at 8:51 pm

      • You always give us your best shot…! Now, good luck with your Icelandic as well – it’s fun but tough grammar. I took the basic course at university, 1998 or something, and our professor started out roughing it…”next week there will only be half of you left” she told us, and laughed maliciously…(or so I got it,,,) Unfortunately she was right. And for the final exam there were only about 10 of us left. I passed with flying colours though – triggered by that first comment of hers…So – be stubborn and fiery and you will make it!

        December 10, 2014 at 9:07 pm

      • Thank you so much Anne Christine. It does sound tough. I will do my best to be as stubborn and fiery as you were. I’m a firm believer in letting the grammar come as conversation develops, learning language like we do as children and climbing the grammar hurdles as and when we need to. This was how I learnt Japanese also. Grammar was way down the list of priorities, conversation came first and the grammar slotted in as and when. When I was taught French in School, I just remember lesson after lesson conjugating verbs. Needless to say, sadly, I can’t speak french or German for that matter where similarly grammar came first also. :-(

        December 10, 2014 at 11:01 pm

      • I have some foreign students, of course, and if they come from Balticum or Russia somewhere, they cannot Speak English, the only thing they ever learned at school was grammar. They are the best students for those tests, but fail hard on the speaking. So, we’re a bit luckier here anyway – much of the grammar is ruled out.

        Enjoy Icelandic though! Many old words are easily found that we can connect to with both our languages. And I love the way they create new words out of old ones.

        December 10, 2014 at 11:43 pm

      • Thank you! :)

        December 11, 2014 at 8:11 am

  20. Sublimely beautiful, Adrian. I long to go here! I can feel the chill and quiet of the place.

    December 11, 2014 at 5:56 pm

    • Thank you Karen. There really was a very special, hushed atmosphere. It really was very beautiful!

      December 11, 2014 at 6:54 pm

  21. My favourite scenes so far Adrian. I love the blues in the whites.

    December 12, 2014 at 3:08 am

    • Thank you Marina. This is a very special place. Really enjoyed the time I spent there! :-)

      December 12, 2014 at 8:40 am

  22. A stunning and peaceful series of photos Adrian…great colors.

    December 13, 2014 at 6:23 am

    • Thanks again Randall. The icebergs were definitely a highlight!

      December 13, 2014 at 4:44 pm

  23. Gorgeous tones and eerily beautiful, I can understand the urge to whisper. I’m glad you pointed out the specs those good sports added for scale!

    December 23, 2014 at 5:36 am

    • Thank you Vivian! It’s not always easy to get a sense of scale. These good sports certainly added some! :-)

      December 23, 2014 at 9:58 am