Vatnajökull – A visit with a glacier.

Whilst we were in Höfn, we had the opportunity to get up close and personal with  Vatnajökull at Skafafell.  Vatnajökull is the glacier that sits atop the volcano that erupted recently at Bárðarbunga. It was fascinating to see the shapes in the ice, freshly dusted with an icing sugar like powdering of snow.  Glaciers can appear very grey and dirty looking in the summer but in winter, they look their best.

Heading out to the glacier there was a track of sorts but this quickly diminished and we were left with the task of finding our way across a gravelly delta of meltwater, streams and ditches.  I’m grateful to Poppy of poppytump.wordpress.com for the pictures of Chillbrook tackling the first of many of what turned out to be a very deep ditches.

Chillbrook and Jeep I35mm f/5.6 1/125 sec. ISO-80

SpacerJeep II35mm f/5.6 1/1000 sec. ISO-50

As we made our way across the delta, out of the blue, we came upon a group of jacked up pick-up trucks with outsize tyres parked around what appeared to be a large hot tub, clearly fed from hot springs below.  It seemed so incongruous, in the middle of nowhere with temperatures way below zero and a gale blowing, to come upon half-naked people running around, apparently oblivious to the biting cold, getting in and out of a large wooden tub.  We didn’t feel compelled to gate crash this Sunday afternoon hot tub party although it was clear that everyone was having a great time.

With one last push up a very steep incline we made it to a car park of sorts with a fabulous view of the glacier.  The lake, which in summer would no doubt offer superb reflections of the mountains surrounding the glacier, was frozen of course in the depths of winter.  These are the photographs I took that afternoon..

Vatnajökull Glacier in Winter24mm f/11 1/200 sec. ISO-50

spaceVatnajökull Glacier, Iceland230mm f/11 1/125 sec. ISO-50

Vatnajökull, Iceland Glacier220mm f/11 1/160 sec. ISO-50

spaceVatnajökull Glacier, Iceland400mm f/11 1/160 sec. ISO-50space

Vatnajökull Glacier, Iceland400mm f/11 1/125 sec. ISO-100

spaceAdrian Theze Photo logo_2spaceSpacer

41 responses

  1. Sue

    Wonderful, crisp and clear!

    April 12, 2015 at 5:49 pm

    • Thank you Sue! Having the Nikon 80-400mm f/4.5 lens meant my bank balances took a huge hit but it really does delivers exceptional results.

      April 12, 2015 at 6:54 pm

  2. stunning…love the colours and these places 😀

    April 12, 2015 at 6:24 pm

    • Thank you very much! It was a fabulous place to visit. :-)

      April 12, 2015 at 6:54 pm

  3. Magnificent! And I’m so jealous of this trip! But truly, just wonderful pix as always!

    April 12, 2015 at 8:09 pm

    • Thank you very much! It really was a dream trip and quite an adventure! :-)

      April 12, 2015 at 8:34 pm

  4. These are wonderful Adrian but I must admit Poppy’s shot is my favorite for the story it tells!! And BTW, you should DEFINITELY have joined the party!!!

    April 12, 2015 at 10:10 pm

    • Thank you Tina! Had the temperatures not been sub-zero with wind chill to boot, we might have. I’m sure we’d have been very welcome. :-)

      April 13, 2015 at 10:36 am

  5. I’m learning about all the different blues in glacier ice, which I see here. The shapes, too, and the holes in the ice – all very interesting! Glad you got through the ditches…

    April 12, 2015 at 11:30 pm

    • Thanks Lynn! These glacial river beds can be a little unforgiving but we made it there and back without a major incident. :-)

      April 13, 2015 at 10:29 am

  6. Woooooooow what a story and great photo’s

    April 12, 2015 at 11:40 pm

    • Thank you Lou! :-)

      April 13, 2015 at 10:28 am

  7. Fantastic photos, Adrian. That first pic really made me catch my breath. You’re absolutely intrepid, but obviously the Jeep was up to the task. :)

    April 13, 2015 at 1:01 am

    • Thankfully Sylvia the Jeep was up to the task but a couple of times the best way through the river beds left us scratching our heads a little. We made it there and back though without a major incident or too much spinning of wheels, that’s the main thing with photos to prove it! Thank you! :-)

      April 13, 2015 at 10:27 am

  8. You have caught such a wonderful range of blues Chillbrook, and the forms of the piled snow and rocks are so beguiling.

    April 13, 2015 at 7:11 am

    • Thank you Anna. The blues were stunning! :-)

      April 13, 2015 at 10:24 am

  9. poppytump

    Arriving at the end of this lumpy bumpy track and then walking up to see these *soft iced mounds of ice the superb view was fantastic ! The colours were much the best I think we saw of frozen glacial waters , and the sun hitting the hollows really did bring out those turquoise blues ChillB . That lens was just perfect for these pictures ! Maybe it would have been nice to have got closer but it REALLY was a trek down there ….

    April 13, 2015 at 9:29 am

    • It would indeed have been nice to get a little closer but I certainly couldn’t have tackled that very steep track. Sometimes a long lens is just what you need! Thank you Poppy and thank you again for the use of the photos. :-)

      April 13, 2015 at 10:24 am

  10. that must have been an awesome trip :)

    April 13, 2015 at 1:23 pm

    • It was Joshi, thank you! :-)

      April 13, 2015 at 2:22 pm

  11. I love the shots of the ice Adrian, it’s that gorgeous hint of turquoise blue that gets me every time.

    April 13, 2015 at 4:39 pm

    • The colours are wonderful aren’t they? Thanks Mark! :-)

      April 13, 2015 at 6:37 pm

  12. Stunning images

    April 13, 2015 at 5:17 pm

    • Thank you Mary! :-)

      April 13, 2015 at 6:38 pm

  13. Oh what an adventure :-) The aqua tones coming through that berg are so fresh!

    April 13, 2015 at 8:39 pm

  14. I have always been fascinated by glaciers and Vatnajøkul is one of the real great ones. Seems like quite an expedition, but once again you got some excellent photos!

    April 14, 2015 at 12:50 am

    • Thank you Otto! It was worth the trek! :-)

      April 14, 2015 at 3:44 pm

  15. You are rockin’ the casbah with these stunning photos. Well done. :-)

    April 14, 2015 at 1:45 am

    • Thank you Frank! :-)

      April 14, 2015 at 3:44 pm

  16. Amazing landscape.

    April 14, 2015 at 4:54 pm

    • It is indeed, thank you!

      April 14, 2015 at 5:34 pm

  17. I love those last few images, Adrian. The jumble of ice, crumpled and twisted, is evidence of colossal forces at work. I’m always nervous crossing what are termed ‘wet glaciers’ meaning those covered with lying snow which can conceal the crevasses. So easy to fall through. Dry glaciers with no lying snow mean you are fully informed of where there is terra firma

    April 14, 2015 at 7:46 pm

    • Thank you Andy! I think very understandably nervous as those crevasses can be hundreds of feet deep. I wasn’t able to get close enough to test my nerve. I was happy to observe the wonderful colours and shapes from a distance. :-)

      April 14, 2015 at 8:17 pm

  18. This is stunning !

    April 27, 2015 at 6:38 pm

    • Thank you! It was really interesting to get so close to the glacier! :-)

      April 27, 2015 at 6:39 pm

  19. Wow! Amazing stuff.

    May 5, 2015 at 5:02 pm

    • Thanks Jim. It was really cool to get so close to the ice and photograph the shapes created by the weather. Not unlike the badlands I guess. :-)

      May 5, 2015 at 6:08 pm